In the early 1950’s British Malaya and Singapore were in the process of establishing independence to become a sovereign nation named Malaysia. The state of the country revealed a clear dichotomy. The major economic wealth of the area was definitely dependent upon the tin mines and the rubber plantations owned mainly by the Chinese elites. The political power, however, rested chiefly on the 7 Malay Sultan families who governed and ruled all the provinces. One main objective of the new government was to try to reduce and distribute the economic power more widely. Among many new rules considered, one method chosen to make it harder for Chinese was as follows. Life-long Chinese Malays who may have lived there for generations must prove their loyalty by committing not to leave the country, except for excused limited short periods for five years. The government ruled that all Asian non-citizens (in order to continue to remain in Malaya) must apply and renew their Visas every six months. We, the Chu family, being non-citizens without a country, therefore had to obey and comply. The ‘white’ missionaries were exempted. Furthermore, non-citizen Chinese students were only allowed to attend school freely up to sixth grade; after that, intentions to continue must be submitted to the authorities and evaluated on a case by case situation. Winston and I were already finishing the sixth grade.
Dad felt that the English people must have played a major role in establishing these new rules. He was so upset and angry that he impetuously changed Winston’s name to William as his protest gesture! Living in British Malaya, we were eligible to apply to become British subjects, but he had no desire to pursue that option.