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By William Isau
SIBU, May 12: During the Second World War, many Malay families here took in Chinese children as their own so as to protect them from the brutality of the Japanese.
In line with this, there has been a proposal to hold a so-called memorial day sometime in November.
According to Deputy Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Michael Tiang, this is so that the younger generation will know the unique history of the kindness shown by these Malay families.
When met by reporters today after a ceremony to present appointment letters to community leaders, Tiang said the idea of holding the memorial day started when they visited Temenggong Dato Wan Hamid Edruce Tuanku Mohamad recently for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
“During our Hari Raya visit, Datuk Temenggong shared with us why the Malay and Chinese communities were so tightly knitted during the Second World War. There is a history behind this as they adopted Chinese children to protect them from the Japanese government oppression. So there is a beautiful history behind it,” he said.
Wan Hamid Edruce recalled that his family adopted six Chinese children during the war.
“One of them is our Premier’s wife. The other is the late Ting Ing Mieng’s mother. They all stayed in our house. We also took some of them to Song so as to hide them from the Japanese,” said Wan Hamid Edruce who was then about seven or eight-years-old.
The late Ting was a former chairman of Sibu Municipal Council and Bawang Assan assemblyman.
Wan Hamid Edruce said there were other Malay families in Kampung Hilir and Kampung Nangka who did the same as his family.
He said the Malay community took in the Chinese to protect and prevent capture by Japanese soldiers.
“We were not just friends with them (the Chinese) as we were very closed with them. They stayed and slept in our house,” he remembered. — DayakDaily