南洋,蔚蓝而广袤,成为中华民族在海外谋求生计、徒手拓荒的一个地方。在这里孕育了一个独特的群体——南洋华侨。这个群体具有拼搏进取、刻苦耐劳的精神,也同时具有开放的眼界、包容的胸襟,他们身上继承着爱国爱乡的传统,心中执念着和平的良好愿望。

 

1937年“七·七”卢沟桥事变爆发,日本侵略者猖狂入侵中国,神州大地硝烟四起。南洋华侨虽然在外漂泊、异乡生根,听闻日寇狂妄、祖国沦陷,无不义愤填膺、同仇敌忾。马来亚华人不分男女老少,无论职业阶层,纷纷倾家纾难,捐款募物、义演义卖,以赈济祖国,抗敌援华运动一时风起云涌。

 

1938年初,华侨捐赠的汽车与国际援助物资与日俱增,但中国沿海港口相继沦陷或被封锁,抗战物资运输线全部断绝,而八个月抢筑全线通车的“滇缅公路”成为唯一的运输线。这时却出现另一个难题:运输线上严重缺乏司机和修车技工。于是,国民政府西南运输处向南侨总会主席陈嘉庚求助,以在南洋募集司机和技工。陈嘉庚登高一呼,万山响应,回国服务机工踊跃报名,形成一股热潮。在征募通告发出十天后,第一批南侨机工“八十先锋”就从新加坡登轮出发了。

 

南侨机工为了打败日本法西斯而赴华,为了争取自由而拼搏,为了捍卫正义而战斗。他们是受过军训、穿军装、有军阶军衔的运输兵,作为华侨参加中国抗战的一个群体,肩负着千万华侨与当地人民的重托。南侨机工不顾个人安危,在烽火硝烟之中,夜以继日地抢运军需和兵员、组装和抢修车辆。滇缅路沿途山高谷深、地势险恶、设施简陋,加上日军狂轰滥炸,路塌桥断,可谓险象丛生。

 

从1939年2至9月,由南侨总会招募的赴华机工共3192人,分15批回国。加上其他自发回国而被编入西南运输处的机工,总人数超过3260人。1945年,日本宣布无条件投降,南侨机工服务团奉命解散,一千余名机工与眷属返回南洋,余下的机工均留在中国国内,先后有1800余名机工为抗战献出了宝贵的生命。

 

南侨机工功勋卓越,精神更可贵。南侨机工是在现代西方文明与华侨社会的熏陶下成长的华人,更有少部分是印度、马来、印尼等外籍机工,不管是什么种族、什么国籍,这些优秀的青年在东西文化融和的社会环境下生活,见多识广、精于技术,通晓多种语言。他们放弃在南洋优越的生活,选择参加中国抗战,成为世界反法西斯战争的历史上,蔚为壮观的跨海救援大行进。

 

南侨机工的精神,体现着人们民族意识的觉醒,彰显出“天下兴亡,匹夫有责”的社会正义感,同时深刻地反映了“面对强敌竖起脊梁、面对艰难坚定不移”的信念,以及追求和平与自由的崇高理想。南侨机工赴华参战已载入史册八十年,我们不仅要铭记南侨机工以及所有为战争作出牺牲的人们,更是以史为鉴,昭示来者,珍视并坚守我们得来不易的和平与自由。

Nanyang, a place where the Chinese lived abroad with hardworking spirit. They inherit the patriotism and love for the country, and are obsessed with the good wishes of peace.

 

In 1937, Marco Polo Bridge Incident broke out, marking the beginning of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japan. The overseas Chinese in Nanyang became more united than ever before. They shared bitter hatred against the enemy and hurling themselves into the War of Resistance Against Japan and National Salvation Movement.

 

In the early 1938, the numbers of cars and international aids donated by overseas Chinese had increased day by day. Burma Road, which has been build and repair in rush for eight months, had become the only transportation route of anti-war materials. Since there were lack of drivers and mechanics to deliver the supplies, the Southwest Transportation Office of the Nationalist Government turned to the President of The Southseas China Relief Fund Union (SCRFU), Tan Kah Kee. A lot of Chinese were actively responded to the summon of Tan after the announcement.

 

Nanyang Volunteer Drivers and Mechanics are a group of well-trained volunteer transportation soldiers with military ranks. They care nothing about their personal safety and have given their lives for delivering military personnel and repairing vehicles day and night during the war. To defeat the Japanese fascists and defend justice, Nanyang Volunteer Drivers and Mechanics were fighting on the hazardous Burma Road and the ruthless bombing from Japanese army.

 

From February to September 1939, more than 3,260 drivers and mechanics were recruited, and returned to China in 15 batches. In 1945, Japan announced an unconditional surrender. Nanyang Volunteer Drivers and Mechanics was ordered to dismiss, more than thousand of volunteers and their families returned to Nanyang while the rest stayed in China. There were more than 1,800 people given their lives for delivering military personnel and repairing vehicles day and night during the war.

 

The contributions of Nanyang Volunteer Drivers and Mechanics are extraordinary with their noble spirit. They faced death with equanimity, gave up their comfortable life in Nanyang and chose to join the War of Resistance Against Japan in China. Regardless of race or nationality, the volunteers who have a wide range of knowledge, technical skills and multilingualism, gave up their comfortable life in Nanyang and contributed to the War of Resistance Against Japan.

 

The spirit of Nanyang Volunteer Drivers and Mechanics embodies the awakening of people’s national consciousness and the sense of social justice. For 80 years, the remarkable story of Nanyang Volunteer Drivers and Mechanics reminds us to take history as a guide and cherish the peace and freedom we owned.

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