It is 40 years now since all hell broke loose in Kuala Lumpur. I was only 9 then. I didn't really understand what was going on. We didn't even have a telephone. The only means of keeping abreast with the goings on in other parts of the world was either by electronic or printed media.
Parit, Perak was then a very laidback quaint little town. The community was made up of Malay, Chinese and Indian, all living together in harmony.
Some of my neighbours were Chinese. Old 'Tukang' was my late mother's trusted mason. I often went to his house, sent by my late mother for one reason or another, sometimes to pass a message to either 'Tukang' or his wife 'Nyonya'. I'd also walk pass their home everyday to go to school.
There's Ah Kan the grocer, Ooi Lai the photographer, Kam Wah the local department store, Amoi the fruit seller in the market (who's also my late auntie's neighbour in Kampong Baru)........then there's Sanmugam who was an office boy at the local council, a loyal and trusted friend of my late father who was a clerk. His wife Sagun was a maternity nurse at the clinic. Sanmugam used to drive my father around whenever he needed to take me to the doctor either in Menglembu, Pusing or Ipoh. My father never owned a car. He used to cycle to work. Sanmugam was also the guarantor for the scholarship which enabled me to further my studies in the United Kingdom.
That's briefly the make up of the community in Parit back then...very much multi-racial...very much tolerant....living together in harmony (hmmm....this sounds very familiar!!...ebony and ivory....live together in perfect harmony....).
How was it that the racial riot could have taken place in Kuala Lumpur? It certainly did not happen in good ol' Parit. Think about it.....