We had no TV. We had no electricity. We had a radio set but the drycells must have exhausted its ions. Who could afford to buy the drycells when the same amount could get you 3 catties of “beras hancur”?. And we were supposed to be the kampong better offs? I remember ,occassionally buying the cells with the logo of a black cat jumping over the loop of the digit 9. A dry cell with 9 lives. True to form, the cells would be revived by putting them under the sun .
WE could not afford any newspapers. So when there were rioting in Kuala Lumpur, life in Johor was perfectly normal. Schools must have been closed for at least a week because of the emergency but we were never told of the reason. The chinese sundry shops in the malay kampong continued to be opened and we went about our ways in this place call paradise. Poor souls in this place called the golden chersonese.
Looking back and as one who look from the outside, I blame it on chauvinisms. Just like Monsiuer Chauvinist did, there were people who claimed racial and political supremacy. The disproportionate representation of chauvinists among the political parties, associatioan and NGOs being allowed to take centre stage..
The 3 major races were in their own respective silos. The Perikatan was no more than the bangsawan with the help of the kapitan keling and kapitan cina lording over the populace. Outside the government the remnants of the bintang tiga still lurking and the leftovers of the LKY grand plans of the socialist onslaught. And as for the poor malays, the frustration was just waiting to erupt.
I believe that the riot could have happened in the 1965 election had not Singapore and LKY be expelled from Malaysia. Tunku expelled LKY to save UMNO but he managed to delay the rioting by a mere 4 years. LKY was ready with the grand plan to take over parliament with the amalgamation of the socialist front. LKY cried when parliament passed that motion. The Johor Malays lost Teluk Belangah.
Why is Johore spared, in particular in Batu Pahat? I have an answer. Just 20 years before that my Kampong was the scene of bloody rioting. The kampong folk of Bagan, Simpang Kiri and Peserai let loose their parang panjang to revolt against the BINTANG TIGA. It was led by Panglima Salleh. The memories of that bloody event must have sent the descendents of Monsiur Chauvinis curling up under the blanket.
So fellow Malaysians, on this this day, let us remember the sad episode and learn that chauvinism is a real threat to our well being. Watch out for chauvinsts in our midst.