Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: May 1st, 1944 to August 1st, 1944

Today’s entry theme: Bed bugs.

May 1, 1944 to Aug 1—We in the Education Building have good bathrooms and toilets, also have shower bath behind the building; in our room 209 we have 30 men but 3 or 4 are in the Hospital; we have a roof of rear part of the lobby we can step out our windows and hang our laundry or take our chairs in the evening, also is a good place to put our bedding in the hot sun on the iron roof, it is sure death on bed bugs. We have them by the millions, especially those who have the wooden slat beds and hemp mattresses supplied by the Camp, they are bed bug incubators. We must kill them every day or be eaten alive. One handicap is that a few bums will not clean their beds so that makes a fine breeding place.

We have mosquito nets which protect us from those pests.

We do not have much laundry and not much soap for it. Even people who have many clothes don’t wear them, it’s too hard work washing them.

I wear a khaki shirt and pair of shorts, no undershirt or draws, army socks and shoes. Many only wear shorts and wooden shoes.

We still have a ball league; since the Davao prisoners came (another prison camp in the Philippines) have had some hot games; four teams, Tigers, Lions, Wolves and Bears. Also have some good basket ball games (yes, he spelled it as two words).

We now have roll call morning and evening.

We get up before 6am to rush to the chow line, are not allowed out of the buildings until 6am. Six o’clock is really five natural time, so the stars are shining and some times the Moon, we can see both the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross; but when the big clock strikes six, the hungry gang runs toward the kitchen line to be as near first as can be; there are several who are great contenders for first place.

June 11—The Daily Tribune was prohibited, the news from the Normandy landing was not good for the Japs. (Obviously D-Day was the week before.) We have script which comes over the wall with black market supplies and have some idea of how the war is going.

June 14—Received letter from J.G. Michelson dated Oct 28 ’42 and from Ada (his sister; see previous entry) dated Dec 10, ’42 and Feb 8 ’43 and May 11 ’43, they came on the Grisholm (assuming that’s some kind of cargo ship that was allowed to deliver supplies?) in Nov. ’43.

June 17—Sent Ada a radio.

July 4—Was my day off from kitchen work.

June 15(entries seem out of chronological order here) Family place on Camp relief, 60.00 pesos per month but this won’t buy them much food.

July 9, 10, 12—Japs brought in several hundred missionaries, priests and nuns, in covered trucks, kept them in the Gym, incommunicado overnight and took away next morning, probably to Los Banos; it was raining hard.

July 21—We were photographed by Japs, my # is 2104, would like a copy.

The Japs are getting tougher and tougher.

August 1st—We had to turn in to the camp all money over 50 pesos Jap. But I sent out the 400.00 I had to the family through Mr. Duggleby.

We are getting down to slow starvation; I have some tinned meat (entry continues on next page)

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University of Santo Tomas, where my grandfather was interned during World War 2.
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Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: January 1st, 1944 to April 30th, 1944

So now, I’m back to transcribing (for now). It obviously takes time to transcribe my grandfather’s memoirs instead of just posting a scan of the page itself, but transcribing draws a better response. It was just easier to post scans, especially since the events of 1943 were rather mundane, all things considered. But as we get deeper into 1944 the situation becomes more dire, which makes it more important to pay closer attention…especially the last entry of this page…

Jan 1 to April 30, 1944—New Year, 1944; Weight 162 lbs; Cash (Jap) 176.45 (at this point my grandfather was 66 years old)

Henry (my uncle, by this time about 17 years old) sent some food and a letter that all are well;

Feb. 1, 1944—weight 164 lbs.

Jays closed the package line Feb. 7, 1944; will now be almost impossible to contact family; family sent in supplies every day in Feb up to 7th; Arthur’s (another uncle of mine, now about 13 or 14) toothbrush was last item in, a letter was written inside the box, tell me where to look for another letter; they sent me about 30 lbs of brown sugar and a coffee can of white sugar and several lbs of coffee; the food sent in increased my weight two lbs in one week.

The Jap army now have charge of the Camp; they are putting us on what they say is the equal of the Jap soldier ration.

Meat is now very scarce, and the rice and corn meal is poor quality. Coconut milk is still issued but it is mostly water; the people who make and sell it now cannot get any more nuts.

A Jew sells hot cakes every morning; there is so much dirt in our rice and corn that we lose much of our ration when we run it through the cleaner.

Every one able has to do some work preparing the garden; are also planting bananas and papaya; vegetables are small onions, capotes; eggplant, tulinum, a green for soup.

The Japs have never given camp any money, clothing or medicine; I was detailed to work one p.m. in garden but was put to hauling rotten Jap radishes to the fertilizer dump, they were too rotten for us to eat.

March 11, 1944—First blackout.

March 25th—Sent post card to Ada (his sister; my great aunt, who was a professor at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, my home town).

April 1st—Had first air alert; also now have blackout every night

April 5th—Sent 100 pesos to family

April 6th—Received two letters from Ada dated Aug 2 and 25, 1943 (basically took 8 months to arrive in the Philippines from Kansas during a time of war, or rather, to be delivered). Also a letter for Nena (my grandfather’s ward, now about 19) from her Aunt.

April 25th— Shanties are now being moved back from the wall.

Many old timers are now beginning to slip; are getting discouraged and are beginning to think will not get through. Food gets poorer in quality and quantity is less.

April 29th, 1944—The generosity of the magnanimous Jap High Command on this birthday of his Imperial Majesty etc etc allowed our families to visit us for one half hour. The whole family came, they were very well dressed but were thin and are just about half starved. Have money but it is not worth much and food is very hard to get; they all acted like were afraid to tell me something I would not like to know, that would make me feel bad. When the time came to go it was hard, all of us seemed to know that terrible times were ahead, last out were Nena, crying, and brave little Arthur with a smile on his freckled face and a wave of his hand as he went from me forever, that’s the last time I was ever to see him, for he was to die in the fiery hell of the Malate Massacre (another name for the forthcoming Battle of Manila in February 1945).

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Hillary’s corruption vs. Trump’s corruption

It is all about the narrative: Hillary is “corrupt” while Trump is “tells it like it is”. Sure, he’s a little “rough around the edges” and “uses bad words”, but at least HE’S not CORRUPT. Yeah, I’ve seen you on FB making this argument, that Trump’s seemingly only vice is that he “uses bad words” and “says mean things”. Well. I can only imagine the fever pitch with which his supporters would be slathering and gloating and showcasing his own examples of corruption—Trump University, anyone?—if it were Hillary involved in these schemes and not him:
“…you’d have to work incredibly hard to find a politician who has the kind of history of corruption, double-dealing, and fraud that Donald Trump has. The number of stories which could potentially deserve hundreds and hundreds of articles is absolutely staggering. Here’s a partial list:
•Trump’s casino bankruptcies, which left investors holding the bag while he skedaddled with their money
•Trump’s habit of refusing to pay contractors who had done work for him, many of whom are struggling small businesses
•Trump University, which includes not only the people who got scammed and the Florida investigation, but also a similar story from Texas where the investigation into Trump U was quashed.
•The Trump Institute, another get-rich-quick scheme in which Trump allowed a couple of grifters to use his name to bilk people out of their money
•The Trump Network, a multi-level marketing venture (a.k.a. pyramid scheme) that involved customers mailing in a urine sample which would be analyzed to produce for them a specially formulated package of multivitamins
•Trump Model Management, which reportedly had foreign models lie to customs officials and work in the U.S. illegally, and kept them in squalid conditions while they earned almost nothing for the work they did
•Trump’s employment of foreign guest workers at his resorts, which involves a claim that he can’t find Americans to do the work
•Trump’s use of hundreds of undocumented workers from Poland in the 1980s, who were paid a pittance for their illegal work
•Trump’s history of being charged with housing discrimination
•Trump’s connections to mafia figures involved in New York construction
•The time Trump paid the Federal Trade Commission $750,000 over charges that he violated anti-trust laws when trying to take over a rival casino company
•The fact that Trump is now being advised by Roger Ailes, who was forced out as Fox News chief when dozens of women came forward to charge him with sexual harassment. According to the allegations, Ailes’s behavior was positively monstrous; as just one indicator, his abusive and predatory actions toward women were so well-known and so loathsome that in 1968 the morally upstanding folks in the Nixon administration refused to allow him to work there despite his key role in getting Nixon elected.”
Now, if you’re going to comment and dispute any of the above, I CHALLENGE you NOT to invoke Clinton as your equalizer. I want to see if you can actually defend Trump on his own merits. I’m sure some of you will whine and pout about me “oppressing” your First Amendment rights, but any invoking of Clinton in any response will simply be deleted; we all know all about Clinton and her baggage…but the NARRATIVE that she is the corrupt one while Trump simply “uses bad words, get over it” has sheltered him from more thorough examination of his own (non-sexual harassment related) past.
And yes, this article is TWO WHOLE MONTHS OLD, let it go Brian, sheesh…well, dumbass, it’s still relevant. And before you try the “At least Trump hasn’t made decisions that killed people!” line, he simply hasn’t been in a position to have to make those decisions; that’s part of what holding public office entails.
EDIT: I will accept a response that effectively acknowledges the above while still maintaining Clinton is worse. I just don’t want to see a litany of her shit as a counterweight in my comment thread. I know all about her shit. But you can’t say Trump doesn’t have his own corrupt shit going on.

Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: November 1st to December 31st, 1943

Here’s another scan from my grandfather’s WW2 memoirs…the dates on this page overlap with the dates on my previous post from his memoirs so they’re basically a continuation of the same time frame.

This page details what how they dispersed and bartered the relief supplies they received from the Red Cross following the typhoon in November 1943, and talking about the relatively pleasant Christmas that year which included presents from the family living outside Santo Tomas, the prison camp. He discusses how the committee of POWs that has been running the camp has been doing well considering the circumstances while complaining of too much favoritism shown by them and how experienced military prisoners aren’t being allowed to help in the best ways possible. While allowing that the year hasn’t been as hard as would be expected considering they are prisoners of war in an occupied country, he darkly intones that the Japanese are beginning to show signs of clamping down and getting worse, primarily due to military defeats in the Pacific as the tide of the war turns inexorably in favor of the United States.

1944 will prove to be the most difficult year he and his compatriots will endure yet.

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Election 2016

Just a few more weeks until this clusterfuck of an election is over. Hopefully. I mean, hopefully it’s clear cut and indisputable, and HOPEFULLY the loser—AHEM, cough, cough—concedes and doesn’t incite violence acts—AHEM, cough cough. I was talking to some friends at a party last week, and something got said that was very profound: If it was ANYBODY else but Trump, the Republicans would probably have this election in the bag.

Despite some who claim I’m a liberal—on the apparently damning evidence that I don’t like the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party, nor do I like Trump—I am actually pretty moderate in my politics. You don’t get to define me, jackass. I’ve said this before, but 20 years ago my politics would have been solidly center-right; remember there was a time when Colin Powell was considered a legitimate contender for the Republican nomination in 1996. That’s my round about way of saying if the Republicans had nominated someone like John Kasich, or even Marco Rubio (Ted Cruz remains a stretch for me)…I’d seriously be leaning into the Republican column.

I’m sure some of my reasonable friends on the right will now try to sway me with Trump’s policies being similar to Kasich’s or Rubio’s, etc, yada yada…save it. Bottom line is, I can’t trust him not to fuck this country to holy hell, nor rely on the “grown ups” in the Republican Party to rein him in. I don’t even think he really WANTS the job; it’s just one gigantic ego trip he’s been on and I doubt even he thought he’d get this far. Now he’s too far in it to quit, but since he doesn’t really want the job, he just keeps playing to his base without even trying to bring swing votes in. At least with Hillary, I feel she can actually do the job competently, flaws and all. Not the most resounding endorsement, but there you have it.

Unfollowed, cont.

So I just unfollowed several people from my FB feed, some of whom I’m actually friends with in “real life” and who I think well of, or at the very least I am personal acquaintances with. I mean, I get that you feel the way you do about current events and politics, and you have every right to post what you do…but I really don’t need it clogging up my newsfeed, especially since the posting has ratcheted up feverishly as we enter the final weeks of the election, but it’s the same old predictable shit over and over and OVER—yes, we get it, you hate so-and-so with the fire of a thousand suns and you have no shortage of memes and links to share to prove it…but more importantly, I just don’t want to be tempted into posting some kind of rebuttal and end up down the rabbit hole of a fruitless debate.

My question is this: How many of you take the view that it’s better to just unfollow and still stay FB friends, or do you think unfollowing defeats the point and should you just unfriend that person and be done with it? How many of you would feel insulted to find out I unfollowed you because of your political posts? Remember, I got unfriended by that very reasoning before. To me, unfollowing is just a prudent way of avoiding unnecessary conflict with a person, while unfriending is kind of like burning bridges and saying “fuck you, asshole”. If I run into that person who unfriended me out on the street—who once upon a time was a close personal friend—I’m not sure how I would act toward them…”Uh, hi?”

So, what do you think?

Political Posts on Social Media

I’ve seen a few people make posts to this effect recently, and I agree with them: We all realize that none of our political posts ever changes anyone’s minds, don’t we? I’m starting to see a more frenetic pace of political posts from those FB friends I haven’t unfollowed but whose politics I don’t share. But if what you’re posting is meant to “educate” people about the vileness of such and such a candidate, you’re wasting your time.

I mean, I’m not saying don’t bother, because everybody should post about the things that matter to them. I have and will continue to do so. I’m just not deluded into thinking I’m making a difference when it comes to those who disagree with me. The most I hope for is that people who DO agree with me are encouraged by seeing someone articulate what they believe—I get quite a few private messages saying so—and maybe I can get people who are on the fence to think. (And I brace myself against those who disagree with me trying to hijack my comment thread with bombastic talking points, lol.) Having said that, I’ve been struck by the number of people who’ve told me privately that, while they don’t agree with everything I write, they still enjoy reading what I have to say. Maybe that means they think I’m being fair? Or am just articulate and write well? Whatever it is, it’s nice of them to say. 

I was criticized this past summer and de-friended because I wrote about unfollowing people whose posts were too obnoxious. I don’t unfollow to disrespect people, or to shut them down, or to deny them their right to speak; I just prefer to avoid being tempted by their posts into getting into a long-winded debate that sucks up my mental energy but ultimately does nothing to change anybody’s minds or even to make them consider a different point of view. Tell me that when you see somebody post some obnoxious claim that you don’t hover the cursor over the comment box to refute them. I call that circling the rabbit hole. Gotta make a saving throw versus Wisdom to avoid diving in (you D&D nerds will get that reference, heh). Just better not to have seen it to begin with, right?

So long story short, knock yourself out with the political posts, but understand that in most cases we’re all just preaching to the choir.

Undecided Voters

Because what Facebook needs is yet another political post:

I do wonder how many people are still genuinely undecided between Clinton and Trump, to the point where the debates (both the actual presidential ones and people arguing on social media) might influence them one way or the other. It seems to me that everyone who is voting for Trump has already committed to him, and the undecided voters are really just conflicted about whether to hold their noses and vote for Clinton, or vote third party or even write in, say, Bernie Sanders. I just think it’s hard to believe that people at this point are still weighing Clinton vs Trump per se; it’s really got to be Clinton vs third party/write-in for the undecided voters. That’s just my intuition on the matter; I haven’t really researched who the undecided voters are.

Trump vs Clinton: Or, the lesser of two evils

In all fairness, I still accept people’s sincerity in maintaining their support for Trump. The way people who don’t like Hillary for all her faults think she’s still a better option than Trump is effectively no different than those who continue to support Trump despite his lechery because they think he’ll still be better than her. That’s where we’re at this election. To each their own; but I’m not going to burn bridges with people for their decision/perspective on this matter. #Election2016

Trump “hot mic” Access Hollywood video

Wow…just wow.
 
Look, I get that a lot of my friends out there in Facebookland hate, hate, HATE Hillary Clinton; you don’t like her, you don’t trust her, you think she’ll be bad for the country. I get it, if that’s your view. And I also get it if that’s your basis for supporting Trump…
 
But MAN…shit like this video being par for the course with Trump has just GOT to be driving you up the wall. THIS is the person you’ve anchored yourself to? At the very least, watch the video in this link of his “locker room” talk about women before forming a response to this post. I don’t expect this to change your mind about Trump; if you still consider this “better” than Hillary, that’s your prerogative. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of, “But, but, but, BILL CLINTON!!” responses as a “defense”. But just stop for a second and think about how sad that is that you’re reduced to debating whose sexual indiscretions are worse.