Self help and healing war wounds

Today, December 2, in Kajang, over 500 ex-combatants of the defunct Communist Party of Malaya, together with families and friends came to commemorate the 30 anniversary of the signing of Hat Yai Peace agreement (2 Dec 1989). They laid down their arms and they were promised a safe passage home. These women and men were at their youth when they took up arms first to fight the Japanese and later the British for Independence. This war lasted about 44 years and many have lost their lives in the many battles but some are still alive today to tell their war memories and wounds. These annual gatherings are their way of healing themselves emotionally, physically and finding a sense of belonging.

Petaling Jaya rediscovered

Petaling Jaya, in Selangor, was established as a new residential town in the 1950s. That was the turbulant period just after the Japanese war and the Malayan insurgency. The British shamelessly came back after their defeat by the Japs and the locals took up arms against them. The British had taken all the wealth that they could for 100 years. There was nothing left. The colonists realised their days were over but they still wanted to sweeze the last cent and they started to sell their vast amount of rubber estates land which they got for a song under their rule. This coffee shophouse, in section 1, was built in 1955 and has been operating for over 50 years or more. Their customers have been coming here for just as long. I have just discovered this historical and cultural landscape this week.

Traditional shophouse in Petaling Jaya built in 1955 and used as a coffee shop and also serves noodles.

Five Tigers

Join us on Facebook Live as we speak to director Victor Chin about the making of the documentary film ‘Five Tigers’, featured at the FreedomFilmFest in 2018. Learn more about the story of three women of the suppressed Malayan Labour Party and the human ties behind the facts of history, as well as the process of making the film and the art of cinematic narrative.

Henry Gurney killed

This building, at the foot of the Fraser’s Hill, Pahang, was known as the Gap rest house and restaurant, but it is now abandoned. In October 1951, at the height of the Malayan Emergency War ( 1948-1960), not far from here, along the Kuala Kubu Road, the Malayan National Liberation army (MNLA) ambushed and killed Sir Henry Gurney, the British High Commissioner. It was the MNLA’s greatest victory, at that time, in the many battles against the British forces in Malaya. The British had been brutal against the local population; using search and destroy tactics, burning homes and crops, by forcing about 500,000 of them into over 400 concentration camps, thousands of deportations, tortures, imprisonments and killings, not to mention the heavy areal bombings using agent orang. Many anti British resistance groups, in the British Empire, at that time, would have done the same.

read more