Monday, September 11, 2006

Pak Said salutes friend, patriot Rashid Maidin

My neighbour Said Zahari is still undergoing physiotherapy in the hospital. Pak Said has been informed about the passing of Rashid Maidin on 1 September 2006. This morning, he asked me to publish his obituary for Pak Rashid:

" Rashid Maidin was undoubtedly an anti-fascist hero and anti-colonial fighter. I met him several times in southern Thailand in the course of conducting research for the writing of my memoirs and I found him to be still very spirited patriotically even at an advanced age and very much concerned with happenings and development in his homeland. He hoped his beloved homeland and people of all races to become truly united, independent and free from foreign domination as he had dedicated the best of his life to this cause with many trials and tribulations. His passing is a great loss to the homeland and people of all races. Allow me to salute him and also extend my condolence to his family."

Pak Said was the editor-in-chief of Utusan Melayu (1956-1961) before he was detained without trial in Singapore for 17 years from 1963 to 1979. He has so far published two portions of his trilogical memoirs, namely Meniti Lautan Gelora - Sebuah Memoir Politik (UKM/Utusan, Kuala Lumpur, 2001) and Dalam Ribuan Mimpi Gelisah - Memoir SAid Zahari (Utusan, Kuala Lumpur, 2006).

Born in November 1917 in Kampung Gunung Mesah, Gopeng, Perak, Rashid Maidin joined the Communist Party of Malaya, on the eve of Japanese invasion, in Perak's Tanjung Tualang where he worked as a certified electrical chargeman for an European tin-mining company. The party was inaugurated on 30 April 1930 in a rubber plantation workers' quarters near Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan.

Early last year, Rashid Maidin deposited with this blogger, who met him in southern Thailand, a public statement of gratidute to the Communist Party of Malaya: "As a poor boy born in a backward kampung in colonial time and without sufficient formal education, I am still very grateful to the party which has transformed me into a man who knows politics and the world in all its complexities, and also trusted me for so many years".

In his memoirs Daripada Perjuangan Bersenjata Kepada Perdamaian published last year in Kuala Lumpur by SIRD, Rashid Maidin also paid special tribute to martyr Toh Lung San @ Lai Lai Fook (1922-1943), who recruited him into the Communist Party of Malaya, as "my true teacher in politics". Toh also recruited Chin Peng and Suriani Abdullah (aka Eng Ming Ching) into the underground party in 1940.

In Islam Melayu Komunis - Wawancara Dengan Abdullah C.D., Rashid Maidin & Abu Samah (Kuala Lumpur, SIRD, 2005), he expressed his worry about anak-anak muda being morally corrupted by, among other things, "yellow culture", "drugs" and "individualistic lifestyle". He called on the angkatan baru to get themselves involved in "healthy activities", play their role in developing the nation, uphold democracy and justice and promote inter-ethnic unity.

The remains of Rashid Maidin, a proud Communist to the last moment in life, had been buried at the Tanah Perkuburan Masjid Darul Salam, Kampung Gajah Mati, Tamboon Sako, Changwat Narathiwat on 1 September (Friday) at 4.45 p.m (Thai time zone) in accordance to Islamic tradition.

Representing the Communist Party of Malaya to bid comradely farewell to Rashid Maidin at the burial rite were Abdullah CD and Suriani Abdullah. Two other veterans, Chin Peng and Shan Ruhong, sent their messages of condolence through Abdullah and Suriani.