22 Nov 1942, John Charter's wartime journal
Now the question of the I.R.C. food distribution again.
I must have been cut short in any intended dissertation about the food. Perhaps that was as well as the matter has not yet been finally settled.
Members of the BCC met together and approved the suggestion put forward by Macleod that the bulk food should be rationed and issued once a week or once a month. John Sterricker, the secretary, in his weekly Camp Bulletin, stated that this scheme of distribution had been submitted to the Japanese authorities for their sanction, he added, unfortunately, that the Japanese had been told it was the wish of internees that the food should be distributed in this manner. This raised a storm – or storms – of protest from various sections of the community, the two chief complaints being the community as a whole had never been given a chance to air its views on the subject and that therefore the BCC had no right to put forward the scheme as one which represented the wishes of the people. Also what guarantee had the community, in the light of former thefts and pilferings, that individuals would ever get their quota of the food: the I.R.C. goods had been sent to British prisoners as a whole but it was intended that everyone was to get an equal share and the only way that this could be done with certainty was to issue everyone their full quota straight away and let internees look after their own stuff and eat it as and when they want to and not as they are told to. People in the married Quarters demanded a public meeting and an explanation by the Block Chairman and Committee. This meeting was accordingly held on 12th December and a sickening sort of meeting it proved to be.