The Battle of Kampar site reverberated with the footsteps and chatter of architecture students from a Malaysian university figuring out how best to remember the soldiers who fought in the bloody battle in the closing days of 1941.
The students from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) made their way to the Green Ridge, the historic World War II (WW2) battle site in Kampar, Perak.
The first year students from USM’s School of Housing, Building and Planning (HBP) stood on a site of a bloody four day battle from 30 December 1941 to 2 January 1942.
Known as the Battle of Kampar, the WWII engagement of the Malayan Campaign involved British and Indian troops from the 11th Indian Infantry Division and the Japanese 5th Division.
The Japanese soldiers were all set to capture Kampar as a new year’s gift to Emperor Hirohito. Instead, they faced their first serious defeat in the Malayan campaign. An estimated 3,000 British soldiers defended the Kampar area against over 6,000 Japanese soldiers.
The USM team is led by Dr Jestin Nordin, who describes himself as a a military history.
“I have read several articles regarding the Battle of Kampar. The fallen warriors deserve a better recognition in such a way to be remembered by our younger generations,” he told Asia Samachar in a text message.
Hence, he designed a programme for the first year architecture students to pay a visit to the Green Ridge Battlefield site. Their assignment is to design a gallery and a monument to commemorate the historical battle as a way to preserve the precious history.
The objective of the exercise was to expose students to the challenges of designing a comprehensive structure as well as to enhance their ability in designing a creative product with the total understanding of human psysiology, ergonomic (including disabled needs) and comfort factors based on technical knowledge
The Malaysian Armed Forces Sikh Veterans Association (MAFSVA) and a few other organisations are actively involved in efforts to construct a monument at the battle site.
In his visit to Malaysia in 2015, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had recommended to the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that the Malaysian Government develop the ‘Battle of Kampar’ area. The Indian government had also pledged RM10.5 million for the construction of the memorial site.
“The Indian High Commission [in Kuala Lumpur] has drawn up a concept paper for the memorial site. We are now waiting on the update on the land….securing the land may take some time,” a MAFSVA member involved in the project told Asia Samachar.
Battle of Kampar: Sikh veterans plan annual prayer on third Sunday of every year (Asia Samachar, 28 April 2017)
Battle of Kampar: Battle worthy of mention (Asia Samachar, 23 Nov 2016)