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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lest We Forget

We went to Changi Chapel and Museum today. We were quite proud of the fact that we used the bus and train system to get there from the hotel. The system is very efficient and it helps that everyone speaks English.

I had mixed feelings about today's adventure. I knew that much of the original Changi Prison from WWII had been demolished and that there is only now the Changi Chapel and Museum. I really had wanted to see the original, so I was a little dubious about only having a museum to visit. But I have to say, I am really glad that we went. It is a fitting tribute to the history of the place and it managed to stir an emotion or two. At the end of the tour, sitting in the chapel, I actually had a tear or two.

As I mentioned in a previous posting, my Pop, Private William (Barney) Earle Moore was in Singapore during WWII. Unfortunately he was a POW and was interned at Changi when Singapore fell to the Japanese.  Pop went to Singapore in Dec 1941 and in Feb 1942 his battalion was imprisoned in the sprawling Changi prisoner of war camp. He was part of the forces which were allocated to work on the Burma-Thailand railway. He would remain in Changi until August 1945 when they were liberated. If you know any Australian history you will know what his life would have been like during this time.

Pop was transferred home a shadow of the man who left for war, literally. On my 21st Birthday I received a ring from Dad. It was a band of 15ct gold with a gold nugget mounted on it. I was told that it had been his Grandfather's and that the nugget was Kalgoorlie gold (apparently pilfered). The ring had been passed down the line to the eldest son of the eldest son on their 21st birthday. The story goes that Pop managed to hide the ring from the Japanese during his entire interment by hiding it in his, well you can guess. Nana told me a story about how it was this ring that Pop's Mum recognised and not Pop when she went to the hospital to see Pop on his return to Australia. She could not recognise her own son he was so emaciated. Needless to say the ring is one of my most treasured possessions.

Pop never spoke of the war or of his time and experience in Changi. He never marched on Anzac day. He did have a few sayings though that dated from that time. One of his favourites was "It's at times like these you need a minty". As much as he hated talking about the war, he shared enough to enable me to do a little research.  I know enough to know that he is one of those Aussie heroes who fought for our country and way of life. Enough to know that I will ensure that we do not forget. My Aunty Kay has Pop's service history and photos that he had of the war, including Changi. My Brother Peter has his Medals. Today Vince and I lit a candle in the Chapel for Nan and Pop. We then had a beer in his name. I also toasted Nan who we lost this year.

On the way to Changi we dropped off our washing at the laundry Vince found near the Hotel. He was chuffed that 3kg of washing was only going to cost $S10. Considering one shirt cost $S12 at the hotel, it was a bargain. On the way home we called in to collect the washing. I could not help take a shot of him in the "Washy Washy" laundry. They did a great job and he walked away very pleased with himself. One of the little things I love about him!! He is so practical and gets enjoyment out of the little things in life.

Tomorrow is New Years Eve and we wish everyone the best for 2011. It is our 20th anniversary and we are planning to celebrate it to the best of our abilities.  


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