By Amde Sidik,
I notice there has been an upsurge of enthusiasm of lately, discussing on a subject of ethnics in Sabah. I couldn’t make out why? Perhaps this has been partly due the work of the media. They get fed up with the routine subjects, for example a never-ending political debacles ever since after the last general election. Many people feel demoralized even their thinking capacity is geographically reduced to only knowing the five States of Malaysia, if you know what I mean.
Sign of desperado obvious from the political party in power, trying to save face and to recapture the hearts and mind of people they betrayed earlier. But in the end, it ends up in mockery manner in both sides as the result. In another, may be there is a real need of Sabah and Sarawak to tell the country that they have plenty to talk about ethnicities. Our leaders should be reminded both in Borneo and Peninsular that they must take cognition, don’t just hentam with couldn’t care less attitude; an ethnic may be a trivial subject for them but may mean differently to local people. For example how the Dayak in Sarawak before the Batang Ai by election were excited and hyper confidant to get rural support but turned out to be the opposite.
Our multi-ethnics society has created as source of inspiration and an achievement in the past, for example, we had lived harmoniously without being suspicious to one another for many hundred years but now even talking about it is a taboo, and more so about religion.
A couple of months ago lots of discussion on Kadazan/Dusun ethnics initially highlighted by Datuk Ayub Aman, which I wouldn’t want to repeat the discussion here, but suffice to say following one article in Daily Express more highlights surfaced. Daily Express interviews, including Datuk Patel, Datuk Dr Herman Luping and Datuk Machel Liking and Dr Jeffery, among the prominent people of Sabah, who are well verse on the subject. Our archives, museum and library alike should keep proper inventory so that in the future our young can see and evaluate our status based on the records.
One note of caution though, don’t modify and change the written history, no body can update history, one can only update where one keeps it. In my experience with university students today, about 80%-90% of our first year students aren’t sure of the date of Malaysia’s Independent Day. Was it 31st August 1957 or 1963 or 16th September 1963? When asked what made them confused about the date, their answers, that’s what they read in Malaysian history text. My response to them usually is by asking them to throw away that textbook next time they see it. I volunteer to challenge the authors if needs be. Come back to discussing about ethnic, and what intrigues me is when Tan Sri Bernard Dompok mentioned word Kedayan which later he corrected the spelling from Kedayan to Kadayan. But before anything else, changing the spelling like this in my experience was difficult enough let alone changing the meaning? An example, I’ve been writing all this while word Kadayan not Kedayan as was in many official or unofficial materials. I know for sure the spelling of Kadayan is without an e.
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