KUALA LUMPUR, 15 April 2009: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the younger generation should be taught the country’s history to ensure that they do not repeat past mistakes.
“I’m pleading for the teaching of history,” he said, adding that an American philosopher, George Santayana, once said: “Those who forget the lessons of history will be condemned to repeat their mistakes over and over again” or words to that effect.
“How do we know we are not repeating our mistakes now if we do not know of our mistakes in the past. We need to know. We need to know how we came to be colonised. We need to know how we barely managed to escape from being a communist state.
“We need to know how our rulers were forced to surrender their states to the British. We need to know how the British were forced to rescind the MacMichael treaties,” he said in his blog www.chedet.cc on the topic of “The Generation Gap” today.
He said that with most of Malaysia’s 27 million population being born after 1957-1963, it meant that “they had not known anything but being free, being independent, being ruled by their fellow country[folk].”
Stating that he was not trying to say that those who lived under colonial rule are more appreciative of independence, he said: “What we should all be concerned with is that we appreciate our independence and our freedom more, whatever may be our political leanings.”
“But I think we should know where we came from. Otherwise we would not know which way we should go. We may think we are going forward when in fact we are going backward, back to where we started. We would not be making progress,” he said. — Bernama