Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rising Sun over Malaya

A few nights ago, after tucked in Caleb for bed, I switched on the tv, clicking away. I stumbled upon this documentry on Astro History Channel 555 - Rising Sun Over Malaya.
It was an intriguing documentary tells the personal stories of Malayans who endured turbulent times under Japanese rule during World War II. This happened exactly 70 years ago, the British General Officer Commanding Malaya signing the surrender document to enable Japanese rule over Singapore and Malaya.

I never heard much about it from my mom or dad. Or maybe they did, just that I forgot. Anyway, I'm gonna to ask my mom if I'm going back Bentong this weekend.

The most vivid story told by one survivor, Seow Boon Hor now 78. He was only 7 years old when he witnessed his parents and younger brother's death at the hands of Japanese soldiers. He managed to survive all because of his quickthinking mother who was pregnant at that time, shielded him with her body. It was her act of sacrifice that saved his life.

Greatest love from a mother....

And they even mention about comfort women. Ex-comfort women, Rosalind Saw now 79, broken her silence about the years she spent as a sex slave during Japanese Occupation. She was 24 years old when she abducted from her home. The soldiers put her into a lorry with other women from her village and took her to a 'comfort' facility in Penang. She was then given a Japanese name of Hanako and as a result of the rapes, she became pregnant and after giving birth to a boy, she had to return to the 'comfort station'. 

From google, I found out that she was also visited by a historian Nakahara Michiko who writes in the Journal of Critical Asian Studies. This was what he wrote from his interview with Rosalind:
[Rosalind] was taken to a big house and locked in. (The house, which still stands at the junction of Jalan Burma and Jalan Zainal Abidin, is now the Tong Lock Hotel). A sign saying ‘Exclusive Army Use’ was hung at the entrance of the hotel…She was raped continuously, on a daily basis, by Japanese soldiers. Beginning at 8.00 A.M. the soldiers would start coming in to satisfy their sexual needs. At night, officers came and stayed all night. Rosalind was given lunch and dinner. On a busy day, she would be raped by about thirty soldiers. She would just lie on the bed, naked. There was no time to get dressed.
I heart just sank. I found myself gritting my teeth, clenching my fists......
She did survive the ordeal but the scar would never be heal.

Another story told by a man that still remained in my mind for days. He witnessed his little brother who was not more than 1 year old, snatched from his mom's embrace, threw up in the air and went through the soldier's bayonet when it fall down. Cutting through the baby's stomach and all intestines split on the ground. The baby was still crying on the floor. That's how cruel and ruthless they were.

At this moment all I was thinking is to go into room and hug my baby. Gently I hugged and kissed him on the cheek. That probably woke him up from slumber. He mumbled; "Caleb sleep-sleep jor" - Caleb sleep already....


For those who are still interested in catching this documentary, you can watch it in youtube:

The synopsis of the documentary:
"The Second World War in Malaya from 1941-1945 was a time of darkness and despair - where innocent lives were lost and blood ran freely. The Japanese rule with an iron hand, slaughtering tens of thousands of Chinese citizens. They force young women to work as sex slaves, or ‘comfort women’ and trick others into working on the notorious ‘Death Railway’. The people of Malaya struggle for survival. When the Japanese surrender in 1945, Malaya plunges into a period of turmoil that brings it to the brink of civil war. But amidst the fire and ruins, sparks of resilience and courage grew. The painful war experience gave a great impetus to a new awakening. “Rising Sun Over Malaya” tells this little known story through the eyes of the people of Malaysia who had a personal observation of the occupation."


eugene said...

History Channel is one of my favourite channels from Astro,, you know what,i really hope those history of war,suffering,oppression our forefathers endured,will not happen again

Wabbitfoot said...

@Eugene: Yes, that is my wish too. You have a great weekend ya.

mommy to chumsy said...

thanks for the info. going to look it up on youtube and watch it. i know some people who still detest the japanese until today eventhough what happened was not the fault of the younger generations.

Anonymous said...

Watched such documentaries many times and each time my heart will sink while at the same time full of anger How such inhuman Japanese imperial Armies were. I am the 3rd generation of Chinese Malaysian immigrant and I still feel so sorry for our people whom have suffered the pain and sufferings from the Japanese occupation. Thousand of innocent live deliberately killed by ruthless people but your departure has not gone in vain as the people of Japan are from time to time sufferings from the sins of their father by natural disaster.

Anonymous said...

It is no fault of todays young Japanese

However, their denial of their Japan's appalling atrocitied only prys open a deep wound.

Remorselessness demonstrated by their twisting of history, that these women were willing and paid, that those slaughtered were troublemakers and those tortured deserved their fate.

These scum are enshrined, honoured and worshipped; blindly and wholeheartedly by their government, dignitaries, young and old alike. For the wretched bravery of their wartime heros.

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