Thursday, 25 October 2012

A small boy who grew up behind the wire...

The 'New Villages' were built as part of the British plan to deny food and support to the jungle-based Communist Terrorists (CTs), and to win the 'hearts and minds' of the local people.  The plan worked and helped to bring the Malayan Emergency to an end.  Chinese squatter communities were uprooted from the jungle fringes and forced into the 'New Villages' - where for many the living conditions and amenities were a lot better than what they had left behind.  But the villages were surround by barbed wire, subject to curfews and the inhabitants were randomly searched when leaving.  Outside the wire they were still targeted by the CTs.
Photo from the Straits Times

Wong Yoon Wah is a Poet and has won the Cultural Medallion (Singapore’s highest honour for arts practitioners).  He is the director of the international language and culture centre at Taiwan’s Yuan Ze University and senior vice-president of Southern College in Malaysia.  He was born in Perak in 1941 and lived happily on the jungle fringes until his family was forced into a 'New Village' in 1951.  He was to stay there for 11 years and the experience made a huge impression on him - a child caught between two sides in a conflict.  Read his story in the Star Online.

Veteran of the Malayan Emergency Awarded the 200th Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal

This month Charles Waddington, who spent 9 years in the Royal Engineers, was finally awarded the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal.  He served in Malaya and Borneo for 3 years in the late 1950's/early 1960's.  The 200th recipient of the award, he first applied for it 6 years ago.  The medal was somewhat controversial in the UK as the Government policy on medals did not allow UK veterans to officially wear it until 11th November 2011.  The medal was first issued by the Malaysian Government in 2005, and veterans from other Commonwealth Countries have been able to officially wear it from the outset.  The closing date for applications was 30th September 2012.

Charles lives in West Yorkshire and his story can be read in the Keighley News.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

'Merdeka' now available in the Kobo eBookstore

'Merdeka' is now available for download in the Kobo eBookstore.  Getting it there has been quite a journey.  All those of you with Kobo eReaders can now access it. 

Don't have a Kobo eReader?  There is a page on this blog which gives you the other options to get the book.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

12 people lost in the Jungle 60 years ago are re-buried

On 15th March 2012 all twelve people (passengers and crew) who died in a plane crash in the Malaysian jungle in 1950 were re-buried with full military honours.  RAF Dakota KN630 crashed deep in the Malaysian jungle on 25th August, 1950, during a target marking mission near Kampong Jendera.  The plane from 52 Squadron (based at RAF Changi in Singapore) had been dropping smoke markers near Kampong Jendera to help Lincoln bombers pinpoint Communist camps, but it lost power during its second run and plummeted into a ravine.

A rescue party reached the crash site in early September 1950 after nine days journey on foot to discover all 12 had died.  Due to the high risk of terrorist attack, the bodies were buried in shallow jungle graves.  Due to the efforts of Dennis Carpenter, the brother of Geoff Carpenter one of the dead Airmen, and to the support of Colonel Tajri Alwi of the Malaysian Army, the bodies were found and excavated after a major search operation in 2008.  For the full story (and related photographs) see an article by the Mail Online.