Monday, May 28, 2007

A War Time Love Story – Lam Chun Chew

My mother told me a love story that happened during the Japanese occupation.

Around 1943, at the tail-end of the Pacific War, my parents were staying in a small town in Johore state, called Segamat. There was a young and good-looking Japanese officer named Watanabe controlling this district. He fell in love with a wholesome looking town girl called Rose (not her real name). They got married through a simple ceremony, witnessed by Rose’s parents and some relatives.
Watanabe was very protective (a minor version of Schindler, a German, in the Holocaust) towards his district population, earning much dismay from his superiors, who believed in harsh treatment towards the locals.

The fairy-tale marriage was short-lived, as the war was coming to an end. The thunderbolt struck, when the Japanese emperor announced Japan’s surrender to the Allied forces in September, the 2nd, 1945, after two atomic bombs were dropped in mainland Japan. The surrendering Japanese troops were to assemble in designated locations controlled by the Allied troops, give up their arms, swords and munitions. Rose cried bitterly because she knew her husband was going to be repatriated to Japan after the war. The departure of her husband was a shattering blow to her, but she had to accept her fate.

It was war that brought them together, and now peace had torn them apart, with her beloved Watanabe returned to his homeland. Would they be able to meet again?

Well, time was healing and Rose later married a Dutch national, moved to Holland, and had a few children. She led a peaceful and happy life in Holland, but in her heart, there was a small corner reserved for her beloved Watanabe. How was he getting on? Was he still alive and well? Such questions lingered in her mind of her ex-lover.

She decided to make a trip to Japan to find out. In Japan she got her answers. Watanabe had remarried happily with a wife and children. Rose was finally at peace with herself and returned to her family in Holland.

Destiny plays a part in War and Peace.

8 comments:

peter said...

Though destiny split the couple apart, deep inside they still have that "First Love". Unlike couples who split and meet again (by accident?) decades later, the former will not have any bad blood.

chuck said...

This story touched my heart...

Lam Chun See said...

Although quite simple, I too find this story quite touching. Too bad CC could not give more details.

zen said...

One must realise that this story was told by my mother so many years back to a kid by words of mouth. Therefore the story appears hazy - cannot be helped. In fact I once asked my younger daughter, who has connection with Mediacorp whether this story can be rewritten into a script suitable for TV production. She expressed great doubt whether the present day TV audience would accept such story line.

Brian Mitchell said...

A good story - and one that I was pleased to see as I am currently reading 'Singapore Burning' a recently published and very detailed account of the 1941 Japanese invasion of Malaya and subsequent occupation of Singapore. A very well researched and told book but a tale of great violence and I am rather dreading getting to the brutalities of the occupation. This story shows how even in times of great brutality there is still love to be found.

zen said...

Sun Tze one of ancient China greatest military strategists stated that a great victory was one that could be achieved without fighting. In other words, he avocated diplomacy in settling disputes, until all peaceful means had been exhausted. Unfortunately many world leaders today believe in 'jumping the gun' so as to appear 'strong'.

Tom said...

tom said ...
When I read that story it touched my heart. Zen I agree what you had said. Soldiers are trained to kill, but deepdown in thier heart,
their is alot of love . Looking
around the world today ,there is alot of violence,but love will prevail.

zen said...

If we bother to study the political history of WWI which caused so much turmoil (economic and political) world-wide, which actually was a dress rehearsal to WWII, allowing the ultra militarists of both Germany and Japan to seize power, causing hell to open its gates for demons to run amok. WWII lasted three years and eight months. It was what the Chinese use to say: "people with human faces, but possess animal hearts" to march into the 'killing field'.