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.

Fences

Fences made by the residents in a poor district in old Kuala Lumpur. Photos by Victor Chin 2021

Fences. Walking into an old wooden neighborhood in the heart of Kuala Lumpur you will find fences made up of all sorts of materials. This is a poor community and they can only use recycled parts that they had collected and they put together freely. The designs, constructions and materials used are lively and creative. This is everyday living and unconscious artistic expression at its best. Enjoy the fences.

Victor Chin’s Malaysian shophouses facades

This was newspaper cutting about my artworks documenting the local shophouses which i was doing about 30 years ago. There are one or two generations of Malaysians who have not heard or seen this conservation pioneering effort that has become better known today. That collection of artworks is still in my mind and may reappear in some form. One of which is my video in Youtube, Moved out. Enjoy and please share.

Newspaper cutting of Victor Chin and his exhibition

Bukit Jugra

Bukit Jugra, with a history of local wars among themselves, over the control of tin mining, is south of the Selangor coastal landscape, at the mouth of the Langat River. At the bottom of the hill, on a small cliff, is an old modestly built traditional Chinese temple, the Tian Bao Gong ( temple of heavenly treasures). What is most significant of this spiritual site is the years of cultural coexistance between the Malays, Chinese and Orang Asli traditions, despite the periods of fighting. Tok Ali Hassan is the gatekeeper at the entrance, guarding over all the other Datuk Kongs, all dressed in full Malay and Indian costumes with their accessories, at the main alter. This kind of spiritual cohesion is hard to find. Standing at the foot of the Jugra hill, facing the Langat river mouth in the south, one could imagine being in a classic Chinese ink painting (Shan shui, mountains and waters) and feeling connected to the metaphysical. This has a healing effect for me under the dark clouds of covid 19 pandemic. Looking for my way home. Thanks to Yik Han, Miao Kien and SFChan.