We don't expect old friends to suddenly appear on TV, but on Sunday night (May 2nd) one did.
The daughter of our old friends Gray and Tineke appeared on a World War 2 edition of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, with a few treasured souvenirs from her mother's time in a Japanese prison camp.
Tineke never really spoke about her time as a prisoner. I knew that she'd been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that she'd been very badly treated, but I never asked for details.
I now learn from the programme, that she'd been in Indonesia with her parents, and that after the fall of Singapore, the Japanese came and took them away. They entered her home whilst they were having dinner, and ordered them to 'pack a bag'. It was as simple as that.
Tineke had just had a new dress made, and refused to leave it behind. She stuffed it into a sleeping bag, and somehow it survived. The other remarkable souvenir is a patchwork made in the camp by her friends as a birthday present. Both are in the photo above. Tineke left the camp weighing 3.5 Stones.
Tineke was a lovely person; and I remember her daughter very well. It was so good to see her again after so many years.
What a wonderful surprise.
Having a friend unexpectedly appear on TV would be a surprise, so glad you happened to be watching the program then. Also must have been interesting to learn more of her mother’s experience during WWII. Remarkable those items survived.ReplyDelete
My wife saw it live on TV; I watched it later on YouTube. She was a remarkable woman considering what she'd been though under the Japanese. I remember telling me that she'd been on the 'Rat List' several times. This was to be allowed to eat Rats that were caught in the camp; a luxury allowed only for people who were very seriously malnourished, and about to die.Delete
I can't remember being surprised by the appearance of someone we know on tv but it is good see if even if alerted. Wow, I just converted that weight and it is only 22 kg.ReplyDelete
Baggage allowance for a holiday.Delete
It's hard to imagine the cruelty of the Japanese. As her daughter said in the interview, if they'd found the quilt, she probably would have been beheaded.Delete
It is a shame that lots of these stories have been lost in time.ReplyDelete
I do think that there is more interest these days. People are keen to keep such memories alive.Delete
I watched the programme and that was one of the stories that stayed in my mind. "The Rat List" you mentioned really brings home how fortunate we are.ReplyDelete
The 'Rat List' story was the one that always stuck in my mind. She told me about it in a very jovial way; she'd been on the list often.Delete
The Japanese Prisoner of War Camp Diet Regime is not to be recommended. It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so cruel to other human beings.ReplyDelete
We think of the Germans as barbaric, but the Japanese were far worse. If you can stomach such things, it's worth reading about The Rape of Nanking. I remember my father being astounded that people bought Japanese cars in the 50's. He couldn't understand why they would wish to support the Japanese economy, rather than their own. These days we don't think twice about such things.Delete
I do Cro. My first husband was the youngest serving soldier on the Death Railway - taken prisoner at the age of 16 having been in the East Surrey Band as a Band Boy. He was home again for his twenty first. He would never buy anything Japanese and I am afraid I got into the habit too. We had thirty nine happy years together before he died and he rarely spoke of it. He was near to Nanking and did once speak of that.ReplyDelete
Also the Rat List reminded me Cro that my husband once told me that the Japanese killed a dog and offered it to the prisoners for their meal - when they refused it the Japanese cooked and ate it.ReplyDelete
They were also of course fed a lot of rice which was always crawling with maggots. They used to try picking the maggots out but the doctor in the camp made them put the maggots back in, telling them it was protein and very necessary.
My family would never buy anything Japanese after the war. I don't think they had much choice after a while, as everything seemed to be either Japanese or Chinese. I have owned a Honda mower, and must admit that the engine was superb.Delete
I love the Antiques Roadshow. The things are always interesting but the stories behind them are just as fascinating to me. What a lot you learned about your friend. Ps what did they value the little quilt at? It always seems as if the things with the most gripping stories behind them never seem to be especially valuable as far as filthy lucre is concernedReplyDelete
I don't think they valued the items, just spoke about them as souvenirs. Monetary value would have been very little, sentimental value; priceless.Delete
I watched it Cro. The whole show was very moving and interesting.ReplyDelete
I haven't watched the whole show; I just went to the bit about Tineke.Delete
My mother was from an affluent family in Singapore when the Japanese invaded, a Japanese officer took the family home and two cars and gave them 1 hour to leave, her 5 brothers were all doctors and she and her twin sister were nurses, she rarely talked about it only saying the cruelty was unimaginable especially towards the Chinese, she always maintained the Japanese have a cruel streak in them. After the war her father refused to return to the house.ReplyDelete
That sounds very much like what happened to Tineke and her family. It's amazing that any of them survived.Delete
What a wonderful surprise that was for you. I hope there is a way for you to get in contact with her.ReplyDelete
I don't know if she kept their home here; probably not. I must make enquiries.Delete