The Limits of Nostalgia August 27, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Columns, Current Affairs, History, Malaysia, Writings.
A new online magazine, Bolehland.com, premiered a fortnight ago, featuring 12 columnists under 40. They include Brian Yap (who has a column in NST and soon to be a film-star); Fahmi Fadzil (actor); Li Tsin (Malaysiakini journalist); John Lee (frightfully bright 17-year old who’s been writing on politics and current affairs for the past 2 years); Nat Tan (editor of ‘Mahathir vs. Badawi’ – a book still on the top 10 bestseller list); and many others.
My piece came out last Monday.
Around this time of the year, we gorge ourselves, willingly or otherwise, at the buffet table of unlimited servings of sepia images and faded texts; this year with a little more pomp and frenzy, partly spearheaded by officialdom to put out a good show and partly fueled by the government’s recent reaffirmation that Malaysia is an Islamic state.
While there is ample critique of the government’s use and abuse of ‘history’, not much has been said or written on contradictory reactions, bordering talismanic and involving equally solemn rituals of:- (1) whipping out the Federal Constitution (original) (2) reciting the Rukun Negara; (3) bringing forth the spectre of the ‘Social Contract’ (original) and (4) invoking the spirit of the (original) Merdeka Declaration.