July 19, 2006

The Value of Scholarship

The Power of Knowledge

The value of a scholarly inquiry derives essentially from its responses to some basic human needs, which are often subjective, while the instruments used to pursue the scholarly inquiry must be objective, that is, accuracy must prevail in what it gathers and reports. The state of Burma's politics and economy today not only calls on the scholars and intellectuals alike to focus on critical human needs on the ground but requires them to challenge the status quo that produces nothing but human sufferings and miseries on a daily basis.

If the recent gathering of university professors, scholars and experts at the largely publicized International Burma Studies Conference (“Burma Conference in Singapore a Success,” The Irrawaddy Online, July 18, 2000) resulted in the establishment of a scholarship that encourages the use of knowledge corresponding to the social and political revolution in the Burmese society, we must not fail to acknowledge that the knowledge they possess in their hands is a form of power to be reckoned with. Otherwise, it would just be another opportunity for some to publish what Howard Zinn called "inconsequential" studies. In the meantime, the susceptible public in the country continue to endure their daily miseries and hope at least that, at this time, they do not perish while articles and papers about them are being published.

Saw Kapi

No comments: