Our war stories
By SHEELA CHANDRAN
http://ecentral.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/2/15/tvnradio/10698441&sec=tvnradio An intriguing new documentary tells the personal stories of Malayans who endured turbulent times under Japanese rule during World War II. IT was exactly 70 years ago today – Feb 15, 1942 – when Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, the British General Officer Commanding Malaya during World War II, took the drastic step of signing the surrender document that enabled the Japanese to rule over Singapore and Malaya. His much criticised move, which former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described as “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history”, not only undermined Britain’s standing in the Far East but also turned life into a nightmare for Malayans and Singaporeans for three and a half years. The Japanese ruled with an iron fist, often beheading those who stepped out of line. Thousands of young women were forced to work as sex slaves while many Malayans ended up as labourers on the notorious Death Railway in Burma (which claimed the lives of over 100,000 Asians and Allied prisoners of war). Power of the past: Lara Ariffin and Harun Rahman were in turns inspired and driven to tears while making and editing Rising Sun Over Malaya. Malayans struggled for survival and lived in poor conditions. During the grim period, tapioca, sweet potato leaves, yam and porridge were about the only food that kept people alive. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the fall of Malaya and Singapore and to celebrate the courage of soldiers from around the region, the History Channel (Astro Channel 555) is airing WWII: Asia Occupied, a series of documentaries that begins tonight and continues every night until Friday, chronicling the Occupation and resistence against it. Tonight (9pm), there is Battlefield: The Fall Of Singapore followed byRising Sun Over Malaya (10pm). Tomorrow, viewers can tune in to The Sook...
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