I’m not sure if it is fortune or misfortune that has resulted in me not having to attend any BTN camp before. However, I have some friends who have attended such courses. Of course, there are also many anecdotal recollections of what has happened inside these camps. There is rarely any hard evidence in any of these cases because of the strict restrictions on bringing information devices into these courses.
However, after reading the article in TheStar, it seems that the government acknowledges that there are problems and steps are being taken to fix them. According to the article, “the co-curriculum [sic] will be brought in line with the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia, which means it will be more inclusive and will not divide Malaysians. If we have a course for only one racial group, then that is not 1Malaysia,” said our Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
To me, this seems like an admission on the part of the government, that something is terribly wrong with these BTN camps. If the courses taught during these camps are designed to instill disunity and spew a whole load of bigoted nonsense, it will ultimately do more harm than good. So, while I will not hold my breath waiting for the thing to be fixed, I will at least accept that the government is aware of the problems and that something needs to be done to fix it (at some point in the future).
At the very least, I now know that my friends were telling the truth of the matter and that they were not deranged attention seeking sociopaths. The present crop of BTN courses has to go. Let us do what my former Malaysian Studies professor did – tear up the pages of our distorted SPM history and re-tell our country’s history from scratch, with the necessary logic, rational and evidence to back things up. I loved his lectures, which at least made sense.
It instilled in me a love for our country, it made me proud of our rich history and made me aware of the beautiful cultural diversity that we have inherited. You don’t have to be a right-wing extremist to be a nationalist. I wish that our government would get his help in drafting the new BTN syllabus. He truly knows how to put the right spin on the truth.