Living Conditions in 1940
• The Cost of Living – very low.
• The value of one cent was much greater.
Transportation – mainly was bicycles, trolley buses, trishaw
• Trishaws (fare: 1mile – 10 cents)
• Only the riches would have cars
• There was less than 3,000 cars in Penang by then.
The Cinema – Majestic, Queen’s (Cathay), Odean, Winser, Rex.
• Majestic (1931) was the first cinema that showed talking pictures, as before this all the pictures shown in cinema was mute.
• Rex (1939) was the first air-conditioned cinema in Penang.
• The fare was a dollar for upstairs seat, 70cents for first class seat, 50cents for second class seat and 25cents for third class seat.
My Japanese Classmate, Mitsuo Matsutake.
• In 1940, School had a debate on the topic of “Science Has Done More Harm Than Good.”
• Mitsuo Matsutake was a Japanese spy – discovered this when he was later arrested by the British. His photo was hung at the Rogues’
Gallery in the court.
My Form 5 Examination, 1940.
• Cambridge School Certificates Examination, 1940 – The questions were set by Cambridge and the paper was to be marked in Cambridge.
• Because of the war, the exam paper can’t be sent to Cambridge by ship, despite it was sent by cable.
• The certificate was obtained only in 1946.
Black-out Practice? Not allowed to see light as soon as the sky turned dark.
• Lights was hidden in shades.
• Controlled by the Air Raid Precaution Wardens.
War came to Malaya
Japanese Troops Landed in Kota Bahru.
• On 8 Dec 1941, came down from Thailand.
Penang was Bombed.
• 8 Dec 1941, Japanese plane flew across Penang.
• In the evening of 9 Dec, British plane and Japanese plane fought in the air. The British plane went down (defeated).
• 10 Dec, Japanese bombed Bayan Lepas Aerodrome.
• 11 Dec, the main target was Prangin Market – It was the headquater for hard-carts
• People would moved from town to Air Itam and Jelutong.
The Form 5 Examination, 1941.
• Bombed during the last paper-flag drawing.
• Sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse.
• The British left Penang.
Japanese Troops Landed in Penang on 17 Dec 1941.
• They were welcomed by community leaders such as Mr. Heah Joo Siang (Leader of Chinese Community), Mr. Saravanan Muthu
(Editor of Straits Echo), Mr. Baltatchet (Leader of Eurasian Community) etc.
• All the house were to put up white flag or Japanese flag.
Japanese Robbers and Racists.
• Locals were forced to give in their valuable belongings, such as new bicycles, watches and fountain pens.
• They robbed and raped.
The First Proclamation.
• On 19 Dec, an article was announced by Japanese in English, in order to get the locals to surrender all the cars and buses.
• No one was allowed to own a car.
The Voluntary Contribution
• Penang Share (50 million Straits money) was surrendered to Japanese.
• Exchange British money for Japanese money ratio 1:1.
Japanese banana notes.
• No value, as it had no numbers on the notes.
• My father witnessed a beheading.
• The cause of the accused was only a quarrel.
The Comfort Stations.
• Entertainment for Japanese soldiers–prostitutions.
• Local girls become prostitutes–only given meal coupons after the services.
Surrender of Singapore – The Chengay Procession.
• Singapore surrendered on 15 Feb 1942.
• Japanese Empire Day.
• Locals were forced to celebrate the day–Parade carrying Japanese flag.
Friends were Traitors
• Friends served the Japanese after surrendered.
The Roundout – The Hooded Terror
• People gathered for inspection, formed 4 by 4. Two hooded man can stop the procession to take anyone that was suspected. The
suspects would be taken away.