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The writing of history is never impartial; the authors would inevitably assert their interpretations of events in their writings.

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Introduction

Comparative History Assignment TAN WOAN CHYN (email: apfel@pacific.net.sg) 1st Nov 2002 Analysis of A G.C.E. O Levels History Textbook -- 'Odyssey: Perspectives On Southeast Asia - Malaysia and Singapore: 1870-1971' by Marissa Champion With Reference to 'A History of South-East Asia' by D.G.E. Hall and 'In Search of Southeast Asia: A Modern History: A Modern History' Edited by David Joel Steinberg Introduction The writing of history is never impartial; the authors would inevitably assert their interpretations of events in their writings. Their views are shaped by their backgrounds such as ethnicity, nationality, education, beliefs, political orientations, interests and career. Their interpretations might also be directed by the government authorities or other agencies and institutions. In this essay, I attempt to analyze a G.C.E. 'O' Level history textbook, 'Odyssey: Perspectives On Southeast Asia - Malaysia and Singapore: 1870-1971' by Marissa Champion approved by the Singapore Ministry of Education for use from 2001 to 2005. Attempts to compare its contents with that of the sections on Malaysia and Singapore in 'A History of South-East Asia' by D.G.E. Hall and 'In Search of Southeast Asia: A Modern History' edited by David Joel Steinberg1 will also be made. The 'Mysterious' Author It is not clear whether Marrisa Champion is the author or compiler of the textbook. ...read more.

Middle

Sandhu, Kernial Singh and Paul Wheatley (eds.) Management of Success-The Moulding of Modern Singapore 1989 Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Singapore 29. Tan, Ding Eing A Portrait of Malaysia and Singapore 1975 Oxford University Press Singapore 30. Vella, Walter Francis Chaiyo ! King Vajiravudh and the Development of Thai Nationalism 1978 University of Hawaii Press Hawaii 31. Winstedt, RO and RJ Wilkinson A History of Perak 1934 Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Not stated Style and Arrangement of Contents The writing style of the textbook is straight forward, lively and simple since it is targeted at upper secondary students of 15 years to 17 years of age. Besides providing clear main headings and sub-headings, the author also included old photographs, pictures, maps, time charts, graphs and Internet links. Students would not have much problem understanding it. In addition, a summary and assessment questions are added to each chapters. The contents of the textbook were divided into five units: Unit 1 Overview of Southeast Asia Chapter 1 Colonial Rule and Its Impact On Southeast Asia Unit 2 The Malay Peninsula & Singapore Under British and Japanese Rule Chapter 2 The Straits Settlements (1826-67) Chapter 3 British Intervention in Malaya: Case Study of Perak(1874) Chapter 4 The British Residential System in Malaya: Case Study of Perak(1874-96) ...read more.

Conclusion

The British also prevented them from the modern economy and moving up the social strata by encouraging them to take on elementary vernacular education.10 Conclusion & Limitations of this Essay All three books presented similar events with different interpretations. The first book presented Malaysia and Singapore history with local perspectives, while the second one was written with the colonizers' interests in mind. The third book was even more critical and bold in the writing of events since the author was not from the region and his country did not colonize Malaya and Singapore. Each was written with passion and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Readers of history must be cautious enough to read between the lines, and should read widely to gain a better understanding of the subject area. This is a very short essay hence many areas could not be fully developed. The amount of information collected, particularly on the author of the first book, is inadequate. Areas that could be further elaborated for a dissertation include: * The Writing of Autonomous History in Southeast Asia; * Euro-Centric and Asia-Centric History; * Content Analysis of Bibliography of Southeast Asian History by various authors; * Different interpretations On the Impacts of Colonization; * The Relationship Between the Indigenous People and Migrant Communities; and * World War Two and The Decline of European Presence in Southeast Asia. ...read more.

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