story of winners

23 Mar

Recently a few classmates and I had a discussion about how history was told in our own countries. At the end of the discussion, we conclude that history is the story of the winner. For example, history of Indonesian revolution in 1965 is told differently in Indonesia and in abroad – from completely opposite angle.

There was this guest speaker who gave a talk about researching history. He said that people wrote with agenda and it was not easy to know which are the truth. We need to know the agenda and background of certain publication or people. He ended the class with the message “the only way to know better on which one is the truth is by reading more”. But I wonder, how does reading more materials which truthfulness is in doubt help to direct us the truth?

From a reader to a writer, now I am doing my dissertation and found many conflicting point of views; each holds certain truth. Out of this sea of knowledge, I should extract the information that represent the truth because the objective of my study is to see the issue objectively. But, I feel very much challenged by my own objective. Out of so many data, which part do I extract? It is so easy to fall into the trap of deciding the conclusion first before examining the evidences. If my dissertation is bias – no matter it is due to pure incompetency or personal prejudice – but I put the argument forward convincingly by the chosen evidences, how can my reader know?

But a climate change scientist complained in a talk that journalists were obsessed by presenting both sides of the story. He said that most of scientist agree that man-produced CO2 caused global warming. Only a handful of scientist disagree. He said the media gave similar coverage for both – in the name of being objective – as such covering something unbalancely. However, does majority lend enough support for truth? History shows that Copernicus – againts the concensus at that time was right that the earth is not the central of universe. However, it is also correct that the absence of proof does not mean the proof of absence.


Also, with so little words to be used, which one do I put forward? If I cannot be objective, how do I expect others to write fairly? With our own mindset and prejudice involved, will we ever be fair? Can I be sure that I will not draw the conclusion before evidences are present?

And most of all, even though I start off with a clear goal, the practicality is a clear obstacle. From the experience in newspaper pathway, things may and will go wrong but the newspaper still must be out at certain time.  Deadline is the king. What’s the give and take? How to avoid giving the image of truth – the selected bit of information – as if it is the truth itself?


One Response to “story of winners”

  1. Doris March 28, 2007 at 9:16 pm #

    When I was young, I always believe there must be right answers to all questions, but then after I grow older and older, I realized there is no right answers at all, it all depends on how you see the world, as long as you can justify yourself.

    Someone says: Young people believe everything they see; middle-aged people doubt everything they see; old people believe in what they believe. What a wise man of that “someone”! I wish I could be a person who sincerely believe in what I believe when I grow old.

    PS. you are so hard working on your blog, man! And you always are the first to commet in my blog^_^

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