Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Still walking

The early 60's was a difficult time in Asia the 2ND world war was fresh and new nationalism was coming to a head. The scars to the civilian population was still to heal, the apparent desertion by the allies and the cruelty by the occupying forces yet to be a memory. America was slowly becoming embroiled in Vietnam, so it was into this cauldron that my family entered. The British and foreign forces stationed on Singapore took advantage of the colonial history of these islands, living like tomorrow will never come. House parties, card parties, party parties the people lived like rajahs. Clothes, made on the spot, cheap cars, large houses, wonderful food it was a place you never wanted to leave. As a child we formed transient friendships with others, family's moving on to different bases or accessionally as it happened several times going home ,as their father was Mia or Kia, my first little crush ended that way as the little girl of my dreams' father, an American airman ,was Mia  believed killed. My brothers and I lived a' Lord of the Flies' life. Death was evident on a daily basis and we sort of got inured to it, more of a fascination than terrifying. We used to swim at Changi and it still occasionally was littered with the bones of those who died or were killed at the prison of war camp.We used to drive up Malaya to Thailand on the jungle roads, often built by prisoners of war, pill boxes spaced at intervals along it, each Kilometre paid for with lives. Malaya was still wild the jungle encroaching on the road evidence and sights of wild animals everywhere, One night when travelling my father left the road , he had almost hit two elephants who were feeding at the road side at night. The rusting residue of war still showing their skeletonised remains. Back to the theme; The change of weather was a bit rough as my bleeding episodes were getting more severe, Raymond was severely affected by the damage to his spine at birth and he was to under go 8 operations in 4 years, This is one reason we ended up staying 7 years in Malaya. The British military hospital had the best surgeons with experience of fixing injuries caused by war it was natural to use them to repair Raymond so he could walk after a fashion. This they achieved and it is surprising in how much non surgical bits the attached to his legs to lengthen and strengthen them.

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