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Anonymous Contribution

Having seen the various contributions on "reconciliation" in recent editions of COFEPW Quarterly, I'm offering my thoughts on the subject.

My late father served in the RAMC, was captured at Singapore and spent the rest of the War as a Ward Master in prison camp hospitals at Changi and various camps in Thailand.  He contracted the usual range of tropical diseases, including beriberi, and survived the War, although his experiences scarred him both physically and mentally.  Throughout the rest of his life, he was very active in the FEPOWA.  

Like many of his FEPOW friends, he carried with him to the end an abiding hatred of the Japanese.  He would be horrified that I now own a Japanese car, having once told me when I was thinking of buying a Datsun that he would never ride in it with me.

The word "reconciliation" in the present context means "to restore or bring back to friendship or union".  This is obviously something which cannot be achieved because the parties involved, i.e. those of my father's generation on both sides, are largely deceased.  However, I do know that this would have been something he and his friends could never entertain, so deep was their hatred of the Japanese.  

And as far as my being involved in "reconciliation", that is also impossible because I was not the subject of the atrocities and because the generation of Japanese who perpetrated them is no longer alive.

Furthermore, as time goes on, each subsequent generation becomes more remote from the reality of those actual horrific events.

I don't feel any need to become involved in "reconciliation".  What I do feel the need to do remember is remember the awful events of the War, particularly those involving my father, his comrades and their Japanese captors and honour the memory of all its victims.

I also feel that what you call "reconciliation" is a minefield which COFEPOW would be well advised not to enter.  COFEPOW's stated aim is "To perpetuate the memory of the Far East Prisoners of War" and in my opinion, it should stick to that.

Very best wishes and thanks for the work which you and your fellow Officers put in.