Recording the stories of WWII
Malaysia’s newspaper The Star’s youth platform is collecting the stories of the survivors of the war and bringing them back to the locations.
The Last Survivors is an interactive online documentary project that hopes to bring those stories back to life, by speaking to survivors of the Japanese Occupation, and bringing them back to the locations which hold the deepest memories for them. There is the story of Omar Senik, who was on Sabak Beach the day Japanese troops arrived in Malaya and Andrew Carvalho who went to sleep hungry and shot birds with his catapult for food. There is also Ethelin Teo’s recollection of when the Japanese attacked Kuantan during WWII when she was only 13, and Yap Chwee Lan at the age of 15 bravely rescuing people of Kampung Baru, Johor, because she could speak Japanese.
The project, which was started by R.AGE, a youth news and lifestyle platform by The Star, Malaysia’s English daily newspaper, is also going beyond the stories – they are getting the public involved through an interactive map. There, they can pin locations of WWII significance, and contribute stories, photos and videos that will pop-up on the map. That way, tourists and locals alike will be able to find and explore these locations easily.
“We wanted to encourage young people to find out more about what their grandparents went through during the war, to understand our history through something more than just our textbooks,” said Ian Yee, editor of R.AGE. “Since the WWII survivors here have so many great stories, we decided a video documentary series on them would be the best way to do it.”
Though the project has covered a number of stories of survivors in Malaysia, R.AGE is also keen to include stories of survivors in Singapore. To watch previous episodes or read survivor’s stories, go to rage.com.my/lastsurvivors/. If you know of a survivor, contact – firstname.lastname@example.org.
(** PHOTO CREDITS: Hafriz Iqbal, The Star)