Memorials, tea time, and temples

On the way in to Sandakan, we stopped by the war memorial where we learned of the Sandakan WWII POW camp. The treatment of the prisoners was brutal. As was explained, the Japanese had signed but not ratified the Geneva convention on prisoners of war. After having worked the prisoners on an airfield, they were taken on a death march to another location. Along the way, only 6 prisoners managed to escape either the march or the ultimate destination and avoided death. 2500 died, some of them summarily brought out to a field and shot (if they had not died before). More would have died at the other camp, but it was liberated first. Here’s the memorial marble obelisk.


The following day we could a walk up the hill from the harbor to the English Tea House. It must have been quite the location in the 30’s with the British gentry who lived in Borneo. It has been fairly well maintained, and they had a very nice tea set.


Afterwards, we went over to a preserved house of a British writer, Agnes Keith, who wrote Land Beneath the Wind (I think) and a number of other books about her Borneo experience. She and her husband (who headed up the Forest Conservation department) were imprisoned on a neighboring island during the Japanese occupation, and they suffered deprivation, broken bones, etc. Years later, they visited Japan, which was a sign of reconciliation in my mind.
Here is the photo of their house on the hill which had been destroyed during the occupation but which was rebuilt.


Finally, we walked over to an old Buddhist temple, which was both small and had the feel of a very old religious building.

The photo above shows a mural on the wall which was very hard to see in the darkness of the temple but which photographed quite well.

The following day on the day to the airport we went over to the new Buddhist temple built in 1987. It was massive and showy as you can see in the photos. It was at the very top of a hill and had a great view.


Finally, here is a photo that Kate took of one of the local fishing boats which reminded me of the way they painted spitfires in WWII.


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