ARKIB : 29/08/2002
Abdullah Hussain recalls the Merdeka struggle
PETALING JAYA - The tears flow freely on national laureate Datuk Abdullah Hussain's cheeks every Aug 31.
He recalls with emotion his role in the struggle for independence for his homeland through his writings.
Initially Abdullah was chosen as a `fifth columnist' or a person who works for the enemy.
The Japanese Imperial Army sent him to Sumatra to influence the people there that Japan had come to liberate them from the Dutch colonialists so that the locals would help its soldiers enter Indonesia.
He admitted that being a young nationalist at that time, he just obeyed anyone who pledged help.
However Abdullah was arrested on landing at Sumatra and taken to a camp in Medan.
After the Japanese Military took over the camp, Abdullah was freed and sent to Acheh.
He worked for the Japanese Military Government there and was appointed Officer-in-Charge of the Police District of Langsa.
However before the end of the Second World War, Abdullah befriended Indonesian nationalists and then it dawned upon him that the Japanese were "not in the right."
In the 1950s, Abdullah wrote features for the newspaper "Mimbar Indonesia" about the Emergency in British Malaya.
"I asked the Indonesian Government to help bring up the problems in Malaya to the United Nations," he said.
"Hence I wrote a feature in Mimbar Indonesia about the struggle here."
Nearly all of Abdullah's novels mentioned the issue of independence.
After Merdeka, Abdullah came up with the novel "Interlok" which highlighted the issue of relations among the various races.
After independence, he said, the various races in Malaya, could not return for good to their countries of origin.
Abdullah said they were the new citizens of this country but the British system of government which was still in place separated them in kampungs, estates and towns.
In "Interlok", Abdullah tries to unite the various in the country through the use of a single language.
At present Abdullah, 82, is working on his 20th novel "Dan Malam, Apabila Ia Berlalu."
He raised the Jalur Gemilang at his house one month ahead of National Day. - Bernama
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Odds and ends: Oct 31
Waktu Solat Kuala Lumpur