Sunday, November 17, 2013

Looking Back With Pa - part 3

The Japanese Occupation.

It was a few days after the Japanese bombers have left and there were no more air raid warnings.  Pa went downtown for a 'tour' on his bicycle. He was curious as to what happened to the 'Tanjung' (Georgetown) after the Japs had done their job.

The town was almost deserted.  He saw large craters in the middle of some streets.  Some shop houses were burnt to the ground or blown to pieces.  Business premises were looted and stripped bare of goods.  Lorries, buses, motorbikes, cars, bicycles and bullock carts were left abandoned where they broke down or were destroyed.

Outside what looked like a stationery shop some looters left behind a type-writer on the five-foot way.  He picked it up, placed it on his bicycle carrier and took it home.  Not knowing what to do with it, he shoved it under the bed.

Once in a while when he thought about it, he would pull it out and punched the keys (perhaps hoping he could get some words out of it).  But then, even if it could produce words by itself he wouldn't be able to read them.  He shoved it back under the bed.

One day word came to the countryside that Japanese have landed.  Soldiers were all over the island hunting down and arresting everyone suspected of involvement in criminal activities.  If you had a tattoo on your body you'd better get rid of it or you're a headless person the moment they caught you.  Bullets were expensive and they wouldn't waste any.  They just cut off your head to save costs.

Pa thought about the type-writer.  He didn't think it wise to lose his head for something useless.  He went out into the garden and dug a deep hole.  He pulled the type-writer out from under the bed and smashed it to pieces with his hoe.  He then dumped everything into the hole, covered it up and planted a tree over it.

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