Japanese Occupation of Malaya: Chinese community in Malaysia keeps memories, lessons alive
During World War Two, Japanese forces occupied Malaya. But in modern-day Malaysia you won't find any official commemorations to mark Japan's surrender. CGTN's Rian Maelzer explains why.
Dignitaries, veterans, descendants of those resisted the Japanese occupation, school children and a study group from Japan – they all gathered at the new Second World War People's Monument.
ONG SENG KHEK PRESIDENT, KL & SELANGOR CHINESE ASSEMBLY HALL "We remember all our fellow citizens who lost their lives in World War II, buried in mass graves across the country, no matter what their ethnic group."
They also paid respects at other nearby memorials: to the local truck drivers who volunteered to ferry goods to China when it was blockaded by Japan, and to civilian victims of the occupation.
CHEN CHEN COUNSELLOR, CHINESE EMBASSY IN MALAYSIA "We express our deep condolences to the truck drivers, the overseas Chinese and Malayan people of all ethnic groups who lost their lives in the war of resistance against Japanese aggression, and pay our heartfelt tribute to the organizers of this memorial."
In Malaysia, it is left to local Chinese community groups and foundations to build and maintain memorials like these, and work to keep memories of the occupation alive.
RIAN MAELZER KUALA LUMPUR "Malaysian school students spend just a few short weeks studying the period of the Japanese occupation of Malaya with the national curriculum essentially skimming over the subject."
To boost knowledge of the era, a foundation organized a highly competitive nationwide secondary school quiz competition on the second world war.
ONG SENG KHEK PRESIDENT, KL & SELANGOR CHINESE ASSEMBLY HALL "Taking history as a mirror, we must let the new generation understand the ruthlessness and destruction of war, deeply experience the historical stories and understand the value of peace so that they will be committed to creating and maintaining it."
Remembering the sacrifices made and atrocities suffered during the occupation to make sure nothing like it ever happens again. RM, CGTN, KL.