(Thanks to Steve Ling for forwarding the picture of the cover and the Chinese news)
It is not easy for women who have suffered so much to relate their life experiences. It is not easy for women or any one to open their hearts to strangers or even friends and to tell of their deepest secrets or deepest pains. It is not easy for many Chinese women in general to talk about injustices done to them because of their Confucianist upbringing. It is not easy for any one to share a deeply kept and almost long forgotten story. Sometimes memories are not clear and they would say, "I cannot tell now, I might be wrong. So why should I say then?" These are the obstacles to oral history.And we have to appreciate their reluctance.
But I am so glad that these 14 women are courageous, frank enough, succinct enough, to break barriers.
The Sarawak Chinese Cultural Association has done it again!!
Another worthwhile publication has just been released last week in Sibu. This is the result of painstaking recording of Japanese Occupation stories using Oral History methodology
to collect stories and to publish them.
The stories under the title of "Their Three Years and Eight Months" is the first book based on Oral History.
Fourteen Chinese women were interviewed on their life experiences during the Japanese Occupation.
There amazing stories bring to the fore many unheard of experiences of those dark days and also reveal the realities and lives of the unknown and unsung heroines of the day. Where were just stories "we heard" are now being published as "Stories which have been recorded" with proofs of telling and recording.
It is a remarkable publication.
"Oral history provides depth, texture, flavor, nuance, and color to mission history and analysis. As social history, it fills in gaps, gives voice to otherwise hidden people, enriches or embellishes, substantiates or contradicts and potentially corrects the official record.
Oral history can also provide an older generation with a way of connecting to the younger, as when, for instances, third generation believers (students in a seminary) interviewed first generation believers in rural Latin America, wrote up the stories, and then returned to the churches to re-tell the stories. This generated mutual appreciation and understanding, and ensured that the early roots of the church were neither ignored nor despised.
Oral history can bring to light hidden aspects of a story, facilitating a sense of closure to issues not adequately remembered or dealt with by giving a voice to those who remember only too well, but who have never been listened to. It can supplements diaries, encouraging and ensuring a collective sense of family.
Furthermore, oral history has the virtue of being efficient, immediate, and eyewitness. It allows for divergent points of view, for the perspective of the voiceless (illiterate, low status), recovering forgotten knowledge. Most human beings are illiterate and have no voice in the stories mission typically historians tell." (Resources for Evangelical Mission Archives)
The chief editor of this non-fiction book based on oral history is Chua Jen Chong蔡增聰, and researcher-writer Yong Gien Feng楊詒鈁 is the chief interviewer and author. The publication is sponsored by the Sarawak Chinese Cultural Association and Dr. Lu Toh Ming
Congratulations to the author, publisher,sponsors and the whole publication team.
Only 600 copies were printed.
4位 年長婦女的訪談紀錄， 主要追述她們在三年零八個月日據時期的生活經歷， 以及受訪者個人對當時事物的觀點。
女性的訪談，能夠提供讀者更多有關這段時期的歷史事實； 同時讓經常在歷史書上“缺席”的女性， 亦能透過個人的陳述及觀點的提出，間接參于這段慘痛歷史的論