During our passage through this part of the world, I found it a little difficult to get my head around this whole Malaysia area.  Singapore is Singapore and the rest of our stops seem to be Malaysia but almost appear independent.  So I heard a little of the history on my tours in Brunei and Kuching (Borneo), and did a little research on my own to help me understand this area.  This blog is more to get my head around and remember these facts.  I hope it’s not too boring.  I was surprised at how much I did not understand about this part of the world and how much events in other parts of the world played into the development of the many countries on this side of the globe.

So a little background –  Before World War II, the Malay Peninsula was governed by the British as the Federated Malay States.

World War II was disastrous for the British Malayan Command. The Japanese swept down both coasts of the Malay Peninsula.   Despite fierce fighting, and because most of the British military was tied down fighting the Germans in Europe, those that remained in Malaya simply could not cope with the Japanese onslaught. The British military equipment that was left to defend Malaya, was outdated and no match for the modern equipment used by the Japanese.  Plus the only two battleships based in the region, the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, were sunk by Japanese bombers off the East Coast of Malaya.

By January 1942, the British had been pushed all the way back to Singapore, which then fell to the Japanese in February 1942. The situation was no different on Borneo, which fell to the Japanese in April 1942 after months of fierce fighting.  The Japanese occupation was brutal, and many, particularly the ethnic Chinese, suffered and perished during the occupation.  Among the most notorious atrocities committed by the Japanese were the Sandakan Death Marches, where few survived.

For me, when I was in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was questioning why anyone could justify dropping that bomb on Japan or any other place for that matter.  But with the history that I have learned since, as we have travelled through these countries who were involved with fighting the Japanese, it becomes a little more clear why countries like the UK and Australia, Philippines and the US all agreed that dropping the bomb was the only way to stop the Japanese.

I am still not convinced that anything could justify the A Bomb, that there could not have been some other way to settle all of this, because the devastation and destruction of the bomb was unthinkable.  And sad.  And in my opinion, A Bombs and H Bombs should be destroyed and never used again on anyone anywhere in our world.

After World War II, the Federated Malay States, the unfederated Malay States, and the Straits Settlements of Malacca and Penang were federated to form a single British colony known as the Malayan Union, with Singapore splitting off to form a separate colony.

In the Malayan Union, the sultans of the various states ceded all their powers, except those in religious affairs, to the British crown.  However, widespread opposition to the Malayan Union led the British to reconsider their position, and in 1948, the Malayan Union was replaced by the Federation of Malaya, in which the executive positions of the sultans were restored. When Malaya invited Sabah, Sarawak, and Brunei to unite to form the Federation of Malaysia, there was a dispute in the Borneo states on whether joining Malaya would be a good idea.  Sabah and Sarawak eventually decided to join under a list of circumstances (they didn’t join with Malaya to be regarded as states, but as separate national entities forming a federation).

Brunei did not want to join Malaysia primarily due to the fact that the Sultan of Brunei would not have as much power as he would being the only monarch, and also possibly because the distribution of their oil would have to go to the entire country and not stay within their own.

In the long run, I think Brunei not joining Malaysia was a good move for them, since Sabah and Sarawak today do not have the privileges that were agreed upon, and that most of their resources do not go to their state governments, causing them to be the poorest states in Malaysia.  Brunei on the other hand is wealthy and continues to grow and I guess will do so as long as the oil and gas hold out.   It’s been an interesting journey through this area and a large learning curve.

And now onto Beautiful Bali…

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6 responses to “MALAYSIA”

  1. Sylvia and Gilles Avatar
    Sylvia and Gilles

    Hi Pat, Reading your blogs are like mini history sessions…great job…sorry you got sick…not too pleasant when travelling. Stay safe and enjoy and keep blogging. All is well here….Gilles and Sylvia


    1. Hey glad you are still with me. All better now. No more Hallo hallo drinks for me. Glad all is well. Take care….


      1. Hallo there, so nice to read your interesting blogs, have to catch up with a few of them, have been just
        too busy !! I guess that you will be back in July, if I am not mistaken, enjoy the rest of your trip, it will go
        so fast now. I booked Slovakia again, from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7. I hope that you will join us again, Marta’s husband Eddie will be 90 this year, so most of the old gang is coming. Ida is coming back this week I think, so I am looking forward talking to her too.
        All the best and happy traveling, best regards,



      2. Hi Rita, glad you are keeping up with my blogs. I will be back in July. The time is flying by. I will not be booking Slovakia this year because my art tour starts in Sicily on Sept 16. Last year it worked out because my art tour finished just before Slovakia started. Too bad. I will miss all of you. Take care.


  2. Rita Schwerdt Avatar
    Rita Schwerdt

    I can not believe, that this does not work out, boy, we will miss you so much. I spoke to Ida in the meantime, as you know, she is coming. Sicily and the Art Tour of course, will make up for it, I would
    not miss it either. All the best, you are having so much fun, good for you…… until next time….
    Yours, Rita


    1. I will miss you all also. But there will be other times. Take care. Hugs. Pat


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