Thursday, 19 July 2018

National Car
1. I was told that no one wished to see second national car. Enough with the failed Proton.

2. We are not qualified and unable to own an automotive industry. Malaysians are willing to buy imported cars including from China. Their choice is Japanese car and those with  money would buy Germany cars.

3. I still remember Japanese car soon after war. Consumers said if we scribble with finger nails, we can see Milo tin. But, from this Milo tin came numerous Toyota, Nissan and Suzuki models that we are using now.

4. So is pony Hyundai cars. Time pass with Japanese and Korean cars becomes better. Austin, Morris and other car brands from Europe disappeared from market.

5.  Surely, this will not happen in Malaysia. Our car will forever be made from tin.

6. We are not suggesting to government to produce second national car. Our private companies are capable of designing, making clay models, test models dan huge productions motor vehicle. But, since idea of making second national is rejected, then we are stopping all suggestions to produce motor vehicle by private. Of course, government would not have a government owned automotive.

7. We will buy imported cars. If we went to car producing countries like Japan, Korea, we will not see foreign cars in their countries. In Japan only Japanese cars, in Korea, only Korean car. Why?

8. Because they will not let importing foreign car. As a result, the quality of their cars improved. and they export millions of their car. Foreign currencies inflow are increasing.

9. Their workers are employed and living luxury. The economy is flourishing and becomes a developed country with advanced engineering industry and are able to help other engineering industries.

10.  But, not in Malaysia. Regardless of car types, its origin, quality or Milo tin can enter Malaysia. Produced by giant companies, they can monopoly Malaysia car market until Proton is closed down. Eventually, Proton is sold to foreigner. No more national car. No more automotive industry. All employees, engineer, manager are unemployed. Everything went down.

11. Malaysia becomes consumer, agriculture and fishing country.

12. It's alright. We get what we wish for.

13. Just forget Vision 2020.

Written by : Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Date : July 16, 2018
Link : http://chedet.cc/?p=2872
Translated by : Teratai Melur

Monday, 2 April 2018

REVISITING PENANG'S TUMULTUOUS PAST



New Asia Hotel is located at the junction of Rope Walk and Lebuh Kimberley.

A visit to the Padang Brown flea market turns out to be an opportunity for the writer to learn more about the Japanese Occupation in Penang

"Documents! That vendor over there just pulled out a large bag of old documents!" my wife whispers excitedly into my ear just as I'm about to start sifting through a stack of old picture postcards. She waves her finger towards the opposing side of the narrow pathway filled with people. I looked intently but fail so see the seller. The look on her face, however, tells me that something is afoot. Placing the stack of cards in her hands, Iquickly head off in search of the elusive seller.

It's only 4pm but the afternoon flea market at Padang Brown is already in full swing. Dozens of vendors start gathering at this spot in Penang's bustling Dato Keramat area as soon as they're done with lunch.

It's only 4pm but the afternoon flea market at Padang Brown is already in full swing. Dozens of vendors start gathering at this spot in Penang's bustling Dato Kramat area as soon as they're done with lunch.

Suddenly, I catch sight of a large group crowding around a man standing beside a motorcycle. The seller keeps on dipping into a large gunny sack and placing rolls of paper into the outstretched hands of the buyers. I quicken my steps and join in the action, putting all I can get my hands on into a plastic bag. There's no time to check anything. My aim is to secure as many things as possible and only check them when time permits.



An interesting tax receipt paying the 4 cents rate.


"Japanese Occupation!" These words keep ringing out as buyers delightedly peek at their new found possessions. Tempers occasionally flare when some people start vying for the same items. Fortunately, they cool down when more appear from the seemingly bottomless bag.

Finally, the seller announces that the stack f envelopes in his right hand represents the last of the lot. I Join the crowd in lunging forward with gusto. To my delight, my effort is richly rewarded when the envelopes are shoved into my waiting palm.

The crowd slowly thins, leaving the buyers to start paying the seller for their purchases. Soon my turn arrives and the seller merely peeks into my bulging plastic bag and holds it in his hands to make a rough estimation of its weight before quoting his price.




CHECKING THE 'LOOT'
Back in the car, my wife and I excitedly start going through the items. A lot of stuff turns out to be rolled up rental receipts for New Asia Hotel located at the junction of Rope Walk (now Jalan Pintal Tali) and Lebuh Kimberley.

The dates on the receipts range from 1940 to 1945 and each receipt is affixed with a duly cancelled 4c stamps. That's the correct tax rate for receipts back then. Apart from some Straits Settlement stamps, the bits of fragile paper mostly bear adhesives from the Japanese Occupation period.

Disappointment starts to creep as I unearth more common receipts. Then I decide to check the contents of the stack of envelopes. An avalanche of goodies start to appear. These include Japanese Occupation era lotteries tickets, photographs, letters, newspaper cuttings, bank fixed deposit statements and a small number of early luggage labels produced by the hotel.

A myriad of questions start surfacing as soon as I reach the end of the pile. "Does this hotel still exist today? Could there be more of these priceless items in the storeroom waiting to be discovered?" I ask myself. That feeling of wanting to make a quick drive to the address to find out more begins to nag. In my heart I harbour the hope of meeting the owner, and with some luck, learn his story.




TRACKING THE STORY
The George Town traffic is surprisingly light for a late Thursday afternoon. I can barely contain my excitement and before long, I spot the New Asia Hotel signboard. My first question has already been answered. "This is a good sign. Hopefully we'll get to meet the owner," I tell my wife as we start walking up the flight of stairs leading to the reception area on the first floor.

My hopes are dashed a few minutes later as I learn from the manager on duty that his company had taken over management of the hotel about seven years ago when the previous owner decided to call it a day.

"We don't have any of the old records. Everything was cleared out by the previous owner before we took over. We did some minor renovations in 2010 but as far as I can remember we didn't find anything related to the hotel's past," she explains when I show her the things I'd bought. My request to contact the former owner draws a blank as well.

My only consolation is her generous permission to look around the place. Looking out at the bustling junction down below through an open window, I can just imagine the sight that must have greeted Penangites when the triumphant Japanese soldiers, astride their tanks, rumbled for the first time into town. The minds of the people at the time must have been fraught with concern, fearful of their bleak future under the aggressors from the Land of the Rising Sun


Reign of the Japanese

REIGN OF THE JAPANESE
The Japanese Military Administration in Penang began on Dec, 17, 1941. Right from the start, the Chinese community was singled out to bear the burnt of their oppression. This was their way of getting back at the locals for supporting the war effort back in China ever since the Japanese Army started their incursions there in 1937.

One of the most potent measures used by the Japanese to intimate the Chinese was summary execution by beheading. In just a few days after the occupation, severed heads were placed at key intersections all over George Town. This action, apart from eliminating the people who are most likely to cause trouble, undoubtedly had a salutary effect on the rest of the population.

Referring to the newspaper cuttings of the Penang Shimbun, a local Japanese controlled daily, I learn that the Japanese secret police or Kempeitai began detaining Chinese community leaders who'd been actively supporting the Chungking government and the Chine Relief Fund. Apart from that, mass investigation of the entire Chinese population were conducted with the sole purpose of 'purification by elimination'.


The Japanese officially surrendered on Sept 5, 1945 in Penang


On April 5, 1942, the people were told to gather at various centres throughout George Town. Screening were conducted with the help of masked informers who identified people according to four categories: those who'd worked against Japan, communists, educated individuals and criminals.

As many as 5,000 suspects, of whom a large majority consisted of young and middle aged men, were taken to prison while awaiting further interrogation. A fraction was subsequently released while the rest either died of cholera in the overcrowded cells or were spirited away by the truckloads for execution at deserted beaches on the island.

Apart from physical hardship and mental agony, the local population also suffered when the Japanese authorities froze all their pre-war bank accounts, bringing the local economy to a near standstill. The people were ordered to open new accounts in Japanese-controlled financial institutions like the Yokohama Specie Bank, Bank of Taiwan and the Japanese Konan Bank. The banks only received lukewarm response as the Chinese were unwilling to transact business with the Japanese bank.

Left with no choice, the Japanese authorities ordered the Chinese and Indian banks to resume operations. The Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation, United Chinese Bank, Ban Hin Lee Bank and Lee Wah Bank re-opened in April 1942. The list increased when Southern Bank and Kwong Yik Bank threw their doors open several months later.

All the Japanese and local banks resorted to lotteries and bonuses in the race to attract depositors. The lotteries I found were primarily issued by a branch of the Japanese Konan Bank. A total of 500,000 tickets were produced for each draw. The lottery tickets, at $1 each, gave purchasers the hope of winning the first prize money, which was $50,000. The instructions at the back required winning ticket holders to redeem their prizes at the Yokohama Specie Bank or its authorised branches.



The fixed deposit receipts that I found were of exceptionally large sums of money. Upon close inspection, I notice that the majority of the notes were due in 1946, a year after the Japanese Occupation ended. The owner must have lost a fortune as the British demonetised all war time currency when they returned to Penang!

The tides of war began to slowly turn against the Japanese as early as November 1944 when Allied bombers began appearing over Penang and initiated bombing runs on important installations.
This prompted the jittery shopkeepers in Penang to close their shops in anticipation of further attacks. The Penang Shimbun reported on Nov 15, 1944 that the head of the Kempeitai issued warnings to shopkeepers telling them that premises which fail to open would be sealed for an indefinite period of time.

An attack on Jan 11, 1945 destroyed government buildings, the post office and important structures near the waterfront. A day after a massive raid on Feb 1, the entire George Town fell silent. Many of its residents opted to either remain indoors or flee for the suburbs where they were less likely to be hit.
One of the more interesting Japanese Occupation-era receipts

End of the war


Japan finally surrendered on Aug 15, 1945. British naval forces left their base in Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee port for Penang that very same day while the swifter minesweepers left Colombo three days later to clear the Melaka Straits. The naval flotilla planned to arrive in Penang on Aug 21. However, just before reaching Malayan waters, the Commander on board received instructions to delay his arrival to allow time for the surrendering Japanese commanders to effectively disseminate their cease-fire orders.
The British finally arrived in Penang on Sept 3 but they were forced to delay their landing for a further 24 hours when the local Japanese commander requested for more time to evacuate his forces to the mainland. A formal re-occupation ceremony took place on Swettenham Pier on Sept 5, 1945.
My last document dates to just a few days before this momentous ceremony took place. The previous owner of the hotel must have been relieved to learn that the war had finally ended. The return of the Allied forces must have given him the security to dispense with further record keeping.
As for me, I’m glad to possess a tiny slice of our nation’s history that will remind me of a time when peace was a just a distant memory.

The atrocities suffered during the Japanese Occupation serve as a grim reminder to all of us to treasure the peaceful way of life that we enjoy now. Let us all pray that our wonderful nation will never have to witness such terror again.

Written by : Alan Teh Leam Seng
Link https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/sunday-vibes/2018/01/322538/revisiting-penangs-tumultuous-past


IMBAS KEMBALI SEJARAH PULAU PINANG YANG KACAU BILAU

Lawatan ke Pasar Lambak di Padang Brown memberi kesempatan kepada penulis mengkaji lebih banyak mengenai era Jepun di Pulau Pinang.


Dokumen! Kat sana ada penjual baru keluarkan beg besar penuh dengan dokumen!. Isteri saya membisik ke telinga saya dengan gembira ketika saya hendak mula melihat susunan gambar lama poskad. Dia menunjuk ke arah lorong kecil bertentangan yang telah dipenuhi orang. Saya cuba melihat penjual yang dimaksudkannya tetapi gagal melihatnya. Akan tetapi, raut wajah isteri saya memberitahu ada sesuatu sedang berlaku. Saya meletakkan susunan poskad dalam tangannya dan bergegas mencari penjual yang sukar dilihat itu.

Jam menunjukkan pukul 4 petang namun pasar lambak petang di Padang Brown sudah dipenuhi orang ramai. Berdozen-dozen penjual mula berkumpul di tapak  kawasan sibuk Dato Keramat di Pulau Pinang setelah menjamu selera makan tengah hari.

Tiba-tiba saya ternampak sekumpulan orang ramai mengerumuni seorang lelaki yang sedang berdiri sebelah sebuah motosikal. Penjual itu sedang mengeluarkan barangan daripada guni besar dan meletakkan gulungan kertas pada tangan pembeli.  Saya mempercepatkan langkah saya dan menyertai mereka lalu memasukkan gulungan kertas ke dalam beg plastik. Tiada masa untuk melihat. Sasaran adalah mendapatkan sebanyak mungkin dan melihat barangan ini kemudian.

"Zaman Jepun!" Perkataan ini mula kedengaran apabila pembeli melihat barangan baru mereka. Sekali-sekala perasaan marah boleh kelihatan apabila beberapa pembeli mahukan barangan sama. Nasib baik, keadaan mula reda apabila lebih banyak barangan dikeluarkan daripada guni.

Akhirnya, penjual tersebut mengumumkan susunan sampul surat di tangannya kanannya ialah barangan terakhir. Saya menyertai kumpulan pembeli yang mula merapati penjual itu. Saya merasa gembira apabila sampul surat itu diletakkan pada tangan saya.

Kumpulan pembeli mula berkurangan meninggalkan tempat jualan dan membayar untuk barangan mereka. Apabila tiba giliran saya, penjual tersebut melihat secara imbas beg plastik yang penuh dan mengangkat bagi menganggar secara kasar berat kandungan sebelum memberikan harganya.

MELIHAT BARANGAN


Setelah kembali ke kereta, saya dan isteri saya mula melihat barangan yang dibeli dengan perasaan teruja. Kebanyakkan barangan adalah gulungan resit sewa Hotel New Asia yang terletak di simpang Rope Walk (Jalan Pintal Tali) dan Lebuh Kemberley.

Tarikh pada resit-resit tersebut bermula dari 1940 hingga 1945 dan setiap resit ditampal dengan setem 4c yang dibatalkan. Ia adalah kadar cukai untuk resit pada masa itu. Selain daripada beberapa keping setem dari era Penempatan Selat, kertas lusuh ini mempunyai kesan dari zaman Jepun.



Sekeping resit cukai dengan kadar cukai sebanyak 4 sen


Perasaan kecewa mula menyelubungi saya apabila melihat semakin banyak resit sama. Kemudian, saya mengambil keputusan untuk melihat kandungan sampul surat pula. Bertimbun-timbun barangan berharga mula muncul. Ini termasuk tiket loteri era Jepun, foto-foto, surat-surat, kepingan surat khabar, penyata deposit tetap bank dan beberapa keping label beg pakaian terawal yang dikeluarkan oleh hotel tersebut.


Apabila saya telah melihat kandungan terakhir susunan sampul surat, pelbagai soalan mula muncul dalam fikiran saya. "Adakah hotel ini masih berfungsi? Adakah lagi barangan berharga sedang menunggu untuk diteroka di bilik setor?' Saya bertanya soalan ini pada diri saya. Perasaan ingin singgah ke lokasi ini bagi merungkai lebih banyak persoalan mula dirasai. Dalam hati saya, saya berharap agar dapat menemui pemilik hotel dan sekiranya bernasib baik dapat mengetahui kisahnya.

MENJEJAKI KISAH
Trafik di George Town pada petang Khamis agak ringan. Saya tidak dapat menyembunyikan kegembiraan saya apabila saya melihat papan tanda New Asia Hotel. Soalan pertama saya terjawab. "Ini petanda baik. Harap-harap kita dapat berjumpa dengan pemiliknya," Saya memberitahu isteri saya sambil menaiki tangga menuju ke bahagian sambut tetamu di tingkat pertama.







New Asia Hotel terletak di simpang Jalan Pintal dan Lehuh Kemberley


Harapan saya berkecai beberapa minit kemudian apabila dikhabarkan oleh pengurus hotel bertugas bahawa syarikat baharu ini mengambil pengurusan hotel ini sejak tujuh tahun dahulu apabila pemiliknya mahu menjual hotel ini.




"Kami tidak menyimpan sebarang rekod lama. Semuanya telah dibersihkan oleh pemilik lama sebelum kami mengambil alih. Kami ada melakukan sedikit kerja-kerja pengubah suaian pada 2010 tetapi seingat saya, kami tidak menemui apa-apa barangan berkaitan sejarah silam hotel ini" beliau menjelaskan apabila saya menunjukkan kepadanya barangan yang saya beli. Pemintaan saya untuk menghubungi pemilik asal turut menemui jalan buntu.

Kebenaran beliau untuk saya melihat bahagian dalam hotel menyenangkan hati saya. Melihatkan suasana sibuk di simpang menerusi tingkap terbuka, saya dapat membayangkan bayangan yang dilihat oleh rakyat Pulau Pinang apabila kemenangan tentera Jepun bercelapak kereta kebal mereka memasuki bandar ini buat pertama kali. Fikiran mereka sudah pasti penuh dengan ketegangan bercampur baur dengan kerisauan, takut akan masa depan gelap di bawah penceroboh dari Negara Matahari Terbit.

PEMERINTAHAN JEPUN


Pentadbiran Ketenteraan Jepun bermula di Pulau Pinang pada 17 Dis 1941. Sejak awal lagi, komuniti Cina diasingkan bagi menerima padah yang paling hebat iaitu penindasan ke atas mereka. Ini cara Jepun membalas dendam kepada mereka kerana menyokong perang di China sejak Tentera Jepun memulakan serangan mendadak di China pada 1937.

Salah satu tindakan keras yang digunakan oleh tentera Jepun untuk menakutkan orang Cina adalah menjatuhkan hukuman pancung. Hanya beberapa hari setelah menawan Pulau Pinang, kepala-kepala yang dipancung diletak di seluruh persimpangan George Town. Selain daripada menghapuskan mereka yang mungkin menimbulkan masalah, tindakan ini turut menjadi pengajaran kepada seluruh warga Pulau Pinang.

Merujuk kepada keratan akhbar, Penang Shimbun, surat khabar tempatan yang dikawal oleh Jepun, saya mendapati polis rahsia Jepun atau Kempetai mula menangkap ketua komuniti-ketua komuniti Cina yang aktif menyokong kerajaan Chungking dan Tabung Kemanusiaan China. Selain itu, penyiasatan besar-besaran dilakukan ke atas populasi Cina dengan satu tujuan iaitu 'penyucian menerusi pembersihan'.

Pada 5 April 1942, penduduk Pulau Pinang disuruh berkumpul di pelbagai pusat perkumpulan di George Town. Saringan dilakukan dengan bantuan pemberi maklumat bertopeng bagi mengenal pasti penduduk mengikut empat kategori; mereka yang menentang Jepun, komunis, individu berpelajaran dan penjenayah.

Seramai 5,000 suspek, majoriti pemuda dan lelaki pertengahan umur dibawa ke penjara untuk disoal siasat. Hanya sebilangan kecil dibebaskan sementara ada yang mati disebabkan oleh kolera kerana ditempatkan dalam sel penjara sesak atau dibawa dalam trak untuk dibunuh di pantai terpencil pulau.





Selain daripada beban fizikal dan penderitaan mental, penduduk tempatan merana apabila pentadbiran Jepun membekukan kesemua akaun bank sebelum perang. Ini menyebabkan ekonomi tempatan hampir terhenti. Penduduk diarahkan membuka akaun baharu di institusi kewangan yang dikawal oleh Jepun seperti Yokohama Specie Bank, Bank of Taiwan dan Japanese Konan Bank. Bank-bank ini tidak begitu mendapat sambutan kerana orang Cina enggan melakukan transaksi dengan bank-bank Jepun.

Disebabkan tiada pilihan, pentadbiran Jepun mengarahkan bank-bank Cina dan bank-bank  India memulakan semula operasi. mereka. The Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation, United Chinese Bank, Ban Hin Lee Bank dan Lee Wah Bank dibuka semula pada bulan April 1942. Beberapa bulan kemudian, Southern Bank dan Kwong Yik Bank turut dibuka semula.
Kesemua bank-bank Jepun dan bank-bank tempatan mengadakan cabutan loteri dan memberikan bonus bagi menarik pelanggan. Tiket loteri yang saya temukan dikeluarkan oleh cawangan Japanese Konan Bank. Sebanyak 500,000 keping tiket dihasilkan bagi setiap cabutan. Tiket loteri berharga $1 sekeping memberikan harapan kepada pembeli untuk memenangi hadiah pertama bernilai $50,000. Arahan tertera di bahagian belakang loteri meminta pemenang loteri menebus hadiah mereka di Yokohama Specie Bank atau di cawangan-cawangan bank yang diberi kuasa.

Resit deposit tetap yang saya temukan menawarkan jumlah wang yang sangat besar. Apabila diteliti, saya dapati tarikh luput pada kebanyakan resit berakhir pada 1946, setahun setelah Pendudukan Jepun berakhir. Pemilik resit ini pasti mengalami kerugian kerana pihak British mengharamkan semua mata wang era peperangan apabila pulang semula ke Pulau Pinang!



Secara beransur-ansur, seawal bulan November 1944, arus peperangan mula memberi masalah kepada Jepun apabila pasukan pengebom tentera Bersekutu mula tiba di Pulau Pinang dan mengebom tempat-tempat penting. 

Ini membuatkan pemilik-pemilik kedai merasa gementar lalu menutup kedai mereka sambil menunggu serangan seterusnya. Pada 15 Nov 1944, surat khabar Penang Shimbun melaporkan, ketua Kempetai mengeluarkan amaran kepada pemilik-pemilik kedai agar membuka semula perniagaan mereka dan sekiranya mereka gagal berbuat demikian, perniagaan mereka akan ditutup selama-lamanya. 

Serangan pada 11 Jun 1945 telah memusnahkan bangunan-bangunan kerajaan, pejabat pos dan struktur-struktur bangunan penting berhampiran kawasan dermaga. Sehari selepas serangan besar-besaran dilancarkan pada 1 Feb, seluruh bandar George Town menjadi sunyi sepi. Ramai penduduk memilih sama ada duduk di dalam rumah atau melarikan diri ke subbandar bagi mengelak diserang.





PEPERANGAN BERAKHIR
Akhirnya, Jepun mengerah kalah pada 15 Ogos 1945. Pada hari yang sama, angkatan tentera laut British bertolak ke Pulau Pinang dari pangkalan tentera di pelabuhan Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Kapal penyapu periuk api yang lebih pantas meninggalkan Colombo tiga hari kemudian bagi membersihkan Selat Melaka. Flotila tentera itu telah merancang untuk tiba di Pulau Pinang pada 21 Ogos. Namun, ketika menghampiri perairan Malaya, Komander bertugas menerima arahan agar melewatkan ketibaan mereka bagi memberikan masa kepada komander-komander Jepun  menyerah diri dan meyebarkan arahan gencatan senjata secara berkesan. 

Akhirnya, tentera British tiba di Pulau Pinang pada 3 Sept tetapi terpaksa menangguhkan ketibaan mereka selama 24 jam lagi apabila komander Jepun bertugas meminta lebih banyak masa bagi memindahkan tenteranya dari tanah besar. Acara penempatan semula rasmi diadakan di Swettenham Pier pada 5 Sept 1945.


Tentera Jepun menyerah secara rasmi di Pulau Pinang pada 5 Sept, 1045

Tarikh-tarikh yang tertera pada dokumen terakhir  adalah tarikh beberapa hari sebelum upacara penyerahan diadakan. Pemilik terdahulu hotel ini pasti lega apabila perang telah berakhir. 

Sekembalinya pasukan Bersekutu memberikan beliau peluang untuk menyimpan dokumen ini sebagai rekod.

Bagi saya, peluang untuk memiliki secebis sejarah negara kita yang mengingatkan saya akan zaman ketika keamanan adalah satu memori.

Kekejaman peperangan dialami ketika zaman Jepun umpama peringatan kepada kita agar menjaga keamanan yang kita miliki. Ayuh kita berusaha agar negara kita tidak akan menyaksikan ketakutan seumpama itu.


Diterjemah oleh : Teratai Melur

















































Friday, 19 January 2018

HOME OF THE WHITE RAJAHS
The discovery of a unique Sarawak vase spurs writer to learn more about the residences built by the White Rajahs in Kuching.

Sarawak pottery is world renowned. Often depicting ethnic motifs and themes, these multicolored ceramic receptacles are highly sought after by tourists as treasured keepsakes as well as make meaningful gifts for their loved ones and also keen interest from deep pocketed collectors that these exquisite pieces of art have come to spread throughout the country and also the world over.

The vase depicting scene of the Astana


Recently I had the rare opportunity of viewing a large collection of pottery pieces ranging from drinking water cistern, candle holders, ashtrays, mugs to teapots, all made by master potters from the Land of the Hornbill. Among the potpourri of shapes, colors and sizes, a pale yellow vase struck out like a sore thumb - it was a total deviation from the other Sarawak ceramics I have seen.


I promptly picked up the 0.45m tall vessel and began studying it in detail. The first thing that struck me was the absence of the customary traditional flora and fauna designs that are so prevalent in contemporary Sarawak earthenware. Instead, this one depicted a landscaped scene featuring a couple of important looking colonial era buildings. This novel subject depiction was like a breath of fresh air.

Somehow, the buildings looked rather familiar but I just couldn't remember at that point of time. Feeling rather exasperated, left after seeking permission to take photographs of the receptacle. I was hoping to solve the mystery after I get home.

It was only a few days later when I finally realised that the buildings on the vase were actually part of a single large sprawling complex called the Astana. Currently the official residence of the Yang di-Pertua or Governor of Sarawak, this magnificent palace with its iconic white tower, was once the home of two of Sarawak's White Rajahs.

THE GREAT HOUSES

Located on the north bank of the Sarawak River and directly opposite the Kuching Waterfront, the Astana was the third and last residence to be occupied the same site on the hill where the early Sultans of Brunei once lived before the arrival of James Brooke in 1838.

The first residence, built by James Brooke in 1842, was burnt to the ground during the Insurrection of February 1857. James Brooke's second home, built almost immediately to replace the first, was demolished after only 12 in 1869 to make way for the Astana.

Unlike the magnificent and lavishly-built Astana, the first residence occupied by the White Rajah was merely referred to as "Mr. Brooke's Residence". Built during those tumultuous early years, this was a very modest structure. Made entire of wood on raised posts and measuring approximately 5 square metre, it had four bedrooms, one in each corner and a large siting room in the centre with a room reserved specially for Brooke's use at the back.


The first residence built by James Brooke in 1842 was burnt down by the Hakka miners.


It was said that Brooke built his first house in the image of the bungalows he'd lived in during his early years with the British East India Company. Although the large sitting room was the most used section of the house (this was where Brooke held regular meetings with the local chiefs to keep in touch with the most recent developments), it was the vast collection of books in the special room that he treasured the most. It broke his heart when the library and its precious contents were razed to the ground on Feb 18, 1857.


On that fateful day, Lie Shan Bang led 600 of his fellow Chinese Hakka miners from Bau down the Sarawak River and marched towards Kuching. Upon arrival at the town, the mob began attacking government installations, murdering five Europeans and setting alight many buildings in the process. The town was in total chaos and the surviving Europeans hurriedly sought shelter in the town's Anglican Church.

Brooke saved his own life by swimming to safety across a nearby stream. His getaway was unknown to the rebels. The renegade Chinese miners then mistook a 17-year-old European lad to be the Rajah, decapitated him and paraded his head around Kuching on the end of a long pole. Fortunately, the timely arrival of a Borneo Company steamer and a large Dayak force from Lingga quickly put down the rebellion.

That particular incident made Brooke realize the need for stronger fortifications to ensure his safety. He immediately set about building a more secure residence and for the first time gave his home an official mane - "Government House". Although the residence was still built of wood, this time the Rajah added a small fort-like structure called "The Tower' next to his home. The two storey brick and mortar citadel served as a place of refuge during emergency.

Unfortunately, not much has been recorded about this second residence as it was considered as unlucky building after Captain Brooke Johnson, the Rajah Muda at that time, suffered a series of great misfortunes within a space of just three and a half years. He lost his first wife Annie, his son Francis and second wife Julia. All of them died in relatively quick succession and under strange inexplicable circumstances in the Government House. The deceased were laid to rest in the Brooke burial ground on the riverside close by.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE ASTANA

Plans to build the Astana began to surface soon after Brooke's death in 1868. A year after he was installed as the Second Rajah of Sarawak., Charles Brooke decided to go on leave and planned to return home to England with the intention of marrying. Wary of the stigma attached to the Government House, he promptly gave orders for it to be dismantled. A year later, in 1870, a spanking new brick and mortar structure was ready to receive Rajah and his new bride, Ranee Margaret Alice Lili de Windt.

Everyone in Kuching marvelled at the new building and agreed that it was indeed a fitting residence for a Rajah and worthy of the name Astana, which meant palace in the local language. 

Ranee Margaret (seated, second from right) with her ladies in waiting


I scrutinise the image on the vase, conscious of the fact that the original Astana, built nearly 150 years ago, would have been much smaller that it is today.


View of the Astana from the Sarawak River


Quite a number of annex buildings have been added over the years especially on the place where there was once an areca nut plantation. Charles Brooke maintained the trees for the benefit of his Dayak chieftains who'd call upon him each time they needed a large supply of betel nuts for their feasts.

I initially thought that the painting on the vase was that of two separate buildings after mistaking the Astana's square tower and battlements for those of Fort Margaritha. That section in fact serves as the Astana's main entrance.

Soon after its completion, the Astana quickly became the icon of Charles Brooke's authority to rule. Although too small to be shown on the vase, Sarawak's official motto, Dum Spiro Spero ('While there is life, there is hope') taken from the Brooke's coat of arms, was placed over the main entrance in Jawi script.

Charles Brooke ruled Sarawak like an English country estate, often standing at the Astana's river-facing verandah each morning with a telescope in his hands. He'd observe his officers arriving for work at the Government Offices on the opposing side of the Sarawak River. A stickler for discipline, Charles Brooke was known to send notices to late comers within minutes of their arrival, reminding them of the official working hours.


Charles Brooke ordered the building of the Astana in 1869.


GREY TIDINGS

Things became a little relaxed by the time the third Rajah, Charles Vyner Brooke came to power. Together with Ranee Sylvia Brett, the Rajah entertained regularly and held lavish parties for his guests. Each year, all the important and well connected people in would looke forward to the traditional banquet and ball held at the Astana during New Year's Eve. It was said that about 100 guests would sit down and make merry on a long table with the Rajah and Ranee seated at opposing ends.

People living in Kuching prior to the Second World War recall seeing the tower in the Astana covered with a type of local creeper which very much resembled the English Ivy. Legend has it that the plant was there to protect the Astana's occupants and bad luck would follow if it was removed or the tower white-washed.

During the war, Sarawak was ruled by the Japanese Imperial Army. Marquis Toshinari Maeda, as the commander of the Japanese forces in northern Borneo which included Sarawak, Brunie, Labuan, and North Borneo, made the Astana his official residence. It was said that the Commander disliked the creepers growing on the tower as they reminded him of his time spent in Great Britain as a Japanese military attache from 1927 to 1930.

Subsequently, Maeda had the creepers removed, exposing the tower's white-wash underneath. It didn't take long for the whole of Kuching to be awashed with rumors of an impending calamity. Then, just three days later, on Sept 5, 1942, after witnessing the execution of five men accused of stealing petrol, Maeda boarded a plane for Labuan to officiate an airport bearing his name. Sadly, Maeda never arrived. His plane disappeared and was not found until a month later. It had crased off the coast of Tanjung Datu, Bintulu and experts at the crash site were unable to determine the cause of the fatal accident.

After the war, Charles Vyner Brooke, faced with a series of family disputes concerning succession, decided to cede sovereignty of Sarawak to the British Crown. The Cession Bill was passed by the Council Negri on May 17, 1946 with a narrow majority of just three votes. Thereafter, the Astana has been occupied by British Colonial Governors and following the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1962 until today, by Sarawak-born Governors. The Astana still stands proud by the banks of the Sarawak River today, serving as a reminder of the days when all of the states was ruled by the Brookes.

Charles Brooke enjoyed good relations with the local Dayak chieftains.




The current Astana is the third Brooke residence built on the same location by the Sarawak River.

Written by: Alan Teh Leam Seng
Source: New Straits Times - Sunday Vibes - October 8, 2017
Link : www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/sunday-vibes/2017/10/288729/home-white-rajahs

RUMAH RAJAH PUTIH


Penemuan sebuah pasu unik Sarawak mendorong penulis mempelajari lebih banyak mengenai rumah yang dibina oleh Rajah-Rajah Putih di Kuching.

Tembikar Sarawak terkenal di dunia kerana sering memaparkan motif etnik dan tema etnik, ceramik warna-warni ini sering dicari-cari oleh pelancung sebagai barangan berharga dan turut diberikan sebagai hadiah kepada orang tersayang dan kepada sahabat handai. Amalan ini membuatkan para pengumpul barangan seni cantik ini telah tersebar ke seluruh negara dan ke seluruh dunia.

Baru-baru ini saya berkesempatan untuk menyaksikan koleksi hebat barangan tembikar. Ia merangkumi pelbagai bentuk barangan tembikar daripada tangki air mimuman, pemegang lilin, tempat abu rokok, koleh kepada teko teh yang dibuat oleh tukang tembikar mahir dari Bumi Kenyalang. Terdapat pelbagai bentuk potpori, pelbagai warna dan saiz dan kelihatan sebuah pasu berwarna kuning lusuh menonjol - ia amat berbeza daripada barangan ceramik Sarawak yang pernah saya lihat.

Saya mencapai pasu yang ketinggian 0.45m dan mula melihatnya dengan teliti. Perkara pertama yang menarik perhatian saya adalah ketiadaan reka bentuk flora dan fauna tradisi yang biasa dilihat pada barangan tembikar kontemporai Sarawak. Ia menggambarkan lanskap yang menunjukkan dua buah bangunan seperti bangunan penting era kolonial dan umpama udara segar.

Entah kenapa, bangunan-bangunan itu kelihatan seperti biasa dilihat tetapi saya tidak dapat mengimbas kembali pada ketika itu. Saya merasa agak jengkel dan meninggalkan tempat tersebut setelah memperoleh kebenaran mengambil gambar pasu tersebut. Saya harap dapat menyelesaikan misteri ini setelah pulang semula ke rumah.

Selang beberapa hari, barulah saya sedar akan gambar lukisan bangunan pada pasu itu sebenarnya sebahagian daripada selerak kompleks yang bernama Astana. Kini, ia merupakan kediaman rasmi Yang di-Pertua atau gabenor Sarawak. Istana hebat ini bersama menara ikonik putih pernah menjadi kediaman dua Rajah Putih Sarawak.

RUMAH-RUMAH AGAM

Terletak di bahagian utara tebing Sungai Sarawak dan betul-betul bertentangan Kuching Waterfront. Astana ini merupakan yang ketiga dan terakhir yang didiami oleh pemerintah Dinasti Brooke. Ketiga-tiga rumah agam ini terletak di tapak sama atas bukit yang pernah didiami oleh Sultan-Sultan Brunei terdahulu sebelum ketibaan James Brooke pada 1838.



Astana dari Sungai Sarawak

Rumah agam pertama dibina oleh James Brooke pada 1842 telah dibakar sehingga hangus ketika Pemberontakan Febuari 1857. Rumah agam kedua James Brooke dibina dengan pantas bagi menggantikan rumah agam pertama telah dirobohkan setelah 12 tahun dibina iaitu pada 1869 bagi membina Astana.

Rumah pertama yang dibina oleh James Brooke pada 1842 dibakar oleh pelombong Hakka.


Berlawanan dengan Astana yang indah dan mengagumkan serta mewah ini, tempat tinggal pertama Raja Putih pertama asalnya dirujuk sebagai "Rumah En. Brooke". Dibina pada awal tahun ketika keadaan huru-hara, strukturnya amat sederhana. Keseluruhan struktur dibina menggunakan kayu dan diatas tiang yang ditegakkan. Ia berukuran tepat 5 meter persegi dan mempunyai empat buah bilik tidur yang terletak di setiap penjuru dan sebuah ruang tamu di bahagian tengah-tengah dengan sebuah bilik khas untuk kegunaan Brooke sahaja di bahagian belakang.


Dikatakan bahawa Brooke membina rumah pertama beliau dengan bayangan banglo-banglo yang pernah beliau tinggal pada awal penglibatannya dengan Syarikat India Timur British. Walaupun ruang tamu besar itu sering kali digunakan (tempat Brooke sering mengadakan mesyuarat dengan ketua-ketua kampung bagi mengetahui perkembangan terbaharu), beliau amat meminati koleksi besar buku-buku yang disimpan dalam bilik khas. Belaiu merasa amat kecewa apabila perpustakaan serta barangan dalamnya bakar hangus pada Febuari 18, 1857.

Pada hari tersebut, Liu Shan Bang mengetuai 600 pelombong Cina Hakka dari Bau, yang terletak brhampiran Sungai Sarawak menuju ke Kuching. Setelah tiba di sana, kumpulan perusuh mula menyerang pusat kerajaan, membunuh lima orang Eropah dan membakar banyak bangunan. Bandar Kuching menjadi huru-hara dan orang Eropah yang terselamat mencari perlindungan di Gereja England berhampiran.

Kejadian ini membuatkan Brooke sedar akan keperluan kubu yang lebih kuat bagi menjamin keselamatannya. Maka dengan serta-merta beliau membuat keputusan untuk membina rumah yang lebih selamat dan buat pertama kali, beliau menamakan rumah rasminya - "Rumah Kerajaan". Walaupun, rumah baharunya juga dibina dengan kayu, beliau menambah struktur seperti sebuah kubu kecil dipanggi "The Tower" bersebelahan rumahnya. Kubu kota dua tingkat diperbuat daripada bata dan mortar dijadikan sebagai tempat perlindungan ketika darurat.

Malangnya, tiada banyak maklumat mengenai rumah kedua ini. Ia dianggap sebagai bangunan tidak bernasib baik setelah Kapten Brooke Johnson, Rajah Muda ketika itu, mengalami beberapa kejadian malang dalam tempoh tiga setengah tahun. Beliau kehilangan isteri pertamanya, Annie, anak lelakinya, Francis dan isteri keduanya, Julia. Kesemua mereka meningal dunia satu per satu di dalam Rumah Kerajaan dan dalam situasi yang tidak dapat dijelaskan. Kesemua mereka dikebumikan di tanah perkuburan Brooke di tepi sungai berhampiran.

PEMBINAAN ASTANA

Rancangan untuk membina Astana mula muncul setelah kematian Brooke pada tahun 1868. Setahun setelah ditabalkan sebagai Rajah Kedua Sarawak, Charles Brooke mengambil keputusan untuk bercuti dan merancang untuk pulang ke England dengan niat untuk berkahwin. Beliau berhati-hati dengan stigma yang dikaitkan dengan Rumah Kerajaan, beliau memberi arahan agar ia dirobohkan. Setahun kemudian, pada tahun 1870, sebuah struktur baharu diperbuat daripada bata dan mortar telah siap dibina dan bersedia untuk menerima Rajah dan isteri barunya, Ranee Margaret Alice Lili de Windt.


Ranee Margaret (duduk, dua dari kanan) bersama pembantu-pembantu

Semua orang di Kuching berasa kagum dengan bangunan baharu ini dan bersetuju ia sesuai sebagai rumah untuk Rajah dan harus dinamakan sebagai Astana, bermaksud istana dalam bahasa tempatan. Saya meneliti imej pada pasu serta menyedari bahawa Astana tersebut dibina hampir 150 tahun lalu bersaiz kecil dengan Astana baharu.

Beberapa ruang tambahan mula dibina pada Astana ini pada tahun-tahun berikutnya pada kawasan yang terdapat ladang pokok buah pinang. Charles Brooke mengekalkan pokok-pokok ini untuk ketua suku kaum Dayak yang akan meminta daripadanya kuantiti buah pinang banyak setiap kali mereka mengadakan jamuan.



Charles Brooke mempunyai hubungan erat dengan ketua-ketua suku kaum Dayak

Pada mulanya, saya fikir lukisan pada pasu tersebut adalah dua buah banguana apabila tersilap menganggap menara bersegi empat Astana dan benteng Kubu Margaritha. Sebenarnya, bahagian tersebut adalah pintu utama Astana.

Setelah dibina, Astana menjadi ikon kuasa pemerintahan Charles Brooke. Walaupun ia kecil untuk dilukiskan pada pasu, motto rasmi Sarawak adalah Dum Spiro Sporo (Di mana ada kehidupan, di situ ada harapan) diambil daripada jata Brooke ditulis dalam tulisan jawi dan diletakkan pada pintu masuk utama Astana.

Charles Brooke memerintah Sarawak seperti memerintah ladang Inggeris. Setiap pagi, beliau akan berdiri di veranda Astana yang terletak berhadapan dengan sungai sambil melihat menerusi teleskop. Beliau memerhati ketibaan para pegawai bertugas di pejabat Kerajaan yang terletak di seberang Sungai Sarawak. Beliau amat cerewet mengenai displin akan menghantar notis kepada para pegawainya yang tiba lewat untuk mengingatkan mereka akan waktu bertugas.


Charles Brooke memerintahkan pembinaan Astana pada 1869

PERUBAHAN MASA


Apabila Rajah ketiga, Charles Vyner Brooke menjadi Rajah, keadaan menjadi sedikit tenang. Bersama-sama dengan Ranee Sylvia Brett, beliau sering mengadakan jamuan mewah untuk tetamunya. Saban tahun, kesemua individu-individu penting dan orang yang berkepentingan di Kuching akan ternanti-nanti akan jamuan tradisi dan majlis tari-menari di Astana pada ambang Tahun Baharu. Dikatakan 100 jemputan akan duduk dan menjamu selera di sebuah meja panjang yang menempatkan Rajah dan Ranee di setiap hujung meja.

Penduduk yang tinggal di Kuching sebelum Perang Dunia Kedua masih ingat akan menara di Astana dilitupi dengan sejenis tumbuhan menjalar tempatan yang sama seperti English Ivy. Dikisahkan tumbuhan itu bertujuan melindungi ahli keluarga di Astana dan sebarang nasib malang yang mungkin menimpa sekiranya tumbuhan itu dialihkan atau menara tersebut dibiarkan dengan warna putih.

Ketika perang, Sarawak diperrintah oleh Tentera Imperial Jepun Marquis Toshirnari Maeda ialah komandar tentera Jepun di bahagian utara Borneo iaitu Sarawak, Brunei, Labuan dan utara Borneo dan menjadikan Astana sebagai kediaman rasminya. Dikatakan beliau tidak suka akan tumbuhan menjalar pada menara kerana ia mengingatkannya kembali masa yang beliau habiskan di Great Britain ketika bertugas sebagai tentera atase Jepun dari tahun 1927 hingga 1930.

Maeda mengarahkan tumbuhan menjalar itu dibuang. Ini membuatkan warna putih menara terdedah. Tidak lama kemudian, berita mula tersebar di seluruh Kuching bahawa akan berlaku bencana. Hanya tiga hari tumbuhan menjalar itu dibuang, pada 15 Sept, 1942 setelah Maeda menyaksikan pelaksanaan hukuman mati terhadap lima orang atas tuduhan mencuri petrol beliau menaiki pesawat ke Labuan bagi merasmikan lapangan terbang sempena namanya. Malang sekali, beliau tidak tiba. Pesawat yang dinaiki beliau hilang dan hanya ditemui sebulan kemudian. Ia telah terhempas di pesisir Tanjung Datu, Bintulu. Pakar tapak kejadian tidak dapat mengenal pasti sebab pesawat terhempas!

Setelah perang berakhir, Charles Vyner Brooke menghadapi pelbagai masalah keluarga mengenai pewaris dan mengambil keputusan menyerahkan kedaulatan Sarawak kepada British. Rang Undang-Undang Penyerahan diluluskan oleh Majlis Negeri pada 17 Mei, 1946 dengan majoriti kecil iaitu kelebihan tiga undi sahaja. Setelah itu, Astana didiami oleh Gabenor-Gabenor Kolonial British sehingga pembentukan Malaysia pada 16 Sept, 1963 dan hari ini, ia didiami oleh Gabenor-Gabenor kelahiran Sarawak. Astana masih berdiri teguh di tebing Sungai Sarawak, mengingatkan kita pada era ketika semua negeri diperintah oleh kelurga Brooke.


Astana sekarang ialah kediaman ketiga yang dibina oleh Charles Brooke di lokasi sama di Sungai Sarawak

Diterjemah oleh : Teratai Melur


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

UNSUNG HEROES

THEY, TOO, DESERVE RECOGNITION

The New Straits Times recently published an article on Sybil Kathigasu, Malaya's only female recipient of the George Medal for courage. The article highlighted calls for the wartime nurse, who was held captive and tortured during World War 2, to be included in our history books. Writer highlights other unsung heroes who deserve a spot.

It is time to start recognising unsung heroes who have contributed to the nation without seeking money or glory.

Badan Warisan Malaysia president Elizabeth Cardosa said it was imperative to recognise individuals or communities that have contributed to the development of Malaysia, its people and its way of life.

"We should celebrate all of them, not just confine our history books to personalities who are primarily from the political or economic arenas."

She said these included personalities in the fields of teaching, science, medicine, sports as well as community leaders.

Cardosa said it was time that the Education Ministry's Curriculum Development Division reviewed how the History subject was taught in scholls to make space for these heroes.

"It should not only be people or things that promote the official national narrative.

"Students should be given the opportunity to learn about local heroes, too."

Cardosa said schools could implement history projects on local leaders by collaborating with heritage or history societies.
She said people of significance could be traced back to names of buildings and roads.

ABDULLAH HUKUM



Abdullah Hukum


Abdullah Hukum was one such person. He was one of the pioneers involved in the development of Kuala Lumpur in the 1880s. 

He was also responsible for opening up areas such as Pudu, Bukit Bintang and Sungai Putih, which is now known as Bangsar.

He was honoured by then Sultan of Selangor Sultan Abdul Samad with the title of Tuk Dagang Dianjuk.

Abdullah Hukum, or Muhammad Rukun from Sumatra, was of Kerinchi descent.

He came to Malaya with his father in 1850 when he was only 15, and lived in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor until his death.

Hedied at 108 in 1943, leaving behind 18 children, and is remembered for his service to the community. 

Today, many structures - a village, mosque and LRT station in Bangsar - are named after him.


DR ERNEST ASTON OTHO TRAVERS



Dr Travers Aston Otho Travers

Dr Travers was responsible for the building of the Sungai Buloh Leprosarium as a humane way to care for and treat leprosy victims who were ostracised in the early 20th century.

The leprosarium, believed to be the most modern of its time and then second largest in the world, opened on Aug 16, 1930. Countries like Brazil even modelled theirs after it.

Dr Travers, a former Selangor state surgeon, was drawn to the care of leprosy patients late in 1922 when he was tasked to take charge of a leprosy asylum in Setapal, Kuala Lumpur.

Leprosy was incurable at that time. Many tried to run away, and those who could not relied on government-supplied opium to ease their pain. Seeing that, he proposed that the British government build a more humane leprosarium in Sungai Buloh, at a place then called the Valley of Hope.

Jalan Travers, a short stretch behind Jalan Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur, honours his contribution.

TAN AIK HUANG AND DATUK NG BOON BEE




Tan won the 1996 All England Open Badminton Champions by defeating Japan's Masao Akiyama in the finals.This came during a run of four straight appearances in the All England finals from 1965 to 1968.

Tan was a member of four Malaysian Thomas Cup teams, including its world champion team of 1967.

He won numerous international singles titles during the mid-to late 1960s, including the Danish Open, US Open, Canadian Open and Malaysian Open. He also won both singles and doubles titles at the 1966 British Commonwealth Games.

Ng is widely recognised as one of the greatest doubles players in the history of the sports.

He won the All England Open Badminton Championships men's doubles title thrice, twice with Datuk Tna Yee Khan in 1965 and 1966 and once with the late Datuk Punch Gunalan.

Feared for his speed, power and anticipation on the court, he was also a member of the 1967 Thomas Cup winning team.

In the 1960s, Ng and Yee Khan formed one of the most successful men's doubles teams of the time, winning titles including the All England, Asian Games and the Badminton Asia Championships.


S. KULASINGAM


S. KULASINGGAM

Kulasingam was a former Johor Criminal Investigation Department chief and Kuala Lumpur deputy CID chief.

Kulasingam was often described as being married to the job due to his dedication to the force. He died a bachelor at 77 in 2007.

He was conferred the Pingat Gagah Berani, Malayisa's second highest award for bravery.

A New Sunday Times report stated that the mere mention of Kulasingam's name would send shivers down the spine of criminals.

He was best knwon for capturing the infamous "Botak Chin", who carried out many robberies in the Klang Valley in the 1970s.

He was also captured "Kepong Chai", a rapist with a penchant for scarring the faces of women with a blade.

He was labelled as the toughest co ever after he survived attempts on his life.

In once such incident in 1975, he was reportedly at a traffic light when 11 shots were fired at him. One of the bullets shattered his right rib, pierced his liver and grazed his lungs.

Kulasingam has been quoted as saying: "How could I die of anything but old age?" 

Written by : Veena Babulal
Source : New Straits Times - September 10, 2017
Link : https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/09/278254/these-unsung-heroes-too-deserve-be-included-history-books



WIRA DI SEBALIK TABIR

INDIVIDU-INDIVIDU INI HARUS TURUT DIIKTIRAF 

Baru-baru ini New Straits Times menyiarkan satu rencana mengenai Sybil Kathigasu, satu-satunya penerima wanita Pingat Keberanian George. Rencana itu mengutarakan permintaan agar jururawat tersebut telah ditahan dan diseksa ketika Perang Dunia 2, harus dinyatakan dalam buku sejarah kita. Penulis mengutarakan wira-wira lain di sebalik tabir yang harus diiktiraf juga.

Sudah tiba masanya kita mengiktiraf wira-wira di sebalik tabir yang menyumbang tenaga mereka untuk negara kita tanpa mengharapkan duit atau kepujian.

Presiden Badan Warisan Malaysia Elizabeth Cardosa berkata penting untuk mengiktiraf individu or komuniti yang telah menyumbang ke arah pembangunan Malaysia, pembangunan rakyat Malaysia dan cara hidup rakyat Malaysia.

"Kita harus meraikan kesemua mereka ini, tidak hanya terkongkong kepada mereka dari segi politik atau segi ekonomi sahaja."

Beliau berkata ini termasuk personaliti daripada bidang perguruan, bidang sains, bidang perubatan, bidang sukan dan juga pemimpin komuniti.


Cardosa berkata sudah tiba masanya Bahagian Pembangunan Kurikulum Kementerian Pendidikan mengkaji bagaimanakah mata pelajaran sejarah boleh diajar di sekolah bagi memuatkan pengajaran hero-hero ini.

"Ia tidak harus terikat pada individu atau barangan yang mempromosi naratif rasmi kebangsaan.

"Pelajar harus diberi peluang mempelajari mengenai hero-hero tempatan ini."

Cardosa berkata pihak sekolah boleh melaksanakan projek sejarah mengenai pemimpin tempatan dengan berkolabrasi dengan persatuan warisan atau persatuan sejarah.

Beliau berkata individu-individu penting seperti ini boleh dikesan dengan hanya melihat nama-nama bangunan atau nama-mana jalan raya.

ABDULLAH HUKUM




Abdullah Hukum merupakan contoh terbaik sebagai wira yang tidak diiktiraf. Beliau ialah salah seorang yang terbabit dalam pembangunan Kuala Lumpur pada tahun 1880-an.

Beliau juga bertanggungjawab pembukaan kawasan seperti Pudu, Bukit Bintang dan Sungai Putih, kini dikenali sebagai Bangsar.

Beliau dianugerah dengan pangkat Tuk Dagang Dianjuk oleh Sultan Selangor Sultan Abdul Samad ketika itu. 

Abdullah Hukum atau Muhammad Rukun berasal dari Sumatra berketurunan Kerinchi.

Beliau tiba ke Malaya bersama ayahnya pada tahun 1850 ketika berusia 15 tahun dan menetap di Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor.
Beliau meninggal dunia pada usia 108 pada tahun 1943, meninggalkan 18 anak dan sentiasa diingati akan jasa beliau terhadap komuniti.

Hari ini, banyak struktur bangunan - sebuah kampung, masjid dan stesen LRT di Bangsar dinamakan sempena nama beliau.


DR ERNEST ASTON OTHO TRAVERS




Dr Travers bertanggungjawab pembinaan bangunan Sungai Buloh Leprosarium lebih mesra pengguna bagi menjaga dan merawat pesakit kusta yang dipulaukan pada awal abad ke-20.


Pada ketika itu, pusat rawatan kusta ini dipercayai paling moden dan kedua terbesar di dunia apabila dibuka pada Ogos 16, 1930. Negara-negara lain seperti Brazil membina pusat rawatan seumpama pusat rawatan ini.

Dr Travers, bekas pakar bedah negeri Selangor tertarik untuk menjaga pesakit kusta pada akhir tahun 1922 apabila beliau ditugaskan menyelia pusat rawatan kusta di Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.

Pada masa itu, penyakit kusta tidak dapat dirawat dan ramai pesakit cuba melarikan diri dan juga mereka yang tidak dapat bergantung kepada ganja yang diberikan oleh kerajaan bagi mengatasi kesakitan yang dialami.

Melihatkan keadaan ini, beliau mencadangkan kepada kerajaan British agar membina pusat rawatan kusta mesra pengguna di Sungai Buloh. Pada ketika ia dinamakan Lembah Harapan.

Jalan Travers, di belakang Jalan Bangsar di Kuala Lumpur dinamakan sempena memperingati beliau.



TAN AIK HUANG DAN DATUK NG BOON BEE



Tan memenangi 1966 All England Open Badminton Championship's dengan mengalahkan pesaing dari Jepun Masao Akiyama pada suku akhir. Kemenangan ini dirangkul setelah menyertai empat pertandingan secara berterusan dari tahun 1965 hingga 1968. Tan salah seorang ahli pasukan Thomas Cup Malaysia termasuk dalam pasukan peringkat dunia pada tahun 1967.


Beliau banyak memenangi peringkat perseorangan antarabangsa dari pertengahan kepada akhir tahun 1960-an termasuk Danish Open, US Open, Canadian Open dan Malaysian Open. Beliau juga memenangi kedua-dua peringkat perseorangan dan bergu pada Komanwel British 1966.

Ng dikenali sebagai salah seorang pemain bergu dalam sejarah sukan.

Beliau memenangi All England Open Badminton Championships bergu lelaki tiga kali, dua kali bersama Datuk Tan Yee Khan pada tahun 1965 dan 1966 dan sekali dengan mendiang Datuk Punch Gunalan.

Digeruni dengan kepantasan dan daya saing dalam gelanggang badminton, beliau juga ahli dalam pasukan yang memenangi Thomas Cup 1967.

Pada tahun 1960-an, Ng dan Yee Khan membentuk salah satu pasukan bergu lelaki yang berjaya sepanjang masa, memenangi piala  termasuk All England, Asian Games dan Badminton Asia Championships.


S. KULASINGAM



Kulasingam ialah bekas ketua Bahagian Siasatan Jenayah Johor dan Timbalan Ketua CID Kuala Lumpur.

Kulasingam dikenali sebagai berkahwin dengan pekerjaan beliau disebabkan dedikasi yang ditunjukkan olehnya. Beliau yang tidak berkahwin meninggal dunia pada usia 77 pada tahun 2007.

Beliau dikurniakan Pingat Gagah Berani, pingat keberanian kedua tertinggi Malaysia.

Satu laporan New Straits Times pernah melaporkan bahawa hanya dengan menyebut nama Kulasingam sahaja cukup untuk membuatkan para penjenayah merasa gementar.

Beliau menjadi terkenal kerana berjaya menangkap "Botak Chin", penjenayah yang melakukan banyak rombakan di Lembah Klang pada tahun 1070-an.

Beliau juga berjaya menangkap "Kepong Chai", perogol yang suka mencederakan wajah wanita dengan sebilah pisau.

Beliau dilabel sebagai polis yang tabah setelah  terselamat daripada cubaan membunuh beliau.

Pada tahun 1975, beliau telah ditembak sebanyak 11 kali di lampu isyarat. Salah satu peluruh telah menusuk tulang rusuk kanan, menusuk paru-paru dan menggeser hatinya

Kulasingam pernah berkata: "Bagaimana saya boleh mati kecuali sakit tua?"

Diterjemah oleh: Teratai Melur
E-mel: terataigenius@gmail.com