I was a Malayan who has now lived in Singapore for the last 45 years. I was one of those countless children whose life has been forever scarred by the brutal Japanese invasion and occupation of Taiping.
My father and grandfather disappeared without a trace after being taken away one night by the Japanese soldiers in Taiping when I was only just a child. My mother and I once had to become beggars on the streets of Kuala Lumpur between 1944 and 1945.
Although some Japanese politicians now try to whitewash the crimes against humanity committed by Imperial Japan, they will never succeed because there are now countless history books, monuments, graveyards and museums in Singapore and Malaysia as well as in China, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, Indochina, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the US to record truthfully what exactly happened during those dark and bloody years of Japanese militarism and imperialism.
I believe that the best records of the Pacific War in peninsular Malaysia and Singapore are best reconstructed and preserved in Singapore. I hope younger Malaysians who wish to know more about the past will visit Singapore in the coming months to get a sense of what happened to their grandparents and parents.
Three places in Singapore worth visiting for anyone who wishes to know about true history are the Civilian War Memorial, the Kranji War Cemetery (for soldiers who died fighting against the Japanese invasion) and Fort Siloso at the Sentosa Island where a museum of war history is located.
I also hope that more Japanese youths would visit Singapore this year, the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender during the Pacific War, to read about history they probably cannot read in their schools and universities. There is no falsehood that can last forever.
Dad and grandpa, may you rest forever in peace wherever you are. I miss both of you.