By Zaki Salleh
Photo: Nor Hisham
KAMPAR: The “banana trees” money used in Malaya during World War II caught the interest of a group of West Lake International School Kampar students during a history lesson on the Japanese military.
They are Japanese students at the school, who diligently listened to the explanations while visiting the Kampar Battle Memorial at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kampar.
They found the uniforms of the Japanese military during World War II particularly interesting.
According to the program coordinator, Nor Hisham Zulkifle, the students were very interested in learning about the history of the Japanese military during World War II in Malaya.
“They asked many questions because the story of Japan’s involvement during World War II is not widely discussed there.
“They were taken to visit the Battle of Kampar Memorial and Kuala Dipang Bridge, which are related to the battle,” he said.
The program was also successful with the participation of the Malaysia Historical Group, represented by Shaharom Ahmad and local resident Ravinther Kunju Raman.
Nor Hisham, who is also a history activist in the Perak Heritage Association, provided explanations to the students about the history of the Japanese community in Perak from the early 20th century.
According to Nor Hisham, this is the second group of Japanese students he has guided, following the first led by Japanese history researcher Prof Takashima, who studied World War II.
“Prof Takashima came with his delegation from Japan. They were very interested in seeing these historical remnants firsthand, which are related to their country.
“This is because the Battle of Kampar was a turning point in Japan’s success in launching the war against the British in Malaya.
“If Japan had failed in Kampar, the course of this war campaign would have changed, but they won with about 500 Japanese soldiers sacrificed,” he said.