Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Dutch MPs

The Dutch MPs had been retained by the Japs in their functions for the time being and it was a clever move as it had relieved the Nips themselves of the responsibilities for keeping order in the town.  It speaks for itself that the European, and most probably also the native population appreciated the fact.  Ena and I were to become very friendly with the MP party which had been detailed to look after Dennenlust.  The NCO in charge was a certain Onder Lieutenant Kagee, a fine type of long service military man and we often wondered what became of him.  He was terribly broken up about the Dutch capitulation and told us that he simply could not take it in, that the Dutch Indian Army had ceased to exist.  It had been his whole life, poor chap.

The MPs used to patrol regularly and we never let them pass the house without calling them to come in and have a glass of beer, of which we still had a small stock.  It become the regular custom in the weeks that followed for them to drop in once or twice a day for a chat, a snack and a drink and we were only too glad to be able to do something for them as the rations they were receiving from the Japs were quite insufficient and they were always hungry.

Even in those early days the Japs gave evidence of the muddle headedness of their ways of doing things.  One day these MPs would be armed with revolvers and the next day another Jap would take way all fire arms from them, while on the third day still another Jap would insist on their being armed and issue revolvers and ammunition again.  We accepted this as being due to the general confusion to be expected at this particular time but it was proved indicative of the usual Japanese way of doing things and it will, I think, always remain a mystery to the Western mind how the Japs were able to  accomplish as much as they did.  In all our experience of them no reason or object could be traced in their methods and the proof, in my opinion, that their success was attributable to the mistakes and blunders of others and not to their own organising capabilities, it is to be found in the eventual, chaotic state of all territory which they occupied.  They showed themselves to be past masters in the art of ruining a country in an incredibly short space of time and the mess they made of Java in three and a half years baffles description.  One can only conclude that they realised from the beginning that they had no chance of achieving ultimate victory and therefore determined to do as much harm as they could in the shortest possible time.  It seems the only explanation.

***** to be continued

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