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A Taiwanese Hakka in the Japanese army (4)
A Taiwanese Hakka in the Japanese army (4)
After the Japanese had occupied Malaya the British set up the Southeast
Asian High Command in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka). The British recruited
many young Malayans into the 136 forces which would be used to help the
British to recapture Malaya. The mission of the 136 forces was, before
the allied forces began reconquer Malaya, to contact the resistance
forces there. They were to be paracuted back to Malaya as soon as their
training was over.
Colonel Chapman was with Chin Peng in MPAJA headqurters in Triang in
Pahang. One night while the British Air Force from Ceylon flew over
Malaya on the bombing mission Colonel Chapman, using a hand operated
wireless transmtiter, made contact with the British Air Force. After
they had identified that it was Colonel Chapman the British Air Force
made many sorties of dropping supplies to the MPAJA. Meanwhile plans were
made by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander to invade
Malaya. The MPAJA forces were to be deployed to destroy the Japanese
communications before the Allied forces began landing in Malaya. More
air drops of supplies were made to the MPAJA. Chin Peng requested the 136
forces to assist the Kinta MPAJA. Therefore Kon Lai went with Comrade
Zeng to an open space, the tailing of a abandoned tin mine to receive
The Kinta branch of MPAJA gave the two British and the two 136 force
officers a big warm welcome. These officers reorganized the MPAJA
under the command of Comrade Zeng. They taught the MPAJA how to use
the explosive and how to handle the new weapons they received. Kon Lai
was assigned as the leader of the Sabotage Squad which took the
responsility of destroying the communications in the Kinta district
before the arrival of the allied troops.
On August 15, 1945 news came that Japan had surrendered. There were
big VJ cerebrations every where in Malaya. Kon Lai was very excited
because the time had finally come for him to go home where he left
four years ago. He approached the two British officers and told them
that he was a Japanese deserted soldiers. They were flabbergnasted to
hear the story by Kon Lai. They asked Kon Lai if he still posessed his
Japanese soldier's identity card. Unfortunately Kon Lai had
destroyed it to prove that he was not a Japanese spy when he first
entered the camp. It would be hard for him to convince the British
Authority of his real identity.
In Malaya after the Japanese surrender the first troops to appear in
the streets of the towns and villages were not the allied troops but the
6,000 or more MPAJA guerillas. The British troops were still in the sea
on the way to Malaya. The Japanese forces were ordered by the high
command in Japan to recroup in big towns and cities and stay in the
barracks awaiting for the arrival of the British so that they could
surrender to them. The Japanese forces did not surrender to the MPAJA
forces whom they did not recognized. The Communist guerillas ruled Malaya
until the British troops reoccupied the whole of Malaya in September and
immediately they set up a British Military Administration (BMA).
To show their forces Kon Lai and his comrades, with new uinforms,
shining boots and the latest new weapons, thanks to the British, proudly
marched out from the jungle with the drummers in front of them, through
the cheering crowds lining the streets of Pusing, Siputeh and Papan
and occupied the police stations of these three towns. Kon Lai went to
Batu Gajah trying to contact the Japanese troops stationed there, hoping
to be expatriated back to Taiwan, but they had already retreated to Kuala
Lumpur which was about 200 kilometers away. It would be difficult for
him to go there. 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 Lai 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 MPAJA forces were officially
disbanded and the British asked them to return the arms that they air
dropped to them. Most of the arms were returned to the BMA with the
compensation of $300 for a rifle and more for a sub-machine or a
manchine gun. Many ex-MPAJA associations were formed through out Malaya.
The MPAJA leadership and its organization remained underground. The
arms supplied by the British were buried in the jungle in case of any
hostile contingency from the British. Since Kon Lai had no home to return
to and no where to live he had to work and live in the Pusing ex-MPAJA
association which was a converted shop house next to my father's shop.
He wrote letters home telling his family that he was still alive. He did
not know what happen to his wife, Siew Lan and his two sons.
He wanted to contact them, desperately,
Meanwhile in Taiwan, according to the Cairo Declaration of December
1, 1943 Taiwan and Pescadores were to be returned to China after the
defeat of Japan. Taiwan was finally restored to China when the Japanese
surrender on August 15, 1945 and it was made a province. Jiang Jia Shi
(Chiang Kaishek) sent General Chen Yi to Taiwan as the governor of
During the Japanese occupation the Formosans always considered
themselves as Chinese. But the fact that they did not realized that
the Japanese had raised their standard of living which was much higher
than that in the mainland. The Japanese eliminated banditry, developed
railways, constructed roads for safe travel and upheld the judiciary
systems but without much social and political freedom. Formosans
did not conceive that they were culturally more advance than their
consins in the motherland.
When General Chen Yi leading the Chinese troops landed in Taiwan
Formosans in holiday clothes flocked to the docks and railway stations
to welcome the liberators. However, the Formosans' joy vanished overnight
when they discovered that the Chinese troops were not liberators but
conquerors who behaved like bandits. The Chinese troops took goods from
the market stalls without paying for them. They robbed civilians on the
streets. At night the Chinese troops went to the villages to rob. They
killed the villagers in order to hide their robberies. Villagers and
towns folks, who had not known of any robbery or baditry under the
Japanese, organized their own local protective associations.
The Chinese officers confiscated all Japanese property which they
sold in the black market and pocket the proceeds. Those they could
not sell they shipped them to their homes on the mainland. When they
had finished dealing with the Japanese property the officers now
turned on the wealth of the Formosans. Whenever the Chinese officers
took over a business or factory they always asked, " How much cash on
hand?" "Any house or any motorcar?"
(To cut the story short) The beating to death of a woman cigarette
seller named Lin Jiang Meng by the agents from the Liquor and Cigarette
Bureaucracy on Febuary 28, 1947 in Taipei in front of a big crowd
that started what we now call 228 incident. During the month of Febuary
1947 Chinese troops had killed hundreds of unarmed Formosans.
But Kon Lai did not know what was happening in his homeland.
............to be continued..............
CHUNG Yoon-Ngan. email@example.com