After Liew Khai Khuin’s response to a school teacher’s enactment of WW2’s Japanese Occupation, there were some violent responses in the ST forum. Yesterday there was a follow up on the issue by Clarissa Oon, a senior ST writer. This is perhaps the most objective article written by the apologetic victims after the emotional outbursts in the ST forum.
The gist of her objective and critical analysis is that the war and the atrocities are only a matter of interpretation. There is no right and wrong really. In the case of China, it has no right to ask for an apology from Japan after what it had done to its people during the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution and the Tian Anmen Incident. If China could kill its own people in the millions, what was so wrong about Japan killing Chinese? Until China acknowledges its crime over its citizens, it is inappropriate to demand an apology from Japan for war atrocities.
As for the other nations like Korea or South East Asian countries, their histories have a lot of omissions. ‘Singaporeans should also cast a self critical eye on biases and omissions in the telling of our own national history, even as we take a hard look at the narratives of other countries.’ And ‘While Japan’s neighbours should continue to nudge it to face up more fully to its wartime abuses, these countries should also move towards more honest and open examination of their own histories.’
So Asian countries, please rewrite your history honestly before making demands on Japan. Your own interpretation of your history is wrong. Japan’s interpretation is their business. Asian countries have to be honest first before they can ask Japan for an apology. I am wondering what the Asian countries were so dishonest about? Have they distorted their history and anyhow blamed the Japanese for the atrocities which did not take place? Were the claims of atrocities and brutality false, exaggerated as in the case of the Nankin Massacre? What is the relationship between their own histories, or what have the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution got to do with Japanese barbarism towards the Chinese and South East Asian people?
I am floored by the convincing objectivity of the brilliant article and how the Asian countries were wronged about Japan. I must pay a visit to Yasukuni Shrine to apologise to the dead Japanese soldiers. We have no right to demand for an apology from the Japanese if we were not honest with our history, or in other words, our history could have been wrong. There were no atrocities and Japanese interpretation could be right, or the Japanese have their right to interpret their own history. It is only a matter of interpretation. It is our fault for wrongly interpreting our history and worst, for omitting about the good part of the Japanese atrocities against Asian people.