I know I have to study but I just can’t refrain from writing about this.
Since yesterday, people started posting and sharing (on facebook) about the developers who demolished one of the “candi” (1,200 year old temple) in Lembah Bujang (in Kedah, Malaysia). I claim to love history and so, like other fellow Malaysians am upset with what happened.
1) Appreciating history.
For your information, there’re a lot of “candi”s actually and the one demolished (candi 11) is not the main one.
I too shared this sad news on facebook and my comment was:
(The developers claim they don’t know it’s a historical site after demolishing it).
People are not appreciating history as much as they should.”
Not many actually cared about Candi Lembah Bujang before and everyone started crying out loud when the news about one of the “candi”s made headlines (I don’t think it’s very wrong though – I’ll explain why further down). Even Al-Jazeera wrote about this (with lots and lots of tweet-quotes. ??. Probably one or two tweets aren’t enough to show how mad Malaysians are with what happened).
We all know about Candi Lembah Bujang, don’t we? We learnt about it in high school and those from nearby areas like Perlis (where I live), Kedah and Pulau Pinang might have gone and visited the site during one of our school visits. But as I claimed in my facebook post, people are not appreciating history as much as they should.
Have we ever considered Lembah Bujang as a visiting place? Have you ever been there? Why isn’t it a popular historical site as Angkor Wat is? Funny that it’s not even gazetted as a national historical site.
2) Not fair to blame the developers.
Funny that when the developers bought the land, nothing about the “candi”s were mentioned. Why blame the developers when the authorities are the ignorant ones? Just because they’re not aware of the history, you wanna blame them and go to the extend of suing them? I personally think it’s unfair. History is not that emphasized in Malaysia. Come on, admit it! We all accept that it’s normal to hate Sejarah (history) classes and it’s fine to sleep it through.
How do you expect them to know when even those who’re still learning it in school don’t? Of course, you can say that it’s plain irresponsible to not know about Lembah Bujang and not be careful as they dig out the land there for housing developments. But still, don’t go around pointing fingers at them when the ones who’re responsible of it doesn’t seem to care much (see quote below, from The Malaysian Insider).
You can’t blame me or others who are angry about this matter – obviously. Here comes the reason why I’m fine with those who suddenly start harping on this matter when they seem to care less before. Thing is, we all know about Lembah Bujang (this is redundant but important here) and realize that it’s an important historical site but may not be well aware about the construction or demolishment that has been/is going on because we’re obviously not it’s caretaker. Do you expect me to go to Lembah Bujang (and other Malaysia historical sites) every other month to check on it, see if anybody is destroying it. Really?
There’s no point blaming them (the authorities) either now. What’s done is done. These people should start taking actions and do what they haven’t been doing.
We can shout all we want, but what’s the point anyway? What we can do is make sure they actually start doing something about this.
3) History is VERY important.
Do you know the story about Sultan Muhammad Al Fateh? I knew very little about him during my high school years as the story about Al-Fateh was no more than just a few paragraphs in a single page.
You may ask, “What lah, cannot find other history books to read is it?“.
Well, no. I was so into memorizing everything (but I do love history and english by heart, okay!) and had no time to do any other extra reading (except from newspapers). Back to Al-Fateh, when I read about him in college – I was amazed (still am) as he’s a perfect example when explaining to people the importance of history. He who conquered Constantinople (now known as Istanbul) after years of trials by other sultans (leaders) studied history every night. He knew that by learning history in depth, he’ll not make the same mistakes done by others before him. He shall develop better plans because he knew how they failed.
It’s futile to repeat what others did and failed the way they did and to only then, learn from it. Why not cut it short and not do it at the first place? And you’ll only be able to know all the secrets (mistakes, correct things, etc) by learning history.
What happened in Lembah Bujang now should serve us all a great lesson of the importance of history. This should definitely be included in our history textbooks so our kids will know what happens if they forget history. They should know what we did and shall not repeat it again.
But oh well, most probably this issue shall lose it’s heat soon and we’ll just get back to our normal lives – just like all other pressing issues like Syria and Palestine. After 20 or 30 years, we’ll shout and cry again as a another historical site gets demolished.
So, what you think about this? Care to share?