Monday, May 14, 2007

The 'truth' is out there?

I'm planning to get my hands on this new book. It has just been launched and the book isn't available online yet, but the publishers say that it will be soon. At RM20, this book is a steal. The book tells the story of the 13 May 1969 racial riots in Malaysia based on recently declassified documents.

I've always felt that our government, has used the May 13 incident to spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). Through it's negligence, they have purposefully left out the incident in our history books. The whole incident is pretty much summarised in a single paragraph in the books. In cram book, it probably takes up about three points.

A whole generation of Malaysians grew up learning the falsehood of the incident. I had realised this at a really young age because my parents used to tell me their personal accounts of what happened. My parents were in their 20s at the time and were aware of the incident. Their accounts had always troubled me as it was totally different from the picture that was painted in the single paragraph summary. My only conclusion was that the government was using this incident to spread FUD.

FUD is something that I'm intimately familiar with as I come across it everyday in the technology world. Microsoft does it all the time when it comes to Linux. Apple tries to expose some of the truth through it's ads. It is a tool used by those in the know, to scare those who don't, into submission. The only way to counter FUD is to expose the truth. This book purports to doing just that. Just 24 hours after the launch, several of our senators have called for the book's ban without even having read the book. This will surely ensure that the book sells like hot cakes when it becomes available. I'm personally going to order a copy over the Internet when it becomes available, even though I hadn't originally thought of doing that.

By continuously perpetuating the myth that this is a racial riot between the Malays and Chinese, the government hopes to keep the Chinese in check. The politicians come out once in a while to remind the people of the incident in order to stop the Chinese from fighting for their rights. They point to Indonesia to strengthen their case. According to the author of the book, this isn't what truly happened. According to the CIA, this isn't what truly happened. According to my parents, this isn't what truly happened. So, what truly did happen? I'm going to read the book to find out (as soon as it becomes available online!).

The truth is out there.

PS. In case it wasn't clear. I'm not saying that the government is lying. It's just withholding the truth in order to maintain power. That's just as bad though.

UPDATE@1450: It's now available for sale here for RM90 including shipping to the UK.


koln_auhc said...

Microsoft does it all the time when it comes to Linux

The patent news today?

Shawn Tan said...

Yea, just blogged about it a few minutes ago.. But not just today, of course..
Microsoft had been doing it for years.. I've gotten so sick and tired of it already.. Just go ahead and sue!!

koln_auhc said...

Oh man, I am going to send in the check tomorrow and I will have one copy soon.

Shawn Tan said...

Good for you!