13 Mei 1969
I was not even 5 year’s old back then in 1969. So my memories from a toddler’s view are rather short and inconsequential.
I remember that one morning my mother woke me up earlier than usual and hurried me to eat breakfast of rice and ikan bilis goreng. My older sister Kak Sal was packing some clothes (little that we had) and food (rice, eggs, ikan masin). I could tell that everybody was tense and edgy, including my father, although he appeared calmer than my mother and sister.
Heck, for all I knew, it could have been the day after, 14 Mei.
After breakfast, my mum carried me on her back with by brother and sister on tow to a neighbour’s place the late Mbok Patonah about ½ km away. Mbok Patonah’s place was the fanciest house in the neighbourhood, a big wooden house on stilt with zinc roof. The kitchen area was about 10m by 10m, so was the lounge. There was a verandah where we kids like to play and a set of fancy cane lounge suite, we kids like to fight for a space to sit.
When we arrived at Mbok Patonah’s place, a few people from the neighbourhood already there. Shukor, a boy I knew, and Salmah, his sister was there too. My neighbour, Mat Isa Isa, Tahiron, the late Anuar, and Saadiah we already there. We kids were not allowed to go out of the house. Beside that we were not allowed to make too much noise either. The women were sitting around in the house talking or preparing food for lunch. Later someone bring a kentong (a hollowed wood that gives loud noise beat used for signaling) and hang it on the veranda. Parang panjang, parang pendek, keris and lembing were sharpened and kept safe and handy. Tahiron (who was a teenager back then) was given the duty of guarding the house and sit close to the kentong.
Food was basic – rice, eggs and some vegetables. It seems there was a shortage of food, but we always have rice and pulut. Most villagers have their own plot of rice in those days.
At night we kids sleep in the bedroom. I used my mums spare kain batik as blanket. I remember Mudi sleep not far from me.
During those few days, I hardly see my father. The men of the neighbourhood were forming a homeguard platoon, keeping the village secure, I was told later.
A few days later we everything was okay and we were back to our house.
From my father:
A few years later my father told me that he was on duty guarding the village with the other villagers. He told me a story that one night, around 2am, he saw a torchlight shone in a neighbour’s land, so he and a couple other went in to investigate, when they couldn’t find anything, they cleared the place of overgrown weeds.
There was a Chinese settlement at the end of my village. My father told me that all the Chinese villagers were scared one night because they saw a flying parang slashing about in their houses. They all run away to their kebun getah and set up camp there. I always suspect that my father had a hand in this from the way he told me this story.
From my mother:
My mum told me that I told her that there was a man in Pak Umar’s land when we were on the way to Mbok Patonah’s place. She said that the man look Chinese, and this sparked a security scare in the neighbourhood. Turned out that he was a man from neighbouring village setting traps for burung tekukur.
From an army veteran; (I don’t remember his name, he was a halal slaughterman in Oamaru and Dunedin who liked to travel to Christchurch to see us students back in 1986. He was awarded Pingat Gagah Berani which carries the title Datuk, by the late Sultan Selangor in the early 60s for saving his commanding officer’s life during the Communist overrun of Tuan Mee Estate):
He was on duty guarding Kampung Baru in Kuala Lumpur. He killed two Chinese men with a pedang in fights in Kampung Baru near Jalan Raja Bot.
Chinese man: Mari lawan.
So the Chinese man used his kungfu skills, while Datuk being a silat man, tepis and elak and when he had a chance slashed the Chinese man’s stomach. Terburai isi perut.
“Apa punca asal 13 Mei tu tok?” I asked.
“ Alah, Parti Pembangkang Gerakan, parti orang Cina menang 14 kerusi kat Selangor, jadi, dia orang Cina eksen buat perarakan kat Kuala Lumpur. Dia orang laung “Melayu balik kampong!”, itu yang orang Melayu marah tu.
“Tiga hari kemudian, askar Gurkha kelilingi KL atas lori ‘Raja tembak! Raja tembak!’ Lepas tu okaylah, aman.
Was it just 3 days?
Thursday, May 10, 2007
13 Mei 1969