Author: CHUNG Yoon Ngan
Date: 01-02-12 02:34
My Family in the British Colonial Malaya - 1858 to 1960 (4)
069. The British returned to Malaya
The British re-colonized Malaya in September 1945. Immediately they set
up a British Military Administration (BMA). There were big VJ cerebrations
everywhere in Malaya. Chen Kon Loy, who was born and grew up in Taiwan,
and who was conscripted into the Japanese Army and he defected to the MPAJA
during the Japanese occupation of Malaya, was very excited because he thought
that the time had finally come for him to go home to Taiwan where he left
four years ago. He went to Batu Gajah and approached the two British officers
who were sent to work with the leaders of the MPAJA in Kinta District . He
told them that he was a Japanese deserted soldier. The British officers
were flabbergasted to hear the story of Kon Loy. The British officers asked
Kon Loy to show them his identity card of Japanese soldier. Unfortunately,
Kon Loy had burned it in front of the MPAJA fighters to prove he was not
a Japanese spy when he first entered the MPAJA camps. Without the identity
card the British officers could do nothing.
Kon Loy went to the former Japanese barracks in Batu Gajah trying to contact
the Japanese troops who were stationed there when he deserted. He hoped
he could be expatriated with them to Taiwan. But, the Japanese troops in
Batu Gajah had already retreated to Kuala Lumpur which was about 200 kilometers
away. It would be difficult for him to go there to look for them. There
was no way that he could make contact to his former commander, besides he
was a deserter and the Japanese might court-martial him if he showed up.
Kon Loy was in dilemma. He had no choice but to stay with the MPAJA.
When the British Military Administration took over from the MPAJA they restored
the colonial status quo. The first thing the BMA did, was to decree that
the Japanese Occupied Currency was invalid and the new British Malayan Currency
was to become the legal tender.
Just by a stroke of a pen many Malayans lost their livelihood because they
had no British Malayan Currency to buy food. For those who had foods to
sell they would not sell them for nothing. There was a shortage of food
and new British Malayan Currency everywhere. There were rice riots in the
State of Perak and the British troops had to fire to disperse the crowds.
There was no exception in Pusing town and people were starving. The Pusing
MPAJA blamed it on the BMA and they organized the people to march to Batu
Gajah demanding the British to feed them, shouting the slogan:
"我們要飯吃 we want rice to eat."
There were hundreds of People joining the march to Batu Gajah which was
about three English miles east of Pusing town, shouting "We want rice to
When they arrived at Chankat (the headquarters of the Kinta BMA near Batu
Gajah) and without hesitation the BMA promised to give them jobs. The British
told the organizers to lead the people to start work immediately by repairing
the schools and roads, clearing the drains, cutting the lalang (tall grass)
on the road sides and other chores. The British paid them. Although the
pays were small yet everyone was happy. At least they had money to buy enough
food for his family.
On December 1, 1945, news of the disbandment of the MPAJA arrived in Pusing.
A big pageant and a MPAJA parade was held in the Pusing Padang (ground or
field). British commanders from Batu Gajah came to take the salute from
the Pusing MPAJA group of the Kinta District 3rd Patrol of the 5th Independent
Regiment. The British commanders paid tributes to the courage and resourceful
of the MPAJA and thanked them for their contribution to the victory in Malaya.
There were big cheers and hand clapping when each of the one hundred odd
MPAJA[1A] handed in his weapon. In return each was rewarded with a sum of
$300.00. Kon Loy also received the sum of $300.00 by handing in his Sten-gun
and a few hand-grenades.
Kon Loy asked permission from his boss, Comrade Zhong Jianchuan to hand
in his pistol so that he could receive more money to buy his passage home.
But his boss not only refused to grant him the permission but also ordered
him to keep his revolver saying that the MPAJA high command had issued order
not to return the pistols or revolvers given by the British. On Jaunary
1 1944, in a meeting, in the Headquarters of Force 136 at Blantan, which
was under the command of Colonel John Davis, who spoke fluent Chinese, between
the MPAJA, represented by Chin Ping and Lai Te the plenipotentiary of MCP
and Force 136, represented by Colonel Spencer Chapman, Colonel John Davis
and Major Richard Broome, Chin Peng warned Force 136 that:
"If Force 136 drops revolvers or pistols for the MPAJA they will not be
returned, but rifles and other weapons will be returned."
Why Chin Peng said that, because the MPAJA were desperately short of handguns
and revolvers. Handguns and revolvers could be put in the pocket and moved
about easily without being seen.
Knowing that Kon Loy was desperately wanted to return to Taiwan Comrade
Zhong paid him a few hundred dollars from the Party fund. With such a large
amount of money it should have no problem to get home. However, the war
had just ended and the communication between Singapore and Taiwan was yet
to be restored. Even though Kon Loy had the money, but there were no means
for him to go back to Taiwan.
After the MPAJA had been dissolved, many ex-MPAJA servicemen formed many
MPAJA Comrades' Associations throughout Malaya. The MPAJA leadership and
its organization remained underground. Some of the arms supplied by the
British were buried in the jungle in case of any hostile contingency from
the British. The Chung family invited Kon Loy to live with them since he
had no home to return to. However, Kon Loy declined and went to live in the
Pusing ex-MPAJA Association at 17 Main Road. He wrote letters home telling
his family that he was still alive. He did not know what had happened to
his wife, Chong Siew Lan (張秀蘭) and his two sons. He wanted to contact
them, desperately. So he stayed in Pusing temporary looking for ways to
When the Emergency was proclaimed in June 1948 the British estimated there
were about 500 MPAJA members in Kinta District. When MPAJA were officially
disbanded in the end of December 1945 only about 200 of them came out from
the Jungle to parade and handed their weapons to the British and each member
received $300.00 British Malayan dollars. Therefore, according to the British,
there must be about 200 to 300 MPAJA members still remained in the jungle
and became what they called themselves the Clandestine Army whom First Elder
Brother loved to visit.
Posted to Overseas Chinese Forum at asiawind.com
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)
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