The importance of history

History skirts over contentious issues.

The victors re-create ways of interpreting past.

Chronicles are tainted with perspectives, exaggerations.

Dominic knew the importance of understanding history but did not really do anything to improve his woeful lack of knowledge in this discipline. Arts - literature, music, theater - fascinated him more. In Singapore, after all, there really wasn't much need for the heavily repackaged national history endorsed by the government.

Outside Singapore, however, was a different matter. In Vietnam, he felt this frustrating communication barrier - invisible but oppressive - with the locals. It felt like a tool was missing from his mental workbench. One which he reached out, almost without awareness, to use but - alas! - only to find that it had rusted from disuse.

Vietnamese locals, naturally, painted a picture of the war different from, say, American troops. Make no mistake, the war was bloody and it was, to him, pointless. Many years down the road, in Dec 2010, the mention of the war stirs discomfort- sometimes even outright anger - in veterans and their family.

Dominic wished he knew more history - more facts - so that he might piece together the disparate bits and understand the world and her people more.

Understanding must rest on knowing. And such comprehension engenders empathy. Respect arises from empathy. A cyclic loop.

He must really pay more attention to history, hmm.