A huge thank you to the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) organising committee for inviting me to be the guest of honour at the public memorial ceremony. Due to the widespread progression of the COVID-19 virus, this event is now arranged to be held online. In the face of many uncertainties, online events are already embedded into the new normal.
The Nanyang Truck Drivers and Mechanics War Heroes (Nanqiao Jigong) Memorial Ceremony is an event organised annually by KLSCAH after more than 50 years, and many groups are invited to participate in joint or co-organising. The theme of this public memorial is “Anti-Fascist War, Sustain World Peace”, which aims to promote the spirit of peacekeeping and anti-war, remembering the contributions of the anti-Japanese war sages and martyrs such as the Nanyang mechanics and drivers.
Ladies and gentlemen, Japan invaded Malaya on December 8, 1941. It will soon enter its 80th year this year. What I admire is that before the Japanese occupation of Malaya, that is, during the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s, The overseas Chinese scattered in the Malayan Peninsula, East Malaysia, Singapore and other places in the spirit of opposing the war of aggression resolutely responded to the call of the late Chairman of the South East Asia Federation of the China Relief Fund, Mr Tan Kah Kee, and risked being bombed by the Japanese army. They fought hard to transport relief supplies via the China-Burma Road to support the Chinese Anti-Japanese Army, which is now what everyone calls the Nanyang war heroes of drivers and mechanics.
Before Merdeka, with the surrender of the Japanese army on August 15, 1945, some mechanics and drivers chose to return to Nanyang to settle down, and some chose to return to their ancestral home, taking root and spreading their branches and leaves in Yunnan, Sichuan and other places in China. According to statistics, more than a thousand of these volunteers died in this battle. However, as time passed, a few Nanyang volunteers were still alive. This history of the War of Resistance against Japan was gradually forgotten by the world, and it was gradually forgotten and buried with the development of the times.
In the 1940s, with the assistance of the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and other groups, the Selangor Nanyang Truck Drivers and Mechanics World War II Monument was established in the Kwong Tong Cemetery, to commemorate the fearless spirit and dedication of these war heroes. The history of these Nanyang war heroes’ resistance to Japan in China is not only the history of overseas Chinese in China, it also carries the blood, sweat and tears that Malaysians create for the peace and indelible history of war resistance today.
No matter during the Second World War, or earlier, even before the country’s independence, and in the early days of the nation’s founding, we all saw a group of Chinese sages who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the country, including the pioneer of Kuala Lumpur, Yap Ah Loy and Tun Tan Cheng Lok, founder of MCA. Of course, there are still many unsung heroes whose names have not been recorded in history, and the world has never seen them before, just like our Nanyang war heroes, but we must remember their sacrifices and sacrifices in our hearts.
Resuming memorial activities after so many decades, I hope that in the future, that KLSCAH can continue this spirit, to continue to pass on public memorial activities, and step by step, deepen and expand the historical heritage left by Nanyang drivers and mechanics war heroes, and integrate it from it. The local view of history makes the world always remember their contributions. I would like to wish the Nanyang War Heroes ceremony goes smoothly. Thank you!