Friday, February 10, 2012

Bukit Kepong - Attentive Past, Mundane Present.

PROLOGUE: After 60 years, finally the station received it much deserved attention. 

Last Raya I went for an open house at Johor. On the way back to KL, I stopped by at Bukit Kepong, a small town made famous by Bukit Kepong Incident where the only police station was besieged by communist forces back in 1950. The defending police forces were almost all KIA, and to make things worse, the station was burnt down, sadly turning them into human barbecue together with their trapped families. The commies were led by Mat Indera, whose name sparked a controversy last year for being deemed as a hero rather than a commie rebel.

Mat Indera issue had renewed national interest about the Incident, reopened the chapter of history about our struggle for Independence...

and might reopened an old wound...

Nevertheless, the case was sensational enough for me to stop by, discover the site...

and come up with some most intriguing finds. 

As I reached the police station-turned-museum, many people already flocked there. Controversies are indeed good for marketing. 

Entrance into the attentive past, or mundane present... 

Cardboard box of the old police station. More like a penghulu house!

Observe the 3 communication towers on the hills overlooking the police station. The police on duty informed me the towers marked the site where Mat Indera might positioned his armies, their arms were restless, ready to attack in the morning of February 23...

The towers loomed the station - a forgotten stark reminder of what happened that day... 

New station over the fallen one.

The Two Towers of Bukit Kepong!

Jetty of Muar River - still stands after all these years.

"I kill you Mat Indera!", posing of a patriot(?)

Abandoned room - nothing but a store.

Creaky old station. So much for a holy ground of the police forces.

Another view of the Towers.

Muar River behind the station. No wonder the station was easily besieged.

Old battered boat - no more sailing in this one.

Safe Come To Hill Besiege! - welcoming sign near the site.

After a few minutes walk, I reached the Muslim Cemetery where the defending casualties were buried. I still remember many years ago that the cemetery was overgrown and rusty gates, abandoned...

And now the vegetation is cleared, the graves are given new golden gate, with national, state and mourning flag.
List of the fallen police forces.

The graves were embellished with new enclosing wall -built by two Indonesian workers. Again, so much for the so-called holy site of the Royal Malaysian Police forces that they couldn't find at least a platoon to have the honor to do the job. 

"Nothing special, just a regular job for me", said the Indonesian worker.

Don't be fooled by his Malaysia team jersey!

On my way back to the station, I stopped by the surau near the cemetery. I thought it was the meeting of the victims' families. Turned out to be a casual meeting of the old folks of the kampung. I took this shot and bashfully left. 

"We are now discussing about water problem..." boring... zzz... 

Arriving back at the station, I glimpsed the towers once again. I wondered what Mat Indera had seen that he chose this police station as the target. After asking people around,  I went to the top of the hill without haste. 

The view up there was amazing.

In front of me was vast open sky without any sort of elevation. Only the Muar River, serpentinely crosses the lone village below.


Mat Indera had set his target for the spot at the centre of this photo:   

I realized the surrounding land of the hills have been stripped its vegetation. Maybe to deny the commies any lurking spot after the Incident, as shown in photo below: 

Overall, the journey was plain good. But I only recommend for you guys who passing by Muar or serious observers since all traces of the original Incident were absent. I wonder why they don't display artifacts that were present during the Incident. If they could do that, this place would really be much interesting.

That time of my visit, Mat Sabu Controversy kept the visitors coming. I bet not much people are there now. Guys, don't waste your time coming here, unless you're history geek like me.

Nevertheless, I finally saw Bukit Kepong through the eyes of both the polices and the commies. I shall wait for Bukit Kepong to be one of the must-go site in Malaysia. Until then, it is just a place with attentive past, yet mundane present.


EPILOGUE: Trailing Mat Indera down the hill and history... 

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