Comfort women: Buried with feet towards Japan
Published on: Monday, October 12, 2015
By: David Thien
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THIS year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Japan still stands accused of benefiting from comfort women issues which remain controversial today in many parts of Asia that were once occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army from 1942 to 1945 from Korea to Myanmar.At Sandakan’s renowned Japanese cemetery on a hill slope just about 2km from the central business district of the old town, were the remains of many Japanese ladies of the night or comfort women who were sold into slavery at a very young age years before the war, some from 7 years of age.

Being the daughters of poor Japanese people with no social status or value as females, they were exported overseas as maids to work until they were forced into prostitution.

Sandakan Heritage Trail Committee Chairman Lai King Hang said that they were buried with their feet pointing towards the direction of Japan – a posture or gesture that condemns their ancestral home that abandoned them or exhorted them to support war efforts with repatriation of their earnings to their homeland being patriots.

“It is considered as an ultimate insult,” said Lai of the Japanese dead buried with feet towards the direction of Japan.

Those militaristic patriots who extorted them as such or later enslaved other Asian females as comfort women aptly fit the saying that “Patriotism is the refuge of the last scoundrels”.

When the Kinabalu Guerillas led by Albert Kwok launched their urgent premature attack in Jesselton, it was due to an overwhelming zeal to prevent local maidens from being pressed into military prostitution.

What seemingly seemed futile prevented the dishonouring of many local maidens at the cost of the guerrillas’ lives from betrayal by some natives.

The history of the Japanese cemetery shows that it was established by the owner of Brothel No. 8, a Japanese prostitute house in Sandakan, today is occupied by a pharmacy.

The cemetery became renown after a book “Sandakan Hachiban Shokan” or Sandakan Brothel No 8, was published in 1972 by Yamazaki Tomoko, with the English version translated by Karen Colligan-Taylor.

The book recounted the life of one Japanese lass Osaki who came to Sandakan as an exported child maid to do cleaning work before being forced into prostitution.

In 1974, a film based on the book was made and it was nominated for an Academy Award in the Foreign Film category, the closest Sabah came to be associated with Hollywood.

Today many are glad that countries like Japan which mistreat females with barbaric inequality lost wars which transform their mindset, and hope that such evils will similarly be vanquished.

PKR had recently urged Putrajaya to disclose the planned purchase of a Mistral class warship from the French government which it said would cost RM3.5 billion in public’s fund.

The party’s Secretary-General Rafizi Ramli said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein must reveal in Parliament the total cost of the deal, including costs to bring the ship into operation.

He said based on conservative estimates, the cost for a warship is around US$600 million in 2012, and taking into account the current foreign exchange rate and inflation, it could go up to US$650 million (RM2.6 billion).

“If everything adds up including the maintenance, technical assistance, cost to fully equip the carrier, as well as helicopter costs, it will be around RM3.5 billion of public funds.

“Why does the Malaysian government want to purchase a warship designed and built for the Russian armada, in which the defence strategy must be different from Malaysia?”

“Isn’t it better to order a new ship that is in accordance with Malaysia’s strategy?” he asked at a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya recently.

Rafizi said the planned purchase was revealed in a report by International Business Times on Aug 26-Sept 1, 2015.


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