Tuesday, June 07, 2005

We must never forget.....

A couple of weeks ago when I went to Po Toi, I came back through Stanley. Whilst walking from St. Stephens Beach I walked pass the War Cemetery, having never been inside and being about to leave Hong Kong I decided to go up and have a look.

It is a very peaceful cemetery and beautifully looked after, a fitting memorial to those who died whilst defending and/or serving Hong Kong. Whilst walking around and looking at the grave stones it seems that the majority (I didn't count, this was just my impression) of graves were from both the 25th December 1941 (the day that Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese) and for the following four years - those that died in the POW camps.

When you enter the cemetery there is a memorial with a map on the front which shows how Hong Kong was defended and lost in December 1941. By the time the Hong Kong forces had retreated to the island it must have been fairly obvious to all concerned that the situation was becoming increasingly hopeless...but they still battled valiantly on to protect Hong Kong from the Japanese invaders. Hong Kong's defenders were a mix of regular British army and volunteers with a collection of soldiers collected from Canada, India and Hong Kong (if I have missed any nationalities - please forgive me).

These brave men were mostly far away from home, defending a territory which for many of them was not home and fighting an enemy that was known to be brutal, evil and unforgiving.

Today whilst reading the post from Blog the Talk about Company Sergeant Major Osborn, I again realised just how much these incredible men sacrificed for Hong Kong.

Being a terrible writer I cannot really express what I feel whenever I read about or see memorials to the Second World War in Hong Kong, however I can say it upsets me terribly when I realise the sheer level of naivety from those in positions of power in Hong Kong when facing the coming onslaught from across the border, it upsets me when I think about the sheer violence and horrors of what Hong Kong and her defenders faced and the resulting horrors of the POW camps.

There are a number of reasons why we must never forget the sacrifice these men made - one reason is that to forget their sacrifice is to make their death almost insignificant and another major reason is that if we do forget this could happen again....if we continue to remember and honour those who fell in the two world wars it will be a reminder that the world can never, ever be allowed to bring itself to the same situation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just noticed you haven't any comments! Well, I just want you to know that people are reading - and this was a very nice post (and well written too).

Also - thanks for the video of HK, the link worked fine.


6:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funnily enough I was walking through Central today, past the War Memorial in front of the Hong Kong Club and I noted that LCSD have barriers all around the Memorial making sure people do not get close to it.

What a shame, this turns this Memorial into a lump of stone that people can not go up to, read and understand.

Whilst Memorials should obviously be respected, they must be an accessible reminder both for those who gave up their lives but also to remind us that we must never allow these attrocities to happen again.


6:50 am  
Blogger Dave and Stefan said...

Madame Chiang,

I fully agree with your sentiments. When I went to Stanley's war cemetery for the first time, I simply wept. Many have forgotten Hong Kong's valiant defenders, holding out against a vastly superior, better equipped and prepared enemy, simply because they have been on the losing side. But the suffering and sacrifice they endured on the island we call home during the battle and, as you say, afterwards, in the POW camps, for people that they did not know, is very moving to me.

If people want to blame people, blame the Western politicians, who believed in "Never Again" after World War I without backing it up with spending on defence. But for these ill-equipped soldiers (the Canadians didn't even have their own guns - they came on a later ship that had to be diverted to Manila), who made the ultimate sacrifice, they deserve to be better remembered.

12:03 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home