Hero stone for forgotten victims of Kanchanaburi Death Railway to be unveiled on May 1

About 100,000 people had perished during the construction of the Death Railway between Thailand and Myanmar in Kanchanaburi during World War II. - The Nation/ANN

BANGKOK: The road to success is rarely smooth, and despite numerous challenges, Dr Silva Kumar and his team of Malaysians and Indians in Bangkok (MIB) have finally nailed the installation of the Hero Stone at Kanchanaburi to honour those who perished in the infamous "Death Railway” between Thailand and Myanmar.

Silva, the chairman of MIB, said after five years of ups and downs, the Hero Stone will be unveiled by the Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand, Datuk Jojie Samuel, on May 1 - coinciding with Labour Day - to honour the forced labourers who worked from 1944 to 1947.

"Obtaining permission was the most significant hurdle, especially from the abbot, the temple committee, and local authorities in Kanchanaburi.

"For about five years, MIB, with strong support from Jojie, has been working to secure permission for this memorial," he told Bernama.

Silva said the Hero Stone, quarried in Namakkal and crafted in Madurai, India, stands at 2.5-metre tall, 1.5-metre wide, and weighs nearly three tonnes. It will be installed at Chedi Niranam within Wat Thaworn Wararam.

"The Hero Stone, estimated to cost between RM80,000 and RM90,000, features a design depicting Lord Shiva in a meditative pose. This was chosen to symbolise solace for the families of those who perished during the war," he said.

According to Silva, the immense suffering endured by Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and Asian forced labourers, also known as "Romusha” in Japanese, during the construction of the 415-km Thailand-Burma Railway, as it was called then, remains largely unseen.

The exact number of deaths during the construction of the railway is unknown, but estimates suggest that about 100,000 people had perished, including about 12,000 Allied POWs and tens of thousands of Romusha, who were forced to work under horrific and deadly conditions.

Members of the public, especially Malaysians, are welcome to witness the unveiling of the Hero Stone on May 1 at Wat Thaworn Wararam from 9am to 12pm. - Bernama

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Thailand , Hero , stone , Kanchanaburi , death , railway


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