We are now arguing over images on a book cover ; the one that has the picture of Chin Peng and leaders of Malaysian opposition parties. Some see it as propagandic statement. I see it as a pedagogic possibility.
I see it as a lesson plan for a nation in need of a Socratic dialogue. I see it as a 'teachable moment' in our series of unit plans on progressive social change.
This episode is another one in the series of unfriendly dialogue over the issue of the fatherhood of Malaysian Independence. I have written previously about the need to approach history differently.
We need skills to read visual images and next skills to explore what's actually inside the book. In the controversy, an important dimension of learning is being killed.
The producers of the visual image failed to grasp the intellectual possibilities of the issues; possibilities that can be turned into an entire university course in understanding political ideologies.
The authors of the ideologically-modified Chin Peng book cover will benefit from my suggestions to explore the educational value of the issue.
If we continue to modify/mutilate book covers for political purposes, without reading the book itself, we will be guilty of disrespecting frontieering and humanising knowledge. The worst thing that can happen to a society is when its young political leaders do not read well and do not explore the possibilities of ideologies.