By: Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali

In today’s globalized era, journalism is advancing swiftly. However, many are unaware of the sacrifices made by media professionals before the age of technology, facing numerous challenges while putting their safety and well-being aside.

To most of us, who were born after World War II, stories of atrocity during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya are now just parts of the history. But not for Jerry Francis, a veteran journalist.

He has been living with a lifelong nightmare after a close encounter with a human head impaled in a stake and left to rot in the blazing sun and rain on the kerb of a main road in Kuala Lumpur in 1941.

Jerry was 4 years old when he came face-to-face with the horrific sight that had been haunting him ever since.

“I can still vividly picture that terrifying scene at the grassy curb and each detail is as fresh as it was all those years ago,” wrote Jerry in his autobiography – “From The Shadow Of The Rising Sun.”

“I will never forget the sight of the severed head with its lifeless eyes seemingly staring at me as though in shock,” he said.

Jerry dedicated the book to his late mother, who had defied all odds to ensure the survival of her young children during World War II and beyond. Had it not for her sacrifices and determination, he and his siblings could not have emerged From The Shadow of The Rising Sun.

Despite hardship, Jerry had inspiring and interesting adventures during his growing-up days. He used to play “combat games” at the foot of Batu Caves with children of Indian rubber plantation workers and had regular meetings in a coffee stall under a big Berangan tree with the youths from a Hokkien village in Ipoh Road or at a secret rendezvous for a swim in Sungai Segambut.

Those aspiring to be a journalist will also find the book interesting. Jerry had written about how he eventually became a journalist.

“My generation of journalists mostly learned through trial and error and with a bit of guidance from experienced ones,” he said.

His long journalism career had taken him on more adventures, which were both exciting and dangerous. Among them was meeting the legendary Malay warrior, Mat Kilau, who suddenly appeared in a remote kampung in Pahang after he was believed to have died for more than 70 years.

And as well as covering the “Second Insurgency” in Perak and South Thailand. During this, he had to frequently drive across communist insurgents’ infested areas near the Malaysia-Thai border.

“I remember how I had to dash through security-sensitive areas to beat the curfew and meet the deadline for my stories the day before mobile phones and laptops,” he said.

He even had a standoff with the Menteri Besar of Perak and as well as investigated by the Special Branch during those turbulent years.

After his retirement, Jerry did not quit writing. He continued to write commentaries regularly for various media. They touched on a variety of issues of public interest, including tourism and heritage, in Ipoh.

Through the commentaries, he managed to influence the Perak Government to preserve the last tin dredge, Tanjung Tualang 5 better known as TT5, as a “Heritage Tin Dredge.”


The book is available from ARECA BOOKS, Royal Ipoh Club or pm to Lorraine Tel. No. 0124621770 for arrangement to be made to send by couriers.

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