Lim Bo Seng

Lim Bo Seng was born in China, in the Fujian Province, on 27 April 1909. He was a loyal Chinese patriot who took part in fund-raising to raise funds to help China in the war against Japan in 1937. He also encouraged people to boycott Japanese goods.

Being the head of the Labour Services Corps, he provided the British government with labourers for the war effort before the Japanese invasion. When the Japanese troops began advancing towards Singapore from Malayan, he and his men dynamited the Causeway.

Just before the fall of Singapore to the Japanese on 11th February, Lim Bo Seng left his seven children to the care of his wife. He went to India where he was trained to fight in the jungle and later recruited resistance fighters for Force 136. Force 136 was a special operations force formed by the British in June 1942 to infiltrate and attack enemy lines. Some local Malays were also recruited into the force. One of his best friends and students, Tan Chong Tee, also participated actively in anti-Japanese activities with Lim Bo Seng.

After Lim Bo Seng had organised everything in China and India, he sent the first batch of Force 136 agents to Japanese-occupied Malaya in 1943 to set up an an intelligence network in the urban areas in Pangkor, Lumut, Tapah and Ipoh. According to historical sources, to avoid detection by the Japanese, secret messages were smuggled in empty tubes of toothpaste, salted fish and even in the Force 136's members' own diaries. To avoid identification by the Japanese, Lim Bo Seng even pretended tp be a businessman at checkpoints. He used the alias Tan Choon Lim.Unfortunately, there were many traitors who led to the downfall of Force 136 and Lim Bo Seng. Lai Teck, one of Force 136's members who was a triple agent between Force 136, the British and Japanese, betrayed Force 136 and Lim Bo Seng. He leaked out valuable information that allowed the Kempeitai to pick up coded messages from Force 136. This led to the captures of many of the members in Force 136.

Lai Teck eventually betrayed Lim Bo Seng in March 1944. Lim Bo Seng was captured by the Japanese. Despite being tortured by the Japanese, Lim Bo Seng refused to reveal the names of the people who worked with him against the Japanese.

In prison, Lim Bo Seng often shared his food with the other prisoners. Due to the lack of food and unhealthy living conditions in the prison, Lim Bo Seng fell ill. On 29 June 1944, he died in Batu Gajah jail in Perak at the age of 35.


References

Sunkorjanto, H. (Ed.). (2007). Interacting with Our World. Singapore: Times Printers.

Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. (2007). Lim Bo Seng. Retrieved May 30, 2008, from http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/RefArticle.aspx?refid=761580100

Victoria School. (n.d.) Lim Bo Seng Memorial. Retrieved May 30, 2008, from  http://itclub.vs.moe.edu.sg/cyberfair2003/landmarks/limboseng.html

Wong, H. (1999). Lim Bo Seng. Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved May 30, 2008, from http://infopedia.nlb.gov.sg/articles/SIP_802_2004-12-28.html

Quick Nation. (n.d.) Lim Bo Seng. Retrieved May 30, 2008, from http://www.quicknation.com/Lim_Bo_Seng.htm