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Kampung Pictures Daily Hear them speak
Hear them speak PDF Print E-mail
Written by straits-mongrel   
Monday, 07 December 2009 16:07


He was probably a youth, I'd imagine, full of vigor and hope, if not for the war. His bones lie below the limestone slab etched in his honour, as with many others at the Taiping War Cemetery. His identity was never established, except that he was Indian. An ocean away from home, fighting a battle he might not have even fathomed.



December 8, just past midnight, 68 years ago, sentries on the beaches of Kota Bharu raised an alarm that would foretell a saga stretching four years in the region. Framed within lazy columns of coconut palms, three enormous shadows appeared on the horizon - Awazisan Maru, Ayatosan Maru, Sakura Maru - transport ships of the Empire of Japan. World War II had arrived on these shores. Across the Pacific, just minutes later, Pearl Harbour in Hawaii would be bombarded and left in flames.

Dec 8, 1941 marked the Japanese Invasion of British Malaya, a gritty bloody campaign fought on both sides of the Titiwangsa Range and which claimed thousands of lives. On Jan 31, 1942, Singapore fell to Yamashita's army. Sabah and Sarawak would fall without much resistance. The Japanese Occupation would reign over the people for the next four years.



The Taiping War Cemetery is one of more than a dozen monuments and cemeteries established throughout the country. Believed to be designed by Major JH Ingram, a War Graves Officer, in 1946, it is composed of two halves bisected by Jalan Bukit Larut. One side hosts the remains of British and Australian soldiers, the other side Muslims, Gurkhas and Buddhists. It is currently under the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


More than 850 dead servicemen have been buried there with many of the bodies exhumed from different parts of the peninsula after the war. More than 500 of these people were never identified; of the identified, most were in their early 20s.

But the starkest fact arising as one strolls along the turfed aisles is that an overwhelming majority of these honoured dead are foreign-born. Pendatangs, as a certain political tribe would term them. Yet it was on this land tumpahnya darah mereka.


For all that their flesh, bone and spirit contributed during those horrifying times, may these silent stones today remind us never to indulge in the stupidity of petty differences.


Picture credits:

Site plan:

Bottom pic: Bubbha at Wikipedia


More pictures and interesting facts here.

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SAJ  - A TIMELY REMINDER |2009-12-08 12:15:02
Once again a thought provoking piece from 'straits mongrel'.

Thanks for the timely remonder.

May they Rest in Peace.
prathab |2009-12-08 12:16:13
History cannot be rewritten by the revisionists, no matter how hard they want to deny it.

many other fought and died on this soil...including the other 'pendatangs' and 'darah penjajah' like the Gurkhas and Australians. Actually, even the Communist Party fought against the Japanese! Few today remember the MPAJA....farewell heroes.
Anonymous |2009-12-11 23:10:55
PENDATANGS..? So is only a term to describe every immigrant that arrived to make this land a mosaic of people called Malaysia.Practically everyone in this country except for the Orang Asli is a Pendatang.

The Orang Asli had been here for thousands of years. Whereas the rest of our forefathers can only claim an ancestory of a few hundred years.For having come to Malaysia from other countries.

In any case,what is important is that like the young foreign Indian soldier who gave his life for this country without counting the cost, so our forefathers and most Malaysians have contributed their talents and expertise to collectively make Malaysia what it is today....a thriving country economically and socially.

They did so, wholeheartedly, ungrudgingly as One People eager to become One Nation.

Just so that they could call this country,their own, their native land.

Like the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Tun Razak is a Pendatang.. he himself said so recently, while on a visit to Sulawesi that his forefathers were from Sulawesi and that he feels very much at home there.

So what's in a name....?


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