Author: CHUNG Yoon Ngan
Date: 01-10-12 18:58
My Family in the British Colonial Malaya - 1858 to 1960 (5)
107. Merdeka (Independence) - 1957
I send off my love one as far as the well in the courtyard,
Half of the sky is covered with black clouds;
I wish it will rain,
So that my love one will stay for a few more days.
A Hakka mountain song
The Second World War in Asia ended after Japan was defeated and surrendered
in August 1945. The following year in 1946 the Malay Nationalists formed
a party called the United Malays' National Organization (UMNO).
On December 5 1948 Tan Cheng-lok (陳禎祿) formed the Malayan Chinese Association
In 1952, the UMNO and MCA formed a party called the Alliance Party (聯盟
) to contest in the first local council election of the municipality of
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaya. Tunku Abdul Rahman, the president of
the UMNO, was elected the leader of the Alliance Party. The result of the
election was that the Alliance Party won all the seats contested. Ong Yoke
Lin (翁毓麟 Weng Yulin), a member of the MCA and one of the founders of
the Alliance Party, was elected as a councillor and became the first Mayor
of Kuala Lumpur. The party formed by the Malayan Indians called Malayan
Indian Congress Party (MIC) joined the Alliance Party which became a party
belonging to the Malays, Chinese and Indians in Malaya.
In the first federal election in Malaya in 1955, the Alliance Party won
51 of the 52 seats contested. Malaya became a self government and Tunku
Abdul Rahman became the First Chief Minister of Malaya.
In April 1957, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Chief Minister of the Self Government
accompanying by the representatives of the members of UMNO, MCA and MIC
went to England for the conference on the independence of Malaya. The British
agreed to give Malaya back to the people of Malaya. So on 31st August 1957,
Malaya became an independent country.
Meanwhile in the small Hakka town of Pusing (布先), in the State of Perak,
curfew was still on but the curfew hours for the town Pusing and Gunung
Hijau New Village (喜州新村) had changed, that was from mid-night to 6 am,
the next day. However, the curfew hours for the rubber plantations remained
the same, from dusk to dawn, that was from 7 pm. to 6 am the next day as
there were still about 20 to 30 Hill People in the jungle according to the
British Colonial Authorities. The Pusing residents were free to move about
within the fences that protecting the town and the village. There were three
layers of fence surrounding Pusing and Gunung Hijau New Village. The center
one was an electrified fence. Anyone or a strayed cow or a goat that touched
the electrified fence would be burnt to death. It was very, very dangerous.
The purpose of putting up this electrified fence was to prevent the Hill
People from cutting through the fence and coming into the new village or
the town to obtain food and other provisions. From what the information
gathered from the surrendered Hill People, the British knew that there were
residents throwing tin-food out beyond the fences. So the British put up
the three fences far apart so that on one could be strong enough to throw
out any tin-food.
As the curfew hours had been changed, the Chinese high school students in
town obtained permissions from the authorities of the police department
in Batu Gajah and the school governing body of Yi Zhi Chinese Primary School
(益智華文小學) to conduct night classes to teach those illiterate or semi-illiterate
rubber tappers, mostly young girls who had never been to school. A few of
the night school teachers belonged to the Min Yuen (民運 an underground
organization supporting the Hill People). I took part in organizing the
night classes and got involved with the members of the Min Yuan.
The night classes went on smoothly. I and a few members of the Min Yuen
became good friends and we began to stay overnight in one of the members
house. After the night classes the Min Yuen members gathered together to
learn Communists songs and read Communist literature books that were smuggled
into Malaya from China. None of the Min Yuen members knew that one of us
was a police paid informer. One night, after the night classes this member,
whose nickname was Russia (it is not nice to reveal his name), suggested
that we should change the place of the discussion for that night. Usually
we stayed in Lee's house in Kampong Pinang (檳榔園). But that night we changed
the meeting to Loh's house, in the old site of the railway line, not far
from the Yi Zhi School.
That night after mid-night, the police from Batu Gajah conducted a clean
up operation with the intention of picking up all the Min Yuen members and
those who supplied food and other provisions to the Hill People. A few friends
and I were supposed to be picked up. But our friend, Russia, the informer,
purposely changed the place of discussion for the night so that we could
escape from being picked up. Russia must have a clear conscious mind, after
all we were all friends and school mates for many years and he did not want
us to end up in jail.
The police came to my father's house looking for me but I was not at home.
They picked up my sister-in-law, Zhang Pingtai (張平娣), the wife of my
Third Elder Brother, who had just given birth to a baby girl for about a
week. The baby girl was named Chung Soo Chin (鄭素珍). It was revealed that
my sister-n-law used to make uniforms for the Hill People when she was a
rubber tapper before she married my Third Elder Brother. I was lucky because
I was not at home that night.
My sister-in-law was put in a cell with her baby girl and a female high
school student from Yuk Kwan High School in Batu Gajah (華都拿也育群中學
) by the surname of Mo (莫 it is not appropriate to reveal her full name).
Student Mo was about 17 years old and was very beautiful. A distant relative
of mine, Police Inspector Chung (I am not sure about his real name, as it
happened so long ago.), was a Police Inspector in the Batu Gajah District
Police Department and he knew what was going on in Pusing. Since Zhang Pingtai
was the daughter-in-law of Father she became a distant relative of Inspector
Chung who went regularly and too often to the prison cell to see my sister-in-
law, the baby girl and particularly Student Mo. Inspector Chung, a bachelor,
felt in love with Student Mo. Inspector Chung made sure that they were being
well treated. My sister-in-law wondered why Inspector Chung came to see
them so often after all they were prisoners. One evening, Inspector Chung
invited Student Mo for a cinema show in Ipoh. It was good for a change after
being locked up for a week in a cell with a crying baby girl and a new mother.
Student Mo accepted the invitation. Inspector Chung gave Student Mo a few
new dress to wear as she was wearing prison clothing. Inspector Chung had
planned in advance of taking Student Mo out. So he bought a few new dresses
for her to go out with him at night. However, Student Mo must remain as
a prisoner during daytime. Then my sister-in-law realized that Inspector
Chung was in love with Student Mo.
About a month later, my sister-in-law and Student Mo were released from
prison. A several months later Student Mo gave up studying and married Inspector
Seeing me got involved with the Min Yuan Organization Father was afraid
that I might follow the footstep of First Eldest Brother, who was sent to
China to study, Father sent me to live in Ipoh as I was studying in Ipoh.
I was studying Form Four at that time. I continued to live in Ipoh until
I finished my Form Five and after the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate
Examinations I returned to live in Pusing.
Posted to Overseas Chinese Forum at asiawind.com
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)
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