|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.