MEMBERS of the Spouses of Heads of Diplomatic Missions (Sohom) paid a visit to the “Jalan Merdeka” or Road to Independence exhibition at Carcosa Seri Negara, Kuala Lumpur, to give themselves a quick lesson in Malaysian history.
The exhibition, which opened to the public in September last year, is organised by Asian Heritage Museum Sdn Bhd (AHM).
The 18 Sohom visitors were led by tour guide Julie Chang, who took them on a half-day tour of the historical artefacts and archive materials related to the nation’s independence housed in the two colonial mansions – Carcosa and Seri Negara.
Seri Negara was the site in which the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 was signed, while Carcosa was the former residence of a number of British High Commissioners, most notably, Sir Frank Swettenham.
During their tour, AHM Council of Advisors chairman Tunku Zain Al’-Abidin Tuanku Muhriz, who is also one of the exhibition’s key curators, made a surprise visit to greet the diplomatic spouses.
“It is an amazing opportunity to hold this exhibition here because so much of Malaya’s pre-independence history happened within these buildings,” he said, adding that the exhibition offered a rare chance of being able to draw on unique aspects of the location itself.
“We really want young Malaysians to see the exhibits because this narrative of the nation’s history is something they will not get from textbooks,” said Tunku Zain Al’-Abidin.
Throughout the tour, wife of the Czech Republic ambassador to Malaysia, Dasa Hyklova, was seen taking photographs of the exhibits.
“I want to document the venue of the country’s birth through snapshots to bring home.
“It’s interesting to learn how the Federation of Malaya was formed,” she said, adding that the visit gave her an insight into the complexities of how Malaysia was formed and how it became such a culturally diverse country.
Hyklova said she was especially able to feel the colourful patriotism of Malaysians during the National and Malaysia Day celebrations, because her birthday falls on Aug 31.
The Department of Museums Malaysia, National Archives, National Film Board, National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) and a local daily collaborated with AHM by lending use of their extensive archives.