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Thursday, December 08, 2005

95 minutes before Pearl Harbor

It was the annual monsoon season in the East Coast, and kampung folks of Kuala Pak Amat had just finished their 'mmaeng tteghi' (main puteri) on the beach on the evening of 7th Dec 1941. The traditional shamanistic healing ceremony (which has now banned by the state government) which could take up to three consecutive nights finished quite late and as the folks dispersed into the gloomy December evening at about midnight, they suddenly noticed three gigantic silhouettes emerged from the sea horizon. Moving stealthily, there were half a dozen more such smaller silhouettes creeping behind. The three were Awagisan Maru, Ayatosan Maru and Sakura Maru navy transport ships of the Japanese Imperial Army, commanded by Major-General Hiroshi Takumi with its 5,200 troops on board and the smaller ones were light cruiser Sendai, destroyers Ayanami, Isonami, Shikinami and Uranami, minesweepers No. 2 and No. 3, and subchaser No. 9.

As soon as they anchored just after midnight, about 3km from the shoreline, Nippon landing crafts were launched and fires were shot toward the heavily defended beach. The invasion of Kota Bharu hence commenced under the eyes of Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita.... whilst at the same, on the other side of the globe, his fellow comrade Vice Admiral Nagumo was still monitoring his first 183 fighter planes flying high towards Pearl Harbor.

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