Yoong Chin Wah (Yang Zhen Hwa)
Parit Tinggi Massacre Survivor
Kuala Pilah - Negeri Sembilan
Mr Yoong Chin Wah is the son of Parit Tinggi village chief Yoong Kim Hong (Yang Jin Hong) in 1942 when the massacre took place.
Yoong Chin Wah in front of the cenotaph before reburial of the victim's remains
Yoong standing at right, together with other victims and their descendent
In 31 March 2002
I have the pleasure of meeting Mr Yoong Chin Wah by chance on 31 March 2002 when he was paying annual tribute (Chinese Qing Ming) to his massacred ancestors at the cenotaph near Kuala Pilah. Joining him was one of his two sons, daughter-in-law and two lovely grand children. I can recall seeing him in Kuala Pilah town but ignorance of his unusual back ground. Following is his ordeal.
Trees at right hand side were shop lot's location All villagers were gathered here before the massacre
On Mar 16, 1942 morning, upon the order of Imperial Japanese Army officers, village chief Yoong Kim Hong called all in the village to gather at a field near the shop lots, under the pretense of providing them "Safe Residence Pass". But they were taken for bayoneting group after group. He was with his father. Before the execution, they were ordered to kneel facing front. The Japanese soldiers, armed with bayonet mounted rifles, stood behind them and stabbed them from the back. When the killing started he followed those bayoneted adults and fell forward before been stabbed. But the soldier did not spare him just because he is a child. He was then stabbed eight times over his body until he passed out. He regained consciousness two days later, found himself sleeping among dead bodies. The wounds drained his blood but somehow he lived. He was very hungry but only managed to drink from a near by stream. He described the water he drank was sweet.
He said the villagers, mainly gardeners and farmers, were very timid. The Japanese soldiers were out numbered by the villagers but when the killing started, those gathered could hear the screaming and crying going on but no one dare to do anything like running for their lives, they just waited there for their turn. Perhaps no one ever think that the Imperial Japanese Army will actually kill all.
Yoong returned to his house just to see all had been burnt down. Fortunately, a man rescued him and treated his wound which took three months to heal. On that day, twenty six of his family members were killed in same massacre together with 675 other villagers. They includes his father, pregnant mother, uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters and cousins.
Yoong said a man in the village had a Japanese wife. The wife was taken by British soldier earlier. The husband and their son was able to speak Japanese and acted as translator for the Japanese army. They too, were murdered.
Yoong was brought up by a poor distant relative, he worked very hard to justify his stay in the family although before the massacre, his family is wealthy as compare to others.
Yoong feel strongly that Japan should apologies to countries they conquered and terrorized with utmost brutality and compensate the surviving victims. Compensation and apology will end a atrocious chapter of the history. The death can never be brought back alive but compensation to genuine victim is the least Japan could do to put their mind to rest, else the issue will be raised over and over again.
After Japan's surrender, Yoong was asked by the British court in Kuala Lumpur to identify the Japanese murderer, which he did. He received a $5,000 monetary compensation from the the British government, not from the Japanese.
Yoong had been to Japan twice for peace conference and to testify his harrowing ordeal. He said with raised voice, that he told the attendance in the conference that they had no idea what is it like to be a child, bayoneted 8 times and lost 26 love ones all at once, killed brutally. It does not upset him so much if they were killed by falling bombs. They were intentionally and systematically murdered. He said he told the conference, just to stress his point, that if he kill a Japanese in front of all of them, what would they feel ? One of attendant said Japanese too suffered from the atomic bomb dropped by the US Air Force. Yoong replied that the bomb was well dropped as it saves the lives of many innocence people, outside Japan.
Mr Yoong Chin Wah - An extra ordinary person. The Japanese soldiers bayoneted him 8 times,
almost took his life, burnt down his house, killed his whole family deprive him of a warm childhood,
but he lives on. Photo taken in front of Parit Tinggi Massacre cenotaph on 31 March 2002
* Mr Yoong granted permission to publish the content of our conversation