On the 60th anniversary of the Malayan Emergency, Gerry van Tonder examines the conflict often labelled as ‘Britain’s Vietnam’
In South East Asia, Imperial Japan had convincingly shown that white invincibility was a myth. The Britisharmed anti-Japanese resistance movements, dominated by Chinese communists, now turned on their European masters.
The transition to self-determination was relatively peaceful in Burma, but prolonged and bloody struggles ensued in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and French Indochina: Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
From the 18th century, Britain had set up trading establishments in Penang on the west coast of the Malaya peninsula, and on May 1, 1791, the Union Flag was raised at Penang for the first time.