A Day of Infamy That’s So Infamous, No One Knows What Happened Actually


MAY 13 1969.

Surely Malaysians have heard of it before. It’s always used as an example of the dangers of racial polarization and national disunity.

But what is it about, really? From the way it’s always referenced in the local media but never explained, it’s like something we’re all SUPPOSED to already know about.

Some national in-thing that only Malaysians can ‘get’, like “That day I got caught speeding but luckily only cost me some kopi” having nothing to do with Starbucks.

Well I’m Malaysian, and so are most of my pals. And we don’t know anything beyond the title ‘Tragedy of May 1969’ and a brief warning.

So it’s a sad, sad state of things when, to finally find out what actually happened back then, which everybody knows of but nobody seems to really know much about, I learn it not in a Malaysian university lecture hall… Nor from Malaysian books or newspapers… And definitely NOT from public figures who always taboo it vaguely and dismissively…

But from WIKIPEDIA!!!! Right here! Wikipedia the free web-based everyone can contribute encyclopedia, fer cryin’ out loud!

IS THIS WHAT I HAVE TO RESORT TO???!! To even find out about such an important and policy-setting piece of turning-point history of MY OWN COUNTRY, I have to go to anonymous, public domain postings! A worldwide PUBLIC BLOG about a local Malaysian event that has no local Malaysian coverage!

Last I checked, my ancestors had already migrated from China generations ago (think tin was still a good income earner then).

But judging by the information chokehold, I must still be in Mao’s Communist Promised Land – Capitalist Dissident Dogs Not Welcome! Woot, yeah, totally r0xx0rz!

Cuh. So scared of our own once-upon-a-time-long-long-ago shadow. As if our souls will implode if we ever found out any information, turning us into race-rioting unMalaysians.

Dude…21st century today, hello?

Maybe our children can actually learn about these sort of things one day, when everybody who was a living eyewitness is DEAD and can’t testify against whatever official account version of history is then released. Disappontingnya.

UPDATE 14 MAY 2007 (yes, that far into the future): A book on the May 13 Incident will be published soon! Here’s hoping it’ll be enlightening and worthwhile.

UPDATE 13 MAY 2008 (yes, another year in the future): Susan Looner collects real accounts of people who witnessed May 13’s incident. Jed Yoong has a descriptive poem.


3 Responses to “A Day of Infamy That’s So Infamous, No One Knows What Happened Actually”

  1. andrew Says:

    Could be that even till this day, there are still many varied opinions on what had actually happened. Go to this Sangkancil thread

    http://groups.google.co.uk/group/sangkancil/browse_thread/thread/0734f6ee1bc4684b/8307e950ec1a7821?#8307e950ec1a7821

    and you’ll see what I mean.

    It’s tragic that many of the so called incidents got out of hand due to people resorting to violence. People are still laying blame and pointing fingers till this day. Conspiracy mongering having a field day.

    Guess most would just let sleeping dogs lie, and make hay while the sun shines. Blot it out as an embarrasing mistake/episode, and never speak of it for fear of opening up old wounds.

    But I do see where you are coming from, Scotty, and I respect your view. In fact, I really like your blogs so keep up with the good work, and God Bless….. 🙂

    ps. links to my other nephews blogs ? hmmm…? 😉

  2. Scott Thong Says:

    I feel that in this age of instant online information, it’s important to have an easily accessible official account (biased though it may inevitably be). Or else us information-age youngsters are SURE to go digging around the net for answers, yes or not?  PS. Don’t think J or K have a blog yet.

  3. andrew Says:

    Putting something down as official on paper could provide a common ’cause’, a cause where disgruntled people might unite against……. splitting the population into at least 2 different groups, the pro and the anti… bad scene huh?
    Dig around by all means, they would say, but we’ll deny anything that could be held accountable as, well errr… hearsay…… ? 🙂

    j had one but stopped…. did u know?

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