Mahathir's new Malay dilemma 'Were we colonised or were we not? Should we love the rulers or despise them? Did we fight for our freedom or did the British just sail away in 1957?' British 'behaved' like colonialists, says Dr M Tailek: What is the big deal about being colonised or being a protectorate? Why are certain quarters trying so hard to erase the history of our colonisation by Britain? So what if Malaya was colonised? The most important thing is we are now an independent sovereign nation. If I remember my history correctly, only one Southeast Asian country was never colonised by a western power, and that was Siam (now Thailand). Even China (Manchuria) and Korea were colonised by the Japanese, and the US by Britain at one time. Yet today, China and Korea are such powerful economies and the US is the most powerful country on earth. I am not an Anglophile, but Malaysia should be thankful for some of the institutions brought in by the British, like our constitutional monarchy, Westminster-style parliament and the rule of law, not to mention badminton, hockey, rugby and cricket. So what's the shame in being colonised? Just be thankful we were under the British, not the French or Dutch. Lim Chong Leong: The British used the word 'protectorate' and avoided words like 'colony', 'colonise', 'servants' and 'enslave' as a means to confuse the colonised slaves into thinking they are somewhat equal to their masters. Now Umno is still using these words being none the wiser, even after 50 years, that they were colonised and enslaved. Abasir: It's the continuing tale of the never-ending 'Malay Dilemma': were we colonised or were we not? Should we love the rulers or despise them? Did we fight for our freedom from our 'colonial' masters/administrators or did the British just sail away in 1957? Do we teach science and maths in English or should we not? Should we stick to the old divide-and-rule policy of Umno Baru or should we govern as 1Malaysia? Should we free our institutions from political influence or should we keep them shackled in Umno's chains? Do we liberalise the economy or stick to the shady deals of the New Economic Policy? Are we Malays or Malaysians? Should we open up the civil service to all citizens or should we keep it as a Malay enclave with a few token 'nons' for effect? Ahhh, the Malay dilemma. Anonymous: Whether the freedom fighters were villains or heroes depends on which side of the coin one chooses to look at it from. History is, and should continue to be, a chronological timetable of events - important for the nation to look back and learn while moving forward. Stop fooling the rakyat with all the different versions of history. Fact: The history that I learnt in school is different from the history that is taught in schools today. Why is that? What happened? Did history change? No, the interpretation of history has changed for purpose of manipulation and misinformation. RAW: "I practically observed history ... and I find people making statements that are not really relevant, not really factual. I think it is necessary that they don't invent history and stick to the facts of history." The master of "factions" (misleading combinations of facts and fictions) should follow his own advice of sticking to facts and not inventing history. Nik Aziz: Prof Zainal's our Rip Van Winkle Abil: Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, you are the man of the moment. You hit the nail at the right spot. Yes, we were never colonised but were made to be servants of the British raj. And Malaya and Singapore were leased for four years from 1941 to 1945 to our friendly neighbour, the imperial Japanese. Fillio: Colonisation may take many forms but the substance was that British had ruled this land since 1795, except for the brief periods during the Dutch's rule in 1818 till 1824 and the Japanese occupation during the Second World War. Whether the British had ruled directly or indirectly - that is left for one's opinion, but the fact remains as narrated by Munshi Abdullah in 'Hikayat Abdullah', "that the British rule had changed their customs and language, their clothing and habits of their race, men and women alike copying English ways of life." There was no standard form of colonisation throughout the colonial empire. The 'advisory' role played by British residents was a clever ploy by the British. Lover Boy: Technically, Professor Zainal Klang was right - Malaysia was never directly under the British Empire like India or Hong Kong. If we were, we would have a governor and we would be running the country as though we were part of England. Malaya at that time was too small for them to send a governor. So it came under their protection. They get the British residents to run Malaya. But MB Nik Aziz was not wrong in substance - whether you are a colony of Britain or a protectorate, you still sing 'God Save the Queen' and do things British. Fly Emirates: If Professor Dr Zainal Kling was so sure about his hypothesis that Malaysia was never colonised, why did it take him 42 years after obtaining his PhD from University of Hull in 1969 to voice this out, and that is after what Mat Sabu had said? I would have thought that he would have conducted an extensive research and publish a book to support his findings and translate them in Malay since he is so closely associated with DBP (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka). Malaysiakini.