Political a progressive mindset among Malay youth,

Political ImpactsThere existed in the 1942-1945 Malay community a ubiquitous sense of “Malayness” that was drastically different from the thirties. There was a sudden push for progressive nationalism that was atypical for the Malay people. The sovereign Japanese government functioned as a reactive element in the nascent and rapidly-developing political landscape of the Malay people. Despite their track record, the Japanese were generally seen to be kind and strict toward the Malays at the time, largely because of their common enemy, the colonials. This commonality was birthed by a combination of oppressive British control, ineffective British propaganda, and the Japanese use of the media to gain the people’s support. As a direct result, many Malay fears and tensions that existed before the war dissipated when the strive for the Greater East Asian cause led to the mass abandonment of previous quaint Malay ideals, such as the hatred of the city and the coexistence of the Malay identity with life in the village. This was incidental, since the general non-interference of the Japanese into their lives served only one purpose – to encourage cooperation and any leniency was a product of ulterior motives. Now, their unlikely partnership had resulted in a progressive mindset among Malay youth, propagated by stories like Ubi Kayu which imparted messages in coherence with the grow-more-food campaign which encouraged commercial farming and engaging in trade activities, quasi-ironically shepherding in an opportune new Malay order which would remain after long after the Japanese left.Social ImpactsAt its heart, the Malay community is one with a relentless, indomitable spirit. This spirit persisted even in the tumultuous time of the infamous Japanese occupation, during which they were forced to practice their religion in violation of their beliefs. For example, they had to bow in the direction of Japan during prayer, rather than Mecca, and the Japanese even held parties at their mosques while drinking alcohol and eating non-halal food. Despite its reputation pregnant with stories of death, famine and cruelty, many Malays saw it as an opportunity for self-improvement and valuable lessons, guided by optimism. In this dark epoch they saw a chance to learn about unity, diligence, independence and cooperation amidst the worst hardships. This is evident in works of fiction written at the time by the Malay people, appearing in local magazines such as Fajar Asia and Semangat Asia. These texts are indicative of the sentiment of the Malays: rather than harbouring useless feelings of strong resentment against the Japanese, they drew inwardly, focusing on reflection and the impression of ideals on the young generation. Mendirikan Gedong Malai Buru and Peladang Tua tell the story of Malay youth perpetuating victory for their race by joining the PETA (Defenders of the Native Land) and Japanese auxiliary army, and in the process stirring in them a sense of pride and heroism. Somewhat ironically, the unending Japanese cause to instill their tenet of Seishin (Japanese spiritualism) through the use of various media may have left the Malays more virtuous and progressive than they were in 1942. This can be seen in many texts, such as Dari Taiping ka-Syonan-to, a story of love and reunion, and Temberang Orang Buta, a story of Japanese grit and determination in the capture of Singapore – published under the rein of the foreign propaganda policies – wherein authors pushed for a sense of nationalism and economic upliftment within the Malay community.Economic ImpactsThe Japanese Occupation impacted the Malays just as negatively as did the Chinese. Poverty and starvation were impartial. Rations were scarce, and the Japanese raided houses of supplies like rice, medicine, anesthetic, bicycles and many more. The measly rations they provided were inefficient to sustain the people, who had to resort to eating hibiscus flowers, boiled lalang leaves, snails and even dogs. Many had to turn to the black market for a source of food, which sold items for exorbitant prices. Thus they were forced to choose between running the chance of being caught and punished for buying expensive goods and starving. This was exacerbated by the Japanese practice of recklessly printing the “Banana money” currency, resulting in colossal economic inflation in prices. 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