01 Mar 1942, INTERNED - DECEMBER 1941 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

01 Mar 1942, INTERNED - DECEMBER 1941

Book / Document: 
Date(s) of events described: 
Sun, 1 Mar 1942

((The following text is undated:))

The garages were turned into kitchens to cook the rice and spoonful of vegetables we were allowed twice a day.  We were given firewood for cooking purposes, but no containers, so that dustbins and zinc baths had to be used.  Our food was served from these containers using a ladle, but rice sticks, and some were getting a good deal more than others, and with such great hunger, this could not be tolerated, so a utensil was found which would smooth off the top of the rice, giving everyone the same amount.  We collected hot water for drinking from the garage kitchens; a huge black kettle hung over a fire.  Carmen used to say "Break your head, but do not break the flask!"  (There was no means of replacing anything.)  When some bright spark put up a menu "Honeymoon Salad", we knew we were getting "lettuce alone"!

Each of us was supposed to have received a Red Cross parcel, once a month, but we only received three over the three years and eight months that we were in the camp, as the Japanese did not recognise the Geneva Convention.  (It was quite astonishing what a difference those parcels made to the functioning of the body, as far as women were concerned.  The greater number had stopped having any periods and became enormously fat, but within a couple of days of receiving a Red Cross parcel, the periods returned.  For me, personally, my periods never stopped and I became very thin, weighing about five stone ten pounds.  I had to try to cope with the situation by cutting up flour sacks!)