Thursday, September 29, 2011

Huichew Hakka - Balik Pulau( 浮罗山背) & Luofu Mountain(罗浮山)

Talking about Balik Pulau, recently attended a Taiwan Hakka song presentation in Han Chiang school, Penang. The Taiwanese Hakka presented a song called " pu-lou-vok-teu"(浮罗鍋頭), which means Pot and Wok.


Pu-lou-vok-teu"(浮罗鍋頭), my aunty was so excited, pu-lou, the Hakka name for pot, can it be the name of Balik Pulau?...

Pu-lou is Chinese cooking pot(煲) is a cooker to cook Soup(汤), it is called "pu-lou" by the Huichew Hakka. Pu-lou(浮罗) is Hakka word for Chinese cooking pot, for soup.

"Vok teu"(鍋頭) means wok(鍋子) in Hakka, teu(头,頭) means head, vok-teu literally means wok head, it is normal for Hakka or even other Chinese dialects to add a word "head" to describe some living tools or things in their words. Like wood or muk(木) is muk-teu(木頭). But pu-lou as pot is something new to me.

Hakka of Balik Pulau are mainly from Huichew or Huizhou. Pu-lou is a very common word for Huichew Hakka family, as they need pot to cook soup in their daily food preparation. Can Balik Pulau be named after pu-lou, the Huichew name for cooking pot? The name for Balik Pulau?....

So pu-lou-vok-teu, pu-lou is the name of Pulou(浮罗)or Balik Pulau. What a amazing find!...

Balik Pulau, Penang

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The following was what I wrote on June 25, 2009 in my blog, about the possibility of the derivation of the name of Balik Pulau town:

The town people from Georgetown called it Pulo(浮罗)in their popular Hokkian dialect, which in Malay language it literally means island but to Penang Chinese it is the name of the Balik Pulau town. The local Hakka called it Pu-lo-san-puai, which mean the back of the hill at the place called Pulo(the island). Hokkian will called hill location sua-tau(山头/山頭) or sua-bui(山尾). The Hakka called san-puai(山背). Pulo-san-pei(浮罗山背), the Chinese(Mandarin) name was the name given by Hakka. The word for hill in Malay is Bukit, not Pulau; it may said Belakang Bukit or Sebalik Bukit for place behind the hill. The Malay word Balik Pulau, is literally means going back to the island or at the back of island. Balik Pulau may be the contaminated Malay or Pasar Malay word by the Hakka, when translating the wording pulo-san-puai. Pulo is the island in Malay, but it was the name of the place(not island) for the Hakka, pulo-san means pulo hill. pilo-san-puai means the back of the hill called pulo-hill. They may not able to say behind the hill in Malay, so they say it balik pulo(balik is behind, pulo is the place). This may indicate that the name Balik Pulau was derived from Hakka's pasar Malay. (Balik Pulau town (浮罗山背市区), Thursday, June 25, 2009,

Now what I understand Pulou is the Huichew Hakka word for "Chinese Cooking Pot". The name for Balik Pulau(浮罗).

Let us now know something of Hakka people....


The Hakka (客家, 客家人), sometimes Hakka Han, are Han Chinese who speak the Hakka language and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China. There are Hakka in Taiwan. In Taiwan, Hakka people comprise about 15 to 20% of the population and are descended largely from Guangdong immigrants: they form the second-largest ethnic group on the island. According to German historian Ludwig Riess (December 1, 1861 - December 27, 1928), when the Dutch East Indian Company come to Taiwan, they employed the help of Hakka in Taiwan to translate native language for them.(臺灣客家人來台相當早,德國史學家Riess研究荷蘭史料發現:荷蘭人來台與原住民溝通時,多由客家人居中翻譯). This revealed Hakka had been in Taiwan for a long time.

The characters "客家"(Hakka) come from words indicating "visitors" or "travelers" and distinguish the Hakka from the Tujia ("natives"). The Hakka's ancestors were often said to have arrived from what is today's central China centuries ago. In a series of migrations, the Hakkas moved, settled in their present locations in southern China, and then often migrated overseas to various countries throughout the world

Early Penang Hakka
The early Penang Chinese who come earlier than Capt Francis Light was also Hakka.Penang people called the three Hakka Chinese Tua Pek kong in Hokkien, or in Hakka, tai-pak-kung(大伯公). Tue Pek is Hokkien for elder uncle. Tua Pek Kong was a man named Zhang Li (张理) from the Taipu Hakka clan. His Sumatra-bound boat was struck by wind and accidentally landed on Penang island of Malaysia in 1745, which at that time had only 50 inhabitants. Zhang and other 2 clan man landed at Penang island, they were Khoo Zhao Siang(丘兆祥) from Daipu Hakka,Ma Fu Choon(马福春) from Yongding(永定)Hakka. Zhang passed away before Francis Light arrived. Khoo and Ma should had met Capt Francis Light among the early 58 villagers from the island. After his death, the local people began worshipping him and built the Tua Pek Kong temple in Haichu-yu (Sea Pearl) Tua Pek Kong Temple(海珠屿大伯公庙)in Tanjung Tokong, Penang. Only until 1799(清代嘉庆四年) after founding of Penang, did a temple built for them. In 1801, a Hakka Chinses Chen Choon San(陈春生),with the approval of the British East India Company, was granted a piece of land to built a temple(福德祠大伯公庙) at King Street(大伯公街). The Hokkien people alos built “建德堂” in 1890, after the secret societies were banned by the British government. Today Tua Pek Kong is worshiped by Malaysian Chinese throughout the country.

However Hakka in Balik Pulau may arrived later, after Taiping Rebellion, even some Chinese planters and fishermen may have lived there earlier....

Teochew influence

As Huichew or Huizhoa, the ancenstry land of Huichew Hakka is located between Teochew linguistic region and Cantonese linguistic region, the interaction of the different dialect people with Huichew Hakka at Huizhoa, produced a distinctive type of culture and linguistic in the area. Let us look at the places called Shantou(汕頭)and Shanwei(汕尾), the Teochew sphere of influence. Shantou is typical Teochew area, but Shanwei is the area where there are cultural fusion of Teochew & Hakka.

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Shantou City(汕頭市)

Suátao or Swatow is today Shantou City(汕頭市), literally means head of the hill(山头/山頭)or beginning of the hill, is a prefecture-level city on the eastern coast of Guangdong province, People's Republic of China. Shantou, a port city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty ports established for Western trade and contact,commonly know as Swatow. This was the port that most of oversea Hakka and Teochew Chinese departed for Nanyang. Most residents are linguistically Teochew. There are also Hakka, popularly known as Half-Hakka (半山客), living mainly in Chaoyang District (潮陽區) and Chaonan District (潮南區), although they speak Teochew on a daily basis and practise Teochew culture.

Shanwei(汕尾市),shanwei literally means the tail of the hill(山尾) or the end of the hill. Shanwei (汕尾) is a prefecture-level city in Guangdong province of Southern China, People's Republic of China. It borders Jieyang to the east, Meizhou and Heyuan to the north, Huizhou to the west, and looks out to the South China Sea to the south. It lies approximately 120 km from Shenzhen and the locals speak the Haifeng dialect(海陆丰). The common linguistic is Shanwei Ho̍h-ló dialect(汕尾鶴佬話), a sub-group of Teochew or Chaozhou dialect, which belong to Mingnan dialect or Southern Min languages(閩南方言), which is commonly known as Hokkien dialect(福建話). The area of Hailufeng sub-group (海陆丰片)of Teochew dialect : including Shanwei (汕尾), Lufeng (陆丰) and Haifeng (海丰), which are all in Shanwei city.


In Manchu Dynasty, the two districts of Haifeng and Lufeng were under Huizhou-fu(清帝國時海豐、陸豐兩縣同屬惠州府). Together they were called Hailufeng in old time. Now, both Haifeng county and Lufeng city, together with Luhe County(陸河縣)are under Shanwei prefecture-level city. So sometime broadly Hailufeng is now refereed to Shanwei city.(陸豐縣及陸河縣的汕尾地級市,所以海陸豐亦泛指汕尾).

In Haifeng County (海豐)the people there speak a Teochew dialect related to Hoklo and Hakka, call Haifeng dialect(海丰话).

Lufeng City(陸豐) situated next to the county of Haifeng, the area is sometimes conjointly referred to as Hailufeng(海陸豐). People from east of Lufeng city speak mainly Teochew dialect, but local Hakka speak Hakka dialect( 陆丰市东部说潮州话,當地客家人則使用客家話(主要分布在陸河縣). The majority of residents are of Hoklo heritage; the rest are Hakka. Therefore both Min Nan and Hakka dialects are spoken.

Luhe County(陸河縣) mainly speak Hakka fusion of Hailufeng dialect(客家方言海陸片)

(Note: 清朝以前的居民以客家人為主,在明清的移民潮中,不斷從福建莆田仙遊一帶移民過來的[河洛人]很快帶來河洛文化,慢慢地當地原來的客家文化受到[河洛文化]很大的影響,到民國初年,已經有部份客家人只使用河洛話了,有些已經不使用客家話的客家人不再有客家認同感[來源請求],而認為自己是陸豐鶴佬人、河洛人或潮汕人、潮州人,但又有些人認為自己不是潮汕人,是海陸豐人).

Hoklo people 河洛文化

The Hoklo people (endonym Hok-ló, Hō-ló, or Ho̍h-ló) are Han people whose traditional Ancestral homes are in southern Fujian(福建)of South China. They are also known by various endonym as Hok-ló, Hō-ló, or Ho̍h-ló, or other related terms such as Min-nan people (閩南人) or Hokkiens (福建人). The Hoklo people refers mainly to people who speak and use the Hokkien dialect of Min Nan Chinese spoken in southern Fujian, Taiwan, and by many overseas Chinese throughout Southeast Asia.In wider scope, the Hoklo people can include speakers of other Min Nan languages, such as Zhongshan Min, Zhenan Min, Teochew dialect, and Hainanese.

河洛話:海陸豐常用河洛 (Hô-lo̍k; lit. "Yellow River and Luo River") – emphasizes their purported long history originating from the area south of the Yellow River. This Han-character reading does not reflect the actual pronunciation in the southern-Chinese languages but only in Mandarin. It is likely a result of folk etymology.

福佬話:粵閩客家人常用。福佬 (Hok-ló; lit. "Fujian person") – emphasizes their ancestry connection to Fujian province(福建省), normally used by Hakka .

鹤佬话:广府人用。鶴佬 (Ho̍h-ló; lit. "crane person", crane(鶴)is the name of bird) – emphasizes the modern pronunciation of the characters (without regard to the meaning of the Chinese characters). Normally used by Cantonese.

Now from Shanwei, we go further south, we are going to another linguistic fusion of Hakka and Cantonese in Huizhou. The Teochew influence weaken along the way as we go south toward Canton or Guangzhou, the sphere of Cantonese influence begin.


Huizhou (惠州) , historically known as Waichow, is a city located in central Guangdong province of the People's Republic of China. Part of the Pearl River Delta, Huizhou borders the provincial capital of Guangzhou to the west, Shaoguan to the north, Heyuan to the northeast, Shanwei to the east, Shenzhen and Dongguan to the southwest, and looks out to the South China Sea to the south. Its southern part made of Huiyang district is now part off guangzhou-Shenzhen built up area, the biggest built up area in the world with more than 40 million inhabitants encompassing the whole Shenzhen, Dongguan cities and main part of Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhongsghan and small parts of Jiangmen and Huizhou cities.

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The prefecture-level city of Huizhou administers 5 county-level divisions, including 2 districts and 3 counties. Huicheng District(惠城区) and Huiyang District(惠阳区); Boluo County(博罗县), Huidong County(惠东县) ,Longmen County(龙门县).

There are two main dialects spoken by local people in Huizhou: A Cantonese dialect which is Huizhouhua (惠州话/惠州話) and Hakka (客家话/客家話).

The population in Huizhou are mainly Han people(惠州汉族), most are Huizhou Hakka(客家人) and Huizhou people(惠州人/本地人), there is some Ho̍h-ló(鹤佬人) and Guangfu(广府人)。

Hakka are mainly in the city but also spread to other districts and county(客家人在市内各市辖区、县都有分布). Ho̍h-ló(鹤佬人)is mainly concentrated in Huiyang District(惠阳区)、Boluo County(博罗县)and Huidong County(惠东县). Guangfu(广府人)or Cantonese are in Longmen County(龙门县)、Boluo County(博罗县)。

Huizhou prefecture-level city(惠州市) is the linguistic fusion city with three dialects(三大方言的交汇区), Hakka(客家话)、Guangfu or Cantonese(粤语)、 and Teochew(潮汕话). Currently, Mandarin as official language is popular, especially among young generation. But the influence of Hakka is the most significant(客家话是影响最大的方言). 在下属县区里,客家话是影响最大的方言。

In Huicheng District(惠城区) and Boluo County(博罗县), Huizho dialect is still popular. Huizho dialect is a local dialect which is heavily influenced by Hakka and Guangful/Cantonese. The dialect is also called Dongjiang dialect(东江本地话),which is slowly dying in the area. The local people are able to speak Cantonese, Mandarin is the official language.

惠州客 (Huizhou Hakka/Huichiew Hakka)



Huizhou Hakka's mother river - Dongjiang(广东惠州客家人的母亲河——东江)

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Luofushan, the mountain of Huizhou Hakka (广东惠州客家人世代生活的山——博罗的罗浮山)

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Noted: place marked A is Luofusan(罗浮山)


Can the name of Balik Pulau, Pulou is derived from Boluo(博罗) of Boluo County(博罗县)?Boluo, Boluo, Pulou, is close in sound; moreover there is a hill in Boluo called Luofu-shan(罗浮山), if you turn around the word, it become 浮罗, the same word as Pulou(浮罗) it coincident or the Huichew Hakka ancestor in Balik Pulau had already named it after the hill in their ancestry land in Boluo County in Huizhou?.....

Can I said this was the story of the name of Balik Pulau?. It was named by Huichew Hakka in Balik Pulau, using the name of the hill in Huizhou and the Malay world Pulau, which means island. To them Pulau is pu-lou, is a hill, they call Pulau Hill, sound similar to the hill in Huizhou, Luofu Mountain in Boluo(博罗). At the back of island(pulou,浮罗) and the hill is Pulau Hill or pu-lou-san(浮罗山), to them pu-lou is a hill. Pu-lou-san-pui(浮罗山背) is at the back of Pulau Hill. It is not Hokkien name as they will call Pu-lou-sua-bui(浮罗山尾) similar to the name given to Shanwei city((汕尾市). It must be Hakka name as pu-lou-san-pui(浮罗山背). It cannot be Malay name, at the back of the hill is be " Belakang Bukit", not Balik Pulau which literally means returning to island, which is not meaningful as Balik Pulau is already in the island. The name will not be logical to Malay language. Belakang is 3 words to Chinese, be-la-kang; Balik is two words, ba-lik. They will not choose a name which is difficult to pronounce by them for the new language(pasar Melayu) they just learn and acquired for their daily usage. So they already name the hill, pu-lou-hill, what to call the place at the back of the hill, to be correct in Malay languae it should be Belakang pu-lou-hill(Belakang Bukit Pulau). It become a long name. The Chinese will not name a long name, slowly it will shorten to either one word or two words, slowly only pu-lou(where the local Hokkien still call it)will remain. But why Balik Pulau instead of only named it Pulau like Hokkien Chinese called it? Pulau, unlike pu-lou will be confusing as there are many islands around Penang island. Pulau Bedong is one of them. But the home sick Huichew Hakka, still thinking of their ancestry land, slowly use balik to relate to coming home. Coming home to pu-lou-hill(浮罗山) after a day work, which is also a name quite similar name to the Luofu-shan(罗浮山)at their home land. This solved psychologically their home sickness.

Suddenly discovered that Huichew Hakka called pot, a type of Chinese cooking utensil as "pulou", which have a similar sound as Malay word " Pulau"(which means island). Can it be the reason the Chinese name of Balik Pulau derived? Balik Pulau is a Hakka town to Chinese. Hakka people was in Balik Pulau even before the establishment of the political administration in 1880(district office established). There were many tombstones of pioneer Hakka dated back to 1856,mostly Huichiew Hakka( 惠州客). Most of the Hakka are mainly Huichiew, and Chaozhou Hakka or pan-san-hak(半山客) which include Hailukfong(海豐,陸豐),hobo(河婆,現改成揭西縣), and daipu(大埔) Hakka.

Huichew Penang(檳榔嶼惠州人)

The early Hakka immigrants in Penang appeared to have consisted mainly of three groups: the Chia-ying Hakkas(嘉应客), the Tengchow(汀州) or Yongding(永定)Hakkas and the Huichew Hakkas(惠州客). This can be seen from the fact that the founding of their dialect associations in 1801, 1819 and 1822 respectively. The development of Penang as free port open the opportunity for Huichew Hakkas, some of them come direct from Huizhou, but others from Kalimantan. From Penang, some of them moved to North to Kedah, others moved to Perak, especially tin mines at Klian Bahru(新吉輦) 吉輦包, now Kamunting(霹靂甘文丁錫礦區), near today's Taiping were the areas where pioneer Huichew Hakkas settled. Huichew Hakkas are experienced tin mine workers.

Around 1848 'Che Long Ja'afar introduced Chinese miners to Larut (spelt Laroot or Larot at that time). The original mine field, Klian Pauh is where the jail at Taiping stands today. Long Ja'afar appointed Low Sam from Penang as agent and Low Sam was associated with Chung Keng Quee. "Five Associations" or Go-Kuan (Chinese: 五館 or 五群)whose members worked in the mines of Klian Pauh(吉輦包),Chung Keng Quee was the leader, and also Hai San. The Cantonese was under "Four Associations" or Si Kuan, whose members worked in the mines of Klian Baharu(新吉輦).

From 1860 to 1874, Huichew Hakkas were involved in two Larut Wars(霹靂拉律戰事)with Hai San. Huichew Hakkas were members of Ghee Hin( 義興党), unlike other Hakkas who were member Hai San. The Hai San was under Kapitan China Chung Keng Quee(鄭景貴), also Hakka from Zengcheng(增城),Guangdong.

In 1862,after the second Larut War, when Huichew leader So Ah Chiang(蘇亞松) was killed, most Huichew moved to tin mines in Selangor ,and few left in Taiping tin mines. The Hui Chew Hakka from the Ghee Hin from the earlier two battles having gone down to Selangor to join Yap Ah Loy, a Hui Chew Hakka who was head of the Hai San in Selangor. The Huichew were not involved with the later two Larut Wars.

After the Larut War when the Huichew were defeated by Hai San, many moved back to Penang, and involved in agriculture. They planted nutmegs, peppers, and spices, especially in Province Wellesley, they were also involved in sugar cane planting in Bukit Mertajam. In Pulau Betong, Sungai Ara, Teluk Kumbar of the Penang island, there were Huichew who were involved in agriculture,charcoal and fishing. In Balik Pulau, there are still many Huichew settlement still remained until today.



Lo Chung Huo(罗仲霍,1881~1911) was one of the 72 martyrs who died during the 1911 uprising, was a Huizhou from Penang. On April 27,1911(March 29, Lunar year Xinhai), Tongmenghui, a revolutionary Organization, led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen launched an uprising to overthrow the federal Qing dynasty to build a new democratic country, but unfortunately the effort failed. Peilun Yu, Wen Lin, Jumin Lin, Shingdong Fang and over 100 other Participants died. Mr. Dawei Pan collected seventy-two bodies then and buried them in Huanghua Gang or Huanghua Hill, literally means yellow flower hill, now known as Huanghua Gang Commemoration Park (黄花岗公园)in Guangzhou. Seventy-two martyrs were found and buried here, it was later determined that there were 86 martyrs, including 30 who were overseas Chinese . The cemetery was begun in 1912 and finished in 1921.

Not only in Balik Pulau, Huichew Hakka also dominated in Bukit Mertajam and central Province Wellesley.

Huichew Association of Penang(惠州会馆)

Huichew Association of Penang(惠州会馆)was formed in 1822, part of Prangin Road( now Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong) east of Carnarvon Street in Georgetown, was known as Hūi-chiu-kong-si-ke(惠州公司街)or literally means Huichew association street by local Chinese.

槟城惠州会馆位于马来西亚槟城。创立于清道光二年六月初六。至迟清道光二年六月初六(23─7─1822),惠州属同人已组织惠州公司,当时有乡老归善人李兴以墨西哥银(又名鹰洋)325元购得砖瓦屋两间及地皮一段,无条件捐赠给惠州同乡充作会馆。当成立之初,定名为“惠州会馆”,凡居住乡村僻埠之同乡,因事至槟城者,均以会馆为憩息之所;从中国南下的同乡亦通过会馆为跳版,深入内陆开拓农业及矿业。因此,联络梓谊,实深利赖。 后来利昂康伯氏(LEON─COMBER)写的《马来亚的华族私会党》(CHINESE SECRET SOCIETIES IN MALAYA,1800-1900)曾引用这份资料把它们当作是槟城华族私会党的七个最早组织──结果“惠州公司”也因而被归纳为会党。槟城惠州会馆由乡贤李兴(淡水人)于清道光八年(1828年)创立,初名为“惠州公司”,后易名为“惠州会馆”。



Pu-lou, Huizhou, Hakka, Balik Pulau....what an interesting connection.....

Further readings/references
1. Chinese wok,
2. Wok,
3. 客家, 客家
5. Balik Pulau Hakka(浮罗山背的客家人),
6. 潮汕半山客,
7. 半山客名稱之由來,
8. 惠州客家人,
9. 槟城惠州会馆,
10. 惠州南洋华侨社团简介,
13. 槟城惠州会馆180年: 跨越三个世纪的拓殖史实, 王琛发,槟榔屿惠州会馆, 2003
14. 森美兰惠州会馆史略及现况,王琛发,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Penang Reoccupied after WW2, 1945

The fall of Penang(彼南島) - Japanese Occupation日本統治時代のペナン州

The Battle of Malaya began when the 25th Army of Imperial Japanese Army invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941. Japanese troops launched an amphibious assault on the northern coast of Malaya at Kota Bharu and started advancing down the eastern coast of Malaya. This was made in conjunction with landings at Pattani and Songkhla in Thailand, The 5th Infantry Division(a "motorized" square division), landed on the east coast of Thailand at Singora and Patani on December 8, 1941. They then proceeded south overland across the Thailand-Malayan border to attack the western portion of Malaya. The Japanese also used bicycle infantry and light tanks, which allowed swift movement of their forces overland through the terrain that was covered with thick tropical rainforest, albeit criss-crossed by native paths. The defeat of Allied troops( Indian 11th Infantry Division)at Jitra by Japanese forces supported by tanks moving south from Thailand on 11 December 1941.

The island of Penang was known by the British as Fortress Penang but in reality it was an island garrison, had four anti-aircraft guns and a garrison of 500 untrained troops. The civilians took to the streets to watch not knowing what was to come. After flying over the town the planes turned and bombed in groups of three. The bombs dropped included heavy demolition, light anti-personal and incendiary, nearly all the bombs were dropped on the densely crowded native quarters in Georgetown.

Air attack on Penang island

1941 Dec 10th - 70 Japanese aircraft raid Penang
1941 Dec 11th - 37 Japanese aircraft raid Penang
1941 Dec 12th - 85 Japanese aircraft raid Penang
1941 Dec 13th - air raids continue as British evacuate

The first attack on the island by the Japanese was as early as 11 Dec, in the form of air raids(some reported on 8th, or 10th). During one of the raids, a bomb was dropped on a fire station, which resulted in no firefighting capability from the civilians. The emergency services were mainly run by untrained Chinese and although they tried their best, they were under increasing pressure as many of the local population who had decided to take to the hills got in the way. Some RAF resistance was present, but was largely unsuccessful. The city fell under a state of lawlessness within days, with uncontrollable looting while corpses were left rotting on the streets.

The British started evacuating on the 13th but the orders included only British born personnel and civilians, this caused a feeling of despair among the Asiatic population, and anger towards the British for leaving them to fend for themselves at a time when they wanted leadership. Not all the British left Penang, Dr. Evens of the General Hospital stayed to look after his patients and was later allowed to the Japanese to continue his work. The Straits Echo’s was one of the few offices that remained open under the leadership of the editor M. Saravanamuttu, Sara set up the Penang Service Committee comprising elected members from Penang’s different communities to run the town on Dec 16, 1941(?).

Even after the British had evacuated by Dec 13, the bombings continued and the committee that met twice daily at No. 10, Scott Road, decided that the Union Jack at Fort Cornwallis had to be taken down and replaced with a white flag of surrender.
As there were no volunteers, M. Saravanamuttu and R.S Gopal, his sub-editor, carried out this mission.

On 17 Dec 1941, Japanese troops of Kobayashi Battalion of the IJA 5th Division(歩兵第五師団, Hohei daigo shidan) landed on the island of Penang. There was no resistance, as the British had evacuated the island on 13 Dec 1941. However, the British failed to destroy resources that could be used by the invaders, including a fully functional radio station. The Japanese troops used the radio station to broadcast the cruel message "Hello, Singapore, this is Penang calling. How do you like our bombing?" and proceeded to massacre the Penang residents during a large-scale looting. Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita (山下奉文, November 8, 1885 – February 23, 1946),the Commanding Officers of The Imperial Japanese Army's 25th Army (第25軍 Dai-nijyūgo-gun)called a stop to the atrocities, and executed three soldiers as punishment. Lt. Col. Kobayashi(小林中佐) was also placed under thirty days close arrest as punishment. However, the image of the Japanese as brutal conquerors would forever be carved in the minds of the natives.

Arms, boats, supplies and a working radio station were left in haste to the Japanese. The evacuation of Europeans from Penang, with local inhabitants being left to the mercy of the Japanese, caused much embarrassment for the British and alienated them from the local population. Historians judge that "the moral collapse of British rule in Southeast Asia came not at Singapore, but at Penang". The British withdrawal left the defenseless island in the hands of a State Committee which had to subdue a three-day civil unrest.

A young Penangite by the name of Ivan Allan who bravely went to Sungai Petani on Dec 18 with a Japanese named Izumi to convey the news that the British had evacuated Penang

Sara broadcast an appeal on Dec 19(?) from the Penang Wireless Station, urging the Japanese air force to stop bombing the island because the British had left Penang.

Two companies of Japanese troops arrived in sampans at the Church Street Pier at 4pm on Dec 19, Sara, as the committee chairman, appealed to the Commander not to molest the local population. The next day, the Japanese Civil Administrator, Hiroyasu, arrived and formed four different committees comprising Malays, Chinese, Indians and Eurasians. These committees were known as the Peace Preservation Committee

Penang was captured on 19 December 1941, three and a half years of rule of terror followed(to be exact 3 years 8 months). Many of the local populace fled to the interior and plantations to escape from Japanese atrocities, of which many were reported and documented.

Sara’s committee was disbanded on Dec 23 when the Japanese-elected Penang Preservation Committee began functioning.

During this occupation, Penang was governed by four successive Japanese governors, starting with Shotaro Katayama.

Japanese Governors of Penang第25軍。ペナン州知事(日本占領時代ペナン州知事)

•1942–1943: Lt-Gen. Shotaro Katayama Governor of Penang from(1942–1943)
•1943–1944: Maj-Gen. Masakichi Itami Governor of Penang from(1943–1944)
•1944: Lt-Gen. Shinohara Seiichiro Governor of Penang from(1944–1944)
•1944: S.Ikagawa五十川 Deputy Governor of Penang from (1944) only.
•1944–1945: Lt-Gen. Shinohara Seiichiro was Governor of Penang from 1944 to 1945

Air raid by Allies

1944 August - USAF B-29 bombing raid on supported by HMS Ceylon
1945 Jan 11th - USAF B-29 bombing raid on Penang (mission 27)
1945 Feb 1st - USAF B-29 bombing raid on Penang (mission 33)

Japan surrendered on Aug 15 1945日本の降伏

On the morning of August 6 1945, the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets, dropped an atomic bomb (code-named Little Boy by the Americans) on the city of Hiroshima in southwest Honshū, Japan.

On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was the target of the United State's second atomic bomb attack (and second detonation of a plutonium bomb; the first was tested in central New Mexico, USA) at 11:02 a.m., when the north of the city was destroyed and an estimated 70,000 people were killed by the bomb codenamed "Fat Man".

At 12:00 noon Japan standard time on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito made a radio announcement to his people announcing the decision to accept the Potsdam Proclamation and surrender to the Allies.

25 Aug 1945 - Emperor Hirohito issued a decree ordering all Japanese forces to demobilize and cease operation.

On August 28 1945, the occupation of Japan by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers began.

The surrender ceremony was held on September 2 1945 aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri, at which officials from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, ending World War II.

The Allied Plan to capture Malaya - Operation Zipper
During the Second World War, "Operation Zipper" was a British plan to capture either Port Swettenham or Port Dickson, Malaya as staging areas for the recapture of Singapore. However, due to the end of the war in the Pacific, it was never fully executed. Some of the proposed landings on Penang went ahead as planned to probe Japanese intentions, encountering no resistance. The planned deception for this attack was called Operation Slippery, whilst a small Special Operations Executive team led by Tun Ibrahim Ismail which landed in October 1944 managed convince the Japanese that the landings were to be on the Isthmus of Kra, 650 miles to the north.

Operation Tiderace - Operation to capture Singapore
Operation Tiderace was planned soon after the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Emergency planning was put in preparation for the rapid occupation of Singapore at an early date should Japan agree to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July.

While Operation Zipper was executed ahead of schedule, it did so on a much smaller scale, having quickly transferred a proportion of its original strength to Operation Tiderace. The convoy consisted of about 90 ships, which included two battleships, HMS Nelson and the French battleship Richelieu. The heavy cruiser HMS Sussex served as the flagship. HMAS Hawkesbury was the sole Australian warship during the Japanese surrender, escorting the repatriation transport Duntroon.

There were a total of seven escort carriers: HMS Ameer, HMS Attacker, HMS Emperor, HMS Empress, HMS Hunter, HMS Khedive and HMS Stalker

HMS Volage, Destroyer(1944-1972)

In August, prior to the Japanese surrender, HMS Volage prepared to support the planned landings in Malaya (Operation Zipper). She was part of the screen for capital ships of the East Indies Fleet sailing to Penang and later (31 August), she sailed from Trincomalee to join the naval forces for the re-occupation of Penang. The Captain then was Cdr. Reginald Trevor Paul,CBE, RN(later Captain).

31st August 1945 - Sailed from Trincomalee to join ships deployed for re-occupation of Penang.

1st September 1945 - At Penang for re-occupation. Volage stayed at Penang into September as radio ship until shore facilities had been established and then supported the landings at Port Dickson. (Operation ZIPPER)
(Note: For details of ZIPPER and the earlier delays until after VJ Day see THE FORGOTTEN FLEET, WAR WITH JAPAN and Final Report of Supreme Commander SEAC (HMSO).

When the day for the surrender arrived, accompanied by the battleship “Nelson”, HMS Volage arrived off Penang. The “Nelson” was too big to enter Penang harbor, so Admiral Hooky Walker transferred to the HMS Volage from the HMS Nelson and met the Japanese officials on board the “Volage”? and signed the articles of surrender. HMS Volage with Admiral Walker on board was the first Allied ship into Penang and the local Japanese surrender was made on the dockside nearby.

That done the Admiral went back to his ship and accompanied the rest of the fleet down the coast to Singapore and the “Volage” was ordered to tie up at Penang to act as the radio communications ship for the occupation forces when they were landed.

10th Sept - When Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Commander-in-Chief, South East Asia Command, and General Bill Slim, C in C of 14th Army, passed through Penang on 10th Sept 1945,en route to Singapore for the Japanese surrender in the East Indies, they spent a brief period on HMS Volage and Mountbatten addressed the ship's crew.

After four weeks at Penang, HMS VOLAGE returned to Trincomalee and deployed with Flotilla for local duties.

17-8-1945 HMS Nelson sailed from Trincomalee, Ceylon in company with HM Cruisers LONDON, CEYLON and NIGERIA, HM Escort Carriers ATTACKER, HUNTER, SHAH and STALKER, HM LSI PRINCESS BEATRIX and QUEEN EMMA escorted by destroyers. Their mission was to implement Operation ZIPPER (Operation ZIPPER was the landing of troops in Malaya), then proceed to Penang to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces in the area.(Operation delayed until after the Japanese surrender ceremonies in Tokyo on 2-9-1945 had taken place at the insistence of the US Government and delay in London due to demobilisation arrangements for Service personnel in the Far East.)

20th August 1945 - Whilst the politics was finalized, the Force anchored off the Nicobar Islands and provided cover for minesweeping operations in Nicobar islands. HMS Nelson moved to Rangoon to await start of ZIPPER.

Following Japanese emperor announced surrender on 15-8-1945, only on 21 August 1945 the Penang Shimbun published the statement of capitulation issued by the Emperor.

"Operation Tiderace" was instead put into action following the surrender of Japan. Mountbatten ordered British troops to set sail from Trincomalee and Rangoon (Yangon) on Aug 21 for Singapore. The Allied fleet departed Rangoon on August 27, 1945, as part of Vice Admiral Harold Walker's force (HMS Nelson, HMS Attacker, HMS Hunter, HMS Ceylon, three destroyers and three Landing Ship, Infantry).

27th August 1945 - Early hours, sailed from Rangoon flying the flag of Vice Admiral Walker in company with HM Cruiser CEYLON, HM Escort Carriers ATTACKER and HUNTER, HM LSI PRINCESS BEATRIX and QUEEN EMMA escorted by 3 destroyers.

28th August 1945 - The battleship HMS Nelson anchored off Penang to take the Japanese surrender in Malaya. The Allies arrived with a small portion of the fleet sent to Penang as part of Operation Zipper. Late in the day the the force arrived off Penang. The first emissaries of the Japanese forces were made to board the flagship by rope ladder.(Note: This was also the day of the occupation of Japan by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers began in Japan).

2nd Sept, 1945 - At Penang lying off Georgetown, for the official surrender of Japanese forces. The Japanese commander Rear Admiral Uozomi was met by Capt. Clifford Caslon, RN(who later retired as Vice Admiral) and the Chief of staff, Captain Abbott, and led below to the Vice Admiral Walker’s cabin were the articles of surrender where signed

Yet even before the Singapore event, the Japanese had already surrendered at Penang in a ceremony on September 2 1945 aboard the battleship HMS Nelson. (In fact, the British had landed in Penang in late August but had held back on the surrender formalities until the American General MacArthur had finalized the official surrender negotiations in Tokyo.). HMS Nelson was the flagship of the fleet, and "the articles of surrender" were signed aboard the battleship on September 2, 1945.

Japanese surrender party signed off the war aboard HMS Nelson lying off Georgetown. Rear Admiral Jisaku Uozumi signs the surrender document aboard the HMS Nelson on September 2, 1945. He fainted shortly afterwards and was rushed to hospital. Note the Distinguished Service Cross ribbon on Uozumi's uniform, which he had earned as Britain's ally in World War I

On board the Royal Navy Nelson-class battleship HMS Nelson Japanese officers surrender the port and city of Penang, Malaya (Malaysia) to the Allies.

Naval vessels of Task Force 11 of the Eastern Fleet underway en route for Penang. Anchored in the Andaman Sea off the Nicobar Islands the force awaits the arrival of Japanese envoys. A Japanese launch draws alongside HMS Nelson. Japanese officers come aboard. In a state room British and Japanese officers take seats at a long table. Admiral Walker stepped ashore from Volage accompanied by Captain Commander Durlachar, leading Naval and Royal Marine delegation to the table. The surrender is signed by Vice-Admiral Walker and IJN Commander Submarine Squadron Eight, Rear Admiral Uozumi Jisaku and the Governor of Penang,Lt-Gen. Shinohara Seiichiro(篠原誠一郎)

Japanese officers named on the dope sheet include Commander Sakai, Lieutenant-Commander Yamaguchi and Captain Aidaki.

Notes: Other vessels in Task Force 11 included the Ceylon-class cruiser HMS Ceylon, the escort carriers HMS Hunter and HMS Attacker, the Paladin-class destroyers HMS Paladin and HMS Petard and two LSIs (Landing Ship Infantry).

3-9-1945 - Royal Marines land at Penang on 3-9-1945, after the Japanese have surrendered. Japanese officers lined up on the quayside. Captain Hilton DSO (naval officer in charge) coming ashore. Flag hoisting ceremony - Union Jack flag is raised, military band plays. Liberated Malayan population rejoicing. Sailors and Marines drive through streets in Japanese military vehicles - lots of waving and flags in carnival atmosphere. Japanese prisoners of war are marched through the street. British officers also inspected the captured Japanese seaplane base.

Lt. J. BLEASE, RN, of Johnshaven, Montrose, Scotland, and SLt. (A) I. MACGREGOR, RNVR, of South Queensberry, Scotland, examine plans of Japanese seaplane at Penang seaplane base, Glugor. He is escorted by surrender liaison officer Lt. Cdr. NAGAKI


(Please click the picture for the movie.)

The official British party reached Penang on 1 September, and after a meeting between the Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Fleet and Rear-Admiral Uzumi on 2 September, a detachment of the 480 Royal Marines landed on 0800 hours at Weld Quay ,and occupied and takeover the island on 3 September 1945.

Japanese forces were evacuated to concentration center at Glugor, and later to the mainland. The Offier in charge at Penang was Capt TJN Hilken(who later become British military governors 1945-1946, Thomas John Norman Hilken)

Rear Admiral Bazudi, Commander of Japanese forces, Penang, signs the surrender document watched by Lt-Gen. Shinohara Seiichiro, the Japanese Lieutenant Governor of Penang (right) and the Admiral's chief of staff, Captain Hidaka.(photo dated 4-9-1945)

A formal ceremony to signify British repossession of Penang took place on Swettenham Pier on 5 September 1945

Japanese forces in Penang finally surrendered to British forces on 6 September 1945

Victory March In Penang , Sept. 8. 1945, Enthusiastic crowds lined the streets to watch the victory march of 600 officers and men from British cruisers and destroyers , the Royal Indian Navy sloop "istna. Vice- Admiral H. C. T. Walker took the salute from the nuance gate of the... (The Straits Times, 11 September 1945, pg 2)

His Majesty's Ships - H.M.S. Nelson(1921-1950)

HMS Nelson- Nelson-class 16in gun Battleship

The Nelson class was a class of two battleships (Nelson and Rodney) of the British Royal Navy, built shortly after, and under the terms of, the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. They were the only British battleships built between the Revenge class (ordered in 1913) and the King George V class, ordered in 1936. HMS Nelson was named after British admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson of the Battles of the Nile and Trafalgar.

Motto: “Let him bear the palm who has deserved it.”

At the outbreak of war in 1939 H.M.S. Nelson was one of British Royal Navy two most modern battleships, though it is now over 19 years since she was completed. A ship of 33,950 tons, she mounts nine of the heaviest guns in the Royal Navy, of 16-in. calibre.

In December 1939 she was mined in a Scottish loch, and with great difficulty and hazard was brought south to Portsmouth for dry docking and refit. During the first half of 1941 she was engaged in escorting convoys bound for the Cape. In the summer she joined Admiral Sir James Somerville's Force H in the Western Mediterranean, and in September was hit forward by a torpedo from an enemy aircraft while escorting a convoy to Malta. She went to Gibraltar for temporary repairs, and in December sailed for Rosyth with survivors of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal. Back in the Mediterranean, she was again engaged in a fierce convoy action there in August 1942. She was one of the fleet supporting the landings in North Africa in Nov. 1942, and in July 1943 helped to cover the invasion of Sicily. The conference between General Eisenhower and Marshal Badoglio, resulting in the Italian surrender, took place on board her in September 1943.

On 29 Sep 1943, Marshal Pietro Badoglio (Italy) and General Dwight D Eisenhower (USA) signed the Italian instrument of surrender on board Nelson in Valletta Harbour, Malta.

She received damage from a mine during the Normandy landings in June 1944, and was sent to Philadelphia for modernization and repairs.

In November 1944 Vice-Admiral Sir Arthur Power became Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station(1944-1952) which had been formed from the former Eastern Fleet. (Note: Power was present at the final surrender of the Japanese in Singapore on 12th September 1945 in HMS Sussex).

Returning in January 1945 she proceeded to the East Indies, where she wore the flag of Vice-Admiral H.T.C. Walker(later Sir Admiral Harold Thomas Coulthard Walker,CB,KCB,RN). On 12th, July 1945, HMS Nelson joined Eastern Fleet(1941-1944) at Trincomalee, Ceylon.

The Japanese forces in Penang formally surrendered aboard HMS Nelson at George Town, Penang, on 2 September 1945.

She is now flagship of the Training Battleship Squadron, Home Fleet.

Admiral Walker left to board his flagship H.M.S. Nelson on 8-9-1945 , to lead the way to Singapore with his fleet cruiser London and assault ships to Port Sweettenham.

HMS Nelson
8th Took passage to Singapore, calling at Port Swettenham en route.

10th Arrived at Singapore.

12th At Singapore when the Japanese Forces in South East Asia officially surrendered.

Singapore or Syonan-to(昭南島)


Three days after the emperor's announcement on 15-8-1945, General Seishiro Itagaki, commander of the Japanese 7th Area Army, flew to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to meet Field Marshal Count Terauchi, Commander of the Japanese Southern Army and forces in South-east Asia. But on Aug 20, Itagaki signalled Mountbatten that he would abide by his emperor's decision and was ready to receive instructions for the Japanese surrender of Singapore

With the Japanese surrender and Allied troops deployed in Malaya, Walker's fleet then sailed to Singapore to join up with the main convoy. When Penang surrendered without resistance, the fleet sailed for Singapore on 2 September, passing the Raffles Lighthouse at the Southern entrance to the Straits of Malacca. The fleet arrived in Singapore on 4 September 1945, meeting no opposition. However, the French battleship Richelieu struck a magnetic mine at 0744 on 9 September while passing down the Straits of Malacca. She eventually limped into Singapore at 1200 on 11 September.

The actual surrender was on 4-9-1945, Lieutenant-General Alexander Christison, Mountbatten's representative, and Major-General Robert Mansergh met General Seishiro Itagaki aboard HMS Sussex, in Keppel Harbour to discuss the surrender. The surrender by Lt-Gen Itagaki and Vice Admiral Shigeru Fukudone(Commanders of the IJN 10th Area Fleet,1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet and the 13th Air Fleet) was accepted on board. By 1800, the Japanese had surrendered their forces on the island. An estimated 77,000 Japanese troops from Singapore were captured, plus another 26,000 from Malaya

On Wednesday, 5 September, 1945 at 1130am., HMS Sussex entered Singapore Harbour carrying the Flag of the Rear-Admiral Cedric Holland. General Seishirō Itagaki, the commander of the garrison at Singapore was brought on board, where he signed the formal surrender of the army, thus completing Operation Tiderace, the allied plan to recapture Singapore. It was captained by Capt. Antony Fane de Salis, DSO, RN.

On Friday, Sept 7, the British Military Administration declared that apart from
$1,000 and $10,000 notes, which had to be handed in and accounted for, all prewar Malayan and Straits Settlements currency notes and coins would be legal tender. Overnight, the Japanese military's 'banana' money became worthless.

The first post war issue of The Strait Time was on 7 September 1945. The last edition prior to Singapore surrender to Japanese was 15-2-1942.

General Itagaki's First Refusal - General Sesishiro Itagaki(板垣征四郎), Japanese commander of Singapore, refused to surrender, reports Router, until his superior officer, Field-Maivhal Count Hisaichi Terauchi(寺内寿一), Commander of the Japanese Forces m the South East Asia area, ordered him to lay down his arms "for the honour of his country and the Japanese forces(The Straits Times, 7 September 1945, Page 1)

The formal surrender was finalized on 12 September 1945 at Municipal Building of Singapore (now known as City Hall). Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of Southeast Asia Command, came to Singapore to receive the formal surrender of Japanese forces in South East Asia from General Itagaki Seishiro on behalf of Field Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi, commander of the Japanese Southern Army Group who had suffered a stroke earlier in the year.

Accompanied by the Deputy Supreme Commander Wheeler, Lord Louis Mountbatten was driven to the ceremony by a released prisoner of war. As the car drove by the streets, sailors and marines from the East Indies Fleet who had lined up the streets greeted them. At the Municipal Building, Mountbatten was received by his Commanders-in Chief and all high-ranking Allied Officers in Singapore. Also gathered in front of the Municipal Building were four guards of honour, from the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, Australian paratroopers, and the Indian army. Lord Mountbatten led an inspection of the officers before proceeding to the chamber where the ceremony was to be held. During the inspection, a fleet of band was playing the song 'Rule Britannia!'concurrently with the firing of seventeen-gun salute by the Royal Artillery.

The Instrument of Surrender was signed by General S. Itagaki, who signed on behalf of Aisarchi Terauchi, Field Marshall Count, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Japanese Forces, Southern Region. Terauchi was not able to attend the surrender ceremony as he had fallen ill due to a stroke. He surrendered personally to Mountbatten on 30 September 1945 in Saigon. He also surrendered his two swords; a short sword forged in the 16th century and a long sword forged in the 13th century. Mountbatten later presented the short sword to King George VI.

The Japanese signed a total of 11copies of the Instrument of Surrender; one each for the British, American, Chinese, French, Dutch, Australian, Indian and the Japanese governments; and one each for King George VI, the Supreme Commander and the South East Asia Command's records.

Japanese Representatives

General S. Itagaki (7th Area Army)
Lieutenant-General H. Kimura (Burma Area Army)
Lieutenant-General A. Nakamura (18th Area Army)
Vice-Admiral S. Fukudome (1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet)
Vice-Admiral Shibata (2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet)
Lieutenant-General T. Numata (Chief of Staff to Field-Marshall Count H. Terauchi, Commander-in-Chief, Southern Army)

Allied Representatives

Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten (Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia)
Lieutenant-General R.A Wheeler (Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia, representing U.S.A.)
General Sir William Slim (Commander-in-Chief, Allied Air Forces, South East Asia Command)
Admiral Sir Arthur Power (Commander-in Chief, East Indies Fleet)
Major-General W.R.C Penney (Director of Intelligence, South East Asia Command)
Brigadier K.S. Thimayya (representing the Indian Army)
General P. Leclerc (representing France)
Major-General Feng Yee (Head of the Chinese military mission to South East Asia Command)
Air Vice-Marshall A.T. Cole (representing Australia)
Colonel D.C. Boorman van Vreedon (representing the Netherlands)

The surrender officially ended the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia.

The surrender ceremony finally ended with the hoisting of the Union Jack flag and the playing of the national anthems of all the Allied nations. This was the same flag used by General Percival when he surrendered to the Japanese and had been kept concealed in the Changi prison during the occupation.

It was reported that the Union Jack which was hoisted on the Padang yesterday(12th Sept) morning was one which had been hidden in the Changi prisoner of war camp from the Japanese in 1942(The Straits Times, 13 September 1945, Page 1)

A British Military Administration was formed to govern the island until March 1946.

General Itagaki departed for Japan shortly afterwards to face his trial and execution as a war criminal. Field Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi died of another stroke while in a prisoner of war camp in Malaya after the end of the war on 12-6-1946. His cemetery was however in Japanese Cemetery Park, Singapore.

British Military Administration(BMA)

Japanese forces in southeast Asia officially surrendered on September 12, 1945, and a British Military Administration(BMA) was established.

R.A.F Take Charge In Penang - The Royal Air Force took over charge of Penang from the Royal Marines last Thursday(14th Sept)at a public parade held on Victoria Green. Penang’s new garrison commander is Wing Commander Alan Yates. (The Straits Times, 17 September 1945, Page 2)

By Proclamation No. 1 (1945), the Supreme Allied Commander of Southeast Asia established the British Military Administration which assumed full judicial, legislative, executive and administrative powers and responsibilities and conclusive jurisdiction over all persons and property throughout such areas of Malaya. Major-General Ralph Hone was given the post of Chief Civil Affairs Officer responsible for the Peninsula.

For the purpose of streamlining the administration, postwar Malaya was divided into 9 regions with Perlis-Kedah, Negeri Sembilan-Melaka, and the other states as regions in their own right. The regions were controlled by a Senior Civil Affairs Officer (ranked either Colonel or Lieutenant-Colonel). The official power of some of the pre-war civilian governments' entities were suspended, including the rights of the Malay rulers.

BMA was an interim government from September 1945 to March 1946. The Federated Malay States, the Unfederated Malay States as well as the Straits Settlement including Singapore were placed under temporary British military rule.

The BMA ended when all the Malay States and the Settlements of Penang and Malacca joined Malayan Union. Singapore became a Crown Colony. On April 1, 1946 the Malayan Union officially came into existence with Sir Edward Gent as its governor. Straits Settlements, comprised of Penang, Melaka and Singapore, were officially dissolved.


1. Red Star over Malaya: resistance and social conflict during and after the Japanese occupation of Malaya, 1941-1946,by Boon Kheng Cheah, NUS Press, 2003
2. HMS Volage - destroyer,
3. HMS Nelson - Nelson-class 16in gun Battleship
4. HMS Sussex - British heavy cruiser, WW2
5. Japanese surrender, by Heirwin Mohd Nasir, written on 29-Sep-1997, National Library Board Singapore
6. East Indies Fleet War Diary 1945,
8. The Japanese occupation of Malaya: a social and economic history
, by Paul H. Kratoska, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 1998
9. Japanese Imperial War Propaganda in the Penang Daily News,
10. How Strong is Japan, LIFE Magazine dated 16 Aug 1943
11. The end of the war:Singapore's liberation and the aftermath of the Second World War, by Romen Bose, Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are we historically blind?

History (from Greek ἱστορία - historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation") is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Amongst scholars, the fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus is considered to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, forms the foundations for the modern study of history.
Historians write in the context of their own time, and with due regard to the current dominant ideas of how to interpret the past, and sometimes write to provide lessons for their own society. In the words of Benedetto Croce, "All history is contemporary history". History is facilitated by the formation of a 'true discourse of past' through the production of narrative and analysis of past events relating to the human race. The modern discipline of history is dedicated to the institutional production of this discourse.

All events that are remembered and preserved in some authentic form constitute the historical record. The task of historical discourse is to identify the sources which can most usefully contribute to the production of accurate accounts of past. Therefore, the constitution of the historian's archive is a result of circumscribing a more general archive by invalidating the usage of certain texts and documents (by falsifying their claims to represent the 'true past').
(source: Wikipedia)

History & Geography

When I was in primary school, History and Geography was a favorite subjects, just because I have two great teachers, who did not follow strictly the textbooks. The two teachers I admired and benefited much were a good teachers who instill the desire of students to explore more on the respective fields. From the primary school textbooks, I moved to the books shops in the Carnarvon Street, standing and reading on all books I can found on History and Geography. I read world history, I read world Geography. Malaya history and geography was too small for me, I acquired the global perspective of the subjects.

Even after my primary schools, Geography and History was my strong subjects in lower secondary; but I have to leave history in my upper secondary since I was a pure science student. I scored a A1 in Geography, considered a difficult subject for science student. I have teachers who do not use school textbooks, who will draw a world map, and tell us the location of the country, and then start to tell the story of the country(history and geography), his experience during his visit to the country...this created interest among the students towards the history of the country. When I read Geography, it was habit of reading with history of the country, to know the country better, lesson from my teachers. This habit later helped me in my adult life where I am more global and not narrow minded, it also helped me during my back packing days to other countries.

Developing countries normally have less emphasis on liberal art subjects. In my secondary school days, the educationalists deprived me on my favorite history subject. Today, history is compulsory, but they deprived the students from Geography subjects. History and Geography need to come together.

School History Textbook

Looking at my daughter’s history book, I really feel sad. The history book was very biased towards specific history for secondary students. The school textbooks focused largely on specific national history, and specific religion history. There are many factual errors and historical errors, some deliberately concealed for some hidden agenda. Study history for the current students is just remembering one book, as their teacher told them to do so. Study history is just to pass examination. Many of them knew the history recorded in their history textbook are totally with biased views, and considered it unimportant. They are able to gain more history knowledge from the internet. This created a disrespect attitude toward history subject, just like Moral Education, useless and time wastage for the students. Overzealous textbook authors toward nationalism, had killed the enthusiastic of the students on the history subject.

I asked the students, and they do not know Dr Sun Yat-sen, Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, Xiang Yu or Liu Bang(Han Dynasty), Martin Luther King, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Winston Churchil....and many historical figures. Making thing worst, Dr Sun Yat-sen and Jawaharlal Nehru had been to Malaya, and yet we did not make use of the story to teach world history.Some politician was so narrow minded that they said this is history of foreigners, why should we know them?. Sooner, our students forgot Malaysian history figures, Yap Ah Loy, Parameswara,Sir Henry Gurney, Lt-Gen Sir Gerald Templer, Dato Onn bin Jaafar, Tun Tan Cheng Lock..... who to blame?...

We produced students who dislike history subject. This history- phobia students matured into adults with historically blind mindset. They are misled by phobia and pseudo history. If they are politician , they will become narrow minded politician who will lead us to more extremism.

In School, we no longer learn actual history; we learn the official history as told by the political party who governed the nation. History was written by the teachers or historian who are not independent, but employed with the government, writing history to please the ruling party. Their views on issues are always biased, either tainted with personal, racial or religion bias. They do not see the alternative views or alternative history. You cannot ignore the past history of the colonization, Japanese occupation, CPM, Socialist Front, DAP, PAS, other opposition and reformation movement, and their contribution to our nation. You cannot only reported the good historical events, and forget the war, revolution, riots, strikes, demonstration, disasters(the ugly historical events). These are all historical events. The students only see the history wrote by the rulers, they did not see the actual history happen in the grassroots and community. They see the history of the upper class, and reject the history of lower poor’s. They see the history of the winners, did not see the history of the losers. They see the form of the history, not substance behind the history. They see the surface and not the historical cause of the event. They do not see the diversity but focus only on their biased personal views.

This will make the students limited their knowledge of history restricted to memory for examination. There will not be any critical thinking of the students on the cause of the past historical events and their consequences to the current and the future. They will be satisfied knowing only their own history and not knowing the history of other countries, other civilization, other religion, and other individuals. A mass generation of narrow minded and historically blinded people will be cultivated by our education system, listening to the history concept of their teachers, the history of the ruling political party. Their history will be limited to their examinations, knowing only history that their teachers want to hear, the education system want to hear....

After 54 years of independence, do the nation has the confidence that our people are able to stand at par with any others in global platform; having an open mind to determine their destination, and to be a responsible global citizen? The teaching of history in schools will tell us the future of this generation.....

Historically blind

Basically, is the nation historically blind? Looking at the many politician's views on national history, and their request to amend the history again, revealed some weaknesses in our history despite 54 years after independence. The nation is still not open, still closed to diversity, alternatives, and differences....

We do not need to be historian to know history; but need to aware of the traps of the history;

1.Pseudohistory - is a term applied to texts which purport to be historical in nature but which depart from standard historiographical conventions in a way which undermines their conclusions. Works which draw controversial conclusions from new, speculative, or disputed historical evidence, particularly in the fields of national, political, military, and religious affairs, are often rejected as pseudo history.

2.History censorship - In many countries history textbooks have been censored to put the national story in a more favorable light. For example, in Japan, mention of the Nanking Massacre has been removed from textbooks and the entire World War II is given cursory treatment. Other countries have complained. It was standard policy in communist countries to present only a rigid Marxist historiography. In the United States the history of the American Civil War was phrased to avoid giving offense to white Southerners and blacks.

3.Politicization - Politicization of history is very common in communist countries and one party ruled country. The ruling power write history or conceal history according to their political motives and agenda. Academic historians have often fought against the politicization of the textbooks, sometimes with success.

4.Historical revisionism - is either the legitimate scholastic re-examination of existing knowledge about a historical event, or the illegitimate distortion of the historical record such that certain events appear in a more or less favorable light. For the former, i.e. the academic pursuit, see historical revisionism. This article deals solely with the latter, the distortion of history, which—if it constitutes the denial of historical crimes—is also sometimes (but not commonly) called negationism. The post-war minimization of the war crimes of Japanese imperialism is an example of illegitimate historical revisionism.

5. Suppression of different views - either by using legal law to restrict or prohibit the alternative history views, some may face imprisonment or death for holding the alternative historical views, especially against the militarism or the one party ruled government. This is against the freedom of expression advocated by the United Nation Human Right.

6. Biased History - History written based on biased prejudice , either personal biased, political biased, religion biased, racial biased, etc, which distorted the actual history or concealed the actual history.

As a commoner, we need to be wise to know the difference between actual and pseudo history. Let the official history telling their glorious days, we know how the national history was formed not by a single person, by a single political party, by single event, it was the interaction of multiple forces, from individuals to communities, from societies to nations, from nations to global. No person can make history alone.....not even his own history.

Unless he is blind towards history....

National History is by the people, for the people....

History is the story of the past, we can created history for the future, but we cannot created history for the past, the actual events had happened, the history of the past needed historian to explore and rediscover the truth, good or ugly, it was our history, you like it or dislike, it is still the truth, our history.

“ I do not believe that history repeats itself in exactly the same form, but it is not a fact that the old questions are always coming up again in a new form? As the years passed on after the war, the bitter lesson of war are forgotten, and such thing as peace and freedom , the authority of learning or the truth , are opt to be lost.In universities and among scholars there is tendency to lose the strength and the spirit to remain loyal to the truth, and not to fawn upon or yield to the power of the world, which I believed should be avoid at all cost… Dr Yanaihara Tadao
(source: The Way I have walked(Watakushi no Ayundekita Michi) , 1958)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Malaysia Day

Today is 16-9-2011, the 48th Malaysia Day.But the first time Malaysia Day and Merdeka Day(Malaysia Independence Day) are celebrated together.

Happy Malaysia Day

My wish is that Malaysia and Malaysian will go forward as Malaysian with open and progressive mind as a global citizen.

No more issue like national hero...

No more Malaysian who are still with mind of Sri Vijaya or Malacca Sultanate era(forget the colonial control either under Protectorate or Crown Colony);

No more Malaysian who are still of Strait Settlement mentality(where some Malaysian are treated more superior than other Malaysian);

No more Malaysian who forget the history of the Japanese occupation(when people from different racial background and political orientation fighting for their home land);

No more Malaysian who are still dreaming in the colonial Malaya era(where the independence of nation has been forgotten, and still fearful of Emergency or communist phobia) ;

No more Malaysian who do not know Sabah and Sarawak(forget that we have fellow Malaysian over the sea);

No more Malaysian who forget about multi-religion( forget to respect the religion of other Malaysian);

No more Malaysian who forget of multi racial background(we may born difference, but having the same home land);

No more historically blind Malaysian; and frequent changes of history in school textbook, when students are blindly feed with wrong historical data;

A more open Malaysian society, where Malaysian will look at issues in different perspectives constructively;

And an open mind Malaysian to accept diversity.....

Undilah Malaysia....

The best gift for Malaysia today is the abolish of Internal Security Act....

Happy Malaysia Day

Saturday, September 3, 2011

HMS Malaya

During the world war 1, there were many people of Malaya, FMS, UFS or SS(Strait Settlement) donated for the colonial British government to fight the war in Europe. Some went as soldiers, others contribute their monies. Some donated war planes, some donated war ship. One of the war ship donated was under the name of HMS Malaya, named after Malaya, donated by FMS or Federated Malay States....HMS Malaya fight bravely in WW1, and continued fighting in the WW2...

In 1921, HMS Malaya visited Penang.

HMS Malaya
HMS Malaya was a Queen Elizabeth class battleship of the British Royal Navy, built by Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Company at High Walker and launched in March 1915. She was named in honour of the Federated Malay States in British Malaya, whose government paid for her construction.


In 1912, the sultan of Perak Sir Idris Mersid-el Aazam Shah suggested that the Council of the FMS should give to His Majesty Government, a gift of first class armored ship.

HMS Malaya, was built as a gift to the British Government by the Government and people of the Federated Malay States of Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang, on a motion proposed in the Federal Council by His late Highness the Sultan of Perak in 1913, supported by His late Highness the Sultan of Selangor, and approved by all people in the Federated Malay States.

The motion was passed and the contract for building such vessel placed in the shipyard on the River Tyne Sterling pound 2,945,709 in 1913. The builder was Armstrong Whitworth. The ship was launched on 18-3-1915, and commissioned on 1-2-1916. It was under Captain Algernon D E H Boyle, who later become Admiral Sir Algernon Douglas Edward Harry Boyle ,K.C.B., C.M.G., M.V.O., the Fourth Sea Lord of Royal Navy from 1920 to 1924).

Name: HMS Malaya
Ordered: 1913
Builder: Armstrong Ship Builder, Whitworth
Laid down: 20 October 1913
Launched: 18 March 1915
Commissioned: 1 February 1916
Decommissioned: 1944
Struck: 12 April 1948
Fate: Scrapped


1916 - Jutland ( WW1)
1940 - Taranto ( WW2)
1940 - Calabria ( WW2)
1940 - Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1945( WW2)
1942 - Malta Convoys ( WW2)
1944 - English Channel ( WW2)
1944 - Operation Overlord (D-Day) ( WW2)


In World War I she served in Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas's 5th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. She took part in the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916, where she was hit eight times and took major damage and heavy crew casualties. A total of 65 men died, in the battle or later, of their injuries. Among the wounded was Able Seaman Willie Vicarage, notable as one of the first men to receive facial reconstruction using plastic surgery and the first to receive radical reconstruction via the "tubed pedicule" technique pioneered by Sir Harold Gillies. Uniquely among the ships at the battle, HMS Malaya flew the red-white-black-yellow ensign of the Federated Malay States.

Jürgen Oesten speaking about his attack on HMS Malaya, that took place about 250 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands in position 20º02'N, 25º50'W. The battleship was part of the convoy SL-68.


1921- HMS Malaya under Capt HT Buller visited Malaya in the first months of 1921, calling at Port Swettenham, Singapore, Malacca, Port Dickson and Penang. Capt HT Buller(who later become Admiral Sir HT Buller) is the son of Admiral Sir Alexander Buller. Admiral Sir Alexander Buller, who as a captain of HMS Modeste, was involved in an expedition against the murderers of Mr James Birch, the British Resident in Perak in 1875. He was also in Penang on January 8, 1876 on board HMS Modeste. What a coincident....

In 1922 Malaya carried the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mohammed VI into exile. A new era in Turkish history began. Sultan Mohammed VI left on 18 November 1922 in the battleship HMS Malaya bound for Malta with his foreign advisers


In August-September 1938 she served in the port of Haifa during the Arab Uprising.


In World War II she served in the Mediterranean in 1940, escorting convoys and operating against the Italian fleet. On one occasion her presence in a convoy was sufficiently discouraging to the German commerce raiders Scharnhorst and Gneisenau that they withdrew rather than risk damage in an attack.

June 18, 1940. Giornale Italie No. 049. The island of Malta, claimed by Italy. Shown are ships of the Royal Navy (probably HMS Warspite, HMS Malaya, and the escort carrier HMS Eagle). An unveiling of a bust in honour of Fortunato Mizzi, founder of the pro-Italian movement on Malta.


She shelled Genoa in February 1941 as part of Operation Grog but due to a crew error, fired a 15" armour piercing shell into the south east corner of the Cathedral nave. The fuse failed to detonate

Convoy SL 67 was saved by the presence of the WW1 battleship HMS Malaya.

Under Sir Arthur Francis Eric Palliser. She was damaged by a torpedo from U-106 at on 20 March 1941 about 250 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands. After temporary repairs were made she continued to the New York Navy Yard, where she was docked for four months.

On 9 July, under the command of Captain Cuthbert Coppinger R.N., the battleship left New York on trials and steamed to Halifax, Nova Scotia to provide protection for an urgent fast convoy. On this Atlantic crossing no ships were lost and Malaya arrived on 28 July in Rosyth

1941- 1943

Malaya escorted convoys from the UK to Malta and Cape Town until summer 1943.


Malaya was withdrawn from service at the end of 1944 and placed in reserve and served as an accommodation ship for a torpedo school.


Sold on 20 February 1948 to Metal Industries, she arrived at Faslane on 12 April 1948 for scrapping. The ship's bell can be seen in the East India Club, St James's Square, London.

Legacies of HMS Malaya

On 24 August, 1916 HMS Malaya was presented with a silver bell from the Federated Malay States, in a ceremony attended by the High Commissioner for the Straits Settlements, Sir Ernest Beach, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe and Rear-Admiral Hugh Evan Thomas. Four smaller bells were made for the Captain, the Wardroom, the Gunroom and the Warrant Officers' Mess. Admiral Jellicoe rang the bell into service by sounding off eight bells.

The deactivated Battleship HMS Malaya ship's bells were allocated as follows:

The first watch bell was presented to the Perak (Malaysia) Council after a refit and was hung in the Council Chamber.

The second watch bell was presented to the Victoria Institute Kuala Lumpur on Malayan Victory Day, 12 September 1947 - the 2nd anniversary of the signing of the Japanese surrender - and remained there for 60 years until presented to the Royal Malaysian Navy in 2007.

In May 1950, a ship’s bell was presented by the The Royal Navy to the Malayan Naval Force as a mark of honour and appreciation for their service.

A further bell can be seen in the The East India Club at 16 St. James’s Square, London.

HMS Malaya & Malaysian Sports

When the Battleship HMS Malaya visited Malaya in 1920 the officers and men presented a "HMS Malaya Cup" for competition. It was decided to hold an annual tournament between teams representing the different States and Settlements in Malaya, ...( Tunku: a pictorial biography, 1957-1987, by Mubin Sheppard (Tan Sri Datuk), 1987) HMS Malaya Cup for football is later known as the Malaysia Cup, but HMS Malaya Cup for Rugby still remained until today.

Progress was slow up to the days of the 1st World War but the game in Malaya received a tremendous fillip from the visit of the battleship "HMS Malaya" and the presentation of the "HMS Malaya Cup". This trophy which was meant so much for the game in this country was presented by Captain H. T. butler and the officers of the battleship in 1921 on the occasion of the vessel's first visit to the land whose money built her during the war in 1914 - 1918.

During their stay, the ship's officers and crews engaged in a carnival programme of sport all over the country and it was rugby that they proved keenest and most proficient. They played five games during their stay. They were beaten by Selangor 05 - 03 and Ipoh District 03 - 00 but they beat Singapore 11 - 00, Malacca 20 - 04 and Negeri Sembilan 05 - 03. So the honours were with the visitors. After the ship departed, the officers sent to the Chief Secretary, FMS, and the two trophies which are known as the "Malaya Cup". One for rugby and the other for football. They were given perpetuity for annual competitions.(Malaysia Rugby Union official website)

Who is our national hero?

Who is national hero?


Coined in English 1387, the word hero comes from the Greek "ἥρως" (heros), "hero, warrior", literally "protector" or "defender" the postulated original forms of these words being *ἥρϝως, hērwōs, and *ἭρFα, Hērwā, respectively. It is also thought to be a cognate of the Latin verb servo (original meaning: to preserve whole) and of the Avestan verb haurvaiti (to keep vigil over), although the original Proto-Indoeuropean root is unclear.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the Indo-European root is *ser meaning "to protect". According to Eric Partridge in Origins, the Greek word Hērōs "is akin to" the Latin seruāre, meaning to safeguard. Partridge concludes, "The basic sense of both Hera and hero would therefore be 'protector'."


A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government (for example the inhabitants of a sovereign state) irrespective of their ethnic make-up. In international relations, nation can refer to a country or sovereign state. The United Nations, for instance, speaks of how it was founded after the Second World War by “51 countries” and currently has 193 member states. Malaysia is a nation only after 1957, now 54 years old……

National Hero

From the definition of “Hero” and “Nation”, the national hero is defined as the hero of a nation. If the hero is fighting for independence under colonial rule, can it be national hero? If yes, Hero for which country, as a new nation is not formed yet. The hero rightfully is only a freedom fighter, an independence fighter, or if you want to call him hero, he is an independence hero. To a student during the initial period after independence, the school history book told us Hang Tuah was our national hero. Even today the emphasis was no longer on him as national hero, I was wondering he was hero for which nation? Hero for Malacca sultanate, formed by a prince from Sri Vijaya, Sumatra, or just merely a folk hero…..

Can Lt Adnan bin Saidi, (1915 - 14 February 1942) be our national hero? He was a British Malayan soldier of the 1st Infantry Brigade which fought the Japanese in the Battle of Singapore. He is regarded by Malaysians and Singaporeans today as a hero for his actions on Bukit Chandu in Singapore. Can he be a national hero when it happened during WW2, before independence? He is fighting under colonial British Army. We cannot deny his heroic act, but is he a British hero, or Singapore hero, or Malayan/Malaysian hero? Technically he was a historical hero, not national hero, as Malaysia as a nation is not formed yet. He died fighting in Singapore(now not part of Malaysia). However he was Minangkabau, born at Sungai Ramal near Kajang, Selangor, now Malaysia, he died at Singapore, historically part of Malaya.

I do not mind Lt Adnan is our national hero, as he deserved to be a hero, he is worthy, despite he was fighting for British colonial government, he was fighting to protect his homeland, Malaya.

Similarly Lim Bo Seng (27 April 1909 - 29 June 1944), a World War II anti-Japanese resistance fighter from Sino-British guerrilla task force ,Force 136 should also be a national hero. Lim was captured by the Japanese under Marshal Ōnishi Satoru (大西覚) at a roadblock in Gopeng the next day. Lim was taken to the Kempeitai headquarters for interrogation and he refused to provide the Japanese with any information about Force 136 despite being subjected to severe torture. Instead, he protested against the ill-treatment of his comrades in prison. He fell ill with dysentery and was bedridden by the end of May 1944. Lim died in the early hours on June 29, 1944. He was later buried behind the Batu Gajah prison compound in an unmarked spot. After the Japanese surrender, Lim's wife, Gan Choo Neo, was informed of her husband's death by the priest of St. Andrew's School. Gan travelled with her eldest son to bring her husband's remains to Singapore. Lim's remains was transported in a coffin to a hill in MacRitchie Reservoir for burial with full military honours. He was a Singaporean, at that time part of Malaya, died at Batu Gajah, Malaya, now Malaysia, under Operation Zipper fighting to re-capture his homeland.

Other members of Force 136, General H.H. Tan Sri Tunku Osman Khalil Shah bin Tunku Muhammad Jiwa [Osman Jiwa],the Malay group that fought under F136 was called Tigers of Malaya of Force 136 (Harimau Malaya Force 136), included Tengku Mahmood Mahyiddeen( former student of Penang Free School,son of last Sultan of Pattani, Tengku Abdul Kadir Kamaruddeen),General (Rtd) Tun Ibrahim bin Ismail, KBE (1922–2010), who retired as a full general and chief of the Malaysian armed forces in the 1970s; Captain Tun Hussein Onn, Malaysia's 3rd Prime Minister, and many more...

Alliance of Force 136 was MPAJA or Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army, formed in 1942. On December 8, 1941, the Japanese Empire invaded Malaya. The British colonial authorities now accepted the Malayan Communist Party or MCP's standing offer of military co-operation. On 15 December, all left-wing political prisoners were released.

From 20 December the British military began to train party members in guerilla warfare at the hastily established 101st Special Training School (101st STS) in Singapore. About 165 MCP members were trained before the British defences collapsed. These fighters, scantily armed and equipped by the hard-pressed British, hurriedly dispersed and attempted to harass the occupying army.

Just before Singapore fell on 15 February 1942, the party began organise armed resistance in the state of Johore. Soon four armed groups, which became known as 'Regiments', were formed, with 101st STS trainees serving as nuclei. In March this force was dubbed the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) and began sabotage and ambushes against the Japanese. The Japanese responded with reprisals against Chinese civilians. These reprisals, coupled with increasing economic hardship, caused large numbers of Malayan Chinese to flee the cities. They became squatters at the forest margins, where they became the main source of recruits, food, and other assistance for the MPAJA. The MPAJA consolidated this support by providing protection.

The MCP also participated in the defence of Singapore; they formed the largest group in Dalforce, the volunteer army that was formed to fight alongside the regular British soldiers. After the fall of Singapore, some members of Dalforce joined MPAJA.

For information, not all members of MPAJA were communists. The MPAJA was joined by isolated Allied personnel who had been left behind in the retreat, or had escaped prisoner of war camps. One of them was Nona Baker.

Malaya 's Only English Girl Guerilla EDITED FREEDOM NEWSPAPER After living and fighting with the Chinese guerillas for three years in the jungle near Kuantan, Pahang, Miss Nona Baker, the only English girl guerilla in Malaya, has returned to civilization. She came here in 1939 to keep house for her brother, Vincent(Vincent Brice Carew Baker , 1888-1944), Mine Manager of Pahang Consolidated Tin Mines , at Sungei Lembing, north of Kuantan( The Straits Times, 7 October 1945, Page 2).

After the WW2 ended, on 12 September 1945 the British Military Administration (BMA) was installed at Kuala Lumpur. Later MPAJA reluctantly agreed to disband ...


(source: click at the picture to view the documentary movie. If you are not able to view it for reason unknown, you can still try or or Pathé is a reputable source of info. From March 2010, British Pathé relaunched its archive as an online entertainment site, making Pathé News a service for the public as well as the broadcasting industry.In August 2011, British Pathé launched a YouTube channel)

This was extract of what reported in The Strait Time, Singapore:

G.O.C. Thanks Guerilla Army Malaya's "Maquis'* the Anti- Japanese Army was officially "de-mobbed" yesterday after three and a half years' of splendid achievements. In Johore Bahru. headquarters of the 4th Regiment, 500 of the Three -Star men paraded for the ceremony, and, while they listened to a message of thanks and congratulation from GOC , Malaya, Spitfires and Mosquitos of the RAF roared over them and dipped low in salute. The men were assembled behind Johore Law Court and the address by Lieu general Sir Frank Messervy, GOC , Malaya was read out by Brigadier JJ McCully , DSO, Commander of 4th Brigade , British 2nd Division, in Malaya. Col MC Hay, the SCAO of Johore asked the disbanded men to dedicate themselves to the task of restoring prosperity of Malaya. The 3 Star men’s own Officer Commanding, Chen Tian, and Mr Wu Tian Wang , representative of the Singapore branch of Malayan Communist Party , also urging the ex-guerillas to co-operate the administration (The Straits Times, 2 December 1945, Page 3)


Guerrillas Farewell Probably for the first time in their Incident-packed existence, men of the Three-Star Army participated m a ceremonial parade on Saturday when the Malayan "Maquis “ were officially demobbed. Brigadier JJ McCully, D.S.O Commander of the 4th Brirade. British Second Division, Malaya, reviewed the parade of Johore AJA (The Straits Times, 5 December 1945, Page 3)

GUERILLA LEADERS DECORATED BY SUPREMO Campaign Medals Awarded On the wide stone steps of Singapore's Municipal building, in which the historic surrender was signed, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander, pinned the Burma Star and 1939-45 Star to the proud breasts of 16 leaders of the Malayan Resistance Movement. Three were Malay, the remaining Chinese.( The Straits Times, 7 January 1946, Page 3)One of the Malay was Che Yeop Mahidin from Pahang(The Straits Times, 6 January 1946, Page 2)


Note: there is also Pathe Newsreels on Footage of Lord Mountbatten giving speech concerning food supply in Malaya in the youtube, consider lucky if you can view it now. Otherwise, try

The best book on the part of history is not our school history textbook, but The Jungle is neutral, by Chapman, Freddie Spencer, published by Lyon Press(ISBN 1-59228-107-9).

The most important factor to understand the history, is to understand the political development in the international environment, it affect not only Malaya,it was all over the world, a global phenomenon....

That was the resistance during Japanese Occupation(1941-1945). They were all resistance fighters. Fighting for their land and race, whatever their political and nationalism orientations, whatever their racial backgrounds...they give their life for their land...their main agenda was to knock Japanese Imperial Army out form Malaya. Are they national heroes, it is for history to judge...

Malaysian Hero

The cut off criteria is the nation formation in 1957, prior to that some argued that Malay states were independent protectorates of British empire, and not colony.

Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory

Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided. The United Nations currently only requires that a sovereign state has an effective and independent government within a defined territory. According to current international law norms, states are only required to have an effective and independent system of government pursuant to a community within a defined territory.

The criteria for an independent state is power to rule e.g. an independent self-government, and power to make law. Politically, British effectively control the administration under the federal administration, legally English Law applied to all states in the federation.

The centralized Federal administration controlled the states, the government staff especially senior level staff in civilian department and military were all from Britain.

The statutory introduction of English law to the Federated Malay States comprising the states of Perak, Selangor, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan occurred in 1937 with the introduction of the Civil Law Enactment, 1937. The Unfederated Malay States, consisting the states of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu and Johor, became part of the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and the Civil Law (Extension) Ordinance, 1951, extended the application of the Enactment to these states.

This revealed politically who had the control....


Bukit Kepong Incident was an armed encounter which took place on February 23, 1950 between the police and the Malayan Communists in pre-independence Malaya. This conflict took place in an area surrounding the Bukit Kepong police station in Bukit Kepong. The wooden station was located on the river banks of the Muar River, about 59 km from Muar town, Johor.

It happens during Malayan Emergency(1948-1960). The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960. The Malayan Emergency was the colonial government's term for the conflict. The MNLA termed it the Anti-British National Liberation War. The rubber plantations and tin mining industries had pushed for the use of the term "emergency" since their losses would not have been covered by Lloyd's insurers if it had been termed a "war.". It was in a war period under British Federation of Malaya.( refer to Malayan Emergency, wikipedia). The MNLA termed it the Anti-British National Liberation War. It was a war, you may call it emergency or liberation war, it is still a war.....

After the Japanese surrendered, the MPAJA came out of the jungles. It split with Force 136 and under the leadership of the Malayan Communist Party entered towns to fight for political power. Its political aim was to seek independence from British rule and established a "Malayan people's government".(Source: Infopedia, National Library Board Singapore) or some local academician called Communist Republic or Communist state. This revealed they are fighting for independence from colonial rule or British rule, as WW2 or 2nd Sino-Japanese War was over, it was no longer the war to support the China Resistance War as some local academicians and self professed historians has wrongly claimed.

The event took place in 1950, Malaya is still under British colonial rule. Before 31-8-1957 or independent of Malaya, the nation is not yet formed. The colonial rule was under Federation of Malaya (Malay: Persekutuan Tanah Melayu) is the name given to a federation of 11 states (nine Malay states and two of the British Straits Settlements, Penang and Malacca)that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation of Malaya Agreement was signed on 21 January 1948 at King House by the Malay rulers, and by Sir Edward Gent as the representative of the British government. The Agreement superseded the Agreement creating the Malayan Union, and prepared for the establishment of the Federation of Malaya on 1 February 1948. The position of the Malay rulers was also restored. The Federation became independent only on 31 August 1957. Prior to Federation of Malaya, it was Malayan Union,Due to opposition from Malay nationalists, the Union was disbanded and replaced by the Federation of Malaya, which restored the symbolic positions of the rulers of the Malay states. So whatever political position prior to WW2 was all over.....a new federation was formed under the British colonial rule until 1957....


(Field Marshal Sir Gerald Walter Robert Templer KG, GCB, GCMG, KBE (11 September 1898–25 October 1979) was a British military commander. He is best known for his defeat of the guerrilla rebels in Malaya between 1952 and 1954).

Within the Federation, while the Malay states were protectorates of the United Kingdom, Penang and Malacca remained British colonial territories. The federation agreement Perjanjian Persekutuan set the powers of the federal and state governments. Financial matters must be handled by the respective states. The Sultan was given full power on religious issues and Malay customs. Foreign policy and defence continued to be administered by the British government. The federation agreement was made the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya and officially declared on 1 February 1948. Within the federation, there was separation of powers of the federal and state government.

All Malay states under FMS(4 states), UFS(5 states) and Strait Settlements states(2 states), were federal states under the federation, lost their sovereign power as independent nation, but become a state in the federation of 11 states. Malay states prior to WW2 were Unfederated Malay States(Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu) and Federated Malay States of Selangor, Perak, Pahang, and Negri Sembilan. The five Unfederated Malay States lacked common institutions, and did not form a single state in international law. Under Federation of Malaya, the 11 states formed a political entity of statehood under British colonial rule.

If Federation was not colony, why against Malayan Union as the Malay states will still be independent states, and have sovereignty over the Malay states. Why sign the Federation of Malaya agreement, when you have the power not to do so? Why obtain independence from British colonial government, when Malay states were not colony? Which revealed the British have political control over the states.

A protectorate, in the British Empire, is a territory which is not formally annexed but in which, by treaty, grant or other lawful means, the Crown has power and jurisdiction. In 1880, the British government the administration of its Colonial protectorate from its Foreign Office to Colonial Office. This transfer symbolize that the colonial protectorate was removed from the sphere of international law and relegated to that of national law, thus coming with the same orbit as colony in the narrower meaning It is in the general trend that the great international treaties of the period, always listed colonies and protectorate at the same level(source: The epochs of international law, by Wilhelm Georg Grewe, Michael Byers, Walter de Gruyter, 2000 –pg 473).


(Sir Donald Charles MacGillivray, KCMG, MBE was the last Colonial Administrator to serve in Malaya.He served Malaya from 1954 until 1957. He chaired during his administration in British Malaya, the first Legistrative Council for the Federation of Malaya, with appointed local and European council members).

The Federation of Malaya Legislative Council held its first meeting at colonial building at British garrison camp, located 109, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur(now Malaysia Tourism Center)on 24th Feb 1948.(Note: The hall was later named Tuanku Abdul Rahman Hall on 24 Feb. 1958 after the first Prime Minister). It was opened by the British High Commissioner Sir Edward Gent. Attendees included the British Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, Lord Listowel. The membership of the Council was structured to include:

•the British High Commissioner (as President);
•3 ex-officio members (namely the Chief Secretary, the Financial Secretary, and the Attorney General);
•11 "State and Settlement Members" (the President of the Council of State of each Malay state, and a member elected by each of the Settlement Councils)
•11 official members; and
•34 appointed "unofficial" members.

Look at the members of the council, 34 appointed unofficial members and others were official members, who were the forces that control the council? Take note British Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, Lord Listowel was there, if Malay states and Strait Settlement were not British colony, either protectorate or crown colony, why the Minister of Colonial Affairs was there? Why not Minister of Foreign Affairs? a question to ponder.

The first federal election only in 1955. The Federal Legislative Council established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement was dissolved to make way for a General Election. This marked the first time that the people of Malaya went to the polls to elect their representatives to the Federal Legislative Council. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra was appointed the first Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya and thereby formed his first Cabinet. The self government commenced.

Federation of Malaya gained independence on 31-8-1957, it is now an independent nation.....


Technically and logically, a Malaysian hero is the one who is a Malaysian, who contribute to well being of a nation or protect her from invasion, of an independent nation called Malaysia, are Malaysian heroes.

Tunku Abdul Rahman, being Father of Malaysia, will be our first Malaysian national hero.

Bernama TV cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor, shot dead on Friday while covering a Malaysian humanitarian aid mission in famine-hit Somalia is a Malaysian national hero..

Recipients of PGB(Pingat Gagah Berani or Pahlawan Gagah Berani)are officially Malaysian national heroes....

Before 31-8-1957 or independent of Malaya, the nation is not yet formed, there is no national hero. Whoever contributes to fight for independence is called independence fighter, freedom fighter or independence hero. Only after formation of nation, we have national hero. A national hero is a Malayan/Malaysian who has been recognized as a hero for his or her role in the history of the country. However some countries may consider their independence hero as national hero after the nation gained independence from the colonial rule.

Regardless of political ideology, and the methods they used(peaceful or military),any person or institution who fight for freedom or independence from British colonial rule are freedom fighters. Nobody will participate in an independent war or political activities, risking their own life and facing the threat of imprisonment, without any justified cause. The only reason must be for the country and homeland they loved, and they see it worthy to risk their life.

For Malayan independence, there were two forces fighting for independence. One using peaceful method, by believed in election by people, another being illegal, fights jungle warfare against the colonial government. Whatever their political ideology, whatever method they use, they are freedom fighters.

Mat Kilau, Mat Janggu(or Tok Janggu), DATUK DOL SAID, RENTAP,SHARIF MASHHOR, DATU MAT SALLEH,DATUK ABDULLAH SANI RAJA KECIL(Ahmad Boestamam),DATUK ISHAK MUHAMMAD(Pak Sako),DATUK ONN JAAFAR,TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PUTRA,TUN TAN CHENG LOCK,SIR DAVID MARSHALL( a Jew),SIR HARRY LEE KUAN YEW,DATUK ERNEST THURAISINGAM,Tan Sri Datuk Amar Ong Kee Hui,Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Yong Kuet Tze .... and many who were from MNLA....are freedom fighters prior to independence...

The CPM was considered illegal party by the colonial British, as the CPM’s negotiation to register as political party was rejected by the British colonial government after the war. This is despite the history of alliance between MPAJA and Force 136, and British war government during the Pacific War and later World War 2, when they fight together against the Japanese Imperial Army during Japanese occupation. After the WW2, it was cold war era(1947-1991), the British turn their alliance away.

They cannot be national hero, the new nation is not yet form. If the party want to award for his heroic act, it is only CPM’s award. (For information, Chin Peng was awarded OBE by the British, but later withdrawn). Just ponder, are they national hero for fighting British(for whatever their agenda, personal or institutional)?

Are they national hero under definition? Are they fighting for their country?

The colonial police force was the uniform unit of colonial government, British. They are working for colonial government. They cannot be national hero or Malaysian hero, but if a heroic act was done, he is British hero, only British award will be given. For example George medal. The George Medal (GM) is the second level civil decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. The medal is primarily a civilian award, but it may be awarded to military personnel for gallant conduct that is not in the face of the enemy. For example, the late Inspector (Retired) Chew Kim Chuan was given the George Medal by Her Majesty the Queen of British Empire, for gallantry to his part played in the successful operation against Communist Terrorists in the Ulu Langat Forest Reserve on the 10th December, 1956. (Note: Sybil Kathigasu - Malayan nurse who supported the resistance during the Japanese occupation of Malaya. She is the only Malayan woman to be ever awarded with the George Medal for bravery during World War II)

Just ponder, are they national hero? Are they fighting for their country?

History will recorded the heroic act of the winner, who will form the new government for the new nation. If the CPM wins the war against British, a different history will be rewritten. They will have different type of criteria to name their heroes. The new government of the new nation, however can have the liberty to recognize anyone as their national heroes.....

We also remember The Batang Kali massacre, an incident that took place in Malaya on December 12, 1948 during British military operations against native and Chinese communists in the post-World War II Malayan Emergency.The 7th Platoon, G Company, 2nd Scots Guard surrounded a rubber estate at Sungai Rimoh, Batang Kali, Selangor in Malaya and shot 24 villagers before setting fire to the village. The only adult male survivor was Chong Hong, who was in his 20s at the time. He fainted and was presumed dead by the Guardsmen. Eye witnesses include the victims' spouse and children and others including Tham Yong age 78 and Loh Ah Choy age 67. The men had been separated from the women and children for interrogation before the shooting began. The incident today is sometimes described as "Britain's My Lai massacre". It was in this campaign that Sir Gerald Templer first coined the now famous phrase "hearts and minds" as part of his strategy for victory.(source: wikipedia). A British High court ruled on Aug 31, 2011 in favour of the family members for a review of the British government’s refusal to probe the incident, where 24 unarmed rubber plantation workers in Batang Kali, were killed(

Any old folk living at the Chinese dominated rural area or new village will tell you the fear during the Emergency, the simple villagers were the sandwich between the British forces and communist forces, they were at the risk of to be killed, if they were at the wrong place at wrong time. Batang Kali massacre was one fine example.

The British finally won the war by using mainly psychological warfare....

After the independence(1957), it is easier to identify a national hero....the CPM who still fighting against an independent nation, lost their right to be independent the nation is an independent country, as Malaya, and later Malaysia. The new government give them a new name, communist terrorist. The police force is now Royal Malaysian Police, The Malaysian Armed Forces is Angkatan Tentera Malaysia.

In 1989 the CPM finally laid down its arms On December 2 at the town of Had Yai in Southern Thailand, Chin Peng, Rashid Maidin, and Abdullah C. D. met with representatives of the Malaysian and Thailand governments. Separate peace agreements were signed between the CPM and both governments. The cold war political games was finally over for Malaysia ....

The national identity is now strong and clear....but Chin Peng, now an old man is still longing to go home..... looking back, who was the hero? and does it matter now to him? .....

Then who are the national heroes?

The ruling government or the winner will officially name their national hero for independence. They can have a long list of whoever they want, and even gazette it with honor and awards. The loser who cannot form the country, will similarly have their own heroes, but will be always in their heart, but they are not official as national heroes.

But an open government will look at historical background, and even acknowledge the person who fight for independence or contribute to the nation as hero; regardless of their political background and the method they used, provided there are no war criminal record. A nation will normally not name a national hero with war criminal background. This is national pride….

Mat Kilau and Tok Janggu will never be a hero under colonial government, he will be a criminal under the colonial law as they were fighting British colonial government; but today he is a hero for the nation as independence fighter. You can now see a chapter in the school history textbook....

If you look at our historical records, even the The Strait Time, the newspaper during the colonial period from the pre war days to post war days….you will discover that the news reported was different from what is officially being told, and what is being taught in our school history textbooks….

To a winner, his man is a hero; to a looser, his hero will become a criminals or terrorists of the modern politic, it is a winner's games...the heroes of winner is official heroes, that will be publicly acknowledged; the heroes of losers is unofficial heroes that will be forgotten through time...

Ultimately, a real national hero is for people to decide…..

The cold world ended after The USSR was declared officially dissolved on December 25, 1991. Today the communist state left only Cuba, other so called communist states are more capitalist than capitalist country, or just a single party nation. The debate of who are the national hero has no political significance anymore. The communism era is over.

What happen to our history book? If you look at the school history book today, you will realize that the books are historically blind and biased. No wonder our politician cannot recognize the national hero, because they are historically blind and do not know who are hero….

After Mat Sabu raised the issue(which was under his right of expression), many self professed historian suddenly raised their voices and views, many are historically blind, and not directly involved in Emergency era. I have the right to give my view, as my father was a jungle squad police, staying in police station in a communists active area during my childhood, family was worried about the security situation every hours of the day. My father served the police force not as national hero, but to feed the family in the 50s. The stories of the police jungle squad, the brutal act of both the British and communist were daily news. I believed, policeman or communist, as a person, they do not want the war, no body win, it was just a political games by two political ideologies(USA and Russia, and their allies)during the cold war. We need to look at both side of the stories....they are only a simple soldier, follow the order, once they have decide to join the forces, government or is regret for the families who lost their loved one, from either camps, it was a sad chapter of the nation.....

These people who served their respective armies/police were the real hero, they use their life to earn a living or to fight for their ideal to change the future, for themselves, for the family or for the perceived future country. They are the unknown heroes who will make history for their country, win or loose, no matter which side they fight for......there was no right or wrong.....

Politicians are adding salt to the old wound....they only use their big mouth for their personal political agenda.... the politician has no right to speak for them, they do not know the sad and bitter reality, only their families known.

After 54 years of independence, a nation still worry about who is their national hero, I was sad to ponder is our nation mature with confidence to go forward for another 54 years…..looking at the life cycle of a human, a 54 years old man is a mature person who had accomplished their task and on the way for retirement to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Is our country reaching the status?.....

A 54 years old nation should be able to look at our national history with open mind, good or ugly…..our people should not be misled by historian who blindly followed the agenda of the rulers, but should independently read history from all reliable sources and make their own mind, who is his national heroes.....

Note: For the readers of the blog, please take note of Racial Policies played by the colonial government, both British and Japanese in their administration of the colony, and some of the elements still remained after independence. So some of the academician, self professed historian, politician still tinkled with colonial thinking left over by their racial policies. Their mind still remained in historical past, not in a Malaysian perspective. Please look at the historical factor on the issue)

References & Suggested readings:

1. British court rules in favour of Batang Kali kin, The Star online,
2. Justice sought in UK over Malaysia deaths, by Alastair Leithead,
3. Sudden awareness for need to restore Bukit Kepong cemetery, by G. Prakash and
4. Raj Salutes Defenders of Bukit Kepong,
5. Bukit Kepong Incident,
6. Mat Indera was not a communist’, by Tarani Palani,Free Malaysia Today, dated September 7, 2011
7. Malaya’s only English girl Guerilla, Nona Baker( The Straits Times, 7 October 1945, Page 2).
8. Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA),
9. Sybil stirs a new awakening,
10. Nilai Monument – Learn the difference between resistance against Japanese and CPM ,
11. Cold War,
12. The unsung heroes, by LOUISA LIM,
13. official representatives selected for the Victory Parade In London: (The Straits Times, 18 April 1946, Page 3)
14. GUERILLA LEADERS DECORATED BY SUPREMO, The Straits Times, 8 January 1946, Page 3)
15. FORMER M. P.A.J.A. MEN DISCHARGED, The Straits Times, 19 November 1946, Page 11
16. Jungle is neutral, by Chapman, Freddie Spencer, published by Lyon Press(ISBN 1-59228-107-9).
17. The price of peace: true accounts of the Japanese occupation,edited by Choon Hon Foong, Asiapac Books Pte Ltd, 1997.(you can know some heroes in the book)