13 May 2013

With a sigh ( Pt 15 ) - Fateful month of May

In Pakcik Reminisces series (Pt 7 ) on 15th May 2009 I began as follows:

13th May comes and goes every year. But 40 years ago one 13th May came and is gone forever, leaving and indelible memory of an event – the fateful 13th May 1969 and the few days that followed.”

The unbelievable sight of the main road of KL ___________________________________________________         

Today is another 13th  May, 44 years following that of 1969. I was a young executive who had to be on the road with a special permit to go about the deserted city under curfew.  I had a duty to perform. It was scary and today I draw a sigh as I reminisce.

Having experienced the general feeling immediately after the tragedy of May 1969 general election, I cannot help sensing a minor similarity between the atmosphere then and that after the recent election. No, I am not referring to the tragic consequences but in the general feeling of many people as reflected in the mass media in May 1969 and what has been expressed during the last one week – fear and hope.

                                                The report

Majelis Gerakan Negara ( National Operations Council)

Two great politicians of our country, the late Tun Abdul Razak and the late Datuk Muhamad Asri Muda, heading two opposing parties, saw it fit to lay a new foundation for this country for a cohesive and more harmonious and progressive future. It was not just for the Malays but for all living in this blessed land.

Alas, if only we can rekindle that spirit of unity all over again, I can carry on reminiscing with a sigh in every month of May, that all is not being wasted. After all, the cake has grown big enough for every one to share and enjoy. 

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


NBK said...

assalamualaykum uncle...only those experiencing it first hand really understand the importance of unity and stability...i was a baby at that time :) alhamdulillah things did not go out of control post pru13 but in future?

ahmad humairi said...

السلم عليكم ورحمة الله

13 Mei 1969 - saya baru darjah 3 di SK Sungai Galah. Tiada sengketa di tempat saya. Namun saya masih ingat 'askar' berkawal malam ketika perintah berkurung - menyorok ketika saya keluar mengambil kucing saya. Alhamdulillah saya tidak ditembak ketika itu....masih menghela nafas sehingga sekarang....alhamdulillah!

Klik pautan berikut bagi mengimbau semula kenangan saya : "KENANGAN 13 MEI 1969"

Al-Manar said...


You were a baby and spared of the fear that those around KL had to go through. My house became a mini 'refugee camp' for friends living in 'sensitive' areas. No, we pray that all would be well. Sadly, as Tun D Mahathir said, Melayu mudah lupa.

In answer to your question I would quote Doris Day's famous song

" ........
Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see

Al-Manar said...

Cikgu Humairi,

Saya baca "KENANGAN 13 MEI 1969". Terima kasih membero pautan itu. Masih kanak kanak, tapi lebih tua dari NBK diatas yang masih 'baby'. Anak sulung kami Belum sekolah lagi.

Bayangkan memandu kereta berseorangan melalui jalan yang sunyi seperti lepas peperangan. Tapi darah muda masih berani.

madame blossom said...

Semuga Malaysia, tanah air bapa ku, terus selamat and terus maju jaya, di bawah lindungan Allah.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
I was a year as an executive trainee in a bank in KL. I was lucky I was warned to come home early that 12th May evening. Otherwise I would have been caught in the tragedy. I agree the info and sentiments felt then and the period leading to the recent GE13 were strangely similar. Something more drastic need be taken against the blatant disregard of law and order.
I just hope it is taken immediately and not when it's too late!


Al-Manar said...

Madame Blossom,

Deep in heart we all do that but, sadly, we do not seem to agree on one main line of action, picking on each other, each claiming to be the champion.

Al-Manar said...

Dear Hank,

You had some taste of it, hence your view and mine may be alike but may not be the same with the newer generations. Just hope and pray for tghe sake of our children and below.

zafi said...


It is such a shame when we can't live together with different races or religion. Promote peace and unity is a great way to sail away on our dream to be a great nation. Insyaallah I would really hope people can use their rational thoughts and be matured enough to decide good and bad. Ameen

Al-Manar said...


Not being truly involved in the politicsl intrigues we can say the ideal rationale as you rightly say. Alas, once you are thickly involved, the picture can be totally different. It is no longer what is good for the nation but what is good for you as a person. But we must not despair.

Anonymous said...

It was a tragic day indeed.

It must not be repeated. People must see the big picture and agree to disagree. And this means compromise.

ninotaziz said...

In 1969, I was about 4 but we were not in KL then.

I do however, remember kindergarten and living in PJ from 1971 onwards. And by then, my best friend were the adorable Henry and his cute brother Teddy from next door.

So it must have been amazing that in two years, the bad feelings during 1969 did not prolong and fester for the children. When I was in Kuantan in Std 2 in 1973 (okay, so now my age is no longer a secret) my best friend was Arwah Pah, Lynn Rahman and Choy Har.

The action taken after 1969 must have had immediate effect.

AND BACK THEN, there were P Ramlee movies and songs, Hindi hit Bobby and Jerry Lewis that I think brought people together. I might be wrong. Our school concert had taridra, operetta, dance, choir and parents did not panic if nuns taught your children swimming and a Chinese teacher teaches kids Jawi and Bahasa Melayu.

Today we all watch gruesome murders NCSI, Criminal Minds etc on TV. And widespread cultural performances in schools, galah panjang and the neighborhood afternoon game of rounders are a thing of the past. Sigh.

Sorry Pakcik, for this looong outpour.

I love Malaysia so much. Too much.

Temuk said...

13May69 must not be allowed to happen again! Some people seem so eager to see that the tragedy is restudied "so that all the rakyat know exactly what had actually happened". I am not too sure whether such a restudy is necessary and beneficial.

Al-Manar said...


It is not easy to compromise when it involes loss of face.

Al-Manar said...


What you say is correct. Forty years children , especially outside the few main town in the west coast of Peninsular, mixed better socially than today. We are more diversified today, not simply by ethnicity but also between the upper class children attending expensive private schools and the rest in normal schools, and also the apparent differences in religious interpretation.

Firthur back during my childhood days we, MALAYANS, were even closer together. One Chinese classmate wrote in jawi for the final exam in Malay language paper.

You draw a sigh and so do I, dear Ninot. This is the world we live in.

Al-Manar said...


We are great people at 'studying' cases and writing papers. The standard of education, especially in English language, is known to be very poor compared to that of our generation. How many studies have been done and cganges made ?

Many of us can tell what needs doing without the lengthy seminars and studies. Would you not simply say do as we used to do, full stop?

We are too proud to go back and accept what we did before was good enough.

abdulhalimshah said...

Dear Pak Cik,
Communalism is both a boon and a bane as what we had seen for the past more than half a century. The only out of it is to form a government not based on communalism. The Govt. should represent all races in spite of differing ethnic origin.

Idris said...

Pak Cik,

I was in Form 5 (in Kelantan) when the tragedy happened in May 1969. Some anti-Alliance teachers took advantage by not teaching but giving sermons on what the govt should have done instead. I came to KL for further study in January 1970 and saw for myself the extent of destruction, especially along Hale Road (now Jln Raja Abdullah) in Kg. Baru. What I still cannot forget is what I witnessed on 13 May 1970 (the first anniversary). I was on board an ITM bus together with about 20 other students travelling from Jln Othman in PJ to MARA Hq in Jalan TAR. During the journey I saw only 4 cars on the road, one of them belonging to the Police.

Al-Manar said...

Akhi AHS,

I agree. It is also like the subject of your posting on related matter. We talk and see all the pitfall but somewhere along the line money talks louder!

Al-Manar said...


So you remember something of the dreaded incident. Imagine I had to drive alone with special permit during curfew. No, we do not want that to happen again.

Incidentally, why the long silence with blog long being updated?

Salaam to you and family.

Nur Emyinda said...

As Salam AlManar @ Pakcik,

The month of MAY; and all the respective events for us to take note - TQVM for the very good gentle reminder of 13th May 1969 via your entry Pakcik. Read about the tragedy in history books.

Well Malaysians, peace is here to stay...We stand united or we fall divided. Pure and simple ! Lets exercise restraint in our words and actions and work for change through peaceful means. After a fractious election campaign, we need more than ever to heal our wounds and unite to make a better Malaysia.

May Allah The Almighty bless us for as long as we are in the rightful path!

Al-Manar said...

Nur Emyinda,

WAKSalaam to you.
We can choose to remain in fractions and go on blaming each other or choose the middle path - hablun minallaah wahablun minannaas. You work and earn your share and I do likewise and get mine. But together the share may be larger.

Azudin O Fuad said...

Dear Pak Cik,
Salam from London.
Been wanting to update my reading of your blog. Managed to browse through just now.
Most of us learnt our lessons from that Incident. However most of us have forgotten, why it came about.
A book Revolusi Mental was the outcome of it as and addition to the Malay Dilemma.
If only all of us can refresh our readings, then it might make some difference to the corrupted practices now.
Harping on racial sentiments will not make us any better.

Al-Manar said...

Azudin O Fuad,

Salaam to you as well, far away in London.

We belong to a different generation ( yours is a sort of a younger brother's generation to mine - or falf-a-generation difference )with the present we see with despair in our hearts. Will those log-gone days ever return? I would love to see racial sentiments as seen inn 1969, concerted effort for the better of ummah and general fairness.

I value your visit and comments. I wonder if you still use your email shown on your vprofile page of the ther webnsite. Do not be surprised if I drop in on you that way.