Historian’s autobiography a reflection of nation’s growth

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 13 Apr 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Over the years, historian Emeritus Pro­fessor Tan Sri Dr Khoo Khay Kim (pic) has written about many prominent figures in Malaysia’s history.

There was one person, however, he never expected to be writing about: himself. It was a task he had to do for his autobiography I, KKK.

“I must confess that it has been more difficult than I anticipated.

“As a historian, I have always been hard-hitting. But when writing my own biography, I became a lamb, soft and almost pathetic,” he said to laughter during the book launch at Memorial Tunku Abdul Rahman here yesterday.

I, KKK recounts Khoo’s life from his earliest memories in a time of war and conflict, through his journey into academic life in post-independence Malaysia.

The book also, through the author’s recollections, recounts life in an emerging country, and finding its own sense of nationhood.

Khoo, who is known as the country’s National Historian, served for over 50 years at the History Department in Universiti Malaya.

He has also authored many works in both English and Malay.

Khoo, 80, was also among those instrumental in the formulation of the Rukun Negara in the aftermath of the country’s 1969 race riots.

“To talk about Malaysia meaningfully, it is important to know the society well.”

I, KKK is the first in a series of Khoo’s writings that will be published over the next few years by Kala Publishers.

The book’s launch was officiated by Perak Ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who referred to I, KKK as “a love song – a poetic reflection of the country’s history composed in fragments and vignettes”.

“Above all, it is an encapsulation of the aspirations, dreams and faith of a young historian contemplating the birth of a new nation,” Sultan Nazrin said.

I, KKK: The Biography of a Historian will be available at RM50 at all major bookstores from next month.

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