before it could be made mandatory reading in our school,
why the hell did we decide to use that book in the first place?
- Art Harun, ARTiculations.
Precisely- if it had to be amended, then it doesn't qualify to be made a text book!!
It is simply unfit. Let it be because the Tamilian/Indian community isn't matured enough .... all the more reason!
So why then the love story of Muhyidin with Interlok?
Why is he so adamant? Now I'm beginning to get suspicious, and intend to scrutinise the book myself ..... maybe I'll try to buy the original version online.
Is there some agenda behind this?
Some subtle indoctrination perhaps?
Yes- there is nothing wrong with the book per se, since "it is only a Malay literary classic" littered with cultural, historical and geographical errors..... after all, the readers will know what a crappy piece of work it is when they do some Indian geography/history/culture studies (if they had a chance).
Of course- the book burning by the Indian/Tamilian NGOs was totally uncalled for- book burning is so passe & fascist.
However- as much as I may agree with your opinion on Interlok, and the hypersensitivity of many Tamilians over the word pariah for its negative connotations- in a way, I empathise with them.
Since Mahathir, they are the new underclass. They have been trampled on economically & socially during the Sami Value era- and are generally regarded as the underclass who are struggling to live with pride. For a very long time , they lived in their own world (so to speak)- everything was about being "Tamil". Tamil was Indian, and Indian was Tamil - despite not knowing
Many are regarded as social misfits who wouldn't stand for being laughed at. The incidence of school droputs, drug addiction, alcoholism, violence, crime, suicides, extra-judicial deaths and discrimination speak volumes towards confirming this.
Hindraf was an awakening- an "epiphany" of sorts ... towards achieving their aspirations as citizens with equal rights. It was an admission of their failures as citizens of Malaysia under the leadership of BN's MIC. In fact they are today regarded as the only failures among the Indian diaspora!!
Today, they therefore tend to see discrimination, insults and threats all around them- even where there are none.
Therefore- to them, that the word "pariah" in the book was contexual, is irrelevant. They do not complain that it won an award for the writer despite the writer's "brutal"/limited vocabulary for a "classic", ignorance of Indian geography or the readers thought it was a great book. (It beats me how they could consider a book littered with factual inaccuracies as a literary classic).
They cannot accept that the Ministry or Muhyidin is in love with the book, and forces it upon them- especially after all the derogatory comments passed against them children by the teachers. They do not trust a system which discriminates them. They do not trust the Education Ministry which hesitates to punished racists among the teachers.
So why should they accept a book (even if it is literature) which makes derogatory references to their ancestry? What guarantee is there that these racist teachers wouldn't use it to highlight the ancestry of the students today in a derogatory way?
What has the Ministry done to convince them that they're capable of using such a book to teach positive values? Nothing!
In fact, the Ministry has done plenty to prove otherwise!!
Use the book to teach children that the word "Pariah" is unacceptable?
You must be dreaming ...
There are teacher calling the students "monkey/dogs/pariah"- and the goverment supports them (even if they are given a slap on the wrist publicly). In fact, some are very subtly "rewarded" with transfers they'd be happy with!!
You wanna trust these people to teach virtues?
Did someone say, "critical thinking"?
With the current breed of unthinking pariahs among the teachers, liars among education directors , bigots/racists among policy makers and certified morons coming out of our univerities- I don't think so, mate ....