Suffering with a Smile - REVIEWS
KATJANG and I flew together for the first time in the Netherlands in the spring of 1955.
He was my wingman in a flight of F-84 Thunderjets and all I could say about him was that he was a great natural pilot and definitely 'gutsy.'
Unfortunately, within the year, he crashed and was killed at Oceana NAS, Virginia, flying the same type of aircraft.
It summarized the way he had lived; full speed and with gusto.
His book, Suffering With A Smile, describes how he survived three-and-a-half years of Japanese 'extermination through starvation' in an Indonesian concentration camp during World War Two, full speed and with gusto.
This is an extraordinary novel, full of human and historical events and emotions.
One of the soldiers then pushed a little Indonesian person toward the officer for interrogation. The man was obviously petrified. It went something like this,
Officer: "Did you steel from the Japanese Imperial Army?"
Local: "No, I didn't."
Officer, pulling out his Samurai sword: "You are lying, right?"
Cringing with fear, he answered: "Yes. Please forgive me, I'll never do it again."
The officer turned to the crowd and said, "Anyone who lies to the Imperial Army, lies to the Emperor and must be punished."
He nodded to the soldier holding the man and called in two more soldiers. One of them produces a long bladed knife, grabbed the local by his head, pulled the tongue out of his mouth and cut most of it off. Squirting blood and making incoherent sounds, the little man stumbled of the center stage. A moan went through the crowd and the Japanese Officer said with a look of satisfaction on his face,
"He will never lie to the Japanese Army again. Let this be a lesson to you."
Hans asked me, "Do you want to stay, Wout? That was terrible."