Filmakers’ Statement & Bio
Our story begins in March 2005, when Chin Peng, the former leader of the Malayan Communist Party exiled in Thailand, launched a court case against the Malaysian government in a bid to be allowed for the rights to return home to Malaysia. His unilateral actions brought to our attention the plight of a number of Malaysians and Singaporeans still living in Southern Thailand. They are former members of the Malayan Communist Party, people who have been long forgotten; left stateless and stranded in the Thai borders, after Malaysia and Singapore gained independence and their fight to free Malaya was over. It made us sit up and wonder: “Who are these people? Why haven’t we heard of them? Why can’t they come home?”
This documentary, I Love Malaya, follows our journey to answer the above questions. Most of us born after 1965 would be unfamiliar with the name ‘Chin Peng’, although he is a monumental figure in history. Most of what has been written about him and the communist guerrillas he led were from a victor’s or rather, an enemy’s point of view. We know much about the atrocities of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) during the Malayan Emergency but we hear little of how they defended Malaya against the Japanese and why they chose this path to independence.
I Love Malaya is not an attempt to reconstruct the history of the Malayan Communist Party; instead it is a story about those who fought for independence and the price they paid for their ideology. The title I Love Malaya, is taken from a song composed and sung by the guerrillas in the jungle. We think that it embodies their love for the country and spirit of revolution and sacrifice.
The People Behind the Film
Ho Choon Hiong
Choon Hiong is an independent filmmaker who loves Hokkien songs. His teammates insist he only owns five T-shirts and three pairs of trousers.
Chan Kah Mei
Kah Mei is a researcher and former radio journalist, who attacks chocolate cake with a vengeance, especially when annoyed.
Christopher Len does conflict and security research on Central and East Asia in Sweden. He can be found on MSN Messenger till the wee hours because his body clock is always in the wrong time zone. He honestly believes that he is a cat.
Wang Eng Eng
Eng Eng is a TV producer who believes that migrant workers should be given the day off on Sundays. She spends hers working on this documentary.
Eunice is a former print journalist who watches a lot of trash on TV such as Rockstar: Supernova and Boston Legal, after switching to broadcasting. She is anti-social on Tuesday and Wednesday nights when CSI is showing.