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Drawing the Line

Chapter 9.
‘Forgotten Legacies’

The Case of Abdullah Ariff’s Pro-Japanese Cartoons during the Japanese Occupation of Penang

Cheng Tju Lim, Ministry of Education, Singapore

This chapter explores the work of a much-neglected artist whose work has recently been the focus of a major exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Malaysia (2004). Having played a minor role in the post-war Malayan nationalist politics, Abdullah’s wartime career has been largely obscured, particularly his 25-page pro-Japanese cartoon book entitled Perang Pada Pandangan Juru-Lukis Kita (‘The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It’), published in Penang by Shu Seicho Shimbun Renraku Jimusho in 1942. This chapter aims to reassess Abdullah’s life and work within the broader discourse of Malay collaborators during the Japanese Occupation of British Malaya, and to explore questions relating to his relationship with the Japanese occupiers; with the British authorities; and the use of cartoons as historical evidence.

Introduction

The Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia remains one of the key turning points of the region in the last century. In fact, the term ‘Southeast Asia’ only came into popular usage during the war with the setting up of Lord Louis Mountbatten’s South East Asia Command (SEAC) in 1943. Edited volumes based on conferences continue to reassess and reassert the significance of the Japanese Occupation, drawing upon memoirs and visual accounts.1

In the area of cartoons, depictions of life during the Japanese Occupation were mostly done by artists after the war. These cartoons such as Liu Kang’s Chop Suey (1946) were critical of Japanese rule (in this case, the occupation years in Singapore between 1942 and 1945). Chop Suey was reprinted in the 1990s and its contents continue to serve as a reminder of the atrocities committed by the Japanese whenever they reappear as images in history exhibitions or textbooks. They are used as historical evidence of the need for present-day Singapore to defend itself, one of the key National Education messages for students.2 Less commonly found today are the cartoons commissioned by the Japanese during the occupation as part of their wartime propaganda. Examples are the Filipino komiks published in the Japanese-controlled newspaper, Tribune in the Philippines.3

A lost work in this category of cartoons is Perang Pada Pandangan Juru-Lukis Kita (The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It), drawn by Malay artist, Abdullah Ariff in Penang, Malaysia and published by Shu Seicho Shimbun Renraku Jimusho, a Japanese newspaper company, in November 1942. The story of Abdullah Ariff and how his pro-Japanese cartoons were excluded from history after the war presents an important case study of the use of cartoons as historical evidence. It also presents a valuable example of how the dominant discourses of the history of Malaysia (and of South East Asia in general) have largely marginalised stories of active collaboration on both sides during the conflict which ultimately decided the entire region’s postcolonial future. To gain the most insight into the content of the cartoons themselves, and their wider implications for the history of Malaysia, the ‘biographical model’ (explored in some detail in the introduction to this volume) is most effective, and what follows is a brief survey of Abdullah Ariff’s life and career.

Whow Was Abdullah Ariff?

Abdullah Ariff is a well known figure in the annals of Malaysian art history. A pioneer watercolourist, he was also active in politics as a committee member of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the ruling party of Malaysia, and served as a city councilor in Penang from 1955 to 1957. He was close to the top UMNO leadership, a personal friend of the first Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman and helped to design the UMNO logo. He was also the art teacher to the current Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi.

Less widely known is Abdullah’s career as a cartoonist who drew pro-Japanese cartoons during the occupation of Malaya. None of the art books surveyed mentioned this part of his history.4 Even his family was not aware of the existence of this set of cartoons. Fortunately, a copy of Perang Pada Pandangan Juru-Lukis Kita (The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It) can be found in the National University of Singapore library rare books collection. In 2004, the National Art Gallery of Malaysia held a retrospective exhibition of Abdullah’s works.5 This was done with the cooperation of his family who felt that too little attention has been paid to the contributions Abdullah had made as the first significant Western-influenced Malaya artist in Malaysia.

When I found out about the exhibition, I contacted the family, made a set of the wartime cartoons and sent it to them. The cartoons were exhibited in the show.6 Abdullah’s untold story can provide insights about the issues of Malay collaboration with the Japanese regime during the war, a sensitive topic still in Malaysia today, and also how his cartoons can be read as historical evidence of those times.

Abdullah Ariff – Cartoonist, Collaborator or Nationalist?

Abdullah Ariff was born in Penang in 1904 to a typical but relatively well-to-do Malay family. The family was religious and pious given that Abdullah’s brother, Haji Mohamad Hashim was the imam (an Islamic religious leader) of the Acheen Street Malay mosque.

Like his siblings, Abdullah was sent for religious instruction when young, but he wanted a secular education for his formal schooling. His daughter, Datin Hajjah Sitti Julita, related this story: ‘My father stood outside the Anglo-Chinese Boys School in Pykett Avenue off Burma Road all day, waiting to be enrolled. When the headmaster told him he was too tall (meaning too old), he said he was willing to cut off his legs (to look shorter) as long as he was allowed to attend school’.7 According to his granddaughter, Raja Arina, Abdullah was the only one in the family to receive a secular education. His elder brothers went to Saudi Arabia to do their Islamic studies.8

Abdullah was self-taught in art. In 1920, at the age of 16 and still schooling, he became one of the only two local members of the newly-formed ‘Penang Impressionists’, an expatriate art group. There was no local art group at that time and the ‘Penang Impressionists’ was made up of expatriate Europeans, mostly English housewives. Asians were not allowed to join which reflected the prevailing colonial attitudes.

Why was Abdullah allowed to join the group? Two things stood in his favour – he was English educated and the group needed his services as an art educator. The other local member was Mrs Lim Cheng Kung, the patron of the club, whose millionaire husband contributed financially to the group. Mrs Lim was also the managing director of the Straits Echo, the major newspaper in Penang, that would play an important role in Abdullah’s life during the occupation and in the post-war years.

In 1926, after studying at the Anglo-Chinese Boys School (later renamed Methodist Boys’ School) for 11 years, he was employed by the same headmaster who had taken him in as a student. Abdullah taught English and was known for his oratorical skills. He set up the Anglo-Chinese Boys School art club and was its instructor from 1932 to 1941.

By the 1930s, Abdullah was making a name for himself as a Western style painter in the annual art shows organized by the ‘Penang Impressionists’. This is no easy feat as Western education was not easily available to non-aristocratic Malays and art education was not encouraged by the British in Malaya as such training did not fulfil their administrative needs in the running of the colony. Most Malays were also not willing to accept Western education because of their fear and suspicion of Western culture, especially Christianity. It did not help that many of the early English schools were run by Christian missionaries and Malay parents were afraid that their children would lose their Islamic faith if they were sent to English schools.

Thus Abdullah’s determination to enrol into the Anglo-Chinese Boys School in 1915 was unusual and his family must have been enlightened to allow him to do so. What is remarkable about Abdullah being a Western educated artist in early twentieth century Malaya is that the socio-cultural milieu for Malays was totally against that. Western art was founded on naturalistic tendencies and would have proven difficult to be accepted by Malays, given the traditional Malay preference for abstract and non-representational art. That is why in Vision and Idea, artist and critic Redza Piyadasa wrote, ‘Abdullah Ariff epitomized a new, “modern” Malay artist.’9

Abdullah’s forte was in water colour painting, a penchant for Victorian formalities and the medium of choice in colonial times. Together with Yong Mun Sen, Abdullah is acknowledged as a pioneer of water colour painting in Malaysia.10 Abdullah was clearly an Anglophile in the 1930s and was making a comfortable living teaching English to school students and art to a group of expatriate housewives. Economically and socially, he was doing well. But all that changed when the war came to Malaya in 1941.

The Japanese Occupation in Penang

War came to Penang early, as it was close to the border Malaya shared with Thailand. Pearl Harbour was attacked on 7th December 1941 and the Japanese invasion of Southeast Asia began in earnest the very next day. By 12th December 1941, the Jitra Line in north Kedah was pierced and within a week, Penang fell.

According to Chin Kee Onn, Penang was bombed more heavily than any of the inland towns in Malays.11 But the physical devastation was nothing compared to what Tim Harper and Christopher Bayly described as the ‘moral collapse of British rule in Southeast Asia’ when the British abandoned Penang.12 The British chose not to defend Penang and concentrated on evacuating the Europeans. The locals were not informed of the retreat and only knew their colonial masters had abandoned them after the fact. Lim Kean Siew, in his memoirs about the war years in Penang, summed up the Penang people’s feelings as such: ‘The Empire had bowed and fled in ignominy. The next morning the entire island woke as if into a bad dream.’13

It is perhaps under such conditions that we can understand the motivations of Abdullah working for the Japanese. It was a feeling of betrayal and abandonment which heightened the sense of awakening, as described by Lim Kean Siew: ‘... the time for tears was over. The myth was gone, the reality was that the people had to look for their own leadership. The people grew up at once. In a way, one can cynically say that of a new birth. With it came a new people with a different perception of the world and themselves. A new awareness was thus thrust upon them a new people with faith in themselves was born.’14

Abdullah seems to have been radicalized by the experience of the shameful British withdrawal from Penang. Despite being an Anglophile in the 1930s, he would turn nationalist as evident in his activities with UMNO after the war.

In terms of ethnic policies in the relationship between the Japanese and the Malay community in Malaya, Malay leaders who were co-opted by the Japanese fell into four distinct categories – the Sultans and the aristocracy, the religious leaders, pre-war British civil servants and members of pre-war nationalist organisations like the Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM).15 British-trained Malay bureaucratic elite also fared better socially and economically as compared to other elite groups during the occupation.16

Abdullah did not fall into any of these categories. He was a teacher at a prominent English school in Georgetown, but it was a privately-run Christian mission school. He was not a paid servant of the British civil service, despite his close association with the ‘Penang Impressionists’ and the European expatriates of Penang whom he had taught art to. He might have mingled and socialized with them, but by the time the last British ship pulled out of Swettenham Pier on the night of 16th December 1941, Abdullah and his family never had a chance to be on board, nor was his fate on the minds of those he served.

Abdullah was left to his own devices as during the occupation, as English schools were not allowed to function at all. Private schools, such as the Anglo-Chinese Boys School where Abdullah taught, remained closed throughout the period and large numbers of teachers found themselves out of work.17 This must have been difficult for an English-educated Malay in his mid 30s with a wife and a brood of children to feed. The family went through much hardship during the occupation. Johan Ariff, Abdullah’s oldest son, recalled the indignities his father had to endure while selling unsaleable kueh (Malay cakes) on Prangin Road.

The humiliation Abdullah suffered must have changed his attitudes towards the British. As pointed out by Tim Harper, to the Malays, the British capitulation had broken the mandate of protection; old loyalties were to be reassessed.18 The arrival of the Japanese also did not bring about the terrors they were infamous for during the Nanking Massacre of 1937. Henry Frei has written about the easy relationships ordinary Japanese troops established with the people during the Malayan Campaign. They took on with each other well.19 Even Lim Kean Siew described the initial sights of the Japanese soldiers as ‘Alamak!’, a Malay term similar to ‘Oh my gosh! They look like us!’

Lim went on to describe: ‘The soldiers looked like peasants ... The people (of Penang) were genuinely surprised. They were surprised to find that the British were not so superior after all if they could be defeated by such simple-looking people. They were relieved because (the Japanese) did not look like ogres and therefore could be measured by normal standards. Yet, if they looked like us, could they not be brothers? Do brothers fight brothers?’20If this was a Chinese view of the matter, how much more strongly would a Malay like Abdullah feel, disappointed and betrayed by the British? The Japanese were seen as liberators with their purported vision of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and the call of ‘Asia for Asians’.

Employment choices were limited for Malays in occupied Penang. Those with the administrative skills continued working for the Japanese in the running of Georgetown. But for the rest, it was either one tried to make a living in the market place or to move to the countryside and attempt subsistence farming by growing one’s own food. Abdullah chose to stay on in Penang, but he was not much of a hawker. Given his limited options and artistic talent, it is not surprising that Abdullah found employment drawing cartoons for a Japanese newspaper, the Penang Shimbun, which was formerly the Straits Echo and now an instrument of wartime propaganda.21 According to his granddaughter, Raja Airina, Abdullah was good friends with a high ranking Japanese officer who liked his work. Abdullah taught this Japanese officer how to draw and he was very much responsible for Abdullah working at the Penang Shimbun.

Abdullah’s caricaturing skills were put to good use in attacking the Allied powers’ efforts to win back their colonies. With his satirical pen, Abdullah held up a savage mirror to show the bankruptcy of imperialism. But was he aware of the irony of his situation – that the Japanese he was working for were also carving out colonies in Southeast Asia?

The Cartoons

Perang Pada Pandangan Juru-Lukis Kita (The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It) is a slim fiftypage book printed with three language captions, English, Chinese and Malay, which meant the book was to reach out to the Chinese, Malay and the English-reading Indian population. It was published in Penang by Shu Seicho Shimbun Renraku Jimusho in November 1942, 11 months after the Japanese entered Georgetown.

These cartoons were originally drawn for the Penang Shimbun and as stated in the Foreword of the collection (which is also printed in three languages): ‘These cartoons have proved a popular feature with local newspaper readers’ and they are now collected in one volume for publication ‘expressly on the great festival of the Anniversary of Meiji Setsu’ (birthday of the Meiji emperor) on November 3, 1942.22

There is no debate that these cartoons were drawn for propaganda purposes – to paint the Allied powers in bad light. The Foreword states: ‘These cartoons will not fail to serve as an eyeopener to all the Asiatics who had been living under the oppressive rule of the Anglo-American nations.’ What is interesting is that the Japanese obviously had respect for Abdullah’s artistic talent and gave him a free rein in his stylistic execution of the cartoons. He was described in the Foreword as a ‘well-known local artist’.

It is not clear what were the specific instructions given to Abdullah by the Japanese about the approach or the topic for the cartoons. But from what we can gather from the Foreword, they were to provide ‘apt and satirical comment on various phases of the war so far as it concerns the enemy’. Therefore the cartoons attacked the Allies and showed how badly they were doing in the war. But strangely, there was no cartoon showing how the Japanese were directly improving the lives of the people of Southeast Asia.

Figure 9.1: Abdullah Ariff, ‘Heart Breaking – for the Allies’, in Abdullah Ariff, 1942, The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It. Penang: Shu Seicho Shimbun Renraku Jimusho: [no page].

Thus a cursory reading of the cartoons shows that Abdullah was pro-Japanese and a believer in Japan’s vision of Asia for Asians. But there is room to read these cartoons against the grain. One finds a lot of ambiguity in these drawings and their depictions of the ‘enemy’ – who exactly is the enemy, for that matter?

The book contains forty-five cartoons, depicting the ineffectual war efforts of the Allied Powers of Britain and America in the Pacific and elsewhere. The bulk of the cartoons focused on events in Asia such as China and India. Basically the function of the cartoons is to demoralize the supporters of the Allies in Penang and Malaya: that the Allies are losing everywhere, abroad and at home. Throughout the book, Abdullah used the iconic figures of John Bull and Uncle Sam to represent Britain and America respectively. John Bull made a total of nineteen appearances while Uncle Sam appeared in thirteen cartoons. Iconic representations like John Bull and Uncle Sam would not have been familiar to those who were not English-educated, which raise the question of who actually was the target audience of the book.

Like others, Abdullah was disappointed with how badly the British behaved in Penang’s time of crisis. But he fell back on his Western education and cultural references when he drew these cartoons for the Japanese. Thus it is not just Abdullah’s relationship with the Japanese that was ambiguous but his feelings about the British Empire were conflicted as well. For example, ‘Heartbreaking – for the Allies’ [Figure 9.1] shows how 90 per cent of the world’s rubber supply was flowing into the hands of Japan, Germany and Italy.23 Uncle Sam and John Bull were left with only 10 per cent, which could only mean bad news for their war efforts.

Figure 9.2: Abdullah Ariff, ‘Confusion Worse Confounded’, in Abdullah Ariff, 1942, The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It. Penang: Shu Seicho Shimbun Renraku Jimusho: [no page].

But if 90 per cent of the world’s rubber were going to the Axis Powers, and the remaining 10 per cent taken by US, UK, then what was left for the people of Malaya or Southeast Asia? That would be the implicit assumption one could make, and this could be apparent to the readers of 1942 as well.

Furthermore, while Uncle Sam and John Bull look like bumbling fools standing at the corner of the cartoon, the depictions of the Axis Powers are of the evil, opportunistic dictator stereotypes, done in the style of famous British-based cartoonist, David Low. Abdullah seems to be showing in this cartoon what the war was really about – it was a war for the resources of Asia, at the expense of Asians.

Abdullah’s depictions of the typical Japanese is not flattering at all – the image of the victorious Japanese soldier at the top left corner of the Figure 9.2 is a caricature at best. The soldier stretches out his arms to form a V in an all too familiar Banzai pose, done in the style of David Low’s cartoons. Abdullah’s cartoons certainly express disillusionment with the British. The immediate concern of putting food on the table for his family was a strong compulsion to take up a job with the Japanese. But a closer analysis of the cartoons and the stereotypes used reveal his ambivalent feelings about the Japanese and the occupation.

One is hard pressed to explain why Abdullah was able to ‘get away’ with his cartoons, although the touches of ambivalence were subtle and might have escaped the detection of the Japanese. His friendship with a high-ranking Japanese officer had put him in good stead. Later in the war, Abdullah was elected by the Japanese to be the Chairman of the Persatuan Muslim Pulau Pinang, the Muslim Association of Penang, an enviable position. This was also the reason why with the end of the war in 1945, Abdullah found himself in trouble with the British authorities.

Post-War

With the return of the British, several Malay collaborators were rounded up and tried by the British.24 Abdullah was charged with collaboration by the British and was detained in jail for a week. Raja Airina said that a rival of Abdullah was jealous of his preferential treatment by the Japanese and reported this to the British authorities. Abdullah was released after a week of questioning due to a lack of evidence. However, there was enough rumour and talk in town for Abdullah and his family to leave Penang after he was released. The stigma of having worked for the Japanese and being detained by the British were probably decisive in Abdullah’s decision to find work in Kuala Lumpur. He went back to Anglo-Chinese Boys School and asked for a transfer to the Kuala Lumpur Methodist Boys School in 1946.

Economic motivations could have precipitated the move as well – in Kuala Lumpur, Abdullah did not just teach at the school but worked as a cartoonist for the revived Straits Echo. But what is revealing was Abdullah’s decision to sign his post-war cartoons as SHARP instead of using his real name. He had signed off as ‘Abdullah Ariff’ for the cartoons he drew for the Penang Shimbun during the occupation.

In 1947, Abdullah moved back to Penang with his family. He became active in politics and was a committee member of UMNO, helping to design the party logo. In 1955, he won the local municipal elections and served as a city councillor for two years. According to the family, Abdullah was a friend of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaya. Abdullah also served in the Employment Exchange Service and the Association of the Prevention of Tuberculosis, which was a major illness after the war. He continued teaching and one of his art students is the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi. For his public service, Abdullah had the rare distinction of being the only artist in Malaysia to have a road in Penang named after him: Jalan Abdullah Ariff.

Career-wise, in 1955, Abdullah established the Ariff Advertising Agency, which offered drawing and cartooning services. His stature as an artist grew during this period. In 1954, he held exhibitions in North Carolina, and in the Mint Museum of Art at Charlotte, New York. In 1955, he participated in the ‘United Society of Artists’ group exhibition at the galleries of the Royal Society of British Artists in London. He was the first Malaysian to have such an honour. There, he was elected to fellowship of the Royal Society of Art (FRSA), England. In 1956, he was invited to take part in ‘Le Salon’ of the Society of French Artists at the galleries at Grand Palais Des Champs-Elysees in France.

In 1957, one of his paintings was chosen as a personal gift to be presented to Tunku Abdul Rahman on the occasion of the Malaya’s independence from colonial rule.

A year before his death in 1960, he went on a world tour as a participant of the United States Information Agency’s programme, which promotes artists from around the world.

Conclusion

There are questions left unanswered. Did the Royal Society of Art in England know about the work he did for the Japanese during the occupation? What was Abdullah’s relationship with the art community in Penang after the war, especially the Chinese artists? Another pioneer Malaysian artist from Penang, Khaw Sia, drew two issues of an anti-Japanese comic book in 1946. One wonders whether Abdullah knew Khaw Sia and what their relationship was like. No one in Malaysia, or in the family, talks about Abdullah’s involvement with the Japanese during the occupation.25 If I had not sent the cartoons to the family in 2004, they would not have been featured in the retrospective exhibition either.

Are the cartoons proof that Abdullah was a Japanese collaborator? I first came across the cartoons in the National University of Singapore library in 1995. Two years later, when I was doing my teacher training at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, one of the lecturers used these cartoons as examples of Japanese propaganda during the war. Without having the context of their production and the biographical details of the artist, one would see these cartoons as that – evidence of Japanese collaboration among the Malays.

For Abdullah Ariff, it is difficult to make a case that he was truly pro-Japanese as he was merely trying to make a livelihood to provide for his family. Therefore to use his cartoons as evidence of Malay collaboration during the Japanese Occupation would be a fallacy. The use of cartoons as historical evidence is complicated and one needs to understand the context of their production and how they are remembered or forgotten to avoid generalizations.

Endnotes

1    See examples: David Koh Wee Hock, 2007, editor. Legacies of World War II in South and East Asia, Singapore: ISEAS; and Rudy Mosbergen, 2007, In the Grips of a Crisis, Singapore: Self-published.

2    I have written about how the Chop Suey cartoons have been used for the National Education purpose in Singapore: Cheng Tju Lim, 2005, ‘Chop Suey – Cartoons about the Japanese Occupation and National Education in Singapore’, in International Journal of Comic Art, 6 (2): 415–430.

3    Karl Ian U. Cheng Chua, 2005, ‘The Stories They Tell: Komiks during the Japanese Occupation, 1942–1944’, in Philippine Studies, 53 (1): 59–90.

4    See Tan Chee Khuan, 1992, Penang Artists 1920s–1990s, Penang: The Art Gallery; Ooi Kok Chuen, 2002, A Comprehensive History of Malaysian Art, Penang: Art Gallery; TK Sabapathy, 1994, editor. Vision and Idea: Relooking Modern Malaysian Art, Kuala Lumpur: National Art Gallery; T.K. Sabapathy, 1996, Modernity and Beyond: Themes in Southeast Asian Art, Singapore: Singapore Art Museum. However, Abdullah was listed in: Muliyadi Mahamood, 2004., The History of Malay Editorial Cartoons (1930s–1993), Malaysia: Utusan Publications & Distributions Sdn Bhd.

5    The exhibition was held from 16 December 2004 to 13 March 2005.

6    While there were features written about the exhibition before it opened, there were no reviews done of the show, much less any press reactions to the pro-Japanese cartoons. Even the planned catalogue by guest curator, Dr Zakaria Ali, has not yet appeared.

7    Neil Khor Jin Keong, ‘A family’s quest’, StarMag, 5 October, 2003. Also see: K. W. Mak, ‘Daughter seeks to gather artist’s works’, StarMetro, 17 October 2002.

8    Interview with Raja Arina in Kuala Lumpur, 10 September, 2004. Accounts of Abdullah’s life are taken from the interview with Raja Arina and the biographical sketches by Khor, Mak, Ooi and Tan (see above, note 4).

9    Sabapathy, editor. Vision and Idea: 25–26.

10   Tan, Penang Artists: 3 & 16.

11   Chin Kee Oon, 1946, Malaya Upside Down, Singapore: Jitts: 17.

12   Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper, 2004, Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia 1941–1945, London: Allen Lane: 119.

13   Lim Kean Siew, 1999, Blood on the Golden Sands: The Memoirs of a Penang Family, Subang Jeya, Selangor: Pelanduk Publications: 56.

14   Lim, Blood on the Golden Sands: 56.

15   Paul Kratoska, 1998, The Japanese Occupation of Malaya: A Social and Economic History, London: C. Hurst: 109.

16   Cheah Boon Kheng, 1983, Red Star Over Malaya: Resistance and Social Conflict during and after the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, 1941–1946, Singapore: Singapore University Press: 43.

17   Kratoska, Japanese Occupation: 123

18   Tim Harper, 1998, The End of Empire and the Making of Malaya, New York: Cambridge University Press: 35.

19   Henry Frei, 2004, Guns of February: Ordinary Japanese Soldiers’ View of the Malayan Campaign and the Fall of Singapore, 1941–42, Singapore: Singapore University Press.

20   Lim, Blood on the Golden Sands: 81.

21   Abu Talib Ahmad, 2003, The Malay Muslims, Islam and the Rising Sun: 1941–1945, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society: 147.

22   Abdullah Ariff, 1942, The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It. Penang: Shu Seicho Shimbun Renraku Jimusho: [no page numbers].

23   It should be noted that together with tin, rubber was the chief raw material to be exported out of Malaya – one of the key reasons why it was colonized by the British. In the 1930s, Malaya produced up to 35 per cent of the world’s rubber supply (J. F. Horrabin, 1937, An Atlas of Empire, London: Victor Gollancz: 101).

24   This is detailed in Abu Talib Ahmad’s The Malay Muslims, Islam and the Rising Sun:1941–45. Cheah Boon Kheng’s study on the racial riots that happened after the war, Red Star Over Malaya, described with details the attacks made on the collaborators (both Malays and Chinese) by the Malayan People Anti-Japanese Army.

25   Abu Talib Ahmad has described this as the ‘Blackout Syndrome’ that happened after the war when the Malay-Muslim elite downplayed their involvement with the Japanese during the occupation (Ahmad, Malay Muslims, Islam and the Rising Sun : 141–149).

Primary Sources

Abdullah Ariff, 1942, The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It. Penang: Shu Seicho Shimbun Renraku Jimusho.

Chin Kee Oon, 1946, Malaya Upside Down, Singapore: Jitts.

Lim, Kean Siew, 1999, Blood on the Golden Sands: The Memoirs of a Penang Family, Subang Jeya, Selangor: Pelanduk Publications.

Mosbergen, Rudy, 2007, In the Grips of a Crisis, Singapore: Self-published.

Raja Arina, interview with the author, Kuala Lumpur, 10 September 2004.

Secondary Sources

Ahmad, Abu Talib, 2003, The Malay Muslims, Islam and the Rising Sun: 1941–1945, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Bayly, Christopher and Tim Harper, 2004, Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia 1941–1945, London: Allen Lane.

Cheah Boon Kheng, 1983, Red Star Over Malaya: Resistance and Social Conflict during and after the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, 1941–1946, Singapore: Singapore University Press.

Chua, Karl Ian U. Cheng, 2005, ‘The Stories They Tell: Komiks during the Japanese Occupation, 1942–1944’, Philippine Studies, 53 (1): 59–90.

Frei, Henry, 2004, Guns of February: Ordinary Japanese Soldiers’ View of the Malayan Campaign and the Fall of Singapore, 1941–42, Singapore: Singapore University Press.

Harper, Tim, 1998, The End of Empire and the Making of Malaya, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hock, David Koh Wee, 2007, editors. Legacies of World War II in South and East Asia, Singapore: ISEAS.

Horrabin, J.F., 1937, An Atlas of Empire, London: Victor Gollancz.

Khor Jin Keong, Neil, 2003, ‘A family’s quest’, StarMag, 5 October.

Kratoska, Paul, 1998, The Japanese Occupation of Malaya: A Social and Economic History, London: C. Hurst.

Lim, Cheng Tju, 2005, ‘Chop Suey – Cartoons about the Japanese Occupation and National Education in Singapore’, International Journal of Comic Art, 6 (2): 415–430.

Mak, K.W., 2002, ‘Daughter seeks to gather artist’s works’, StarMetro, 17 October.

Muliyadi, Mahamood, 2004, The History of Malay Editorial Cartoons (1930s–1993), Malaysia: Utusan Publications & Distributions Sdn Bhd.

Ooi, Kok Chuen, 2002, A Comprehensive History of Malaysian Art, Penang: Art Gallery.

Sabapathy, T.K., 1994, editor. Vision and Idea: Relooking Modern Malaysian Art, Kuala Lumpur: National Art Gallery.

Sabapathy, T.K., 1996, Modernity and Beyond: Themes in Southeast Asian Art, Singapore: Singapore Art Museum.

Tan, Chee Khuan, 1992, Penang Artists 1920s–1990s, Penang: The Art Gallery.

 

Cite this chapter as: Lim, Cheng Tju. 2009. ‘“Forgotten legacies”: The case of Abdullah Ariff’s pro-Japanese cartoons during the Japanese occupation of Penang’. Drawing the Line: Using Cartoons as Historical Evidence, edited by Scully, Richard; Quartly, Marian. Melbourne: Monash University ePress. pp. 9.1 to 9.12.

Copyright 2009 Lim Cheng Tju

All rights reserved. Apart from any uses permitted by Australia’s Copyright Act 1968, no part of this book may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission of the copyright owners. The fact that this book is published online does not mean that any part of it can be reproduced without first obtaining written permission: copyright laws do still apply. Inquiries should be directed to the publisher, Monash University ePress: http://www.epress.monash.edu/contacts.html.

Drawing the Line

   by Richard Scully, Marian Quartly