The story of Nicholson McArthur
I am Nicholson McArthur, a young British lad, living my daily life in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, a British protectorate. Life in Kota Bharu was as usual, simple, no fuss, almost without a pace. It was a typical day in this protectorate, or so it seemed. Unlike most of the locals here, I was informed by an officer from Kuala Lumpur through a telegram that the Japanese forces were advancing toward us.
The world was going to face a whole new war soon, yet I was calm. I didn’t know why, maybe because I felt secure. I never thought that it would change in a blink of an eye.
It was the midnight of 8th of December, 1941. Pitch black, voiceless. The night was supposed to be like the ones before, but this time, I was awakened with the loudest sound I’ve ever heard – a bomb. Without wasting a minute, I donned my shirt and looked outside. Black clouds started to fill the night sky. Everyone was running with fear written all over their faces. It was a chaotic moment.
I ran towards the radio, knocking some pieces of antiques in that hurry. My hand turned on the knob, and the sound came out, “the Japanese army had just arrived on the shores of Kota Bharu. Let us hope that God will save Malaya, and all of us.”
My fear deepened. I heard the sound of rifles, and guns, flying planes, bombs, and one could not miss the loudest of the sounds, screams of terrors from the civilians. Now I realised the severity of the attack. I somehow figured out that even with the high numbers of British troops in Kota Bharu, the Japanese still had the opportunity to advance. The Northern Malayan Royal Air Force, as modern as they could be, the prospect of winning is second to none. Call me pessimistic, but that seemed to be the truth at that time.
I couldn’t possibly stay safe and sound in my home. The night was turning into day, but the sky continued to be filled with sounds. Sounds of battles seemed to emanate from just about everywhere. Disoriented, largely clueless civilians scampered about. The battle seemed to be far, but it was near. Earlier, the radio gave me this fact: the Japanese wanted to have Malaya’s richness, the same reason as the Brits. It is not a hidden fact that a large nation conquered small ones to have their resources. As I was listening, a bomb dropped near me. I was startled. It’s time for me to run faster, I thought to myself. I scrambled out and followed others. I was stupid to hope for one thing – I would be safe. No. The Allied troops were unable to save us.
Then, without warning, something occurred. My left leg – it felt numb, and I saw it. It was covered in red – blood oozed. I fell down, and a figure, with khaki clothes, came to me, asking me who I was, I answered “Nicholson McArthur”. He smiled, and I knew my world was about to come to an end.
The story of Hattori Takayama
I am Private Hattori Takayama and I was with the IJN Ayatosan Maru, a Japanese transport ship. She had just anchored herself near the shores of Kota Bharu, and I knew that a clash of Titans would ensue next. We were told that this fight was for the sake of my nation, Japan. I was ready.
Minutes later, other troopers and I arrived on the mainland and the goliath conflict began. The British was too proud of themselves, and that pride was going to kill them. Malayan defences were too easy; the Whites will only defend their precious little island of Singapore. That was where they got it wrong.
I heard from my comrade that my fellow brothers had just started their attack on Singapore, Pearl Harbour, and Hong Kong. No help would come from America – that was good news. Here though, my battle here was still unending. The beach was filled with troopers, land mines, pill boxes, and barbed wires. The Brits were all set for us. They were rough and tough and they fought with us with honour and dignity. We had a large number of losses, but I know the children of my motherland were strong. After this battle is over, I said to myself, we will destroy Malaya from within. Overhead, roars of Allied aircraft filled up the night sky. The first of many Japanese troops perished, but many more were advancing.
Colonel Tsuji guided us to the battlefield with enthusiasm and spirit. We will die with honour, and everyone will love us, he said. I believed in him, and I believed in myself. The combat was intense, with the use of machine guns and heavy artillery. The campaign continued until the morning. One battle calls after another. Many attempts to breach the lines were futile. I remembered that as many as 300 of my fellow comrades died, many others were injured. The Brits had not withdrawn their forces, yet.
The hours in my life never felt this long. The Allied forces finally waved their white flag. The Pacific War belonged to us. We got hold of Kota Bharu, and one regiment managed to seize an airfield loaded with fuel and ammunition. It appeared that they left it as soon as they knew that they were about to lose. Now our attack on Malaya would be much greater. Bicycle blitzkrieg would come soon. The rest of the world was to see the power of Japan soon enough.
That morning, I walked around Kota Bharu with the rest of the soldiers, relishing on the victory. It was great to see people bowing down to us. Bombs were still being blasted, by the way. Moments later, I saw a person that seemed to be – a White. He was running, but not for long. I managed to shoot his left leg. I came to him, and asked his name. “Nicholson McArthur”, he said. He was clearly unhappy. I did not know if it was because of his leg, or because of the Allied’s failure, or because of, well, me. I smiled, and my gun was pointed straight at him.