Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Our History Remembered By Somebody Else
I have said it before but I am really ashamed by the performance of our Muzium and Antiquities Department and National Archives, especially when we compare it to our nearest neighbours. Somehow dealing with musty stuff seems to have petrified their creativity, so much so their museums are really archives of history rather than something that challenges people to appreciate their heritage, explore their past and not to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers. Even though they have prominently displayed the definition of a museum in their website, ie, "Museum Definition: "A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment." ref: ICOM Statutes art.2 para.1", they do not seem to understand it well especially the last part that I have highlighted in bold. The same goes to our National Archives, it seems to be where our history collects dust rather than be something like the Smithsonian Institute.
What really gets my beef is that when surfing the net I found that National Archives of Singapore has an interactive site on the fighting history of The Malay Regiment for the defence of Singapore, part of the program for Singapore's WWII Interpretative Centre. I am not really surprised since as far back as the 70's I remember visiting their war museum in Sentosa Island and that already aroused so much pride and patriotism in a little boy that has withstood the test of time to this day. Now they have upped the ante with this interpretative centre that you can actually visit online. The nearest museum locally that can replicate that experience is the Army Museum In Port Dickson, albeit limited to whatever they could afford to show. I am really tired of being unable to expound the qualities of our military history locally, but have to go elsewhere instead.
Let not the words of this Minister from Singapore become a reality in Malaysia.