Wednesday, September 27, 2006


a visit to yasukuni shrine

japan has a new pm today…as right leaning as the old one…so I though I’d jabber a bit about japan…
Went to visit yasukuni shrine with my Japanese collegue on 13th September 06 during a couple of days stopover in Tokyo. Just missed the (ex) Japanese prime minister junichiro kaizumi’s visit only by three days - he visited the place on the 16th…his last and pointedly belligerent action that ignored china’s displeasure in the last month of his prime ministership….

Mine was nothing of the kind…just wanted to see what the shrine is like…not trying to think too much about politics …though quite aware that most likely some of the war criminals enshrined there were also responsible for the sacking of Malaya…in fact the first place the Japanese landed in the malay peninsula was on the beach just a about a mile from my parents’ house….my father used to tell stories that way before the japs landed as an occupying force the village was visited by several friendly Japanese cycling all over the place…nobody ever suspected anything and quite ignorant that these were really spies mapping up the place for the landing…and some people say that the gurkhas defending the beach behind my house were actually chained by their master the british to make sure that they didn’t run away (but, gurkhas running away?)……and when I told this to one of my british friends he became quite miffed as he said the brits were not that cruel…well, the japs were also not terribly cruel to people in my village …perhaps because all the people were malays…and we know that japs were primarily hunting for the brits and Chinese…even in Malaya…the most I heard from my father was that they used to force the villagers to climb up and pluck coconuts for them…and stole chickens… even my grand father one time used to be one of the jap tough guys doing a lot worse to his own villagers than the japs themselves…but I did not hear that he ever killed or tortured anybody…and luckily for some reasons he quit being a jap lackey after just a short while…

Oh, my beach has seen a lot of going ons… some people even say that a long time ago the famous arab traveler ibn batutta actually stopped here for a short while and recorded and concluded that the place had no significance whatsoever and he was quite right…it is a complete backwater now… and nobody here amount to anything …but thirty or so years ago the beach was the most popular place in the state for weekenders…

Many people from the state capital and other towns came here for picnics and the randy young ones to have a snog under the low branches of the casuarina trees and when they got a bit more excited they moved further away and had a quick and dirty sex among the mangrove trees during low tide (the beach used to have sparking white sand)…favorite pastime for many young boys in the village was to go peeping and one time one of these guys was so excited watching a couple making love that he just crept up to the couple, kicked the boy and he tried to rape the girl but the boyfriend fought back and the poor randy peeping tom got the worse of it and had to take to his heels…didn’t know whether this couple resumed the love making for the story ended there when the tom ran away… why, in fact I (yes ME) even stopped a potential rape there one time quite a long while back…

I was never in my village for most of my life as I studied away but I always come to this beach whenever I came back for holidays…and one night I was having a dinner in one crappy restaurant on the beach with a friend when suddenly this boy came barging into the restaurant and screaming that his girl was being raped, Where? In the mangrove!. What the fuck are you doing there at this time of the night? Oh please sir, go help my girlfriend! So off we went (without thinking of the potential danger) and I found seven or ten boys surrounding a girl and so happened that the ring leader was a boy that I KNOW…so I said … stop this, you boys wanna go to jail? come bring me the girl… some protested but in the end they relented…the funny thing was the girl didn’t even say thank you to me..just giggled like an idiot…can’t recall her face because it was so dark… and they went off may be to go and have sex at the other end of the beach…I don’t know…but this kind of things happened all the time here…on and off we got to hear reports of rapes …and the worst thing was during the Vietnamese boat people period in the early eighties… the nearest point between the southern Vietnam and Malaysia is this beach and my village and we got a lot of boat people landing here…the moment they landed either the police were already waiting to take them away to the nearby detention area or sometimes a horde of randy village boys came first picking young girls and women folks for forced sex before letting them go or calling the police to send them to the detention area….

But fortunately all these are things of the past now….for the last fifteen years or so this beach has been battered and eroded to such an extent that more than a mile of the beach has been claimed by the sea…there is nothing left now…in fact today’s NST headline story claimed that this beach is the worst affected beach in the whole of Malaysia…so my village has quite a story and all for the wrong reasons…I ought to write something about it one of these days may be…

But hell’s bells…there I go digressing like an old codger again… and as I was saying I went to yasukuni shrine with my Japanese friend and I love Shinto shrines …criminals or no criminal being enshrined there notwithstanding…they all looked so serene… kind of poignant to think that all these thousands and thousands of souls are homed there…so I mentioned to my friend he can go and say his prayer if he likes and he gave a small bow of thank you and went up to the main hall , gave a bow and clapped twice (a symbol to wake up the spirits of the dead) and said a short prayer… everything so touching…and after that we walked under the plum trees and watched the carps in the rather gloomy Japanese garden at the back…

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hello green bottle

do email me :) read your post in sharon's blog.
oooo i love japan!
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