Webcomic profile: Two Names, One Life
Two Names, One Life
Memories of a Malaysian Grandmother
Last update: Today, 9:30 AM
Violent Content
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In December 1941, the Japanese invaded Malaya, pushing the British southwards. By February 1942, they had gaind control of the entire peninsula, and Singapore.

At the age of seven, my grandmother, Tan Siok Tiang found herself running into the hills a distance away from her home in Gersik, Johor. Her family were Chinese immigrants, who came to Malaya looking for a better life.

Done for the final project component of MA Public History @ Royal Holloway, University of London.

Supervised by:

Narrator: Tan Siok Tiang
Interviewer: Jee Xian Yu
Art: Jee Xian Yu

Find us on: Instagram / Twitter


Hello, I am Trad, who pursued a History degree and is working on pursuing yet another History degree.


Current Project: Two Names One Life.

MA Public History Student
alternate account to trad118

Most recent comments left on Two Names, One Life

This is one of my favourite pages - not least the map, and the lack of drawing that it required. The archival photography helps establish the backdrop of the war, but then also moves it to the Asian theatre.

Ironically the Daily Mail was useful here - a far cry from what it's become now...
Author Note
And here we go. It's time for the Japanese Empire, which has a rather complicated history the more you look into it - most of the Malaysian perception/education tends to divide this into race-based experiences: the Malays had it better than the Indians and the Chinese, the Chinese had the worst experience... but the truth of this is that it's very dependent on the area and timing as well. A Malay friend mentioned that their own family had a very bad time, living in KL. Ahmah's own experiences don't match up with the wider collective narrative, as we'll see here.

I've recently got a book: "The Japanese Occupation of Malaya and Singapore, 1941-45: A Social and Economic History 2nd. ed" by Paul H. Kratoska. Haven't managed to read it recently - and certainly only got it AFTER this project - but it does give a detailled look into the Occupation before/during/after, touching on topics such as economics, propaganda, massacres, infrastructre... I do recommend it.
Author Note
Oh dear lord, I placed the time for this wrong.

But yes, we now move on onto the third bit: when the Japanese arrived. Fair warning, I was rushing to meet a deadline when I was completing this, so it ends really abruptly, more than I'd like.
Author Note
I'm pretty sure it's a lot of nostalgia, but it certainly was peaceful and idyllic.

Other than falling into the well.
Well at least your Ahmah said she had a "good peaceful childhood".
at least until the Japanese arrived...
It will be interesting to read about what role they played in making life "harder".....