Letter of the week: Learning history and literature makes a person more insightful

After reading the two letters from the Forum, “S’poreans should follow their country’s example and be active spectators” and “Proud that Singapore has taken a stand on the war in Ukraine” (March 15), I reflected on the relevance of history and literature in today’s world.

How will future historians and students study this era and think about the war in Ukraine? What will students write in essays analyzing war? There will be more of a narrow angle, because in studying history, I have never come across a major world event caused by just one factor.

In recent years, many students and parents have expressed their dissatisfaction with having to learn subjects such as history and literature. I believe it is to the detriment of a person if they consider these subjects to be no longer useful.

You have to go back in history to establish the truth. As for literature, it teaches to pay attention to the language used – including the choice of words or the use of repetition – and how it is used to guide the reader in a certain direction or evoke a certain emotion.

We live in an age of information overload. Knowledge and skills acquired through history and literature could be applied to better understand current texts and news articles.

A person may not be very good at history or literature in school, but the process of learning these subjects will help him become more discerning.

Grace Chua Siew Hwee

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