Wednesday, August 21, 2013

HIGA: From Shimpo Weekly News: The RyuKyu Shimpo

Pakcik Higa invited to Malaysia

Tomoki Higa, a 70 year-old ship's engineer from Itoman, is likely to be making a trip down memory lane, thanks to his own kindnesses over the past decade "Pakcik" (uncle) Higa spent well over ten years of his life from 1929 when he was aged 15 working for his uncle in Malaya as an engineer. He became fluent in the local language and had even been suspected of spying by the Japanese army during their occupation of Malaya.

Then ten years ago he visited a photographic exhibition on Souteast Asia organized by JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency. While he was examining the pictures, he overheard some other visitors speaking Malaysian with a Terengganu accent, the one he himself spoke.
That meeting led to contacts with a long series of participants from Okinawa International Centre and students from the University of the Ryukyus. Mr. Higa invited all the Malaysians to his home where he cooked for them and entertained them.
Pakcik Higa (centre), his wife (2nd. from left), his son (far right) in his house at Ittoman with Malaysian from OIC.
As students returned to their homeland, they passed on the word to the next set of Malaysians bound for Okinawa. Now all that seems to be paying off since those who have returned have clubbed together to raise the money to invite "Pakcik" to visit Malaysia sometime during this month.  (mar. 5, 1994)

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