Fairy Tales in Text Books

Dearest Nix,

It is very seldom you would hear me rant about Sg politics. But education holds a special place in my heart, having being and been a product of the Sg educational system and not having children good enough for it. THis photo in FB almost made me lose my marbles. How dare they put and use the Little India riots as 'history'.  Such propaganda is a disgrace. The basic tenets of human rights should be taught to the young , but no! how could they lose a chance for brainwashing?  Utter disgrace.


Dear L,

History is the subject I hate most. It didn't help when my first history teacher was a bitter, sarcastic, cynical old spinster who taught us nothing of the subject. I have been called a cynic often but believe me, I am not fit to polish her shoes when it comes to that. We had to go through an entire year appreciating her recitals and learnt how to under line sentences in our text books faster her saying, "Under line, page 200, paragraph 3, sentence 7 to 11."

Miss History did not even bother to impress us with her subjects, perhaps like selling to us why what she was teaching to us could add value to our lives. I had to find that out myself later in life. They said that studying history is important because only knowing the past will we understand our present. So we can create a better future, in theory. 

I call that bullshit.

I call that bullshit because humans are known to err repeatedly from the same mistakes since the beginning of human time. Wars. Stock market speculations. Real estate speculations. Worshiping false gods. Voting for duds. Wicked ambitions. Greed. Cruelty. The atrocities continue on generation after generations. Either history teaches us nothing or we never learn. Either way, it is no point learning history for that reason stated above. We need a stronger reason.

Before that, I have only a stronger reason not to study history, at least the history subjects as we know it in Singapore. I wouldn't have a problem with history if textbooks look like that:

Year A: Dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Year B: A meteor hit Earth and wiped them out.
Year C: Human population grow exponentially.
Year D: Concept of God was derived. Earth's age shortened from X million years to 100 years.
Year E: Mankind fight among one another to prove their respective God was the real one.
Year F: Today.

Well, the problem with history was that they would never be factual and straightforward. During my days, we had to study about someone called Parameswara. The only thing we needed to know was who he was, how long was his reign and what he did during those years. But no - human beings like to ask why. That is where the problem begins.

Take the Little India Riot for instance. For historical records, we want to know when it happened, where it happened, how many rioters were involved, how much damage they caused. These are more or less the facts that cannot manipulated. The rest of it will be some cockbull stories written by somebody who wasn't even present at the scenes with the information supplied by the "right source." The result: an awfully bias account of "history" that can very well fit the fiction section in the library, right beside, "True Singapore Ghost Stories," perhaps.

Every year during the NDP, Singaporeans had been seen displaying true delight being fed historical lies. Every Singaporean now believes that Singapore was a "fishing village" when the PAP became government and stories in history books in school heavily suggest that the PAP should take full credit for turning turning the "fishing village" to the city as we know it today.

History has always been written by the victors in versions that paint well of themselves. If the Axis Powers won the WWII, we would be reading about how evil the Allies were and the atrocities they did instead of Japanese soldiers raping women and killing babies with bayonets. Not surprisingly, the PAP will be doing nothing different in terms of recording a one-sided version of their success, covering their own crimes as well as the injustice their opponents suffered and over-glorifying their good work in the process.

What really happened during the Bukit Ho Swee fire we will never know because the truths are buried in the historic records that do not tally with the accounts of our old folks told in hush hush tones. One day, our grandchildren will be calling our accounts of the Little India riot bullshit the same way. How badly the Singapore Police Force handled the riot would never come to light again, for instance. Was the Cheng San GRC results in GE 1997 rigged? Not many Singaporeans know long before Malaysia did their "blackout" magic in their GE, Singapore was already rumored to have done so. Again, we will never know the truth.

I see no value in getting our children study "history" or "social studies". The time should be spent on moral education instead. Then hopefully, when the children grows up and join the whites, they will be morally upright enough to provide factual history books for the next generation instead of their self indulging magazines.