EventPenang Heritage Trust TalksTalks

PHT Talks: ‘Sook Ching’ 1942 and the Involvement of Chung Ling High School Penang: A New Interpretation

Date: 27th January 2019 (Sunday)

Time: 3.30pm to 5.00pm

Venue: Penang Heritage Trust, 26 Church Street

Donations: RM10 (members)/ RM20 (non-members).

RSVP: info@pht.org.my  or call +604- 264 2631


“Sook Ching” Operation was carried out by the Japanese army administration in the early Japanese Occupation in Malaya (1942-1945) to eliminate the anti-Japanese Chinese. The operation started in Singapore in February 1942 and extended to the other Malay states, making Singapore the scholars’ focal point in studying the operation. In fact, that “Sook Ching” Operation in Penang, especially the case of Chung Ling High School Penang was a shocking event in Malaya. This talk will look into besides the uniqueness of being the famous Chinese school in Malaya, Chung Ling was the main target of the Japanese army because of its close relationship with the Kuomintang (KMT) and the active involvement in supporting China in Sino-Japanese War since 1937. This talk will elaborate on the process of the operation in 1942, especially on 5 and 6 April upon the teachers and students of Chung Ling. This is followed by the trial of the people responsible for this case after the Japanese defeat and Chung Ling’s remembrance of the incident. It is to conclude that Chung Ling’s background and active involvement in anti-Japanese activities, making the school as the main target of the Japanese army. Thus, the school faced the most horrifying experience among the local education institutions and was the notable case in “Sook Ching” Operation, not only in Penang, but also in Malaya. My research is based especially on the Chinese language sources related to Chung Ling that could not be found in other sources. It will give a new interpretation of the “Sook Ching” research that portrays a school which was obviously affected by the operation.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Tan Chee Seng, Lecturer at the History Section, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). He obtained his doctorate in Chinese Studies (Chinese History) from the National University of Singapore. He specializes in modern Chinese history and Overseas Chinese history. His articles have been published (in Chinese and English) in the Asia-Pacific Forum, Studies on Republican China, Southeast Asian Affairs, Kemanusiaan: The Asian Journal of Humanities, Wu Tiecheng and Modern China and Kajian Malaysia (forthcoming). He was a Visiting Student at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica (2010 and 2011).