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The arguments about Chin Peng continue

Geoff Wade has published a very good piece about the controversies that followed the recent death of Malayan communist leader Chin Peng. Wade makes a number of illuminating points. He argues, rightly I think, that the matter of Chin Peng reflects social fissures and political cleavages in modern Malaysian society. The torrent of vilification has been mixed with hagiography. Was Chin Peng a traitor or freedom fighter? Should he be erased from history – or regarded as Malaysia’s Aung Sang? Wade’s article goes a long way to revealing Chin Peng as a real historical agent, rather than spectral bogey man or nationalist hero. I was especially impressed by Wade’s analysis of how the Malayan communists reacted to the failure of the Malayan Union. This narrative is perhaps not as well known outside Southeast Asian departments of history as it should be… The  Union plan had been hatched up in London not long after the fall of Singapore when much of Southeast Asia was occupied by the Japanese. Its authors were members of  the ‘Malayan Planning Unit’. In some respects, the Union plan was a means to harmonize the different semi colonial entities of Southeast Asia – in short as a single […]
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