Saturday, September 3, 2016

Google doodle celebrates birthday of Malayan heroine Sybil Kathigasu

Google honours Malayan heroine Sybil Kathigasu with a doodle. She is most well known for surviving torture under the hands of the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya. — Screen capture from GoogleKUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The illustration is a whimsical one; a young woman standing in the doorway of an old pre-war shophouse. A serene picture, you’d hardly associate it with pain and torture.
Yet the subject of today’s Google doodle, Sybil Kathigasu, is most well-known for surviving torture under the hands of the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya.
She was a Eurasian nurse who, together with her doctor husband, supplied medicine, medical services and information to the resistance forces in the area around the Perak district of Papan where they lived until they were arrested by the Japanese in 1943.
Kathigasu was interrogated and tortured but she did not give up information about the men she had helped. Not even after the Japanese soldiers tied her seven-year-old daughter Dawn and hung her from a tree while ants bit her!
She was finally thrown into a Batu Gajah jail where she stayed until Malaya was liberated from the Japanese at the end of World War II in 1945.
Kathigasu was then sent to Britain for medical treatment and it was there she wrote her memoir No Dram of Mercy. She received the George Medal for bravery — the only Malayan woman to be awarded — but succumbed to her injuries several months after in 1948.
She was only 48 when she died. There is a road named after her in Ipoh and the clinic in Papan has been turned into a sort of memorial for her.
No. 74 Main Road, Papan is that shophouse in the Google doodle that celebrates what would have been Kathigasu’s 117th birthday today.

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