A Historical Learning In Leveling Up KDU Students’ General Knowledge And Patriotic Zeal

Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Professor Khoo Kay Kim delivering a commemorative lecture with theme “The RUKUNEGARA: History and Significance”. The lecture managed to spark a great amount of interest among KDU students on their own ethnic and cultural background.
Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim (right) looking at outstanding class projects by KDU students of General Studies during his visit to “Malaysiana Exhibition”. At his side are Mr Loo Chong Hang, Acting Head of the School of Communication and Creative Arts (from 2nd left) and Mr Mohamad Zaki Bin Samsudin.  
General education has been made compulsory for almost every undergraduate studies in the world. In order to obtain a full degree, students need to complete a certain amount of credit hours in General Studies, as part of the approach to holistic education in preparing them for the challenges of living as well as academics.

“Education is not about passing examinations by spotting topic, memorising prescribed answers and scoring high marks. On the contrary, you have to be trained in arguing and debating, free to think for yourselves, as progressive nations needs creative citizens,” said Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim, a renowned Malaysian historian, and also the co-author of RUKUNEGARA (the National Principal), during his visit to KDU University College on 15 September, a day before the 53rd commemoration anniversary of the formation of our nation Malaysia.

In conjunction with the 2016 Malaysia Day Celebration, and to remind the younger generation on how Malaysia as a vibrant multicultural nation was achieved, lecturers in the Department of General Studies of KDU University College, invited Prof Khoo—the honorific by which his students always address him—in delivering a commemorative lecture with theme “The RUKUNEGARA: History and Significance”.

At the very beginning of his lecture, Khoo threw a series of questions to the audience, who were made up of students in the General Studies subjects of “Malaysia Culture and Life” and “Islamic Civilisation and Civilisation of Asia”, and also academic staffs in KDU.

With questions ranging from ‘By reciting one of the principles of RUKUNEGARA “Believe in God”, does that mean you cannot be an atheist?’,  How did our national anthem come about?’,  ‘Why was Kuala Lumpur named as such?’, ‘Do you know the origin of each ethnicity by seeing their family names?’,  ‘Do you know there are differences in each ethnic?’ – Khoo actually incited curiosity and gave meaning to his talk, reminding students the struggles and pains the country had gone through during the process of building the nation. “This country is so complex and because of that, it is going to take special effort to bring the people together.”

Speaking on nation building, Khoo reiterated the importance of history knowledge in general education, “History is not just a story or a subject you learn in school but it is about everything in the past, and each one of you have your own history and you may learn the origin of yourselves living in this country. In order to know the society, you have to know the basic facts of this country,” Khoo said, and moving on to prove his point, he continued by giving numerous examples of different origins in ethnicity, family names, places, dialects and languages.

During the Q&A session, Ashraf Nuramin Bin Mohamed Amin, a student from the Bachelor of Business (Hons) programme, asked several questions which marked his great interest in history. “I was asking Prof Khoo on how Malay rights were obtained. With the answer that was given, I think we should all be grateful no matter our race or religion. The important aspect here is to stand as one with our nation to protect us from being colonised by others. We have many historic moments that should be remembered and cherished so that we can take it as a learning curve.”

No doubt, this lecture session managed to spark a great amount of interest amongst KDU students on their own ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and inculcated a greater sense of awareness on what it means to be a Malaysian and how proud one should be to be part of this country. To such a great degree, the students were also reminded that this vibrant multicultural society did not come about without struggles and challenges.

“There will be more challenges in the future which require the younger generation to continue working together to strengthen national unity and bring greater prosperity to the nation,” said the main organiser, Mr Mohamad Zaki Bin Samsudin, Academic Department Head of the Department of General Studies at KDU. “I hope students realise that the subjects of General Studies serve a purpose in nurturing cross-cultural understanding and a genuine feeling of respect towards the cultures and beliefs of others,” continued Zaki.

Besides this commemorative lecture, a week-long exhibition named “Malaysiana Exhibition” was also held from 15th to 22nd September, showcasing samples of outstanding class projects submitted by KDU students as part of the assessments for the various General Studies’ subjects offered by KDU.