Category Archives: On this day in SEA history

On 20 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 20, 2019

1862: Death of Francisco Balagtas, Filipino poet, born on April 2, 1788

1932: Birth of Adrian E Cristobal, Filipino writer who died on December 22, 2007

1941: Birth of Lim Kit Siang, Malaysian lawyer and politician, chairman of the Democratic Action Party

1947: Ho Chi Minh sends a letter – via the British Consul – to the French President appealing for peace. He writes « …we want our unity and our independence within the French Union; we want, a just peace which will do honor both to France and to Vietnam »

1976: The South-East Association Treaty Organization (SEATO) is disbanded

2018: Malaysian artist Fahmi Reza jailed for mocking Prime Minister Najib Razak

On 19 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 19, 2019

1886: Birth of Jose Abad Santos, Philippine national hero, executed by the Japanese on May 2, 1942

1888: Birth of Aurora Quezon, First Lady of the Philippines, who died on August 1, 1949

1945: 980 Japanese soldiers reportedly killed by crocodiles in 2 days on Ramree Island, Burma

1948: The Conference of Youth and Students of Southeast Asia Fighting for Freedom and Independence convenes in Calcutta

1952: French offensive at Hanoi

1955: South-East Asia collective Defense Treaty (SEATO), signed in September 1954,  goes into effects

1965: Dissident officers move several battalions of troops into Saigon on this day with the intention of ousting Gen. Nguyen Khanh from leadership. General Khanh escaped to Dalat with the aid of Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky

1983: Birth of Assunta De Rossi, Italo-Filipino actress

1989: Second informal Jakarta meeting between all the Cambodian factions

1993: Birth of Empress Schuck, Filipina actress

2001: General Tin Oo, number four in the Burmese military junta is killed in an helicopter crash


On 18 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 18, 2019

1745: The city of Surakarta, Central Java is founded on the banks of Bengawan Solo river, and becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Surakarta

1853: Burmese king Pagan Min is forced to abdicate in favor of his half-brother Mindon Min

1857: Insurrection of Chinese in Sarawak, Borneo

1902: During the Philippines-USA War, the Last Holdouts, General Vicente Lukban falls

1930: Ho Chi Minh and those who gathered since the formation of the Communist Party of Vietnam hold their first party platform in Hong Kong

1942: The Imperial Japanese Army begins the systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore

1947: During the First Indochina War, the French gain complete control of Hanoi after forcing the Viet Minh to withdraw to mountains

1948: Burma and Soviet Union establish diplomatic relations

1967: Birth of Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, Thai director, producer, and screenwriter

Yongyoot Thongkongtoon

1979: Signature of a treaty of peace, amity and cooperation between Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea

1979: The Soviet Union warns China to stop its war against Vietnam before it could be too late

1981, Lorenzo Ruiz is beatified by Pope John Paul II, first Filipino Saint. Born on November 28, 1594, executed in Japan on September 29, 1637

2001: Inter-ethnic violence between Dayaks and Madurese breaks out in Sampit, Indonesia, that will ultimately result in more than 500 deaths and 100,000 Madurese displaced from their homes

2010: Myanmar jails Buddhist abbot Gaw Thita for seven years

On 17 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 17, 2019

1859: French Admiral Rigault de Genouilly takes the city of Saigon, starting the conquest of Cochinchina

1872: Execution of Filipino Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Apolonio Burgos and Jacinto Zamora leading impetus to fight for freedom

1897: In Philippine, first Battle of Zapote Bridge won on the Spanish

1934: Birth of Khun Sa, Burman king of drug, who died on October 26, 2007

1961: Birth of Panna Rittikrai, Thai actor, director, and stuntman who died on July 20 2014

1974: Birth of Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, Crown prince of Brunei

1979: In response to Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, China launches a several-week attack in northern Vietnam


1985: Birth of Anne Curtis, Filipino actress and commercial model

2001: Thailand king installs a new government led by Thaksin Shinawatra whose party, the Thai Rak Thai having 17 of 22 ministries

2006: A massive mudslide occurs in Southern Leyte, Philippines; the official death toll is set at 1,126

2009: The long-awaited UN-backed trial of former Khmer Rouge leader in Cambodia Kaing Guek Eav – better known as Duch opens at a Phnom Penh court, 30 years after the murderous regime fell. He was head of a notorious prison camp and is accused of presiding over the murder and torture of at least 15,000 inmates

2015: Myanmar declares a state of emergency in a conflict-torn border region, where ferocious fighting between the army and ethnic rebels has sent thousands fleeing airstrikes and fierce gun battles


On 16 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 16, 2019

1916: Birth of General Duong Van Minh, last South Vietnam president, who died on August 6, 2001

1945: The Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines is occupied by American troops, almost three years after the devastating and infamous Bataan Death March

1945: American forces land on Corregidor island in the Philippines (fights up to 3 March)

1950: Fearing Communists Chinese military assistance to Hanoi, France requests U.S. aid in fighting the Viet Minh

1962: USA suspend their help to the Laotian government of Prince Boun Oum

1974: Birth of Johnny Tri Nguyen, Vietnamese American stuntman and martial arts actor

1981: Start of a voyage of pope John-Paul II to Pakistan, Philippines and Japon

1986: After the National Assembly declared the election in favor of Marcos, close to a million supporters of Cory Aquino attend a rally to hear Cory outline a national campaign of civil disobedience

2015: East Timor swears in Rui Araujo as new prime minister


On 15 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 15, 2019

1686: The Dutch East India Company (VOC) receives a complete monopoly on pepper in Banten (west Java)

1835: Birth of Nguyen Khuyen, Vietnamese Confucian scholar, poet and teacher, who died on February 5, 1909

Nguyen Khuyen

1895: Birth of Jovita Fuentes, Filipino diva, who died on August 7, 1978

1915: In Singapore, Indian soldiers launch the first large-scale mutiny of World War I

1915-02-15 Singapore Indian mutiny

1940: Birth of Hamzah Haz, Indonesian politician, who has been vice-president under Magawati Sukarnoputri

1942: British troops in Singapore surrender to the Japanese

1942: Following February 13 attack, Japanese troops march into Palembang (South Sumatra)

1943: Women’s camp Tamtui on Ambon (Moluccas) is hit by allied air raid

1958: Army dissidents in Sumatra, supported by counterparts in Sulawesi and by several leaders of Masjumi, proclaim the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PRRI) with Prawiranega as president

1961: Birth of Cheam Channy, Cambodian politician

1966: French president De Gaulle offers to help end Vietnam War

1970: US bombing on Pathet Lao positions in Laos

1985: The Khmer Rouge  headquarters is seized by Vietnamese troops

1986: In the Philippines, the National Assembly, controlled by the president declared the election in favour of Marcos. Cory Aquino refuses to concede defeat and calls on her followers to rally the next day in Manila’s Rizal Park

2008: Death of former Khmer Rouge leader Sam Bith

2011: The Philippines government begins negotiations with the communist guerrillas of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Norway

2013: Death of Sanan Kachornprasart, Thai general and politician, born on September 7, 1935


Holidays and observances

Singapore: Total Defence Day

On 14 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 14, 2019

1782: Death of Singu Min, King of Burma, born on May 10, 1756

1791: Birth of Minh Mang, the second emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam 1820-1841), who died on January 20, 1841

1841: Thieu Tri becomes the third emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam, up to his death on November 4, 1847

1885: During the Sino-French War in Tonkin, Battle of Shipu

1912: Birth of Maria Kalaw Filipino writer and first female elected senator who died on December 10, 1992

1942: The Battle of Pasir Panjang contributes to the fall of Singapore

1942: Japanese parachutists land near oil center Palembang, Sumatra

1944: Anti-Japanese revolt on Java (Indonesia)

1965: Beijing says it could be involved helping Hanoi and warns Washington recalling Korea War

1971: Birth of Kris Aquino, Filipino actress and TV Host, sister of President Aquino III

1985: Birth of Heart Evangelista, Filipina singer, TV and movie actress

1985: Birth of John Prats, Filipino actor and dancer

1986: Birth of Roxanne Guinoo, Filipino actress

1995: Death of Burmese politician U Nu, born in May 1907

2005: Seven people are killed and 151 wounded in a series of bombings by suspected Al-Qaeda-linked militants that hit the Philippines’ Makati financial district in Metro Manila, Davao City, and General Santos City.

2008: Mahn Sha Lar Phan, Secretary general of the Karen National Union is killed at his home in Mae Sot in Thailand

Mahn Sha Lar Phan

2014: Hundreds of riot police have moved through parts of the Thai capital to retake areas occupied by protesters who have been demanding the resignation of the government for the past three months

On 13 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 13, 2019

1516: Birth of Bayinnaung, King of Burma, who died in November 1581

1565, Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and his troops arrived in the Philippines and landed on the shores of Cibabao (present day Samar island)

 1601: James Lancaster leads first East India Company voyage from London

1755: The Treaty of Gijanti reduces remaining Javanese princes to vassals of Dutch East India Company and  allows Dutch to monopolize production of coffee on Java

1885: In Tonkin, the French capture Lang Son, defeating the Chinese garrison

1907: Birth of Katy de la Cruz, Filipino singer who died on November 10, 2004

1915: Birth of Aung San, Burmese General and politician, father of Burma independence, killed on July 19, 1947

1921: Birth of Aung Khin, Burmese painter who died on April 13, 1996

1953: Birth of Rico J. Puno, Filipino pop singer

1956: Indonesia unilaterally abrogates the association with Netherlands

1962: Birth of May Sweet, Burmese singer

1968: US sends 10,500 additional soldiers to Vietnam

2010: Myanmar frees major opposition leader 82-year-old Tin Oo

2015: Death of Popular Vietnamese communist party official Nguyen Ba Thanh at 61. al Danang, and helped transform the coastal city of Danang into a tourism and investment hub by cutting corruption and red tape, then, head of the Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency

2017: Kim Jong-nam, half brother of Kim Jong-un, is assassinated at Kuala Lumpur International Airport

On 12 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 12, 2019

1869: Birth of Kien Phuc, Vietnamese child emperor (1883-1884), poisoned on August 1, 1884

1915: Birth of Lamberto Vera Avellana, Filipino film and stage director who died on April 8, 1991

1922: Birth of Tun Hussein Onn, third Prime Minister of Malaysia from January 1976 to July 1981, who died on May 29, 1990

1947: Panglong agreement between the Burmese government and ethnic minorities, celebrated as Union Day

1955 President Eisenhower sends 1st US advisors to South Vietnam

1968: In Vietnam, Phong Nhi and Phong Nhat massacre, by South Korean soldiers

1972: Cambodians launch attack to retake Angkor Wat

1973: The release of U.S. POWs begins in Hanoi as part of the Paris peace settlement

1993: Establishment of the Secretariat of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC in Singapore


Holidays and observances

Myanmar: Union Day

On 11 February in Southeast Asian history


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Updated on February 11, 2019

1860: Birth of Vicente Lukban, Filipino general who died on November 16, 1916

Vicente Lukban

1861: Birth of Severino Reyes, Filipino writer who died on September 15, 1942

1908: Birth of Sutan Takdir Alishahbana, Indonesian linguistic, author, and novelist who died on July 17, 1994

1942: In Singapore, battle of Bukit Timak, won by the Japanese

1947: Birth of Johnny Manahan, Filipino actor, director, and screenwriter

1967: Death of Tran Tu Binh, Vietnamese general and politician, born in 1907

1973: First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam

1974: Violent bombardment of Phnom Penh by the Khmer rouge,140 dead and 250 wounded

1986: Murder of Evelio Javier, Filipino politician, lawyer and civil servant, born in October 1942

1987: Philippines new democratic constitution goes into effect

2008: East Timor president, and Peace Nobel Prize, Ramos Horta is wounded in an attack led by rebel leader Alfredo Neinabo who died in the action

2012: Myanmar opposition icon Suu Kyi met by thousands of supporters at first appearance in township where she will run for parliament



Philippines: Evelio Javier Day (Panay Island)