There are those that retort in a way tha

There are those that retort in a way that Borneo is failing the ideal of Malaysia by their gross indifference to Malaysia. What befuddles me about these critics is that they feel Malaysia — or any country — is a priori.

A country is a concept formed through persuasion and guile, and needs to be built thereafter.

Defending a nation’s existence using history is a slippery-slope. The present states of Malaya can justify the present federation as a reinstitution of the Malacca Empire. But so can Indonesia via Majapahit or Srivijaya or to a lesser effect Acheh claim territories overlapping present day Malaysia. Cheekily, China can claim all.

But all their postulations are tenuous because we are in an archipelago. These islands are less tightly or uniformly knit like swathes of continental Europe. Their claim of a deeply connected and common history is far more decipherable, while over here it is a series of closeness with enough differences operating largely exclusive.

My weekly column in The Malay Mail Online

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