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"that what we may have lost in weight, we've more than gained in friends"

Brown, C.C Mural ditties and Sime Road soliloquies. Illustrated by R.W.E. Harper. Foreword by N.R. Jarrett. Singapore Kelly & Walsh [1948]
First edition. Small 4to (25 x 19 cm), pp. [ii], 26, with illustrations throughout. Stapled as issued in cloth-backed pictorial boards. Boards somewhat soiled, contents clean.
COPAC records copies at the Imperial War Museum and Oxford.

A very rare booklet printed in Perth, Western Australia and published by Kelly & Walsh three years after the war, giving a satirical versified account of life in the civilian prisoner-of-war camps at Changi and Sime Road. Subjects range from a lament for a lost article, "a paint brush used for pollenating pumpkins", to the eager perusal of Chinese-language newspapers which reached the camps in fragments. The final poem, "Compensations", concludes with the bittersweet lines "that what we may have lost in weight, we've more than gained in friends." Jarrett's foreword records that while there was "prodigious literary activity" in the camps, many of the works produced "found a grave in the boreholes or in the incinerator of the Gaol at the time of the notorious "Double Tenth" raid by the Kempeitai on 10th October, 1943". This book represents the experiences of the "common or garden internee in the mens' sections." C.C. Brown was Resident of Pahang at the time of the Japanese conquest. He retired after his release in 1945. The illustrator, R.W.E. Harper, served in the Malayan Police; he went on to publish a history of the Singapore Mutiny with Harry Miller (Singapore, Oxford University Press, 1984). N.R. Jarrett was a colonial official in British Malaya, who acted as quartermaster of the civilian internment camps.