October 21, 2017

Sibu Tales: 10 days' Remand by Japanese

The Japanese arrested and imprisoned my father for 10 days during the beginning of their Occupation.

1940's Record Player

My father loved music and he particularly loved his radio and the special record he bought from Singapore before the war. He did not know that his possession would cause him and his father great distress in a few years' time.

He also owned lots of vinyl records> He would play Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin in the evenings. He had taken violin lessons in his younger days and he admired classical musicians he had known during his student days. He had a photo album which showed the collection of cuttings of well known composers. He later told us that because of  the records and the special cuttings kept in a photo album, he was a suspect in the eyes of the Japanese Commandant. The Punjabi guard employed by the Hua Hong Ice Factory  reported him, saying that at night he listened to the radio in a foreign language  and that he listened to Western Music!! This jaga had expected to be given a big reward by the Japanese.

One morning, the Japanese soldiers came to the Hua Hong Ice Factory and arrested him.

My father was in the Commandment's  compound for 10 days. In the meantime my grandfather went around looking for people to prove my father's innocence. Finally he was able to obtain the help of Mr. Lu, a man conversant in Japanese to write a letter in Japanese to state that my father was totally innocent.

At the first attempt to get my father to be released, my grandfather's head also suffered from a bad cut, as the Commandant was very angry with him. He had to kneel in front of the soldiers when he pleaded for my father's released. At his second attempt, my grandfather was able to get the help of Mr. Lu to interpret. The church people, including Rev Ling Kai Cheng, also came to help my grandfather and perhaps because of that, the Japanese commandant relented a bit.

During his 10 day remand in the Japanese camp, my father was badly beaten and he was given very little food. When my grandfather saw him upon his release my grandfather was crying out loud and knelt in front of the Japanese Commandant to thank him (as he was instructed to do so).

A few relatives later even said that they were worried that they could not carry both suffering men away from the camp because they were both heavy set men. But luckily my father was able to slowly walk away. He said later that it was such a big relief for him to see his father alive. 

He was happier to see his father alive than to feel the freedom that he had gained.


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