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Byline: A. Murad Merican
RECENT debates on the subject of history tell us that the past is a rich resource of human complexities, seen from an equally complex present.
While we cannot escape the past, we cannot ignore the present as a prelude to a collective memory and its representation for future generations.
I am not referring to history books, nor those representing national history. I refer to museums as a repository of history. One museum that has inspired my reflections is the National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta.
Essentially it is a storehouse of history and geography of the nation comprising 17,000 islands, stretching well over 1,888km from north to south and more than 5,000km from east to west.
The museum holds more than 61,000 prehistoric and anthropological artefacts, and some 5,000 archaeological artefacts from all over the archipelago and mainland Southeast Asia.
Stepping into the ethnography collection set against huge ethnic and linguistic maps, you see the presence of a national consciousness.
To appreciate more of our nation and identity, we have to look at others.