Singapore 2008 Far Too Late
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
Loved by everyone
Where ever he went