By Christopher Lidom
KUCHING, Sept 11: Promoting local historic sites as tourism spots would help to preserve and immortalise their legacy not only locally, but also to the world, said Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng.
Wee said Sarawakians should embrace and commit to do their best in preserving the significance of sacrifices made by their previous ancestors and forefathers.
“What we are today, and what we get to enjoy now, are the fruits of our forefathers’ sacrifices. We should be doing our very best and committed to immortalising their legacies.
“By participating in promoting historical sites, such as the Batu Lintang’s Prisoners of War Camp, as a tourism spot, we are perpetuating their legacies not only in our memories, but also to the world.
“It reminds us of the pain and suffering that our forefathers had to endure in exchange for peace time for us to enjoy. It thus become incumbent upon us to repay their sacrifices by ensuring peace in Sarawak,” he said when officiating the symbolic commemoration of the Liberation of Batu Lintang Camp and Sarawak World War II (WW2)’s 75th anniversary celebration at the WWII Memorial Square at Batu Lintang Teachers Institute, here today.
Wee noted Sarawak is rich with history, and between 1941 until 1945, Sarawak and the island of Borneo were invaded and forcefully colonised by the Japanese Imperial Army.
According to Wee, the Batu Lintang World War II historical heritage was once such a place, that bore witness towards all the atrocities committed against the people during the period.
“And a renowned Sarawak historian, Datuk Lim Kian Hock, had recorded the sacrifices of our freedom fighters, who gave their lives in defending our land.
“The significance of sacrifices by our ancestors and forefathers shall be embraced by all Sarawakians, and I am glad that the Sarawak Tourism Foundation (STF) and its committee had undertook to initiate a private sector voluntary effort in reviving this historical site.
“They even organised regular visitation sessions among the descendants of both Batu Lintang and Bario’s World War II prisoners of war camp,” he said.
Meanwhile Lim said the heritage committee footprints have grown over the years from Batu Lintang, and they managed to revive and installe the Bario WWII Commandos Sculptures Memorial (2010), the WWII Heroes Graves Park (2010) in celebration of the 15th anniversary, and the Batu Lintang WWII Memorial Square (2012).
Following this, he continued, the heritage committee have printed and published a heritage booklets namely “Mike-A Priceless January (2010), Bario Borneo Reflection (2010) and the Lintang Camp (2017).
“We are humbled in 2012, during the Diamond Jubilee of British Queen Elizabeth II celebration, Her Majesty the Queen received our “Mike-A Priceless Journey” book, for which we also received a memorable letter from Buckingham Palace on July 20, 2012, in return,” he added. –DayakDaily.