Biar saya memetik tulisan daripada Din Merican berhubung dengan Novel Interlok,

“In novel writing, the aphorism, “Everyone is entitled to his opinions but not to the facts,” is as true as it is for sociological and political works. A writer’s imagination can roam but he cannot abstract facts from their vital context and falsify them. To do so would be to leave the realm of imaginative fiction for fantasy, which is a different thing altogether.

By getting facts wrong about the geographical, cultural and linguistic origins of Indian Malaysians, Abdullah Hussein, ironically, displays the very weakness he faults in the Malay character of the same novel: laziness.

Through research and through social mingling, he would have known that not all Indian Malaysians are from the dalit caste and that the Tamil language, even the Hindu religion, is not generic to all south Indians.

There’s another reason why Abdullah Hussain’s mistake is egregious. Good novels avoid the serving up of scenes and characters in broad strokes — simplifying and exaggerating them such that the principals involved become little more than ciphers, unlit from within.

Avoidance of caricature ought to be the objective of a novelist attempting a work about different races living in promixity, with occupational and social paths that intersect, with consequent opportunities for the discovery of a common humanity or its reverse, suspicion and hostility.

In his description of the origins of Indian Malaysians, Abdullah Hussain falls into the trap of broad and false generalization. He was reported to have begun writing Interlok 10 years after Merdeka, at a moment of generational transition.

One would have expected of someone like Abdullah Hussain who went on to become a national laureate that he would have approached the task with a heightened sense of responsibility, with due care for historical and human authenticity.

Instead he has confused fact with fiction, reality with illusion. The fact that the education ministry has allowed Interlok to become an examination text for literature suggests that Malaysians must be wary indeed of the same ministry’s approach to our history which will soon be a compulsory subject at secondary level.

People who are indifferent to the distinction between fiction and fact in literary works are hardly likely to be better at telling them apart in historiography.” (Baca sepenuhnya di sini)

Apakah yang mempertahankan novel Interlok kerana merasakan kita patut mempertahankan karya sasterawan kita? Apakah yang mahu Interlok ditarik balik dari menjadi teks Tingkatan Lima mempunyai asas yang lebih rasional dari yang mempertahankannya?

Eloklah kita tidak menjadi Paria atau memPariakan diri kita dalam hal berkaitan Interlok.

Setidak-tidaknya, mereka yang keluar mencari, membeli dan membaca naskah Interlok telah tidak memPariakan diri mereka.

Jangan biarkan kekecewaan berpanjangan. Keputusan sudah dibuat.