Sunday, November 18, 2007

Revigorating Malaysia' s progressive tradition

This morning, former Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) social science lecturer Dr. Rohana Ariffin (second from right), well-known public intellectual and writer Rustam A. Sani (left), editor of the Chinese-language malaysiakini Yong Kai Ping (right) and myself spoke at the Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂) in downtown Kuala Lumpur to launch the second volume of the memoirs of a veteran of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) Abdullah CD and relaunch of the autobiography of another legendary woman anti-colonial fighter Shamsiah Fakeh. The forum was chaired by publisher Chong Ton Sin (second from left) of Gerakbudaya and the widely acclaimed and award-winning documentary produced by Fahmi Reza, Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka was screened.

Also attending the launch and forum were Samsiah Fakeh's China-born and Mandarin-speaking son Jamaluddin Ibrahim as well as Dr. Syed Husin Ali, Dr. Mohamad Nasir Hashim and Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj. Shamsiah herself was absent because of health reason.

In launching Part II of Pak Abdullah CD's memoirs Penaja dan Pemimpin Regimen Ke-10, I said the most central element of the progressive tradition in Malaysia, which was built on the blood of the martyrs of all races, is the uncompromising committment to multiethic solidarity and fraternity in the continuing struggle to enlarge the realm of democratic freedom for all, advance social justice for the working people and preserve the independence and sovereignty of the nation.

I also pointed out that appreciating the contribution and sacrifice of the martyrs and forerunners of all races in their struggle against colonialism, fascism and imperialism which began in the mid-1920s and drawing inspirations as well as lessons from their struggle is as important as building and defending tombs and monuments, and the great and glorious tradition serves to balance against bookworm'ism although analysis of the current and future situations needs to be scientific and intellectual enough to answer questions of a new age.

Lee Meng thanks counsel P.G. Lim from heart

Remembering National Literati Usman Awang


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