Sunday, April 01, 2007

Travelling Tales

Some of my family should be in Singapore by now, en route to Australia. And with that in mind...

Mrs C lived in Singapore for several years when she was a child. She faced almost daily air raids from the Japanese in early 1942; then the Japanese landed on the island in overpowering force. Churchill gave the okay to surrender on 14 February.

While her mother packed a single suitcase for the family, Mrs C and her sister were allowed to choose one thing to take with them. Mrs C decided on her stamp collection; her baby sister was desperate to take her white mouse, but couldn't. She spent her time setting out food and water for the mouse.

The family made it to the harbour safely, to the evacuation boats. Before he boarded, her father drove their gorgeous car into the sea rather than let the Japanese get it. Mrs C was twelve. They got onto one of the last ships, which made its way through the Battle of Pacific and beyond.

Mrs C visited Singapore decades later. When she was a child, Orchard Road had shops on both sides of the street. These days it has the world's largest concentration of shopping malls.

So enjoy the shopping guys, and safe travelling.


Sean said...

Family member here. We are now in Brisbane, awaiting final hop to Hamilton Island. We've done:

Dublin - London
London - Dubai
Dubai - Singapore
Singapore - Brisbane

So we're "a bit crispy". We had little time in Singapore - just a quick coffee in the airport.

I was in Singapore a year ago, and I liked it. I especially liked the outdoor food stalls where they sell fantastic and well priced seafood. I have very fond memories of a Singapore Chilli Crab dish that was incredible, but required me to shower afterwards!!

Anyway - the news here is: there's been a Tsunami Warning on the North Aus Coast. That should make for a little fund on Hamilton Island!

More anon. Sean, Shona and Laura.

Sean said...

Eh - that should read " a little fun" on Hamilton Island.

I said we were crispy!

Orlaith said...

The story continues:

The guys landed safely in Hamilton at 3am. Probably some sleepy showering and sleeping in the hours since then.

I was reading about the tsunami: an 8.1 earthquake, waves 10 metres high - you guys were lucky!

You should probably paint up some 'The End is Nigh' placards anyway; they come in handy for all sorts of occasions.

SaraC said...

Really glad to hear Sean and family arrived safely - hope they have a great tsunami free holiday.

The C's are just amazing- it is really hard to imagine what it must have been like as a child/young person to grow up in Singapore as an expat, go through that surrender/evaculation and then have what must have been an enormous disconnection in returning to wartime England.

Sounds like biography material to me...

Orlaith said...

I totally agree! When they made it back to England safely the family went to a hotel to have dinner; they went to order and some snippy waiter said 'Don't you know there's a war on?'. We just came through the Battle of the Pacific, hello???

I think the worst bit for Mrs C was seeing the state of the men who made it out of the Japanese camps. She said they were just hollow.

Mr C has written a memoir of Bletchley Park days (which is on my list of things to read today) but I don't think he's interested in publishing it.

Maybe you can convince them when you're over!

Orlaith said...

PS - I forgot to add, you'd be the one to know about tsunami holidays! Weren't you smack on a coastal part of South East Asia for the big one?