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Headless at the crossroads

narrated by Koh Teck Ghee

"At the junction of Recreation Road and Upper Serangoon Road, after taking car from Recreation road, every resident there was so scared they didn't dare open their door. I saw a car with the key still in it and started it - Lo and Behold! - it started. I fiddled with the gears and moved it forward and backward and finally drove out Upper Serangoon Road. At the junction, I saw a man kneeling on the grass, and when I looked at his head, it was gone ! It was inside the drain ! So I drove off without a license. I was only 14 years old."

"The Japanese captain who was staying at my house was amazed that I drove the car back. I said I saw it standing by the road. He gave me a pass that I stuck on the windshield. So happens on that day, I heard that the barber had a shrapnel in his neck. I said, `I can take you to the hospital`. `Can you ?`, he asked. `Yes, I have a permit` I said. I took him down, and just as I was approaching Lavender St and Upper Serangoon, turning right towards Balestier going to Tan Tock Seng, heard this Jap sentry shouting - don't know what he was shouting - I looked in the mirror and I saw him raising his rifle. Immediately I stopped the car and he came with his gun and asked for the permit. When he saw it, he said "OK OK" in Japanese, so I drove off. That saved the barber's life. Unfortunately we lost touch after the war. I don't know his name. He must have been 30 yrs old then."

"At that time, my brother got hit by shrapnel in his finger. He was going to his girlfriend's house at Surin Ave. He heard the sound of bombs falling, so he lay down and covered his ears as he had been instructed. But before he could do that, shrapnel flew by and cut off his index finger at his first knuckle, but at the hospital, he was told that he had to take off up to the 2nd knuckle. In spite of that he could still be a stenographer. Unfortunately because of this (?), he didn't marry that girl !"

"I had a circle of friends of 3 boys and 3 girls, out of 3 men, 1 has died because of heart ailment after the war. Of the 3 girls, 1 also died (John Beavier's wife - Julie Wee Kek Neo) of cancer. Apparently while taking a bath - you normally feel the temperature of the water with your hand - with her right hand, it felt ok, but when she threw the water over her body, she was scalded. When she used her left hand, she felt that it was boiling hot ! She was hospitalized and after 3 or 4 months - passed away. It was affecting half of her body due to a brain tumor. Julie's mother was my mother's cousin. Stella is John and Julie's daughter."

"it was very safe during the Japanese time. Things left out were safe. They slaughtered 8 heads, without bodies at Kandang Kerbau. This is the punishment for stealing. That's why there was hardly any theft. They will rope in all the people around and give the punishment. I didn't see it but it was well known. There was a German leading the pack with the captain. He looked European, but don't know who he was."


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