Author: CHUNG Yoon Ngan
Date: 01-05-12 22:41
My Family in the British Colonial Malaya - 1858 to 1969 (5)
091. The Killing of our school teacher - 1950
多少少年亡,---Duo shao3 shao3 nian2 wang2,
不到白頭死.---Bu4 dao4 bai2 tou2 si3.
How many juveniles die,
Before their hair turns gray.
世事明如鏡,---Shi4 shi4 ming2 ru2 jing4,
前程暗似漆.---Qian2 cheng2 an4 si4 qi.
The affairs of human life are as clear as the mirrors,
The future is as dark as the lacquer.
Two Chinese Proverbs
The year was 1950. The place was at the Yi Zhi Chinese Primary School Pusing
(布先益智華文小學). One school day, in the morning, there were a group of
male students playing basketball and the referee was a teacher called Liu
Jihong (劉基宏). The students were playing happily and teacher Liu was in
earnest as a referee. Along there came a group of armed Hill People (山
頂老 Communists). They came to the school by cutting the barbed wire fence
surrounding Pusing town. The school was near the barbed wire fence. The
leader of the group stopped the basketball game and told the students that
they wanted to talk to Teacher Liu (劉老師). After a short conversation
Teacher Liu began to argue with the leader who took out a revolver and told
Teacher Liu to remove his watch and his Parker pen. In front of the students
the leader of the armed group shot Teacher Liu at point-blank. Teacher Liu
fell to the ground and died instantly.
About 100 meters away was the Pusing police station. The policemen heard
the gun shot and saw the group of armed men in the school compound. The
policemen did not come out from the police station to challenge the armed
men. Instead, they opened up their guns including a Bren Gun (a machine
gun) aiming at the school. The Principal and other teachers of the school
shouted at the students:
"Lie on the ground! Lie on the ground!"
The students did what the Principal and other teachers told them.
In order not to draw more firing from the police to the school, the Hill
People did not return fire but escaped through the toilet building at the
back of the school. After the Hill People had left and when the shooting
was over it was all quiet. None of the students was hurt. But poor Teacher
Liu was lying on the ground, dead. The school wall was scarred with bullet
marks by the policemen's gun fire.
The English language teacher by the surname of Wu (伍) was afraid of being
the next person to be killed. He ran out from the side of the school and
hid in a house near the school not far from the police station. Teacher
Wu was from Batu Gajah. He was so frightened that he lost his voice and
could not teach anymore. It was useless for a teacher who had no voice.
He later made a living by becoming a wood sculptor as he was very good in
drawing. He used to go to the tin mines to obtain old wood that had been
buried underground for a long time. With the old wood he sculptured Chinese
ancient folk heroes to sell. Thus the school was without an English teacher.
The school eventually had to employ an English teacher from Ipoh to replace
Teacher Liu was only in his early 20s and he passed the Junior Middle Three
Examinations at Yoke Choy High School in Ipoh (怡保育才中學) before the
war. He was a member of the Malayan Nationalist Party (Malayan Kuomintang
馬來亞國民黨). Occasionally, Teacher Liu taught music. He had been warned
by the Hill People not to teach pro-Kuomintang songs to the students. Teacher
Liu thought that those songs were anti-Japanese songs. He did not take heed
to the warning seriously and continued to teach the students anti-Japanese
All the students of Yi Zhi school, some student representatives from Guang
Han school (光漢小學) which was renamed Gunong Hijau New Village Primary
Chinese School 布先喜州華文小學), friends of Teacher Liu and his relatives
turned up in the funeral procession. Almost all the students, particularly
the girl students were crying. It had never seen so many girls and boys
crying before in Pusing. In fact, all the Pusing folks felt sorry for Teacher
The Pusing residents said,
"Why they killed him"
"He was so young and handsome."
"What a waste of talent"
One of them said that it was a shame to our town. No one dared to blame
the Hill People, but in their hearts they were angry for what they did to
Teacher Liu. Pusing folks lost the credibility of the Hill People who were
supposed to be their Liberators from the British Colonial rule. If you happened
to come to the school you still can see Teacher Liu's photo hanging on the
wall in the teachers' room. He was wearing white shirt and white trousers
with a flowering necktie.
There were so many incidents like this one that had happened to this little
town that the British Colonial Authorities nicknamed it "Little Yanan 小
延安"[ the capital of the Chinese Communist Party in Shaanxi province 陝
西省 in China, from 1936 to 1947]. The British Authorities often imposed
long curfew hours, food restriction, and many other restrictions on this
little Hakka town. I had lived through all kinds of nasty incidents that
had happened in this little Hakka town during the Emergency period from
1948 to 1960.
Posted to Overseas Chinese Forum at asiawind.com
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)
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