An article by CK Chan ( Sep 2006 )
His peaceful childhood with loving family was terrorized after the Japanese invasion and occupation for 3 years and 8 months.
Chan is also the writer of survivor story of Siow Kuan Sang in this web.
Forgetting a holocaust is to kill twice. If you don’t see why the Asian reactions and true nature of the Japanese government, this true story will give you clear vision.
The haunting Japanese occupation of Malaya Jan. 1942 to Aug. 1945 as I lived through.
(Extract of Chinese version published by Sin Chew on the 6th and 7th Sept. 2001)
In mid Jan. 1942 prior to taking down Seremban, the Japanese aircrafts bombarded the town centre, destroying premises of the present Yu Yan Sang 余 仁 生, Hongkong Shanghai Bank as well as some British warehouses by the railway station. Other destruction and casualties were out of memory. Anyway, it is sick to recall the scenes of Japanese soldiers urinating by roadside, enforcing pedestrians to bow at guard stop, blackout alarm at night, roaring of war planes, dismantling iron bars of all houses, compulsory learning of Japanese, rush for food supplies etc.
In late Feb. 1942, rumours of Japanese massacres in Johol of Kuala Pilah district spread throughout the beautiful flower town, causing fear and tension. In early March. came terrible news of bloodbaths in Pedas, Jalan Tampin, just ten miles away. Evils approaching nearer, life was in immediate danger.
The bean curb British soldiers fled home without resisting, letting in the Japanese to walk sideway fearlessly 橫 行 無 忌，killing people in competition.
Pre-war we enjoyed a home sweet home of three generations under two roofs in town with clean and green environment. Under the Japanese cavalry, food and goods ran into drastic shortage. The better off town folks survived on rice preserved with lime cooked with sweet potatoes while general villagers on tapiocas, sweet potatoes and wild vegetables.
Granny held to her faith, praying hard morning and night to God of Heaven with joss sticks,
“… Oh, Heavenly God of mercy, we are your obedient children, living with your teachings and blessings. We’re now in calamity. Massacres are taking place, situation is worsening. Kindly stop the evils taking lives away, protect the young and old, let peace prevail, … ”.
She was so faithful and solemn in praying that we seemed to feel the presence of Heavenly God.
Confronting life and death, grandpa was discussing with dad and uncles for family survival,
“The bloodbath is near at Rembau, situation is critical. The Japanese are wiping out the resisting power, targeting at suspected guerrillas in villages. They can’t catch the true guerrillas who are alert and active, thus killing the defenceless innocents to policy of killing, robbing and burning off thoroughly. …”
“Seremban, being capital of Negeri Sembilan., will soon face tragedy. Japanese are cold blooded, killing whole family with no mercy. A way to escape danger is splitting up the family into small units to various hide-outs,” said uncle WA sadly.
“Their secret agents are everywhere hunting for anti-Japanese elements. They’ve encountered some resistance. Better stay at home and watch out our words. Disaster can be out of mouth …” said dad, who had fast info on dealing with Japanese government for various business permits.
All agreed to split off for better safety. Grandparents followed uncle and auntie WA to auntie YL’s plantation in Bahau, uncle WC and family stayed with parents-in-law in Munchis, a little town of Pahang. Teenage cousins hid themselves with senior workmen in a farm deep from main road of Sikamat, three mile away. Being the manager, dad stayed back with workers at own business premises.
Shangri-La hideout 世 外 桃 園
My mum brought GP and I to a hilly fruit plantation far off from Jalan Templer. To my childhood memory, it was a war time Shangri-La with lots of rambutans, star fruits, mangoes etc. on the hills, vegetables and fish pond at the valley. Monkeys appeared often to my excitement. The hideout was in serene green nature separating populated areas under war tension. It was a T.O.L. well managed by a hardworking couple with a son, graduated from St. Paul’s Institute. We called the lovely couple grandpa rambutan and granny rambutan whose fruits were sweet and juicy, well known in town. Granny rambutan delivered my mum, having a dear relationship, caring for each other in adversity. We felt warmth away from home.
Grandpa rambutan told us true story when I cried, “over the mountain behind lives a pair of tigers, roaring sometimes. I met them on collecting fire wood one day. We stared at each other when my legs softened and could not move. Luckily they left after some time.”
“Kong Kong (grandpa), tiger doesn’t eat people? “ asked GP.
“Not certainly. They were right after meal as I discovered carcass of a wild boar later on. If not I would be dinner. So kids must not cry to alert tigers …”
Situation of N.S. had been shocking for over a month since late Feb. during which dad and mum worried each other while we stayed safely with grandpa and granny rambutan.
One day dad came to us on bicycle with a heavy flour bag. Granny opened it to great joy. He brought in salted fish, coarse rice, biscuits and sugar, all luxurious in war time.
“WH, your visit is fine. Bring nothing next trip. You’ll be in danger on police check,” said granny in cheer.
“We still have sweet potatoes, tapiocas and fruits. Don’t worry. We took wild vegetable and roots during famine in tongshan (China). The present days are O.K. for us, … “ said Kong Kong. Peasants were content with little demand.
“You ate roots, what about kids and sister Foong Yin?” asked the son Chong Kee who treated mum dearly as his own sister.
“O.K. we’ll have salted fish rice, no sweet potatoes today,” said mum gladly, going to prepare a different meal with granny.
After meal, GP and I were enjoying biscuits bit by bit, listening to men’s talk.
“WH I heard another massacre in Titi, any news?” asked uncle Chong Kee.
Dad kept it a secret whole day for fear of frightening family. He broke it out eventually,
“Lots of villagers are gone overnight. Yu Long Long village has been wiped out with over thousand deaths. It’s so sad.”
“How come?” Chong Kee was frightened with mouth wide open.
“Really? Bloody Japanese,” exclaimed Kong Kong.
“I delivered kerosene to Titi yesterday, passing through the village. Nearly 200 houses were burnt down to great sorrow with many crying non stop in search of relatives’ bodies in ruins …”
“Just look at the bloodbaths of Nanking, 1937, what else this gang of devils will not commit?” said mum with utmost anger. She was young and patriotic, playing an active part in Tan Kah Kee’s appeal for aids to save China during the Nanking event.
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