Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Railway Man and the Forgotten Highlander

Both were Scots who were imprisoned by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore during World War Two, and who were forced to work on the infamous railway of death, the Burma-Siam railway, that the Japanese subsequently started constructing.  Both are still alive and in their nineties:  Alistair Urquhart, author of the 'Forgotten Highlander' lives in Broughty Ferry, overlooking the Tay Estuary near Dundee; Eric Lomax, author of 'The Railway Man', lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

How do you cope with the aftermath of witnessing death and extreme trauma?   Young people fighting in Afghanistan are facing the same issue today, although not on the scale of what was witnessed by Urquhart and Lomax.  They belong to a generation who were expected to deal with the pain and suffering on their own........while fortunately today's veterans can expect help!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Closing date for appliocations for the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal

In February I put up a post about the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal.  The Government of Malaysia introduced the medal in 2005 and awarded it to British and Commonwealth veterans who served in the conflict in Malaya in the late 1950s and 1960s.  There is now a closing date for applications by UK Veterans.  According to the Veterans UK website:

"The last date for acceptance of application forms for the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal will be 30th September 2012.  All applications prior to that date will honoured."

Veterans (or the families of veterans) should visit the Veterans UK website to find out how to apply.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Merdeka receives a great review!

'Merdeka' has just been favourably reviewed by the British Army Rumour Service (ARRSE).  This a website that receives up to 5 million hits per month.  Some extracts from the review are:

"The book is well written by someone with a good knowledge of the country and history of the period."

Friday, 13 April 2012

.....and the rain my drink

I have just bought an old Jonathan Cape edition (First reprint 1956) of Han Suyin's book '....and the rain my drink'.  It was republished in 2010 by Monsoon Books.  According to the information on their website:

First published in 1956, Han Suyin’s magnificent novel about the Emergency Period in Malaya and Singapore evokes all the colour and conflict of a land where, in the late 1940s and early 50s, a bitter guerrilla war was fought between communist terrorists lurking in the Malayan jungles and British, Australian and New Zealand armed forces. With infinite sharpness and feeling, she writes about the intertwining lives of many people caught up in the clash of powerful forces. Dogged, downtrodden Chinese rubber tappers, a pretty girl called Small Cloud for whom betrayal has become a way of life, and the stiff, aloof world of the British administrators and their “mems”.

I have read her most famous novel 'A Many-Splendoured Thing' set in the hectic over-crowded world of colonial post war Hong Kong, but never this book.  The title comes from an old Chinese Ballad:

I will go to the forest for justice.
The wind for my garment I wear.
....and the rain my drink.

I'm looking forward to reading it.