Saturday, 25 February 2012

Have you heard of the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal?

The Government of Malaysia introduced the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal in 2005 and awarded it to British and Commonwealth veterans who served in the conflict in Malaya between August 1957 and August 1966. This caught the final years of the Malayan Emergency and also the conflict in Borneo from 1962 to 1966. 

In September 1963 Malaysia came into being with the amalgamation of the Federation of Malaya (now West Malaysia) with the crown colony/British protectorate of Sabah and Sarawak, collectively known as British Borneo (now East Malaysia).  Rather than allowing the creation of East Malaysia, the then government of Indonesia wanted to absorb the territories into Kalimantan, their name for the Indonesian part of the Island of Borneo.  War was never officially declared between Indonesia and Malaysia and the Indonesians tried to support some local unrest in the former British Territories. 

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Uplands School - Penang

Uplands School is mentioned in the closing Chapters of 'Merdeka'. The information below has been taken from the History page of the school website.

The School was founded during the Malayan Emergency. Attacks by insurgents against rubber estates led the Incorporated Society of Planters - I.S.P to seek a safe location where expatriate planters could send their young children to school while keeping them in Malaya.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Singapore 1942: End of Empire

Last week the BBC screened the first Episode of a new series called 'Singapore 1942: End of Empire'.  The second episode will be shown tonight at 9:00 pm on BBC Two Scotland.  If you live in the UK and missed the first episode you can watch it on BBC iPlayer until 21 February 2012.

The first episode  looks at how Japan's lightning invasion of Malaya threatened the key British port of Singapore, igniting ethnic and political tensions, and tells how Scottish soldiers were at the heart of the city's defence.  The soldiers were from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and, if you ever get the chance to visit, there is a small related display in their Regimental Museum at Stirling Castle.  What has this to do with 'Merdeka'? 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hearts and minds

It is now taken as a given that winning the 'hearts and minds' of a population is one of the cornerstones of a successful counter-insurgency campaign (with both the insurgents and the forces of the government trying to win over the populace).  The phrase 'hearts and minds' is often used these days, but its origin is perhaps less well known.  It was first coined by General Sir Gerald Templer after he was appointed as High Commissioner in Malaya in 1952, with a brief to end the Malayan Emergency.  He also took on the role of Director of Operations (DirOps).  He famously stated that:

"The answer lies not in pouring more troops into the jungle, but in the hearts and minds of the people."

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Orang Asli People of the Malay Peninsular - A Historic Video

According to Wikipedia 'Orang Asli' is a generic Malaysian term used officially for non-Malay people indigenous to Peninsular Malaysia. Officially, there are 18 orang asli tribes, categorised under three main groups according to their different languages and customs.

So much has changed for the Orang Asli people since a German film crew made the video below in the 1930's.  Jalil, a member of the Senoi group of tribes, is one of the main protagonists in 'Merdeka'.  His world was not so far removed from the world of the people that you can watch below.  Sadly deforestation and land grabs for development have now significantly changed their world............