Rashid Maidin may be 87 years of age, but he is still a jovial fellow who couldn't wait to share a joke or two.

He does not live in Ban Chulabhorn 12 - the southern Thailand village where the majority of the Malay communists live - but after he was told that I would be there, he travelled to join Abdullah CD, Suriani Abdullah @ Eng Ming Ching and Abu Samah "to see how a Perak boy looks like nowadays".

Unlike Suriani and Abu Samah, Pak Rashid is well-known as a top communist since the days of the 1955 Baling Peace Talks in Kedah. He was one of the three CPM delegates in the failed talks.

Photographs of Rashid, together with those of Chin Peng, Chen Tien, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tan Cheng Lock, David Marshall and John Davis were printed in the mass media all over the world.

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