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An unforgettable reminiscent event as a Malaysian Government

History that might have been lost without our effort, particularly during the interaction of East and West.
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An unforgettable reminiscent event as a Malaysian Government

Postby chungyn » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:36 am

An unforgettable reminiscent event as a Malaysian Government Servant

I shall never forget this incident as long as I live. It was happened in
1967.

I always blame the environment that kneads us as what we are. I did not
know that I was a bi-linguist plus a bit of Malay until I completed my tertiary
education in Australia and returned to Malaysia to serve the Malaysian Government.
My father was illiterate in Chinese and English as he had never been to
school due to poverty in the family. My father was a quite well tin miner
that was why he could send me and one of my younger brothers to Australia
for further study. He was sick and tired of being bullied by Government
Servants. He insisted that I should become a Government Servant to help
him in dealing with them in mining business. Eventually I joined the Malaysian
Government Services. I was posted to Public Works Department (PWD, now JKR)
at Brewster Road, Ipoh to be in charge of the water revenue of the Perak
State. My duty was to administer the collection of all the payments of water
rates for the State.

There were practically no Chinese literate officers in the Department. One
day, there was a dispute over the disconnection of the water supply to a
Chinese Primary School in a Hakka new village called Bemban New Village
(民萬新村) near Batu Gajah.

http://yn.chung.id.au/BembanNewVillage.jpg

Folks from the whole village, the village headman, the school principal
and the teachers wanted to march to Ipoh to demonstrate against PWD. They
wrote Chinese letters to PWD. None of the Chinese staffs in the department
could read or write Chinese. Some of the Chinese officers did not even know
how to write their Chinese surnames because they were all had been brainwashed
by the British Colonists. Someone told the State Engineer that I could read
and write Chinese. The State Engineer was so excited because at last someone
in the department could reply the Chinese letters that sent to the department.
I solved the primary school's letters.

It all started like this.

During the Emergency (1948 to 1960 - The war between the the British Colonial
Authorities and the Malayan Communist Party) more than half a million Chinese
squatters, including my family, were relocated into New Villages 新村).
The British Colonial Authorities supplied the New Villages with free tape
water (stand pipes) and electricity which the villages had to pay for minimum
charges. The British also built a new Chinese Primary School for every New
Village. When a Chinese primary school was built for Bemban New Village
(民萬新村) the Government asked PWD to install a stand pipe for the school
which meant free water supply for the school.

Many years later, when I was working in PWD in charge of the State Water
Supply, and due to vandalism, the governors of the school decided to put
up a wire fence surrounding the school and locked up the gate to protect
the school property. Even though the water was free to the school, PWD wanted
to know how much water that the school had consumed monthly. It was for
the purpose of estimation. The meter readers from PWD could not read the
water meter in the school which was fenced and the school gate was locked.
Every time when they went to the school to read the water meter,they found
the school gate was knocked. So the meter readers disconnected the water
supply to the school. That was to say that the 400 to 500 students in the
school were without water everyday. I was surprised to find out that none
of the village folks knew that the school was receiving free water supply
from PWD since it was built.

Folks of the whole village went to complain to my father, since I was in
charge of the State water supply, [ It was the Chinese custom that if one
could not tackle that officer one should go and complain to the officer's
father.] My father rang me and told me that he was with the village folks
and asked me to do something quick otherwise his reputation would suffer.
My father was a well known man in Pusing. My father also told me that the
school governors were going to PWD to confront me [Oh my God. Even my own
father was against me]. Luckily my father did not come with them, otherwise
I might have to resign.

Several school governors charged into my room and my door guard, a Silkh,
and the Malay security officer could not stop them. They came into my room
abusing me in Hakka dialect and calling my nickname. The Superintendent
Engineer, an Indian, could not understand what the school governors were
shouting about. I translated to him. Immediately he called for the head
meter reader to explain why the school water supply was cut off. The head
meter reader did not know and he rang Batu Gajah for explanation. I told
the school governors to go back to their village and I would go down there
with the head meter reader to see for ourselves. Many of the school governors
knew me since I was born in Kampong Sayap and studied at the Siputeh Chinese
Primary School. [Please refer to the map as per above].

I went with the head meter reader by the PWD van. On the way we stopped
in Batu Gajah to pick up the meter readers who had disconnect the water.
When we arrived at the school the folks of the whole village came out to
confront me and abuse me and call either my nickname or the son of my father
whose tin mine was not far from the village.

I explained to them that the school should not have fenced up the water
meter which belonged to the Government and the Government was giving the
school free water. Then the villagers realized that they were wrong and
they stopped abusing me and kept quiet. I told my meter to installed a new
water meter outside the fence and I told the school governors to take responsibility
of the water meter and we left. Since this incident I became very popular
among the villagers as the son of my father but not Chung Yoon-Ngan.

I searched from the PWD record for this standpipe and it revealed that the
school standpipe was installed in 1950 when the New Village was established.
Since then the school did not pay a cent for the water the school children
used.

The case was reported in all the Chinese newspapers, but not the English
newspapers. The case was also reported to the State Secretary (the head
of the Perak State government servants).


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chungyn
 
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