The Love of Tapang Tree
With her days numbered, Madam Wong decides to unveil her deepest secret to her son, which is her early life as a wife of the commander-in-chief of a guerrilla force during the British colonial era in Borneo, Sarawak. It is her love story at a time of war.
Madam Wong was married to a communist. He was a man named Yong Chu Chung, the Commander in Chief of Third Detachment of Sarawak People’s Guerrilla Force (SPGF).
He was her first love.
She shared the story of how they met, how they together embarked on an adventure of love, bullets and politics without ever looking back. During the revolution against the British and the formation of Malaysia, they joined an armed force that received military-style trainings in Indonesia. At that time, the SPGF were supported by President Sukarno of Indonesia, who was a pro-Communist and anti-West.
After the Communist Party of Indonesia was accused of launching a coup in September 1965 and General Suharto launched a purge of communist elements, overnight, the SPGF lost a safe haven. Later, the Indonesian military cooperated with the Malaysian government in counter-insurgency operations against the SPGF.
Stuck at the border of Indonesia with nowhere to go, the Third Detachment was ambushed with only two survivors including Wong.
She was captured and imprisoned for 7 years. She recalled, the moment Yong was shot, Wong went through the most severe pain she has ever experienced. She felt that the tallest tree in that jungle, the Tapang, has fallen. It left a scar that would never heal because Yong was her entire world, her everything.
She has been silent with her past ever since. She remarried and has a family. When Wong was terminally ill, she realized it is time to reveal the one secret she has kept for her whole life to her son, Ming.