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.

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