All civilizations begin with tradition and its evolution, thereafter moving to a point where modernism takes precedence. The modern ethnocentric basis for classifying knowledge has resulted in rejection of knowledge not founded upon Western epistemology. This is evidenced by widespread separation between Western and local knowledge, physicality and spirituality. Failure to acknowledge the unique nature and importance of local knowledge consisting of local wisdom and indigenous science may eventually threaten the existence of a civilisation.
In view of this problem, fundamental research undertaken by the Local Knowledge group under a Ministry of Education Long-term Research Grant Scheme (LRGS) employs a transdisciplinary approach to establish a theoretical framework in redefining the organic holistic nature of local knowledge, specifically in Malay traditional healing/medicine and performing arts to deduce a conception of Malay local Knowledge within the context of Malay ethos, ethics and culture, thereafter to form the basis for a comparative study with Chinese and Indian healing practices.
This research program is a collaborative effort between 10 institutions namely:
- Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) – Lead institution
- Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
- Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK)
- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
- Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS)
- Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
- Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)
- Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)
- Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT)
- Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)
The LRGS grant covers the period from August 1, 2012 until July 31, 2017. Titled “Conceptualizing Local Knowledge: A Study of Sustainable Values in Local Wisdom and Indigenous Science”, this research consists of five projects:
- Project 1: Studying The Aspects Of Malay Traditional Healing & Its Comparative Study With Chinese and Indian (headed by UMK)
- Project 2: Studying Performance Aspects in Malay Traditional Healing Practices (headed by USM)
- Project 3: Holographic Transdisciplinary Conservation (headed by UKM)
- Project 4: Contemporizing Transdisciplinary Knowledge Transfer & Management (headed by USM)
- Project 5: Innovative Local Knowledge Repository Support System (headed by USM)
Each project is made up of a team of researchers (professors, senior lecturers and graduate assistants) from USM and various other Malaysian public institutions of higher learning.