Wednesday, April 23, 2008

1st Tahan Expedition, part 31... A LUCKY MISS !!!

All the time that we were on the 1st Gunung Tahan
Expedition we were totally unaware of the trouble that
was brewing in the Malaysian capital and elsewhere on the peninsula that would eventually lead to the infamous
MAY 13 Malaysian Riots of 1969.
We departed from Kuala Tahan on the 22 April 1969
and arrived safely in Singapore on 23 April 1969.
Racial riots broke out on 13 May 1969 in KL and other parts of Malaysia. There were some attempts by various criminal elements to " spillover" the riots into
Singapore for their own rotten purposes. But they were
largely contained by our own security forces and police.
When the riots broke out , I and the others like Yew Ghee [ yg blog website ], Jason, Edward, Kar Wai etc.. from TTC, were fully immersed in our OBS full-time course in Pulau Ubin which was held from May 8 to 29th 1969. We had
no contact with the outside world and knew nothing much about the killings and massacres then. Only after we had finished the course did we find out the horror of it all. There was a great amount of tension in the air...even in Singapore, as many of us, our people, have
friends and relatives over there. My sister-in-law and her family with 2 young kids were in P J, Selangor at that time. There was no news about them.
Not until when calmness returned about a month later did we hear from them.
D2 and I went over to visit them and to help them relocate back home.

Looking back, it was indeed a most fortunate miss !
Just 3 weeks separated us from that fateful day of infamy.

We could have easily been caught in that terrible maelstorm.


ibdragon said...

Wow, talk about living history.

uncle dick said...

Hi ibdragon,
Thanks for visiting.
I really like your descriptive term " living history" about what I have encountered in my travels and other experiences told here.
That's one reason why autobiographies are such powerful books for gems of REVEALATION,gripping anecdotes and other interesting tid-bits.

yg said...

i must be as blur then as i am now; i was unaware that the may riots took place while we were attending the obs course.

uncle dick said...

The Govt of the day led by LKY must be creditted for largely containing the riots from spilling over here. They had the hindsight of experience and intelligence after our 2 previous racial riots in 1963 and 1964. But there were a few sporadic incidents which were nibbed in the bud.
That's why you, the others and I were all blissfully unaware while the killings were happening in Malaysia. In fact, you will probably recall we were canoeing and sailing the huge OBS cutter as part of our training around the Johore Straits!

Lam Chun See said...

When those people tried to cause trouble in Spore, I remember seeing SAF troops in SBO outside NJC in Linden Drive. It made us feel safer.