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(16 July) Said Zahari’s ‘The Long Nightmare’ July 7, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Heritage, History, Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics, Southeast Asia.

saidzahari_2.jpgThe second part (English/BM version) of Pak Said’s trilogy/memoirs will be launched 16th July.

The Long Nightmare recounts his years in detention without trial under ‘Operation Coldstore’ 1963, which saw the arrests of 107 politicians and trade unionists in Singapore, including Barisan Sosialis‘ Lim Chin Siong, Dominic Puthucheary and S. Woodhull. Lee Kuan Yew’s PAP later swept the elections that year.

Pak Said was only 34 when he was taken away on February 12, 1963. By the time he was released, he was already 51 years old.

Last year, we had asked Pak Said to give the keynote speech at our Suaram fund-raising dinner. But as he had some difficulties moving about after a mild surgical procedure, he had opted to do it via video.

To our pleasant surprise, our videographers returned with a recording of his speech done in fluent English, Bahasa Melayu and Mandarin, the latter he picked up from his fellow detainees. Fine, learned intellectuals like Pak Said are hard to come by these days.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of those arrested under the Internal Security Act (without trial again) for allegedly being part of a ‘Marxist Conspiracy’ on both sides of the border. It began first in Singapore, then later in Malaysia.

Please try to make time for this momentous event. Below is a piece by James Wong on the book launch.

(6 July, Malaysiakini.com) The Malay and English editions of veteran Malay-language journalist Said Zahari’s second memoirs The Long Nightmare – My 17 Years as a Political Prisoner will be launched by Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin.

According to Said, the book launch will be held at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in Kuala Lumpur on July 16.

“Everyone who is interested in alternative history and my side of the story, especially the younger generations, are welcome to the book launch to participate in discussions and exchanges of ideas,” he added.

Both the editions are published by Utusan Publications and Distributions which also owns and operates the mainstream Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia.

While Zainuddin was the editor-in-chief of the Umno-controlled Utusan Malaysia from 1982 to 1992, the Singapore-born Said served also as the editor-in-chief of the independent Utusan Melayu in Kuala Lumpur from 1959 to 1961 before he was ordered to leave Malaya by first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Said had ruffled feathers for leading a three-month long journalists’ strike against the Umno takeover of the newspaper.

Detained without trial

He was subsequently detained without trial in Singapore in the 1963 Operation Cold Store together with some 100 left-wing political activists, journalists, leaders of labour and student unions who were deemed by Lee Kuan Yew’s PAP government to be ‘security threats’.

Said was held for 17 years for allegedly being a “communist” and “Indonesian agent.” The charges have never been substantiated or proven in any court of law.

Said, still a citizen of Singapore by law, settled in Malaysia together with his wife and children as permanent citizens in 1996 while former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was also home minister.

In the second memoirs to be launched, Said expresses his gratitude to Mahathir for granting him and his family the right to settle in Malaysia. Said was later appointed as a guest writer of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

Last Sunday, the Chinese-language edition of The Long Nightmare – My 17 Years as a Political Prisoner was launched at the privately-funded Chinese-medium Southern College in Johor Baru by University Malaya’s leading expert of Chinese language and culture, Assoc Prof Dr Chia Ai Ping (谢爱萍博士) as well as Said’s fellow ex-detainee in Singapore, Dr Lim Hock Siew (林福寿医生).

Lim was a top leader and intellectual of the left wing Socialist Front in Singapore before 1963. He was also detained without trial for 17 years for his alleged involvement in the so-called “Communist United Front.” (byline: James Wong Wing On)

(See Martyn‘s video of the Johor launch below last week on 1 July)




1. monsterball - July 7, 2007

Wonderful Liz!! Bring back all these to let the new generation read what they don’t actually know at all….and let them question …ask and seek the truths of all matters…justifiable or not done by UMNO.
When all these are know….then the real characteristics of our politicians can be understood…why so nice….yet dare not act…this or that….this sensitive issue…that’s taboo…cannot talk…and I just found out so many limitations to produce a movie….cannot produce any movie with a story line about bad politicians….cannot be too sexy…even if the role is about the life of a prostitute… as examples. Are heading for Vision2020???…DREAM ON…When cover up upon cover up are ongoing as way of life….but the people are now much more educated. Youngsters are begining to think and understand. It’s the die hard old generations…what is the % in votes?

2. arifabdull - July 8, 2007

MB, but, i’m wonder if ppl would really able to see the truths without ability to understand art & philosophy of politics.
e.g.: ppl keep blaming Tian Chua though he just did it in the name of art?

poor Malaysian!

3. arifabdull - July 8, 2007

Salute to Pak Said!

4. The Long Nightmare | arifabdull - July 8, 2007

[…]    For more details on the book, please read in elizabethwong […]

5. monsterball - July 8, 2007

arifabdull…There is no problem with the younger generations. They are mostly educated….better than those zoombies…don’t think…just vote for race and religion…never for the country…now grandfathers.Like I said..what is the percentage of these grandfathers?
However…..those who work for the government will vote mostly fort BN….quite natural to be loyal to boss…but again…not really smart thinking like that as a voter. It is the malays that are split up.
So the most important votes ae the Chinese for next election…..but judging from things….BN will win another term comfortably….as not one opposition part…except DAP and maybe PAS have shown to be good alternativs. That we have gone through for decades.
Tian Chua is just a naughty kid….but play with fire this tme….OR..maybe is damn smart. We shall see after the Atlantayu case concludes.

6. monsterball - July 8, 2007

So what Liz has put out is wonderful….to remind us how many more injustices done by UMNO….especially under the dictatorial rule of TDM for 22 years….may help those young people to see the real truths of our country…not just listen to our govrenment stories….. they must leran to think for themselves….be it any new or old govrnment managing the country.in the future. Only this way..we have hope of peace and fair to all….and proving….malaysians are smart voters.

7. monsterball - July 8, 2007

arifabdull…PEOPLE are all sorts..not everyone can see like you and me.
That doctored photo cannot be considered “in the name of art”
This is a murder case….nothing to joke about.
When simple minded people see it….they tend to believe and keep silent to their own conclusions.
If Tian Chua want to show his talent and smart brain….he can always put out so many different arts..like Lat…but he with photos.
TDM is very famous to tell things to confuse others…and he knows alot of people don’t understand and believe in him. He did that for 22 years and still was doing that… when he retired….until recently….stopped. WHY??? It does not work anymore…but it took few years for people to understand.
So PEOPLE….many are old and one track minded…so those who hate Najib will hate him more for no reasons…but like I said..it can be a smart cover up. What have we not seen in dirty politics.

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