Saturday, November 19, 2005

Reconciliation in Singapore ...

One drizzling evening while I was on my way from Gopeng to Ipoh during the campaign period, I received a telephone call from Singapore asking whether I was available for a forum analysing the trends in Malaysian politics. I accepted the invitation of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and went to Singapore on 18 March, 2003 together Professor P. Ramasamy.

It was a close-door forum for academics, diplomats and other VIPs.

After that forum, I continued to receive all sorts of invitation from friends in Singapore. Altogether, I went to Singapore six times in 2004. One was for the final proof-reading of the English-Chinese translation of Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History.

In one of my trips to Singapore in 2004, I met the legendary 94-year old Elizabeth Choy (Su Moi) who was one of the official symbols of civilian resistance to Japanese occupation. She was still very strong and healthy.

Knowing I was from Ipoh and a former MP for Kampar, she asked me to tell her more about the Kinta Valley because she said she had heard so much of the heroic struggles of the Kinta Valley people during the Pacific War and Occupation.

She herself was detained and tortured by the Japanese military’s secret police or Kempetai for 193 days for allegedly supplying banned radio parts to the Allies’ prisoners of war interned in Singapore in 1943. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) after the Pacific War ended.

During the Cold War, Elizabeth Choy was very pro-British.

When Chin Peng visited Singapore for three days in early October, 2004, he met Elizabeth. Chin Peng also paid a visit to the memorial of Lim Bo Seng (alias Tan Choon Lim in Chin Peng's memoirs) , a China Kuamintang-Force 136 secret agent who infiltrated into occupied Perak but captured on Gopeng Road by Japanese military police later on and died in Batu Gajah prison before the war ended.

Living in Thailand, Chin Peng also visited Britain and Australia in 1998 and 1999 respectively.

Asked how she felt about meeting Chin Peng, she said: " Those days are over. Now everybody becomes friends again".