Thursday, April 28, 2005

Belated Anzac Day post


It wasn't Anzac Day ten years ago when I was waiting for my train on the southbound platform at Wollstonecraft station on Sydney's North Shore. But I'll remember Anzac Day to you now because there was a kindly looking old man in a Digger's hat selling paper poppies from a box that day. It was a pretty November morning, and the jacarandas were littering the platform, as is usual that time of the year. Maybe it was the sight of the purple flowers that prompted me to go buy a red paper one from the old Digger. When I did, he asked me where I was from. And when I said 'Singapore', he said to me in Hokkien, 'Li Ho Boh?' (How are you?), and 'Selamat Pagi', in Malay. 'I was at Changi and at Selarang', he explained, responding to the big, silent question mark on my face. Pity my train came uncharacteristically on time, or else I would've loved to have talked at length about his time in Singapore. That Digger's story is part of our history, and like a lot of things to do with our history, we've got to rummage around our spanking new National Libraries' archives/vaults/depositories before we can hear these important voices. I second mr brown's proposal to bring these voices to the fore. It will be interesting. And at the very least, we'll see that our history isn't mired geographically. Changi Peninsula
iTunes' party shuffle is playing a copy of: Never Broken - Cassandra Wilson - Traveling Miles, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn't steal music.


10 Comments:

Blogger Beach-yi said...

It is interesting that you put this up, I had a somewhat similar experience while on a bus back home to Maroubra. The old gent wasn't a digger I think but he was posted to Singapore for a year or so during his time with the tyre company (Michelin ).

His deepest impression of Singapore was of Bugis street and of a certain beautiful s/him.

4/28/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger expat@large said...

That would have been Remembrance Day - 11 November.

Signing of the Armistice to end of WW1.

E@L

4/28/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Sivasothi said...

I'd be extremely intersted if you archive interviews like that. There's lots more to local places; see these pages on Changi, Pasir Panjang and Sembawang.

Do hurry though.

4/28/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Shortphat K said...

Nice post there. I was from selarang camp and old enciks there would tell me old stories about it. Somehow, this post also rekindled stories my grandma used to tell me...

4/28/2005 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Postmaster-General said...

Wow. Finally I have something useful to say. I've actually interviewed a few of these folks. Talk about being thrown in the deep end for field research after freshmen year. I've also had the pleasure of selling poppies in Singapore on Armitisce Day. Old folks sure do remember. Poppy day is very important for all of us. Afterall the motto is "Lest We Forget"

4/28/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger PaT said...

Hey mr miyagi,
do you know how did the " Last Post " came about?
Just asking. (:

4/28/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Indiana said...

Least we Forget.

4/28/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger poezii said...

When I returned to Sing and realised that Changi Prision was gone, couldn't help but feel sad because the history of the Diggers have somewhat disappeared as well.

Transplanting the chapel to another location doesn't really feel the same somehow.

4/29/2005 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Oh said...

Least we Forget.

Hey Mr Miyagi, the old St Francis Chapel's Bell is still in Selarang camp. I know because I did my guard duty in Selarang too. Sometimes when I passed square I can feel some pressence. But I would just say some prayers and continue my patrol.

4/29/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous goose said...

Postmaster General's spelling is correct, the mottos of the Anzacs being "Lest We Forget", no typo there...

5/06/2005 01:09:00 PM  

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