I have been reading a book by Hampton Sides called Ghost Soldiers
, published by Doubleday in 2001.
Someone in Cebu mentioned this book to me a few years after publication when I observed that very little was written about the on-ground experience during World War II.
I only recently ordered it and stand corrected on that general comment.
However, Ghost Soldiers
is about the rescue of American POWs who survived the Bataan death march.
In the first pages is a list of about 500 names, presumably of those imprisoned.
None of the names were Filipino.
There were names like Guice and Esperidion, Katz and LaVictone, but nothing that seemed like it hailed from the Malayo-Polynesian alphabet.
So I will revise my inquiry and put the question to the readership:
is there anything published that recounts the experiences of FILIPINO soldiers in WWII?
How about the experience of Filipino civilians (I’ve found only one)?
If you have an answer, please email me at [email protected]
In case you are wondering about the genesis of my email address, it is because an American politico told me that Filipinos who run for office in the United States are “zeros, no…less than zero.” I’m not running for anything, but I thought I’d latch onto the comment and stoke the identity politics that it incites.
In the book Ghost Soldiers
, POWs were fed weevily rice, rice that was infested with snout-nosed bugs that place their larvae inside the grain to gestate, grow, and eat their way out at maturity.
This is why we are trained from an early age to wash the rice.
Please click on this video to see https://youtu.be/5NOyn_NsoqY
I never knew this is why we were supposed to wash rice.
It seems that the Japanese captors in Bataan went through the trouble of cooking the rice but not washing the rice.
What I am avoiding with all this talk of rice weevils were the atrocities mentioned at almost every page of the book—the deaths under fire, the deaths by execution, the deaths by torture, ignited gasoline tortures. And there were the ancillary sufferings, scurvy and beriberi, lost eyes, lost teeth, “rank metallic tastes (scouring) the backs of tongues,” and the effect of neurotoxins from rancid fish heads. I am not bold enough to detail the real atrocities in this piece, but let me say that it is a book that is rich in awful experiences. I am only left to wonder…with Filipinos suffering side by side, did they suffer more? How can a writer manage to capture only the experiences of American soldiers?
On a separate note, the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) has two events upcoming.
On August 5th
, the 3rd
Annual Golf Tournament will take place from 11am to 8pm
at the Chardonnay Golf Club in Napa.
The day will end with a cocktail reception and a silent auction.
Click on this link to purchase tickets for $125: https://www.flipcause.com/ secure/cause_pdetails/MTk2NzQ
On September 9, 2017
, PhilDev will host a dinner at Peppertree Canyon, a vineyard and urban farm in Orange County in Southern California.
Tickets are $300 for individuals, $500 per couple, or $2500 for a table of ten.
Sponsorships are also available.
The chef making this dinner experience possible is Christian Navarro, chef and founder of Hella Fraiche.
Tickets can be procured through this link: https://www.flipcause.com/ secure/event_step2/MTk2NzY=/ 12285
And in yet another topical pivot, I wanted to thank Christina Laskowski of the Science and Technology Advisory Council for her prolific supply of content for this column. She does more than her share for the Filipino community and the network that supports budding Filipino technologists. If you ever meet her, please give her a hug and thank her for all she does.