Sunday, October 28, 2007

Struggle against distortion of history in Japan

Last night, Japanese lawyer Mr. Hiroshi Oyama (centre) and school teacher Mr. Takeo Otani (right) delivered their public lectures at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on the struggle of progressive and liberal Japanese against rightwing revision of the Japan's imperialist and WWII history and Mr. Loke Thu Sang acted as the Japanese-Mandarin interpreter. Both Chinese Malaysian and Japanese youths, including school teachers and university professors, attended the three-hour free, frank and friendly exchanges of ideas. The public forum was organised by a Malaya's WWII victims memorial committee of the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

Mr. Oyama told the audience that the main purpose of him bringing young Japanese to visit Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of Asia is to open up their hearts and minds to the true understanding of the hardship and suffering inflicted by militarist Japan's past wars of conquest to non-Japanese Asians. According to Mr. Loke, the Japanese group is going to visit Negeri Sembilan where a number of survivors and eye-witnesses of major wartime atrocities are still alive.

Imperial Japan's military began to invade Malaya on 8 December, 1941 and after seventy days of strategically disorganised defence, British troops surrendered in Singapore on 15 February, 1942. During the 44-month occupation, the largest and only functioning armed resistance was operated by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and its guerrilla force, Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA).

The first authoritative collection of the short memoirs of MPAJA partisans titled Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army was published by Witness Publishing House in Hong Kong in 1992. It is still the most comprehensive account of what happened in occupied Malaya from 1941 to 1945, especially the activities, both military and political, of the guerrilla forces and its supporting underground.

Later in the same year, Witness Publishing House also issued Selected Historical Materials of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army to supplement Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army. The two books have since become standard and authoritative reference in the Chinese Malaysian community for historical research on the resistance movement as well as socio-economic and political conditions of the period from Perlis to Johore.

One conclusion that can certainly be drawn from Malayan People's Anti Japanese Army and Selected Historical Materials of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army is that, with the exception of Singapore and parts of southern Johore, the damages done by the trecherous Lai Te @ Lai Teck @ Mr. Wright @ Chang Hong @ Wong Shao-Tong to the overall party organisation and its guerrilla forces during the Japanese occupation was not as great as subsequently exaggerated as the number of partisans and their units actually increased - not decreased - even after the Batu Cave incident on 1 September 1942. Unfortunately, there is still no Malay, English or Japanese translation of these two magnum opuses of the wartime history of Malaya as the contributors are not wealthy businessmen or powerful ministers.

Exploration of Japan's postwar foreign policy

Eternal glory to Malaya's anti-fascist martyrs

2 Comments:

Blogger kittykat46 said...

Interestingly, Lai Tek continued to be leader of the MPAJA throughout the balance of WWII, while all the while alleged to be a 3-way traitor (MPAJA, British, Japanese). Yet MPAJA continued to function effectively.
I still can't figure out this whole thing about Lai Tek.

Lai Tek disappeared in 1947, with the MPAJA's funds, and it seems nobody has ever found out what happened to him after that, dead or alive.

8:37 PM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

Actually, even during the Occupation, some MPAJA(like in Negeri Sembilan) had already instinctively felt something wrong or strange with some of his decisions but did not openly defy him but only say yes to him but did not do what he order. And then, there was the difficulties of communication in wartime causing his treachery only effective in people closed to him in Singapore and southern Johore. As Lai Te functioned in Singapore, the bulk of MPAHA operated in faraway jungles in the Penninsula with quite independent decision-making powers in accordance to local circumstances. Well, as Chin eng has alrady said in his memoirs, Lai Te was dead in Bangkok in 1947.

9:03 PM  

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