Singapore 2008 Far Too Late

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Singapore 2008 Far Too Late

by

Frank O'Neill

 

It's really only now that I appreciate

The conditions you suffered and the help that came late

You had come from so far to Singapore

To do battle in a climate oh so sore.

 

I did not realise the conditions that you had to bear

So far from home with a Government, that did not care

You were badly led, but it was not your fault

You stood your ground against an enemy you could not halt.

 

The Japanese invasion, on pedal bikes, came so fast

From Siam to Singapore through Asia they passed

And so to you now, the last rear Guard

Your future from now would be long and hard.

 

You are now imprisoned and in disgrace

With the terrible future you have to face

Tenko each day with the Japanese thugs

No water no food and ravaged by bugs.

 

A Railway to be built by order of the Nips

No word of complaint from your silent lips

You have to work to protect your sick and ill

And from your own rations their bowls you fill.

 

It is very hard to survive in this condition

What God would have put you in this position

Naked, starved, beaten, riddled with disease

Who in Gods name did you ever displease.

 

Time unmercifully drags on and more comrades die

With dysentery they are left in their filth to die

Never to show cowardice to the sadistic guards

Who measured you only in railway yards?

 

Everyday must have been a lifetime

Each morsel you scraped was your lifeline

No news from home from your treasured loved one

Such painful lonely days spent under the Rising Sun.

 

But suddenly your ordeal did end

The Japanese left and we began to mend

Free, emaciated and in such a poor state

Your liberators now would decide your fate.

 

When they found you they were horrified

In your skeleton state ,how had you survived

The food they gave you was too much to take in

Your bodies rejected it as if it were a sin.

 

You could not digest the food from you had been deprived

How in God's name for these painful years had you survived

You made sure your sick were treated first

To be fed, tended and relieved from their thirst.

 

Freedom YES, but freedom NO

Your poor condition they did not want to show

They fed you and fattened you before sending you home

To please the public and the ruler on the throne.

 

Most of you are dead now, but how you got through

The heat, the brutality, and the starvation you daily knew

I salute you here for your determination to live

And to those who were lost, our deepest respect we truly give.

 

 

From a War Grave at Kranji Cemetery

 

Always smiling

Always content

Loved by everyone

Where ever he went

 

 

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