On the anniversary of the May 13, 1969 riots last year, members of the ‘Malaysian Heritage and History Club’ shared stories of what they remember of the tragedy.
The stories detail the horror and bloodshed which scarred the nation, but those who witnessed the massacre also recall comradeship at a time of crisis.
These are the stories they pass on to the next generation.
“My mother told me, one of my aunties was on her way home from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca when the riot broke out.
“There were two buses. The bus in front stopped at a barricade and the word was that everyone on that bus was ‘sacrificed’ - the driver was (ethnic) Chinese.
“My aunt was on the second bus. A Malay person was the driver. He breached the barricade and brought everyone on that bus safety back to Malacca,” YC Ng shared.
Others shared of family members sheltered by neighbours and friends of different ethnicity.
“My maternal granddad... was having kopi at his usual hang out at the corner kedai kopi of Jalan Perkins and Chow Kit.
“The Chinese taukeh and family kept him at their shop for two weeks and cared for his needs, including a place to pray.
“Our family is eternally grateful for his kindness,” Hamin Derus said.
Ironically, the destruction became the backdrop for a budding romance that would last a lifetime.
“(My father-in-law) said he met and fell in love with my mother-in-law during that curfew.
“He was an army lieutenant and she was the bookkeeper at a petrol station where the army fuel up their trucks. He, by the way, is Malay and she, Chinese,” Jennifer Ng Abdullah shared.
The stories, MHHC founder Bert Tan said, are a “celebration of love for one another”.
“Real stories from real people. Never again!” said Tan, who with four administrators of the group, lead lively discussions on Malaysian heritage with the more than 12,000 members of the closed Facebook group.
Malaysiakini reproduces the unedited stories, with permission from MHHC, below.
[Editor’s note: The stories are uploaded in picture format. Please configure your browser to enable pictures to display. Alternatively, click on the Facebook album above or here to read the stories.]