Wednesday, May 13, 2009

.: 13 May :.

The national tragedy of 1969.

A Reporter's account of an interview with Tunku Abdul Rahman on the 13 May incident.

The rest is history. I am sorry but I must end this discussion now because it really pains me as the Father of Merdeka [Independence] to have to relive those terrible moments. I have often wondered why God made me live long enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.”


Excerpt from Malaysian Today.

When the Malay residents of Jalan Raja Abdullah heard that trouble had erupted along Jalan Raja Muda, they quickly ‘smuggled’ their Chinese neighbours into their homes. When some Malays started going house-to-house searching for Chinese, the Malays dressed the Chinese in Baju Melayu (Malay costume) and brought them over to the Kampong Baru Mosque — which by then had become a sort of refugee centre for all those stranded in Kampong Baru due to the curfew that had been imposed. No one could enter or leave Kampong Baru so the mosque was the safest place of refuge.

In the meantime, the Chinese manager was stranded in Lever Brothers’ office in Jalan Bangsar. He could not go home because of the curfew. Anyway, to go home would have been suicide because Kampong Baru and the areas surrounding it saw some of the worst racial skirmishes. The manager phoned the police who went over to his Jalan Raja Abdullah home and found the house burnt to the ground and the family missing. He assumed they had all been killed. The distraught manager did not know they were safe in the Kampong Baru Mosque dressed as Malays. Imagine his relief when many days later he found his family alive thanks to his Malay neighbours.

In Pasar Borong, an all-Chinese wholesale market (then along Jalan Ipoh behind the old Tabung Haji headquarters) it was the other way around. There was this lone Malay trader who was stranded there when trouble broke out. The Chinese traders at the market hid the Malay in some fish boxes, safe from the marauding Chinese who were looking for Malays to kill — just like what the Malays in Kampong Baru were doing.

He had to suffer the stench for a couple of days but the Chinese kept him alive until it was safe for him to emerge from his hiding place and go home to his family who had given him up for dead.

These are but two though by no means the only ‘good’ stories of May 13. Taman Seputeh was then (and still is, I think) a mixed Malay-Chinese neighbourhood. The residents got together to form a guard unit (equivalent to the Rukun Tetangga before the word was even invented) to patrol the area. When any armed Malays came to the neighbourhood, the Malay residents would go face them to negotiate safe passage for the Chinese and if any armed Chinese came instead, then the Chinese residents would reciprocate. Taman Seputeh saw no bloodshed the entire period.”

Harapan saya ialah semoga kita menjadi sahabat sejati selama-lamanya.

I hope we will be best friends forever.

By Lat; Dato' Mohd. Nor Bin Khalid [Malaysia's most beloved cartoonist]

There are multiple interpretations on why and what happened, and there are 2 generally accepted views. I prefer to gracefully avert from discussing further. No one really knows the real truth behind the racial disturbance. Despite the disaster, it is a monumental and imperative piece of history that we need to remember; one that unmistakably holds the pivotal role to shape the fate of our nation. We musn't allow anyone to induce hatred and bigotry by means of race and religion, lest we suffer the fate of our country being turned into a horrific racial battlefield once more.

Promoting racial integrity, acceptance and celebration of the various compositions that our diverse culture, race, religion and tradition have to offer; brought together in this melting pot known as Malaysia and fondly referred to as home.

A glimpse of Malaysian history.
12.58 noon Malaysian Time


Unknown said...

As the 13th verse of Surah Al-Hujraat translates,

"O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted."

Hajar Alwi said...

:) On a side note, political blogs upset me tremendously.