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Tales of a Hakka Town (8) part 2
Tales of a Hakka Town (8) part 2
During the first several weeks after the Japanese had surrendered the
MPAJA received the adulation of the people in Malaya because they were
the first to come out from the jungle to take over the administrations
of the small towns and villages. The British troops were still on their
way from Ceylon. No doubt there were the force 136 representing the
British high command, but there were only three hundred and eight men
with the MPAJA at that time in the whole of Malaya including Singapore.
Out of these men there were only eighty eight British officers.
Koon-loy was called to Ipoh to receive the award for the services he had
given to the MPAJA. The award was from the MPAJA high command of the
State of Perak. Koon-loy knew he was going to be stranded in Malaya. His
only hope of going back home depended on the British who would reoccupy the
country soon. He was sure that they could help him.
The British returned and reoccupied Malaya as a British Military
Administration. Koon-loy went to Batu Gajah to see the British officer in
charge of Kinta District. He was asked to produce his identity card to
prove that he was a Japanese soldier, but he could not do so. He tried
his best to convince the British officer that he had destroyed the card
when he first entered the MPAJA camp. Seeing was believing and the
British did not believe him. As far as they were concerned he was a MPAJA.
In dejection and depressed Koon-loy went back to Pusing. Mail services with
Formosa, now restored back to China, were not established and he
received no reply from his family. To him it seemed that the only way
for him to return home was to earn some money to pay for the passage.
On December 1, 1945 the news of the disbandment of the MPAJA arrived in
Pusing. A big pageant and 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's 3rd Independent
Regiment. The British commanders paid tributes to the courage and
resource of the MPAJA and thanked them for their contribution to the
victory in Malaya. There were big cheers and hand clappings when each of
the three hundred odd MPAJA handed in his gun. In return each was
rewarded with a sum of $300.00. Koon-loy also received the sum of $300.00.
by handing in his stengun and a few handgrenades.
The following day Koon-loy asked permission from his boss, Comrade Zeng
to hand in his pistol so that he could receive more money for 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 dropped
by the British. In the meeting in January 1, 1944 between the MPAJA,
represented by Chin Ping and Loi Tak the plenipotentiary of MCP and
force 136, represented by Spencer Chapman, John Davis and Richard Broome,
Chin Ping warned force 136 that:
"If Force 136 drop any revolvers or pistols for the M.P.A.J.A. these
will not be returned, although rifles and other weapons will."
Knowing that Koon-loy desperately wanted to return to Formosa Comrade
Zeng 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 Formosa was
yet to be restored. Even though Koon-loy had the money, but there was no
means for him to go back. So he stayed in Pusing temporary and looked for
ways to get home.
The first thing the BMA, after it had reoccupied Malaya, did was to
decree that the Japanese Occupied Currency was invalid and the new Malayan
Currency was to become the legal tender. Just by a stroke of a pen many
Malayans lost their livelihood because they had no money to buy food.
For those who had foods to sell they would not sell them for nothing. There
was a shortage of food every where. There were rice riots in the State
of Perak and 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 organized the people. They marched to
Batu Gajah shouting the slogan:
"Wo Men Yao Fan Chi, we want rice to eat."
Koon-loy was one of the organizers. When they arrived at Changat (the
headquarters of the Kinta BMA near Batu Gajah) without hesitation the BMA
promised to give them jobs. The British told Koon-loy and the rest of 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 othe chores. Although the pays were small every one
The MCP began to form a youth organization called the New Democratic
Youth Corps. A shop house was acquired as the office and the meeting
place of the new organization. I still can recall the address of
of the organization. It was 17 Main Road, Pusing, Perak with a big drawn
half-smiling portrait of Mao Tse-tung in the hall. Koon-loy was appointed
the clerk in charge of the organization cum housekeeper as he had no
home to return to. This organization held many rallies in Pusing, Papan,
Siputeh and villages in the district telling people that the British
caused the shortage of food and the mounting cost of living. As he was
very busy with the propagandizing Koon-loy continued to find ways to go
home....to be continued.......