If the Sky Were to Fall... by Gary Lit Ying Loong
An Intergenerational Journey of Trials and Tribulations in Malaya During and After the Wars
Author: Gary Lit Ying Loong
Year of Issue: 2022
Through a highly personal and engaging journey, this book exposes the myths and mysteries surrounding the most tumultuous period of Malayan history. It illuminates our understanding of the subterranean forces shaping the people and country then and now.
Almost immediately after WWII, the British fought a long “Emergency” war against the communist guerrillas who had bravely helped them to fight against the Japanese earlier. This book details the gruesome atrocities suffered by the people of Malaya under Japanese Occupation during WWII. It also unveils the reasons behind the rise of communism among the young and not so young Malayans. It shows the British’s lack of appreciation for the subtleties and complexities involved in the various issues facing the innocent people.
In this decade long war, the innocent people of Malaya bore the brunt of the sufferings. More than half a million of them were forcibly relocated, with neither proper notice nor compensation, into double-barbed wired concentration camps called New Villages (San Chun). This book reveals the heavy-handed surveillance and restrictions adopted by the British as well as the resistance towards and rejection of this totalising disciplinary project by the villagers. It shows how they confronted and contended with the unfair and unconscionable classification, normalisation and reformation of them into “docile” subjects.
By interrogating the official narrative, this memoir reveals the hidden truths, tensions and dilemmas involved. It gives voice to the dislocated, dispossessed and discontented and attends to the neglected, subjugated and persecuted caught up in this turbulent historical era.