A lot of people will find a lot of things wrong with this book. Malay ultras will not appreciate their much-loved Hang Tuah reframed as the universal man, Islamic types would have much to say about the celebration of hindu-buddhist pasts, and the people of the region would not like the thought that they continually feed the neo-feudal foundations that form the governments of the day.
'What your teacher didnt tell you' is a series of lectures given by dashing scholar Farish Noor that revisits potent topics in Malayan history. Drawing from an incredibly wide pool of sources spanning centuries, the lectures explore the undiscussed intricacies of the peninsula over the ages, which includes but are not limited to transexuals, billboards of leaders, and kerises.
It is a gripping read, if you can call a compilation of lectures that. Owing perhaps to their deconstructing and certainly confronting nature. There are few sacred cows here, if any. Farish Noor seems to delight in rattling our cages of comfort and force us to relook at our histories and understandings of our culture. There are few other readable books out there that can turn 'takkan melayu di dunia' into a slogan of confident tolerance.
Is it historical revisionism? Has thing been taken out of context? Do we even need to discuss these issues?
These are only some of the questions that arise after reading the book, and as with many good books, it raises more questions that it answers.
In this respect, 'What your teacher didnt tell you' is a book for interested students because you'd want to find out more after reading the book. Mr Noor may not tells us everything (thankfully so,the book is thick enough as it is) but he does make you want to learn more, just like all good teachers do.