Culture Lifestyle Politics Race

7 regular Malaysians share their vivid memories of May 13, 1969

Imagine if you woke up one morning to find that Malaysians are being killed by their fellow countrymen, and people who used to be friends, colleagues, neighbors, or even the friendly pakcik nasi lemak outside your office are now eyeing you with hatred in their eyes as they hunt you down for no reason other than the color of your skin. Imagine when the neighborhood shops you visit on a weekly basis are nothing but charred cement and brick and your every movement restricted at the threat of death.

Well, that happened exactly forty-six years ago during the May 13 racial riots of 1969 which, by official count, saw almost 200 Malaysians killed by other Malaysians.

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Original image from HelenAng.

But for most of us reading this, “May 13” is kinda like a buzzword for a worst-case scenario when racial tensions go south (and we don’t mean Johor), a black spot in Malaysia’s relatively young history, and………..um………….. that’s about it. Those of us born after 1969 may know about the incident, but will never be able to fully understand what it’s was like being in the thick of it.

Demographics  Age   Google Analytics 16.4.2015

CILISOS reader demographics to justify “most of us” statement 🙂

So we figured we’d ask those who did to share their experiences with us (mostly parents of friends). Here’s what they told us…

Note: All pictures used were sourced online and meant for emphasis. The age of our interviewees back in 1969 are highlighted in orange.

 

1. Aunty Liza, 57. (10 years old)

I was there at the time. I was in Standard 4 and I saw the burning and the killing from Chow Kit Road to my home in Kampung Baru.

My sister and I were buying schoolbooks at the market. On the way back, I stopped to talk to my friend in Jalan Raja Alang while my sister went on home. At about 3pm, it happened.The political parties were protesting or something, with everyone displaying party flags. All of a sudden, people got very rough, like hooligans. All the races were the same, attacking each other. I ran all the way home. I don’t know how fast I ran.

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A demonstration by DAP supporters. Image from JebatMustDie

Where I stayed, they threw tear gas till we couldn’t open our eyes and it hurt to breathe. We prayed to God for it to end. The curfew also prevented us from leaving the house, and in those days the toilet was a separate building outside the house so we couldn’t use it during curfew. Anyone who left their houses would be shot by the Gurkha soldiers.

We also couldn’t buy food because of the curfew, and even when they lifted it for a few hours, it cost too much since all the kedai runcit raised their prices. So we made porridge or cut pisang and ate it with rice. Susah. Memang Susah. When we went to the market, we didn’t know who were our enemies and who were our friends. Even my good friend who was Chinese treated us like the enemy – and we were only children then!

How do you view racial harmony today?

I think some still keep what happened [during May 13 1969] in their hearts, and these feelings against other races are passed to their children. During the British times, the Malays, Chinese, and Indians got along together. Why can’t we get along now? I think it’s the politics. Some people don’t think… they just jump into it and follow what the politicians say – Malay, Chinese, Indian… all the same. I pray it won’t happen again, because as I told my children, we are the ones who suffer, and if it happens now, it will be much worse than 1969. 

 

2. StudentFromThe60’s, 64. (18 years old)

I was in Ipoh, doing lower Form 6 when it happened. I can’t remember if this was on the day it happened [May 13] or the next day, but in the morning at school, they announced a curfew. Later on in Buntong, where I lived, there were vans from the Information Department announcing the same thing from their mounted speakers.

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Streets during curfew hours. Image from Malaysia Today.

We really didn’t know what was going on other than that something was happening in KL. 

And remember ya, in those days getting the news in a day was considered good already so we only found out what happened 2 days later. 

We were quite relaxed with the curfew… we stayed indoors for a while but we eventually started going out. Nothing happened, in fact it was a pretty quiet week as far as we were concerned. Perhaps it was different in the urban areas like Ipoh town but we were in the Tamil settlement and everyone was mostly Indian with a few Chinese – so I guess we were in a “safe” zone. I think my parents might have stocked up on supplies though, but they really weren’t that concerned.

How do you view racial harmony today?

Oh, it was much better in those days. I can hardly imagine too many concerns, but then again we were a divided society with each race having their own village and community. Generally people were more tolerant in those days, until it became political. Even today, socially speaking, people are okay – just not when politics get involved.

3. Lyn, 67. (20 years old)

I was coming back from teaching a class in Seremban with a girlfriend. It so happened my car wasn’t available at the time so we took a taxi. As we were passing Cheras at about 7pm, some Chinese guy suddenly started waving our taxi down. It was the taxi driver’s friend, also a taxi driver, who told us to not go into town, saying there was a curfew due to trouble.

“What kind of trouble?” He asked.

“Killings.”

The taxi driver told us he was going to turn around and head back home to Kajang, and his friend offered to let us stay with them. We didn’t know what was going on… we didn’t even know what a curfew was! I was only 20 la!

When we got there, we saw his children sharpening knives. Suddenly, we heard drums from the Malay kampung nearby. The villagers shouted in Cantonese “Lei la! Lei la!” [“They’re coming! They’re coming!”] and we all ran in to hide. Then there was silence. Nothing happened. The drums went on and off for a few times that night.

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Army truck passes by a home. Image from Hassan Muthalib via The Nut Graph.

The next morning, we happened to see a convoy of army trucks and tried to wave them down for help but they ignored us. One of the villagers stopped us and asked us to get inside. He said another villager was beaten up after waving one down.

It was very hot in the house and we ended up taking a nap to escape the heat. Suddenly we heard people shouting “RUN!” “RUN!”

There was a safer gathering place nearby in case the wooden houses in the village were set on fire. So we ran to an abandoned apartment building. The unit was so packed we couldn’t stretch our legs or stand up in case someone saw our shadow.

The next day, the taximan told us that they lifted the curfew in Pudu, so he sent us back to the Methodist Girl’s Hostel. I managed to contact my mother, and when things settled down a bit, brought my family over to stay at the hostel. My sister told me that they could see bodies floating down the Klang river.

The Malay gardener took care of the hostel residents by saying there were no Chinese there, even though his own friend’s family (A Malay) was killed by the Chinese.

I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t have a car that day. If I did, I would have driven straight into town and… who knows what might have happened. I’m also extremely thankful for the taxi man who took us in. We dropped by with some foodstuff a few months after to thank him for his kindness.

How do you view racial harmony today?

I think it’s improved since those days. Young people are more united now, but it’s only the politics that’s creating racial tension. I married a Malay, but I always remind my daughters to not forget their Chinese roots. We can’t let these racial riots happen again, that’s the most important lesson.

 

4. Ahmad, 70. (22 years old)

[CILISOS note: En. Ahmad has passed away and this story was related to us by his wife]

My husband was an oil palm estate assistant manager in Perak. On that day, some of the estate workers – all Malaysian Indians – left their quarters to buy lunch.

Unfortunately, Emergency (curfew) was already declared and as the workers were venturing out of the compounds of the estate, they were stopped by a troop of soldiers who drew their guns at them. My husband heard the shouting and loud voices from where he was living and went out to see what was going on.

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These are from the Malayan Emergency. Image from psywar.org

The minute he stepped out of the estate gates, an army personnel screamed for him to stop and pointed his gun straight at my husband. After some explanation, they were all allowed back into the compound. Aside from the historical, social and political impact of May 13th,

My husband will forever remember that day as the day he had a gun pointed at him.

5. PrincipalMediaplusResearchConsultancy, 74. (26 years old)

[CILISOS note: Our interviewee asked us to use this name]

My friends and I were attending a party on the eve of May 13, 1969 to celebrate a friend’s birthday at her house in Old Klang Road when we first heard the news about the curfew on radio. We decided to end the party and send everyone back.

Early next morning, my mother woke me up to say that our neighbor wanted to speak to me. When I went down from the second story-flat, he told me that there were bodies floating in the nearby Klang River and asked me to help fish them out.

Ignoring my mother’s protests, I went with him to the river bank. Using long bamboo sticks, we managed to pull three bodies to the edge of the bank. I remember that one of them had the head cut open, presumably by a parang.

That was when the soldiers came and chased us away, saying that we should be indoors because of the curfew.

I decided to volunteer with the Red Cross where my friend and I became part of the hastily-created Social Services Committee. They gave us curfew passes and put us in charge of night duty for sending relief supplies to affected families in the city.

We spent the next few months going around in my car helping to distribute food parcels and medical aid. Needless to say we encountered many scenes of destruction along the way, particularly in the Chow Kit area. The most vivid memory etched in my mind was that of burning shop houses, including a photo studio along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman.

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Burning shoplot in Chow Kit. Image from pesantrenglobal.com

There were instances when even Red Cross officials were viewed with suspicion by some of the soldiers stationed in and around the city. On one occasion, a soldier demanded to examine a bag of rice and even stuck a bayonet into it, claiming that we might be smuggling weapons.

After the conflict the Red Cross volunteers, myself included, were given a commendation from the government when parliament was resumed in 1970.

How do you view racial harmony today?

What was remarkable was that in those days, we worked shoulder-to-shoulder in a time of crisis with race not even crossing our minds. In a strange way, the aftermath of May 13 1969 brought the races together… sort of a wakeup call shocking us out of our complacent attitudes when it came to racial harmony. Now, people, especially the younger generation have become very cautious and tend to shy away from assisting their fellow Man. We just don’t step forward anymore.

In spite of the blame-game and political rhetoric that followed, our generation has basically remained steadfast in the conviction that we must do our part to uphold peace and harmony especially in our daily interactions with fellow Malaysians. It is my fervent hope that the next generation will maintain and preserve this proud and enviable record.

6. Lau Chee Hong, 65. (18 years old)

[FYI, this is our editor’s father, aka The DADITOR!]

We were staying at our Jalan Terkukur house which served as our “hostel” during our schooling days in KL. On that fateful day, the neighborhood remained rather quiet until later in the evening when we heard announcements on the radio that a curfew has been imposed. Not surprisingly, they didn’t mention any reasons.

The following day, we noticed a barricade had been erected at the end of the street where we lived. That night, a small number of young Chinese Jinjang-Joe type characters showed up at our door, asking for “volunteers” to patrol the neighborhood. When we told them we were all students, they moved on.

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Army roadblock during curfew. Image from Glogster.

Three or four days later, my father showed up in his car. He had come to take us back to Rawang, which was considered low-risk. Along the way, we were stopped by some soldiers on patrol, but father had a curfew pass. One of the steps the government took was to form community Goodwill (“Muhibah”) Committees, and dad volunteered his services so he was given a curfew pass which allowed him to move around during curfew hours.

On our first bus ride to school 4-5 weeks later, we were shocked to see quite a few torched buildings and vehicles (whatever few left on the roads) along our usual bus route from Sentul to Victoria Institution.

I recall watching, on those old black and white TVs, stories and first-hand accounts of inter-racial camaraderie. Neighbours helping each other to get by. There were even some stories of people sheltering neighbors or friends of another race.

How do you view racial harmony then and now?

Demographics was very different then. I had very few Malay classmates in primary school and even fewer in secondary school.  I did have a Malay friend, with whom I was close enough to visit in Kampung Baru.

In all our schooling years, I think I can say with sincerity, we were all color-blind. We all ate the same food at the same canteens (they were called “tuck-shops” then). The word halal did not exist in our common vocabulary.

If you were to pick up a national paper (English or Malay) in the 60’s and compare with one today, you’d notice that journalists then dealt their stories with little racial or religious slants or bias. The words hudud or sharia was unheard of then. Words like Tuhan & Allah were used interchangeably, without anyone making a fuss.

Very much so now than ever before, it is a “Us & Them” mentality in all aspects of Malaysian life.

 

7. Dato’ Derrick Fernandez, 66. (20 years old)

I was in Kuala Lumpur working as a journalist with BERNAMA right in the heart of the city, nearby Kampung Baru where the first incident blew up. I was on leave that day but reported to the office two days later.

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Car being set on fire. Image from Crikey.

We had press cards and our press car stickers allowed us authorization to travel during curfew. When I reported to the office, two female Chinese cadet reporters living in Chow Kit had yet to return home and needed to go home to shower and clean-up.

These two girls were caught in the conflict, protected by their Malay colleagues when the mob had arrived at our office demanding if any Chinese were in the premises.

A young Malay office boy was also stuck in the office, too fearful to return to his Sungei Besi home.

I sent them all back to their respective homes, having to go through a number of police-manned checkpoints. At Chow Kit, I had to let the Malay boy off so I could go with the two girls first and came back for him later.

How do you view racial harmony today?

Even then, at its worst, our racial tolerance and understanding was much better than it is today. A number of extremists (from both sides) unnecessarily incited groups of assembled outsiders to create havoc. During the curfew breaks we mingled and enquired about each other, and in the markets most of the Chinese traders continued to sell to all their patrons despite shortages in some food items.

Today, it’s just crap. It almost seems that the people leading our country are bent on enriching themselves at the expense of the Rakyat without conscience. We need to make it such that good and decent Malaysians can rise again to realize our true potential, so that we’re at least on par with Singapore.

So what have we learnt over the past 46 years?

After almost half a century, the legacy of May 13 has become sort of a racial bogeyman to those of us lucky enough to not experience it. We know it as something bad, something that the older generation talk about with a sigh in their voice, and something that politicians bring up whenever they need to play the racial unity card.

DAP councillor  Muhyiddin’s May 13 remark a threat to national security   Malaysia   Malay Mail Online

Screencapped from the Malay Mail Online. Click to read article.

Penang Umno threatens ‘May 13’ retaliation over PKR’s kangkung flash mob   The Malaysian Insider

Screencapped from The Malaysian Insider. Click to read article.

Here’s what another one of our interviewees, Ahmad Nesfu, 63 (17 years old) said about our current situation:

50 years ago racial harmony was excellent. We got along well, but there were economic difference because of the British legacy carving out the races into specific sectors. Indians and plantations, Chinese in tin mines, and Malays in the civil service.

Politicians still haven’t learnt from the incident. They are the cause of the problems. Malay politicians pushing religion and non-Malays pushing vernacular schools. These are further factors for division. Rising Islamization for political ends and championing of [segregated] communities by continuing vernacular schools, which should have been abandoned. So the current position is worse off.

Ironically, we also made extra sure we covered an equal amount of Indians, Malays and Chinese in this article to ensure we weren’t held for leaning to one side of the story.

Yes… paranoia all around, and it’s not just May 13 too. The shadows of the Sedition Act, POTA, dan lain lain all seem to hang over anyone voicing an opinion outside of a private space.

And ironically enough, it happened to this article. 

We initially wanted to present this as a video but when we went to Mid Valley last week, we were rejected 10 times in a row by both old and young people. Like, literally no one wanted to be interviewed.

Y U NO CILISOS

And even when we switched back to the article format, most (99%) of our interviewees did not want to use their real names. Of course, we understand their concerns and we don’t blame them for it since people have gotten in trouble with the Sedition Act for voicing their professional opinions to the media.

But we’re not highlighting their stories for shock value or to capitalize on the many lives lost for clicks and shares. We are sharing their stories because they are first-hand accounts of what we might experience if it was to happen again, rather than just a blurb read in the history textbooks. After all, in the often-misquoted words of philosopher George Santayana:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

We actually got a few more experiences shared with us that we just didn’t have space to put in, unfortunately, but let us know if you’d like us to do a Part 2 next year.

In the meantime, do ask your folks what it was like back then. We promise it’ll be an enlightening experience.

NAH, BACA:
Malaysians: Want a beautiful commemorative stainless steel mug? This weekend is your last chance.

42 Comments

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  2. Gopal Raj Kumar

    17/05/2015 at 4:29 pm

    I love the way these hand picked “regular Malaysians” relate to what they believe they saw and heard on that fateful day. It had as much to do with racial harmony as it had to do with racial disharmony. The Chinese had always threatened to take over Malaysia. Their threats were real. They supported the communists although many of them claimed they were not supporters of Chin Peng and his merry blood thirsty men. They killed, they plundered, they raped and they maimed with impunity. The local forces struggled to keep them at bay.

    Even before the May 13 event the Chinese were very loudly proclaiming their intention to send the Malays back to their kampongs. But there are no “regular Malaysians” here who will attest to these inconvenient truths because it does not fit into their brain washed ” it was a racist” campaign against the Chinese.

    Malaysia was not the only country in south east Asia with a Chinese migrant population where the locals went on a rampage against the avaricious and unfriendly parochial and communal Chinese. But it was the only country that did not have laws where Chinese cultural and religious icons, language, characters could not be displayed publicly. Malaysia was generous. The Malays finally had enough of it as they appear not to have reached that point again.

    Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Viet Nam and the Philippines joined Burma in forcing Chinese to take up local names, prevented them from putting up their pig god tokongs everywhere and speaking Chinese in public even amongst friends and strangers alike in complete disregard for the fact others did not understand them. Teh arrogance of the Chinese were then as happened in all these south east Asian countries blunted by a parang. They behaved for a while but then returned to their arrogant could not care less for the others ways.

    It will happen again and there is no rocket science required to predict it. What is sad is that many innocent Malays and Chinese will die as a result of it.

    • Phang Kuan Hoong

      18/05/2015 at 5:13 pm

      oh right. blame it on the chinese. how much is UMNO paying to surf the night and write long racist, baseless comments, i wonder.

      if a May 13-like incident is to happen again, it is people like you who is to blame.

    • Gopal Raj Kumar

      18/05/2015 at 8:46 pm

      When will you trash learn how to take responsibility for your actions? Don’t try that Jewish persecution complex with me. I was there I witnessed the build up to it as a young cadet officer.

      The Malaysian government of the day expected something like that to occur. The intelligence was already out there. The British High Commission had already ordered its citizens in KL to take measures to safeguard themselves or go to Singapore or leave the country. That was 21 days before it occurred. The Australians did the same so too did the Kiwis. How do you explain that you cockroach? That is a matter of record. Not the imagination of some anti Chinese blogger.

      There were troops on standby, the FRU in each state was put on high alert till the Tengku (literally in bed with a Chinese woman at a private residence in KL) ordered them all to be confined to barracks because in his view it would exacerbate the tensions already at breaking point following the election result.

      As for the length of my responses, there is insufficient space to detail your misconduct as citizens and traitors of every country your are found in including China.

      They should have allowed a few more of the prominent Chinese to have felt the edge of a machete. It was they who put their people on the path of the anger of the Malays that night. The number of Malays killed by Chin Peng and his men who you as a Chinaman would have in any event supported although now denying was sufficient to have started a civil war. The Malays were restrained in their responses.

      You little hypocrite as if the Chinese did not contribute to the rising tensions that culminated in May 13. The same thing happened in every south east Asian country with a Chinese enclave. What are you suggesting? that everyone else but the Chinese are insane?

    • Phang Kuan Hoong

      19/05/2015 at 5:01 pm

      then grab a parang and hunt down every one of us now, won’t you? for the peace of Malaysia, oh great Gopal! this country needs you! go on your righteous killing spree today oh great Gopal! today!

    • Gopal Raj Kumar

      20/05/2015 at 6:13 am

      Is that your best shot in response?

    • Uihua Cheah

      20/05/2015 at 5:44 pm

      Hi @gopalrajkumar:disqus, while I won’t disagree with your views I think it’s rather unfair to say that the participants were hand-picked… because they weren’t. We tried to get the widest possible range of respondents including army people and East Malaysians but most were either unwilling to put on written record or there just wasn’t enough to go on.
      On why this is, I suspect that those with differing opinions from the popular norm might shy away from publicly stating them.
      Fortunately, I’m still collecting stories for a follow-up article so I’m wondering if you’d like to share your experience and views as a young cadet at the time. I figure it’d be a good thing as well to provide a different opinion from the norm. Do drop me an email at [email protected] and we can get started. Thanks!

    • Phang Kuan Hoong

      20/05/2015 at 11:42 pm

      you get what you deserve, oh great Gopal.

      you are a racist.

      you do not deserve facts, because you are incapable of considering any other but the ones you believe: skin defines good and evil. you experience counts for nothing, for that is and always will be the way you define the world. By skin.

      you do not deserve logic, because one who thinks by the skincolour is illogical to begin with.

      you do not deserve a lowly argument, for it is stupid to stoop down to your level and define things by skin.

      you do not deserve even my time, but i do give some leeway on occasion.

      what do you deserve? to be called out of your cowardice. your cowardice to even consider the possibility that what you say is inaccurate and is merely the product of propaganda coupled with your narrow personal experience, which again, counts for nothing.

      so go on, if us chinese, by the mere virtue of our skin, is such a great bane to this country. go on, validate your claims by ridding this land of its greatest evil and prove your racism supreme and absolutely righteous.

      cadet were you not? if a machete is not your weapon of choice, then pick a gun.

      is it the only true way any racist can validate his claims.

    • Gopal Raj Kumar

      22/05/2015 at 6:01 am

      No one decides who “deserves logic or facts”. They are there they are for you to decide to avail yourself of. It is a reflection of that totalitarian Maoist mindset in you to try to determine on behalf of others who deserves logic and facts.

      As for being a racist and definitions by skin thats yours. And you do it well. Unable to conceal your latent biases. Not with me I read you like a book.

      The Gui which is everyone else is from the Chinese vernacular. Racist? you started May 13, built up the head of steam for it and now cry poor.

      Stoop to my level. Well you seem to do it without too much effort. Keep it up.

    • Phang Kuan Hoong

      22/05/2015 at 11:35 am

      Coward racists don’t deserve logic or facts, it’s not a decision, it’s just common sense.

      and Maoist? which century are you living in?

    • Ricky Rick

      13/06/2015 at 8:59 pm

      Seriously K.H. Phang & Chilliy Candy,

      I’ve read both sides of comments and your guys are simply speculating “HERESAYS” cause you were not physically there at that time. Just like me, we are getting our news from what we heard from our parents and grandparents. Where else, from Gopal’s point of view – he was actually “THERE” and his account of what happened seems more credible then yours!!

      You might wanna start doing some homework and research from a different take or source; instead of your common accepted view point!

      This is certainly an eye opener for me too 🙂

      Thanks for sharing Gopal

    • Phang Kuan Hoong

      15/06/2015 at 6:01 pm

      i don’t care if his there or not. he’s a racist. end of story.

    • chili candy

      28/05/2015 at 3:56 pm

      when i read the part that ‘The Malaysian Chinese community joined Beijings campaigns and claims that Malaysia was an integral part of the Greater China” and supporting ‘chinese communist party’, it just shows how shallow is your view, and a very racist one indeed.

      Because, you fails to understand the general chinese of that time’s thoughts and support. Probably you have grown up having some bad experiences with chinese, to have this one sided view of the whole chinese populations in Malaya at the time.

      I can tell you how wrong you have been at it. I believe, when the chinese first settles in Malaya, most of them does not intends to stay on permanently. Which made, most of them sending home money they earn here, to support their poor family back home, and some of them support the democratic party which was fighting the japanese and then communist party.

      And if you do your research properly, the parti komunis malaya at the time, is not ‘chinese’. It has other races in there, and i don’t know why you assume because the party have more chinese, you just lump all chinese into that party, and whole race to be supporting them. Did you even know, there were chinese who were staying in remote villages have to move out to the city, to public housing to escape these communist war/menaces ? I bet you don’t even care to find out.

      And oh, whats this closing down farm plantations is chinese faults too ?

      Looks who is spewing racist rubbish ?

      Did you check who owns these rubber plantations ?

      If we have a good internet social media back in 1969, i believe more truths could be seen. As i think , it’s possible an ‘outside’ job to cause unruliness in chow kit back then.
      Just think what happens during those demonstrations lately. Just think what happens during those football hooliganism. You will get some idea.

      The more i try to think, its kind of difficult to just turn your long time neighbour into a dead killing machine. Is that possible ? It’s only possible if that person is someone who is not from the same place, people that you don’t know at all. So, what does this gives you ?

      These people who causes riot, there’s a possibilities, they were not local. Probably hired to do the job.

    • Gopal Raj Kumar

      28/05/2015 at 6:38 pm

      I do not wish to take advantage of your youth, your lack of education (evidenced by how you express yourself here) and your pretence at being a Chinese injured by my comments. If you understood the English language and the meaning of the term racism you would not have responded in the way you have.

      Perhaps if you had a better handle on history and bothered to remove the Chinese blinkers on your eyes you would have a better view and perspective of my response to this article. Your response is contrived and your outrage feigned .

      You are entitled to express your views in response to mine and that’s more than the Chinese will allow anyone anywhere that includes Singapore. There’s nothing racist as you put it about an observation about how the Chinese in general especially those who supported Chin Peng (and they were in a majority…….those who fought with him at one level…..others who did not support his politics but paid him protection to keep away from their businesses or to harass others) at another level.

      The British may have been assholes in many other areas, but their intelligence on how the Chinese operated in Malaya and Singapore was spot on and is documented. It even demolishes the myth that Lee Kuan Yew did not flirt with doing deals with the Chinese communists till Inspector Blades the British Special Branch officer caught him out, saved him from an assassination squad of communists then cultivated him into the most valuable Chinaman Britain ever had.

      You poor little brain washed sparrow.

    • chili candy

      29/05/2015 at 7:03 pm

      oh why, riding the high horse ? I am giving you another sight of view points, which you chose to just turn it down, ridiculing me as lack of educations and calling me a sparrow.

      Its a waste of breath to explains to you, because you are too wraps up in your own ideology. You refused to accept the facts that there are chinese that are not supportive of the communist party. And the fact i already mentioned, that the party is does not belong to the chinese alone.

      Maybe if you have more free time, you should consider reading up more analogies of the past history, which is from another view point. And matches it with the history from other countries as well. And, please talk to the elders as well, the old grandmothers and grandfathers that have lived the era. They have much to tell too.

    • Kaiser Combo

      27/07/2015 at 3:21 pm

      Gopal Raj Kumar, you are a freaking racist by using words like “their pig god tokongs”, “Chinese communists”, and “Chinaman”. If you were to repeat those words in front of me, I will punch you blind.

      In communism, wealth is share “equally”. It is meant for the peasants, labourers and the poor. No entrepreneur or middle class will support communism. Most Chinese Malaysian want to be rich and have a better life. It is a big lie that majority of the Chinese Malaysian wants communism. Why would they want to give up all their hard earn wealth? Communism is for lazy people because doctors would earn the same wages as janitors. There is no incentive to work harder because you get paid all the same every month.

      In case you still live in Batu Caves, the communist and Maoist movements are DEAD in China. So, wake up and stop labelling the Chinese as Maoists.

      STOP generalizing. Chinese is not Chin Peng. Chinese is not MCA. Chinese is not DAP. However, we like Han Chin Peng (fried donuts) though. Indian is not MIC. Malay is not UMNO. I love the Chinese, Indians and Malays as long as they are not from MCA, MIC and the mother of all racists i.e. UMNO. Are we clear on that?

      You are full of resentment and hatred towards the Chinese. Were you sodomized when you were a kid? Ouch! It must be a very painful experience. Otherwise, I trust that you are just a coward, a Malaysian “uncle tom” at best, selling your soul to UMNO as a cadet. How convenient, as an Indian, that you failed to mention that the Indians and other races receive the same language and cultural rights as the Chinese. You also get to keep your Indian name rather than being called ” Gopal Mohamad bin Raj Abdullah Kumar”.

      Without the blessings from the Malays, Chinese and Indians, Malaysia would still be a colony of the British Empire today. It is not through the generosities of UMNO. In fact, UMNO wanted (and still wanting) to kick out all the Chinese & Indian from Malaya, including you! In fact, Utusan Malaysia, PERKASA, PEKIDA would always refer you as a KELING, so please stop licking their balls by generalizing and blaming Chinese and/or Jews for all the world’s problems.

      The following laws were agreed by the forefathers of UMNO, MCA and MIC and carved in the Malaysian Constitution during Merdeka To GUARANTEE:
      -Article 153 (Malay rights)
      -Article 154 (Malay language, Islam and Sultans)
      -Existence of Vernacular schools (Chinese, Tamil & Others)

      The non-Malays should respect the Articles 153 & 154.

      The Malays should respect the existence of Vernacular schools,

      We all can co-exists and prosper together as Bangsa Malaysia if we respect each others’ rights. We can continue to live in segregated housing estates by choice. We need to respect but do not have to like each other though! 🙂

  3. Cheong Tuck Chee

    16/05/2015 at 12:44 am

    Well,on the evening of May13,my classmate and I,were cycling through a kampong in Lenggong. We were both teachers,I in SMDA Lenggong, and he in a Malay primary school. We learnt from a villager that the killings had happened in KL and I was worried a bit,but my classmate told me there was nothing to worry at all (because he knew the Malays there better since he was teaching in Lenggong a few years longer than I). Actually,we were invited to tea by a villager since the curfew did not start until 6.30pm. Even after May13,the cohesiveness of the people in Lenggong was still very good.

  4. raj

    14/05/2015 at 8:45 pm

    I was a std. 6 student in Ipoh. My father was a police clerk who was picked up every morning to work in the ops room. Our neighbour a Chines detective inspector made sure we had fresh bread everyday. Other times I would sneek away to our local sundry shop for urgent essentials.

  5. Yunus Ali

    14/05/2015 at 6:22 pm

    Bloody good article. Please do more.

    • chryssaL

      18/05/2015 at 11:20 am

      agreed. loved this article. sparked some good conversation and sharing with family members. kudos to the team.

    • Uihua Cheah

      20/05/2015 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks ugaiz! 😀

  6. Nave Vj

    14/05/2015 at 4:56 pm

    I remember my granny once told me that my grandpa’s Malay colleague said, “Raju (grandpa’s name), stay indoor with your family. Don’t go out today.” My grandpa was work in TNB headquarters at Jln Bangsar during that time. And later that evening, hearing it from the radio pf the riot. I missed the chance asking it from my grandpa, too bad, he’s no more… To the author, this is a good attempt, sort of educating the current generations the means of racial harmony in order to live as a nation and by war, it aint gonna solve any problem. Thank you for the good article 🙂

    • Uihua Cheah

      20/05/2015 at 5:35 pm

      Thanks @navevj:disqus, and sorry to hear about your grandpa 🙁

  7. Jack

    14/05/2015 at 9:45 am

    The “history” that the school teachers learnt nowadays, heard with my own ears – C guys throws pork to the M guys, thus the riots begun.

    • Uihua Cheah

      14/05/2015 at 3:03 pm

      D:

    • Gopal Raj Kumar

      20/05/2015 at 6:11 am

      The Chinese deny that this particular incident occurred. it did.

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  9. Chua Boon Jung

    14/05/2015 at 1:38 am

    I did remember my mother said one of her neighbour had to hide her child & sewing machines under the river. And (gun) firing after the movie….

    • Uihua Cheah

      14/05/2015 at 3:04 pm

      @chuaboonjung:disqus, Are you up to sharing the details with us? By interview, of course 🙂

    • Chua Boon Jung

      14/05/2015 at 8:58 pm

      You are welcome to crack open my mother mouth, if you can.

    • Uihua Cheah

      15/05/2015 at 5:19 pm

      If i buy her cake can?

  10. Zi Jian Yow

    13/05/2015 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks so much cilisos. I think it’s important that we focus on the good that happened, like how many Chinese too refuge in Malay homes for safety and vice versa that time. The politicians want to divide us like how the British did. We must not let them do it.

    • Uihua Cheah

      14/05/2015 at 3:05 pm

      Fully agreed 🙂

  11. Yeshe Liew

    13/05/2015 at 10:04 pm

    I was an ex-RAF personal, now 74, and I live right through May 13 and confrontation. The truth may never be revealed but let’s forget the past and learn that war and racial fights benefit no one. Let’s live in peace, harmony, prosperity and happiness. If we are not aiming towards this agenda let’s do it from now onward.

    • Uihua Cheah

      14/05/2015 at 3:06 pm

      Hi @yesheliew:disqus, would you like to share your experience with us? 🙂

  12. Colin Nathan

    13/05/2015 at 5:44 pm

    Yes please do a follow up piece THIS year. Excellent article by the way. Thanks

    • Uihua Cheah

      14/05/2015 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks! Will try to put part 2 out this year 😀

  13. Audrey Ling

    13/05/2015 at 4:14 pm

    I have heard of some stories. It’s really sad. i think on the surface May 13 looks like an issue of race. Take a step deeper, it is the doing of mad men, greedy and willing to put their conscience and religion/ morals aside.

    Those who use May 13 as though it is their pride should really have a good talk with God one day.

    • Uihua Cheah

      14/05/2015 at 3:07 pm

      “Those who use May 13 as though it is their pride should really have a good talk with God one day.”

      That’s a really nice line.

    • Gopal Raj Kumar

      17/05/2015 at 4:39 pm

      He has spoken through the parang and will do it again.

  14. Dave

    13/05/2015 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing, we indeed need to know more, different first-hand narratives. Could you please do the Part 2 this year??

    • Uihua Cheah

      14/05/2015 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Dave! I’ll see what we can do *Goes to mengampu Editor*

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