Monday, December 26, 2005

Historical Revisionism in Textbooks?

In another interesting letter from the Education segment of the Sunday Star, writer, Gan Teck Yaw of Melaka was shocked by some serious historical revisionism present in our school textbooks.
Recently, I flipped through the pages of Tamadun Islam by Mahayudin Yahaya (revised edition, published in 2005), which targets STPM students, undergraduates, teachers and lecturers.

To my shock, the book claims that China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was an Islamic dynasty and that its founder Chu Yuan Chang was a Muslim.
I did Modern History of China for my 'A' Levels, and never have I read anywhere to say that the Ming Dynasty was a Islamic dynasty or that its emperors were Muslims!

Ming Shi, which recorded the history of Yuan and Ming dynastis clearly stated that:
Chu Yuan Chang had in fact become a Buddhist monk before he rose against the Yuan Dynasty and became the first Ming emperor. Ming Shi, Ming Shilu and other sources also showed that Ming emperors were either Buddhists or Taoists.
Do a quick search in the various search engines and you will find no corroborating evidence that the Ming Dynasty was a Muslim dynasty or that it's emperor was a Muslim. References regards Islam as tolerated in China with several Islamic officials in its government.

For example at the historical outline of Chinese history at the University of Maryland stated that:
Islam had been introduced into Chinese culture during the Tang dynasty, and had spread rapidly during the Mongol dynasty. The Ming dynasty tolerated Islam and even appointed several Islamic officials in its government. For the most part, however, the Islamic community was separate from the Chinese community. They lived in their own villages or lived in their own sections of the cities.
Or at fsmitha.com:
The rebellion [against the Mongol Yuan dynasty] took shape first around Guangzhou in 1352. A Buddhist monk and former boy beggar, Zhu Yuanzhang, threw off his vestments, joined the rebellion, and his exceptional intelligence took him to the head of a rebel army. By 1355 the rebellion had spread through much of China, accompanied by anarchy. Zhu Yuanzhang won people to his side by forbidding his soldiers to pillage. In 1356, Zhu Yuanzhang captured Nanjing and made it his capital, and there he won the help of Confucian scholars who issued pronouncements for him and performed rituals in his claim of the Mandate of Heaven.
Who sanctions the writing of these books and what's the process to ensure that our students actually learn the right facts and figures?

10 comments:

- ソ | レ - said...

Its all about brainwashing us. There are lots of instance of errors in the secondary school syllabus..

They claim Parameswara was a muslim too, and even gave him some Sultan something something something name.

mistaken_identity said...

as far as i can remember from 10 years ago, Parameswara was never a muslim, it was one of the sultans after him who converted to Islam.
Dont tell me they've changed the textbook.....again!

黄德峻 said...

parameswara never a muslim.. chu yuan chan also never a muslim..

xpyre said...

This is a very serious charge, which I hope the authorities will pursue. This has the potential to become another explosive issue!

nUtZ` said...

the biggest problem here isn't changing historical facts in secondary textbook. It expose that our students in Malaysia are mere robots who are train to "swollow and vomit" the "facts" from the textbook. This worries me. AFAIK, I haven't heard anyone complaining in the chinese newspaper complaining about the change in the historical textbook.

Is the government training our students to be a factory workers rather than world leaders in innovation?

rakyat said...

Wow, this must be the "look east" policy. They sure learn all they can from Japan, including changing history.

wong keat wai said...

Dear Sirs,

That is the problem with Malaysian educated people. Just good at memorising facts and pour everything out during exams time.

You are supposed to read multiple books & analyse & compared the various conflicting facts to derive a much clearer picture!

After all, confucius once said that the wise person is one who could, see more than what he saw, hear more than what he heard and READ MORE THAN WHAT HE READ !

Anonymous said...

These are the same people that says that the Nazi never tried to exterminate Jews and holocust never happened. They think White people rewrote history so they should rewrite history regardless of the truth. Its all very "revenge", hateful, people owe them, thingy...

Jo Chua said...

History is now in the hands of the businessman. Now there suddenly emerge a Ming Dynasty godown but the structure is that of a later architecture. At the start, there were even life size Qin Dynasty terracotta warriors. The owner of the museum claims that this is the site of the great Admiral Zheng He's stockade. In the owner's book, superimposed on an old drawing is a picture of the new museum facing the sea,whilst the museum is along the river bank. Another claim is that one of the owner's adjoining property is that of a Chinese Kapitan which is a lot of hot wash as a group of us from KL, Penang and a few from abroad, already did research on the house before the new owner bought the premise.

By the way

lila said...

ming dynasti is muslim dynasty..u all phobia ke..no wonder le tgk movie je asyik ching dynasty..manchu yang menindas china han..your ultra confusious sida yang beriya2 nk tutup china dari dunia luar dan dasar tutup pintu tu membangkrap kan negeri china..so sad bila laksamana chjeng ho yg sememang nye seorg muslim terpaksa menghentikan ekspedisi pelayaranya krna telah dhasut oleh sida2 confucious yang mula menguasia istana dan maharaja pasa akhir era ming dynasti..