Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today in history

Every Malaysian, young or old remembers today's date. It's historical, and yet in not such a nice way. Back in 1969, this day marked the beginning of a bloody race riot that changed the lives of many.

Recently, I had the opportunity to get my hands on a book written by our very first Prime Minister about the race riots that occured back then. It is a very simple book, written from his point of view of the events that took place before, during and after the incident,and as you read between the lines, you can sense some sort of sadness.

According to his book, the communists from a nearby communist country had infiltrated our society and had influenced a huge number of followers. They had a couple of strange tactics to ruin the elections that had been planned. However, the elections had continued despite the hitches, and for the first time after 12 years of independance, the ruling government did not get 2/3rds majority. This ended up with the opposition parties going on a victory march, and many people were offended by certain things that certain groups of people did on the streets. Being multiracial in a somewhat brand new country, some people were extra sensitive, and the rest they say is history.

Many people died that day, and the in the days after. The country had declared an emergency, and curfew was imposed. It was chaotic, and that incident on its own had inadvertently changed the lives of many people and their future generations.
PS: The image above has nothing to do with the book I read.


  1. Could I please have the name of the book? Is it being sold in the bookstores back home?

  2. What cultures and races clashed?

  3. anita: sure, it's titled: May 13; Before and After by Tunku Abdul Rahman ISBN:B0006CV4JI. The copy I have is an old one, found it while rearranging the book shelf a few months ago. So I don't know if it's still on sale, though. I could lend it to you when you come down if have difficulties finding it...

    orhan: This is based solely on the book. It was political/ideological in nature at first, and then it sort of escalated into a race based clash. In the end, all the races in West Malaysia was somehow in the fight, especially in KL.

  4. Thanks for the history. I might have to do a little more research into this.

  5. travis: research? but why?

    anita: you're welcome :)


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