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Japanese Discipline

narrated by Koh Teck Ghee

"Soon after they came in from Ponggol point, we heard rumours that they will just randomly kill any body they don't like, so when they were coming in at Ponggol, we went up to the attic, and peeped through the window and saw them marching through Kovan road at a Chinese school compound. All the troops rested there and the captain who spoke very good English came knocking at our door. He selected our house to stay in - he took one room in Kovan road and he allowed us to stay on. He had his own cook - and whatever the cook cooked, we ate - included rice, porridge or salt fish. In the meantime, all my sisters were sent down to Sophia road, where the Methodist place was - to keep them away from the soldiers. It was told to me by the captain - he explained that the reason why rape and murder takes place as soon as Japs come in - is a form of reward - after overrunning any place, they're given 3 days liberty to do what they want. After 3 days, it was then back to the very strict rules. This was an incentive for them to overrun a country."

"Then, after I had a car, since I could drive, but he has a jeep, he invited me to go to Ponggol Point as he had a meeting there. There was a jetty there, and to the left, were houses on stilts. They used one of the Malay houses as their HQ. He brought me there in his jeep and told me to wait on the roadside while he went down for his meeting. As usual, out of curiosity, I went down and walked to the end of the jetty to have a look - and as far as my eye could see, I saw rows of bodies - all piled along the barricade and barb wire which were used to foil the landing craft. The barricades were used to kill the men - just shot them there. The captain was very annoyed when I saw all the bodies. All the bodies were in singlets - probably locals. Anyway I ran back. The seawater was splashing and washing against the bodies - it was probably a communist massacre."

"As I got up the jetty, the captain was just coming out, he was very angry. He told me I was not to go anywhere. Anyway I followed him back to the HQ. I thought I was going to be punished. On the way, he took out his revolver, and I thought `oh my god`. He went to the edge of the veranda - asked me to come. He asked me to pick out any floating object in the sea. I chose a coconut. Out of 6 shots, he hit the coconut 3 times - it was to show how well trained he was. This was sometime during 1939-1940."

"When I went back home, it was quite usual to have afternoon tea in the house. So, he had a notice stuck on the front of the door which said `No soldiers are allowed beyond this point`. Kovan Road had a veranda with a small door with a cement pathway. The notice was stuck on the main door. A drunken soldier walked in, and stepped into the house. The captain was there and the moment he saw the soldier step into the house, the soldier tried to run off. The captain shouted and the soldier stayed put. He called for his aide and he came running. And then he explained to us, and we were curious what he was going to do - he wanted to show what was Japanese discipline. This man had disobeyed the notice. He commanded his men, and the poor man was being karate'd by his aide, and judo'ed onto the ground - at least 3 or 4 times. We all felt sorry for the soldier. And yet they were known to be cruel, yet we felt sorry for him.
My father was alive at that time, so we told him that if any soldier asked for anything, please give it to him. When my father didn't want to give him his watch, he was almost killed."

"Yamashita was the biggest commander in chief - this 3 day liberty thing - to do anything they like. That's why in China, when they overran Shanghai, and the other cities, there was a lot of murder. It was really an incentive."

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