If she was to walk about in one of the wet markets here, Lu Chai Ping, 78, would hardly be noticed as she looks like a typical grandmother from a middle-class Chinese family.

However, Lu is neither simple nor ordinary: She travelled to Kuala Lumpur from southern China for the first time in 55 years to share her extraordinary past in a land whose mountains, rivers, towns, villages and jungles she remembers well by their Malay names.

Last Sunday, Lu was invited to publicly recall or reminisce to an 250-strong audience in a shopping mall here about her battlefield experiences in the guerilla war against the Japanese invasion and occupation of Peninsular Malaya and Singapore from 1942 to 1945.

Speaking with in a clear and passionate manner, she recalled how, as a 16-year-old schoolgirl in southern Johor, she was forced by the prevailing circumstances of 1941-42 to cut her hair short, dress, act and speak like a boy to evade being noticed by invading Japanese troops on the "look out for young girls".

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