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July 2023

Back in 1942…

By |2023-07-10T14:51:24+08:00July 10th, 2023|Categories: history, Ipoh Town|Tags: , |

According to The Yamato News, back in February 1942 a new hospital was opened in Ipoh. Based on the above article, this move was started by the Indian Committee (assisted by Dr G. S. Venketesan) and backed by the local representatives of the Nippon Government.

Could this have been the General Hospital in Ipoh (Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, as it is now known as)?

June 2023

Did you know?

By |2023-06-09T17:02:54+08:00June 10th, 2023|Categories: history, Memories, Natural Heritage|Tags: |

Here’s some trivia for you, taken from The Yamato News. This newspaper dates back to 13th February 2602 (which actually means 13th February 1942).

We thank Chee Ong Ngai for sharing this with us.


If you’re wondering about the strange date (2602), then click here for the explanation.

April 2020

A Grand Birthday…

By |2020-04-20T11:09:32+08:00April 20th, 2020|Categories: Events, greetings, history, Ipoh Town|Tags: , |

Here we have a ceremony at the Ipoh Town Hall, to observe the Japanese Emperor’s birthday. It is said that Emperor Showa (better known as Hirohito) was born on 29 April 1901; and the Emperor’s Birthday celebrations are always carried out on the actual day of birth. We estimate this photograph was taken in the early 1940s.

On that note, we’d like to extend birthday greetings to all of you out there who are turning a year ‘younger’ this month of April 🙂

April 2010

At the doorstep of hell….well,almost.

By |2010-07-04T00:53:33+08:00April 23rd, 2010|Categories: Memories, People|Tags: , , , |



As I was growing up, dad used to tell me about the Japanese atrocities. In his twilight years, while I was taking care of him, he told them to me all over again.

 When the Japanese came to Malaya in December 1941, dad was just a young man of 21, staying in Kampung Merantin, Batu Gajah, Perak. He was an apprentice in a workshop but war changed everything.

 The British had retreated and the locals were left to defend themselves against the aggressors. The men folk kept vigil at home while the women hid in the nearby jungle to escape from being rape by the soldiers.

One night, the Japanese came to his village and those nearby. Using loud hailers, they commanded all the young men in the villages to come out or else risk being shot at. These young men were then round up and marched to a field in nearby Changkat. They were made to stay there until dawn.

Early the next morning, they are told that some of them will be chosen and sent to help build the Burma Siam Railway at the Burmese border.

A Japanese soldier sat at the desk, handing out pieces of white papers to the young men. In these papers were written the word ‘Go’ while some were just blank. They were given out alternatively. Those who receive the paper with the word ‘Go’ were made to queue in a row ready to be on their way. Those who received the blank papers were to be sent back to their respective villages.

When it came to his turn to come forward to collect his paper, dad became very anxious and worried about his fate. He hesitated and paused for a moment. In a flash, a Japanese soldier was pointing his rifle at dad and the guy behind was barking furiously at him to hasten up. He even pushed dad violently forward.

Confused, dad quickly stepped aside and said,” If you are so impatient, why not you go first?”

Without a word, this guy just shoved dad aside and surged forward to collect his paper and his face turned pale. He got the paper with the word ‘Go’ which was actually meant for dad. And as for dad, he got the blank paper which was meant for that impatient guy.

Many of his friends went and as far as he knew, none came back. Some died from starvation or disease while many were tortured to death. Dad managed to earn another 66 years of life, succumbing to a bout of pneumonia at the age of 87 on 24th April 2007.

This piece is specially dedicated to my beloved dad,Yip Hee, may he rest in peace in Nirvana.

February 2010

A Relic of the Japanese?

By |2010-02-02T11:52:09+08:00February 2nd, 2010|Categories: What is it?|Tags: , , |

This picture was taken today at one end of the northenmost bridge that spans Temenggor Lake in North Perak. There is an identical one at the other end. Could this be what we used to call a “Pill Box” built by the Japanese as a machine gun post or was it built by the British to unsuccessfully slow down the little men on their bicycles? If not for either of these then what was the purpose?

This time we really do not know the answer and wait eagerly for some assistance from the experts.

However, if it is truly from the war and occupation by the invaders then surely it qualifies as heritage and perhaps should have some notices/information boards available and be maintained for future generations to learn from.

September 2009

June 2009

Our Man in Malaya by Margaret Shennan 2007

By |2009-06-24T01:09:39+08:00June 23rd, 2009|Categories: Heritage Books|Tags: , , , , , |

When the Japanese invaded Malaya in the Second World War, John Davis’s service in that country could have ended. Determined to help the land he had come to love, however, he transferred from the Federated Malay States – M16 – and then, in 1942, to the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Escaping to India by fishing boat as Japan established its grip in the Far East, Davis set about planning the infiltration of Chinese intelligence agents and British officers into the Malayan peninsula. In 1943 he entered Occupied Malaya by submarine, as Mountbatten’s representative in charge of the Resistance mission, known as Force 136. After striking up a friendship with the youthful Chin Peng, Davis led negotiations at the end of 1943 with the Anti-Japanese Forces and the Malayan Community Party under the enigmatic Lai Tak. Their Agreement effectively enabled the British to return unopposed in 1945.

From 1947 Davis held key positions in the Malayan Civil Service, was Mentioned in Despatches, and was awarded two Malay honours for his contribution to Malaya’s security, to add to his British wartime CBE and DSO.

In the twelve-year Emergency Davis pitted his energy and know-how with increasing success in the jungle war against the Communist forces, in which Chin Peng, as General Secretary of the Malayan Communist Party, had become Britain’s Public Enemy No 1. However, memories of their wartime friendship survived. In 1955 the two met under a truce at Baling, and in 1998, the fiftieth anniversary of the Emergency, the Communist leader visited John at his home in England.

Radical, sometimes a maverick, and a man of strong convictions, John Davis was more than an extraordinarily courageous hero of the Second World War: he became an iconic figure in Malaya’s colonial history. Now his story can be told for the first time and is illustrated by photographs from his personal albums.

The book’s ISBN (Hardcover) is 978-0-7509-4710-7

April 2009

Faces of Courage – The Story of Sybil Kathigasu GM

By |2009-04-01T02:35:10+08:00April 1st, 2009|Categories: Heritage Books|Tags: , , , , , , |

Published by Media Masters, Singapore and Authored by Sybil Kathigasu, Chin Peng and Ian Ward and Norma Miraflor, Faces of Courage stands as the first in-depth study of Malaya’s legendary war-time heroine, Sybil Kathigasu, and the impact her dauntless decisions and actions had on the members of her immediate family.

An essential aspect of this book is the personalized historical background and insight on the Japanese occupation era provided by former Secretary General of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Chin Peng. It was Sybil’s association with the Perak People’s Anti-Japanese Army (PPAJA) – the communist-controlled guerilla organization in which Chin Peng played such a leading role – that provided the very foundation on which the Kathigasu legend eventually emerged and flourished.

Faces of Courage throws fresh light on a quite extraordinary story that became caught in a politically-induced, post-World War II time warp.

Sybil’s book, No Dram of Mercy, in which she recounts her horrific experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese Kempeitai, was completed several months before her death in June, 1948. But the manuscript was withheld from publication until 1954. British colonial interests deemed nothing good should be said about the communists in Malaya while Commonwealth forces still struggled to gain supremacy in the bitter jungle war known as the Malayan Emergency.

So often the cursory re-telling of legendary tales creates ill-conceived myths. The Sybil Kathigasu story is a case in point. And here the effect has only been compounded by Britain’s original propaganda ploy.

Faces of Courage is a book within a book. Sybil’s personal record, No Dram of Mercy, constitutes the opening section of this three-part volume. As such it provides a ready reference point for the revealing research, observations and reflections that follow.  

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