Sunday, August 1, 2010

What really happened on 21 July '64..part 2

What took place on that fateful day of 21 July 1964 was no accident. From all historical accounts both written, published and recorded on tape through live interviews with people from various has been established that the riots were organised and pre-planned.

But by WHOM?
The details to that question will appear in the next few posts.
This post will focus on the initial outbreak of violence at Kallang that subsequently spread island-wide.
Most of my highlighted references and pointers come from the reputable book, " A Moment of Anguish" by historian Albert Lau. The actual quoted sentences or paragraphs will be highlighted in colour other than black.
Here's the 1st crucial reference from the book stated:
From page 207.

If there are highlighted words within a quote in a different colur or font, they are mine...but the words are as originally as quoted.

[ Report by the Minister for Social Affairs on Maulud Procession on 21 July 1964 in Memorandum submitted by the Government of Singapore...Appendix 13. In an interview in 1997, Othman Wok explained how he concluded that the riots were " planned by a few people". He said," One week after the riots, I was in K L. A senior UTUSAN MELAYU reporter met me, obviously to find out about the situation in Singapore. He told me that at 2 pm on 21 July 1964, he already knew the riots were going to happen. I said, " How did you know beforehand when the riots took place?"

He replied," Oh yes, we knew beforehand. We have our sources you know."
That clicked.
UTUSAN MELAYU must have have been informed by those responsible for the impending riots because it was going to be big news."
See also The Straits Times, 25 January 1997 and 23 July 1997. ]

The background and chain of incidents leading to the riots.
1. By 1.30 pm the estimated 25,000 Malay and Muslim participants from 73 organisations, including political parties and Muslim associations had gathered for the annual celebrations at the Padang. [ But this year, something was different: amongst the thousands gathered some were out for trouble. Inflammatory leaflets, issued by a group calling itself Pertobohan Perjuangan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura, had been distributed among the crowds at the Padang. These called on Malays to "destroy" the "Chinese" PAP govt.
"If we Malays do not oppose the PAP Govt from now, within 20 years there will be no more Malays in Malaysia and there will be no more Sultans because the PAP Govt does not want Malay Sultans," one charged.
Another warned of Chinese "planning to kill Malays" and urged Malays to unite and "wipe out the Chinese from Singapore soil because if we leave them alone they will make fools of the Malays...Before the blood of Malays flow on Singapore soil it would be better to see the blood of Chinese flooding the country. Let us fight to the last drop of our blood!" ].

This was supposed to be a solemn religious rally on a Muslim holy day. There was an undertaking that speeches to be made by reps of Muslims organisations must be religious in nature and non-political. It was sadly not to be. It turned out to be far worse than that.
When our 1st Yang di-Pertuan Negara Yusof bin Ishak gave his closing address...this was what happened:

[ Towards the end of his speech, there appeared an orchestrated " booing combined with clapping from a section of the crowd as he faced the Padang". A handful of unruly youngsters...jeered and interrrupted his speech with shouts of " Go home ". The booing came from a section of the crowd where UMNO youths, identified by their banners, had congregated.
"When the jeering started, a Malay youth wearing a blue shirt and red arm-band jumped onto the steps leading to the stage and raised his left hand. He faced the group that was booing and raising of his hand was obviously a signal for them to stop booing...."]

So UMNO had planted their youthful troublemakers carefully. They orchestrated and organised to create tensions and disturbance even at a supposedly peaceful Muslim holy rally. Things will get far worse moments later.

2. The procession started out at 3.55 pm led by Yusof Ishak and other prominent Malay leaders.
Behind them were the uniformed army and police, the Works Brigade in blue uniforms, followed by contingents from religious, welfare and cultural bodies.
It is important to note where the political groups were and how they were formed...especially a BERSILAT group as this were planned by the troublemakers to have maximum impact on later events.
The S'pore UMNO contingent led the political section, followed by the PAP 500 strong group led by Othman Wok and then the PMU( Peninsula Malay Unions ) detachments. [ Directly behind the PMU group was a bersilat group, dressed in black and wearing pahlawan caps, closely followed by Partai Rakyat S'pura and the Pan-Malayan Islamic Party ( PMIP). ]

3. Yusof Ishak left the procession at junction of St Andrew's Road and Stamford Road. The procession, more than a mile long, moved along Beach Rd, Arab St, Victoria St, Kallang Rd. It was meant to end at the dispersal point at Lorong 12, Geylang Road. Members of the FRU ( Federal Reserve Unit ) were stationed at every 50 yard distance. When the PAP group led by Othman Wok turned into Victoria Street, he encountered the first signs of potential trouble.
He said, [ " a number of Malay youths on the left side of the road on seeing our PAP flags shouted in Malay," Hidup China, mati Melayu !" ( long live the Chinese, death to the Malays ). He added further," I cannot identify any of these Malay youths. I immediately told members of my group to keep quiet and not reply." ]

4. An observation made by a Detective corporal Y W Chin noted..[ that as the procession approached Lorong 12 from the direction of Gay World at about 5 pm, the marchers had become "very rowdy". They were shouting and yelling in an emotional manner, more or less keeping in step with the tempo of the beating of the drums.... I further noticed that most of the Chinese shopkeepers along Geylang Road, quickly closed their shops." ]

5. The first real incident. [ Just before 5 pm, a Chinese FRU constable saw two Malay youths in the procession throwing unfinished packets of ice-cream at a Chinese cyclist along Victoria St...hitting him in the chest. After intervening to pacify both parties, the constable continued with the procession. ]

6. The 2nd incident.
[ Shortly after 5 pm, near the junction of Kallang Rd and Kampong Soopoo, about 7 to 8 Malays, including the 2 who had been involved in the earlier incident with the cyclist, suddenly broke away from a section of the procession which was about a third behind the PAP contingent.] The constable told them to rejoin the main group.
One of them refused and had to be pushed back into the line.
[ "Lu Polis boleh tolak sama orang ka?" ( You Police, do you think you can push people around?)..someone called, followed by jeering from the group.

7. The 3rd incident.
[ " Pukul, pukul sama dia," ( STRIKE, let's all strike him ) another shouted. A group of about 20 malays then deliberately broke away from the procession and, ignoring the constable's order to rejoin the marchers, surrounded him and shouted threateningly, " Pukul, pukul". By now, the size of the group has swelled to about 50. A second FRU Chinese constable who came to his rescue was also surrounded by the unruly group.]
Soon, a third Malay FRU constable came onto the scene and tried to pacify this growing mob...but without success. So, he ran into a coffeeshop around 5.15 pm to call for more police back-up. Then suddenly, [ a malay from the group of rowdies punched the 2nd constable on his back. Blows then rained on the 1st constable, hitting him on the chest and stomach. Forcing his way out, with his attackers hot in pursuit, the constable fled into a bicycle shop along Kallang Rd, his face deadly pale and panting heavily."
The proprietor of the bicycle shop, 51 year old Ho Kok Mong, remembered that when the policeman ran into his shop he was bleeding from his forehead. But before Ho could close the door, the Malay chasers had rushed into his shop and assaulted him as well with their fists.
Breaking free, Ho escaped through the rear entrance. ]

8. What exactly did Othman Wok see? Othman Wok was then a responsible SINGAPORE Minister, very much respected by one and all... except the UMNO racialists and ULTRAS some of whom I will name in later posts.
He witnessed," several Malay youths apparently from the PMU section crowding around, pushing and punching a uniformed policeman" whom he recognised to be from FRU. The constable was "trying to push away the Malay youths but he was outnumbered." PMU members had no distinct uniforms except a songkok.

9. What did Rahim Ishak see? Rahim Ishak was the brother of Yusof Ishak and later a Minister of State in the cabinet of Singapore. He was at the head of the PAP group.
He said," a group of about 10 Malays from UMNO marchers in front of us, rushing back towards Lorong Soopoo...and among them was SYED ALI REDZA ALSAGOFF, the SUMNO religious officer". This was corroborated by Mohd Ariff Suradi from the PAP. Mohd Ghazali Ismail was the Political Liaison Sec at the Ministry of Culture.
This is what he said," I saw some youths from the Partai Rakyat Singapura run up to other contingents in the procession, spreading "news" that Malays were attacked by a Chinese policeman...". Ghazali confirmed that he did not see such a thing at Chinese policeman attacking any Malay.

10. More incidents....Rahim Ishak witnessed " a man raised his hands and continuously beat another man who was on the ground." The victim's face " was spattered and streaming with blood", he added. Othman Wok and the others saw more things as the initial violence broke...all unprovoked by the Chinese, Indians or Police personnel.
These were not spontaneous happenings or an ordinary off -the cuff heated argument that led to worse things.
What was happening, and which took place...the plan for raising the temperature at the Padang, the subsequent attack on the cyclist, attack on the FRU Chinese constables, Ho the shopowner, and others were cold and calculated MOVES by the Masterminds behind the whole set-up.
Just who were these evil people who used politics through exploitation of race, language and religion to set ablaze a peaceful nation in the hope of achieving their own dastardly objectives?
Is is no secret. They can run but cannot hide. Their actions have been noted, studied and dissected by experts and PUBLISHED for future generations to be on guard against. It does not matter WHO they are, or WHAT position they once held...they have been exposed over these last 46 years...but I bet most of our younger to middle generation do not really know who they are.

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