To commemorate the 38th anniversary of the bloody race riots of May 13th 1969, the kopitiam will share one of the many verbal accounts of people who lived through that dark stain in our history.
The protagonist, a Melaka student, was studying with friends at a school on that fateful day. Unaware of what was happening in the country, they trooped off happily home as dusk approached. Suddenly, a Malay man wearing only a sarong came running towards them, carrying a shotgun. He pointed it upwards and asked them to get home - there was a curfew in place - all people who violate the curfew will be shot on the spot.
The students were befuddled. They didn't really comprehend what the man was talking about. So they continued walking back home, unperturbed. As they got neared and nearer a town, army trucks whizzed past them on the way to Kuala Lumpur. There were soldiers everywhere, grim faced and silent. Now with fear the students decided to hitch at one of the student's house (which was nearby) for the night.
The whole night, they saw army trucks, soldiers and many vehicles moving through the silent deadly night. They peered outside the house and was seen by a soldier outside. Immediately he pointed the rifle at them and barked at them to go to sleep. So, they went to sleep.
Their sleep however was interrupted when noises were heard outside. There was a commotion. Many people, primarily Chinese, were fleeing from their homes. Bewildered, they asked some of the people what the heck was going on? Above the din they could make out that a large group of Malay villagers armed with parangs and swords were descending on them.
So they ran and ran to the next residential area. Now at that time, much of Kuala Lumpur , Melaka and Selangor were controlled by secret societies that enforced ruthless racial and territorial boundaries. The residential area which they fled to belonged to another gang. The gang members thought they were coming for a fight, so many people were roused and they started whacking the people who just fled.
Only a while later did they realize that these people did not come for a fight, but were running away from the Malay villagers. Realizing their mistakes, both sides of people joined in fleeing some more. Others, itching for a fight, went to fight with the Malay villagers. What happened to them, nobody knows; the exact number of people killed (mainly Chinese) were not counted and many were buried in mass graves. As for the protagonist, he/she is healthy and alive, or else how will the kopitiam here of this story?
That is one of many verbal recollections of people who lived through May 13. There are many more of them out there. Please feel free to share it here.