A short bio: My grandfather was born in 1921 he is 94 years old. He was born in Hainan, China. He moved to to Singapore when he was only 16 in 1937 arrived on a ship . He lived through the Japanese occupation in Singapore. He would love to share some stories, wisdom and life advice with everyone! Ask him anything. My aunt is doing the translating as his english is not very good.

Proof: http://imgur.com/nVIG216

EDIT 1: Will be back in an hour. Going for dinner. Keep the questions coming!

EDIT 2: Back!




Comments: 1606 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

killerwhaled1152 karma

My grandma says she still hates ALL Japanese people because some of the soldiers burned all her rice. Do you still have any feelings of animosity towards the Japanese? if yes/no why?

WWIIGPA1934 karma

"I still don't forgive the Japanese to this day"

WWIIGPA_gf828 karma

After going through all of the negative experience with the Japanese. How would your grandfather feel if his grandson were to date / marry a Japanese girl?

WWIIGPA1579 karma

"I would not be supportive of it, neither would I be against it. From my experience, the individual Japanese person is a good person. But when in a group they can be quite mean. I once for worked for a Japanese soldier that treated me very well"

WWIIGPA_gf732 karma

Then I shall pay a visit to your grandfather solo... (NOT IN GROUPS. noted)

WWIIGPA159 karma

deuter72754 karma

How did you manage to escape the Sook Ching Massacre? Also, do you know any of your friends who were caught and never came home?

WWIIGPA1939 karma

"They caught me and locked me up in the camp one night I was with a one other cellmate and tt was made out of wood. I didn't think about running away at first but my cellmate convinced me that we should try. There were patrolling soldiers around. In the morning, we waited for the patrolling soldier to pass by. We broke a piece of wood and just ran for it. We ran as far and as fast as we could. I didn't even get his name. If we hadn't escaped we would have been sent to Thailand to work on the infamous "Death railroad"

himejirocks697 karma

I have some young Japanese on my facebook that simple don't think the Japanese portrayed in recent films could actually do such things. I find it frustrating that they can dismiss any arguments I put forth with a simple, "How do you know what happened?! You were not there!"

As someone who was "there", what would you say to someone who claims monstrosities didn't happen? Thank you for your time doing this AMA.

WWIIGPA1379 karma

"They were really that cruel. I saw two heads hanging off a bridge. If you don't believe it I cannot force you. But I have seen it."

kiwiandapple563 karma

What is the best memory that your life offered to you?

WWIIGPA1112 karma

"I worked for a jewish man, the work was not so hectic. My boss and his family treated me like family. The salary was good. The next door neighbour also had a helper like me that was also from Hainan. He provided me a lot of books because he was previously a teacher. He encouraged me to read rather than go out."

Eskipony480 karma

Teh or kopi?

Edit: asking "coffee or tea" in the Singaporean/Malay parlance

WWIIGPA551 karma


timothy558445 karma

What would you consider a miracle to be?

WWIIGPA1124 karma

"After escaping I ran across the country to a small village. I met this old man, he was alone. I asked him if I could stay for awhile. I stayed for 2-3 weeks. There was one night the Japanese came searching the village but on THAT night, I was out visiting a relative. I heard somebody got taken away."

Broketographer425 karma

I'm not sure how relevant it is to Singapore specifically but my wife speaks highly of The Rape of Nanking. Uh, the book- not the act. Her family fled Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge. Did you lose anyone along the way (she lost several family members to Pol Pot)?

Edit: My wife's family is ethnically Chinese. They fled Cambodia.

WWIIGPA604 karma

"5 or 6 of my relatives were captured. Mostly uncles and male cousins. I never saw them again"

enlilsumerian413 karma

What one thing would he change in this world if he had the power to do so?

WWIIGPA1153 karma

"There would be no weapons."

Shelium402 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. It is very brave.

As for my question, It is well known the Chinese and Japanese were very hostile in WWII. Did they treat you differently to white, British citizens? If so, better or worse?

WWIIGPA586 karma

"We were all treated badly. I worked for a jewish man and even he was put into jail"

Bkeeneme372 karma

What was the best year of his life so far and what made it that way?

WWIIGPA989 karma

"~1947, I received a letter from my girlfriend. I was planning on going back to Hainan. I previously proposed to her but she rejected me. I wasn't really affected by it in fact I was more worried if she said yes anyway. I was quite poor and I also didn't want her to suffer with me. Before I even sent her my letter to tell her I was going back to Hainan, her letter said that she was willing to follow me back to Hainan! I was ecstatic. I told her since you want to go back Hainan with me we should just settle here in Singapore."

OP here: I'm very grateful and pretty amazed by that decision. I wouldn't be here doing this today.

PM_Me_Your_Nude_Pix343 karma

What was the worst thing u witnessed during the period? Did u ever think that the war would end when u were experiencing/witnessing hardships and sufferings?

WWIIGPA783 karma

1ST Question:I saw the British soldiers being captured by the Japanese. They were tied onto the lamp-post and had their foreheads slit open to cover their eyes.

2nd Question: "I was looking forward for the American soldiers to come in. When I first saw the American planes fly over I was very happy"

thebronzejohnson331 karma

Do you know any other people still around today who experienced japanese occupation? And if so do you keep in touch with them?

WWIIGPA1199 karma

"Yes I have one friend. He is as old as me. We worked together in the Japanese camp. We used to talk on the phone a lot. I want to call him but I'm afraid to find out if he's dead"

StretsilWagon303 karma

As a man who has lived many a year, what advice would your grandad give to a young man today?

WWIIGPA891 karma

"Love the peace the experience today but always be vigilant. Be hardworking, have integrity, loyalty, Be prepared for the people that will bully you in life"

WWIIGPA919 karma

"and read more"

Sergio-Georgini179 karma

It's been four hours since you answered, but I really would appreciate if you could please ask him which books most influenced him or would recommend.

WWIIGPA332 karma

OP HERE. I don't think they would be English books because my grandfather is not very good at English. They're most probably chinese books but I will still find out what they are for you when I can.

Skele10287 karma

With so many thing to feel down about at that time, what were some simple things that you were thankful for?

WWIIGPA634 karma

"World peace, there is much less war today"

OppressedHobbit274 karma

my grandfather was from Hainan too! What does your grandfather think about the atomic bombs that was dropped on Japan? And also, what does he think of the Singaporeans post-British independence vs Singaporeans now? i.e: good vs bad

WWIIGPA481 karma

"I was quite happy. We were all suffering so much and they were big bullies and someone finally stopped them. The quality of people aren't as good as before but of course their lives are also much better than the people before. Back then, people were helpful. Now, not so much. For example, back then the Hainanese people were very helpful. Even to strangers."

fastjetjockey241 karma

As an elder that has endured wartime hardship, you have experienced things that the younger generations of today will never probably have to. What do you think will be the great challenge that the global youth of today will have to face in the next 25 to 50 years?

WWIIGPA503 karma

"I am still worried that war could possibly break out today because I feel that America today is a little afraid that China will become stronger than them. I am also still afraid Japan will invade again because of their lack of resources"


Hey you're older than LKY. have you met the guy in person?

WWIIGPA368 karma

"Nope. But he is a very smart, respectable and great man. He is not afraid of criticism from anyone. Not even his own people. He goes all out to achieve his goals"

KennotLiddat225 karma

Ah pek, thanks for doing the AMA. What is your fav song and food?

WWIIGPA459 karma

"I like the current chinese national anthem. I don't have a favourite food but I love sweet things like cakes. I have a sweet tooth."

EUREKA_200 karma

What do you think of modern day Japan? (show him pics of modern Japan)

WWIIGPA332 karma

"It looks really good"

CxCee184 karma

Do you know what happened to the Jewish family you worked for?

WWIIGPA338 karma

"The Jewish family that treated me very well ran back to India when news of the war broke out"

CxCee132 karma

Did you try to make contact with them when the war was over?

WWIIGPA266 karma

"I used to but we no longer keep in contact."

Sbprogramming178 karma

What do you think is the best invention ever?

WWIIGPA443 karma

"Phones and aeroplanes."

ElysiaCrispata162 karma

What did you do after the war?

WWIIGPA371 karma

"I sold chicken rice. I met my wife in another village that my relatives were staying at."

goryan101160 karma

Were there any "good" Japanese during their occupation of Singapore? & What were your feelings towards the British when they surrendered?

WWIIGPA289 karma

"I was very frightened when they surrendered. I was working in a rubber plantation, there was no newspaper or radio announcement that the British had surrendered. I only knew that they had surrendered once there were no more gunshots and Japanese soldiers inspecting the area"

eimieole158 karma

What do you think of today's society, concerning technology? Is it good for us to be able to automate so many tasks, meaning we need not wear out or bodies or minds?

WWIIGPA429 karma

"I prefer things to be man-made. I am afraid that one day all this technology such as robots and machines will be used for war."

poshnosh149 karma

What happened right after the surrender? Did things just immediately go back to the way it was?

WWIIGPA295 karma

"After the surrender, the British returned and everything was quite normal"

oklos106 karma

How did living through the Japanese Occupation affect your view of the Japanese? Has that changed over the years, and how/why?

WWIIGPA273 karma

"My view hasn't changed. I think the Japanese are still quite controlling and ambitious"

WWIIGPA368 karma

CONTINUED: "They are very intelligent people. But quite naughty"

chuck672690 karma

Do you smoke? If yes, what are your thoughts on the change and advancements of tobacco then and now? Do they taste better then or now?

Otherwise, in as simple words as possible, how would you describe Singapore now after seeing it grow from back in WWII times?

WWIIGPA195 karma

"I don't smoke. I feel so much happiness for Singapore."

simisaisg5082 karma

Did you have much contact with the Malays when you moved to Singapore?

Were you affected by the racial riots? And what was your stance on it?

Were there any local movies you enjoyed in the past?

Were you or any of your family members caught and made to work from the Japanese?

WWIIGPA155 karma

"I had a few Malay friends when I was young. One Malay man wanted me to marry his daughter but I had no money so I couldn't."

"I wasn't very affected by it. After going through the war I don't think much of all these matters"

"I had no time for movies. I was working all the time."

OP: I've answered this in another question!

notfated80 karma

Hi Ah Gong!

WW2 had a lot of horrid monstrosities. Did you feel very traumatised by the things you've witnessed? How did you "recover" from the war?

WWIIGPA255 karma

"After the war I was very hardworking. I was too busy to be traumatised. Everyone settled down and rebuilt their lives"

differentthanusual70 karma

Hello! I have been waiting for an interesting local AMA since forever! Thank you for doing it. What was the fondest memory you had before the war broke out?

WWIIGPA116 karma

"Working for the Jewish family"

Classifyd45 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA.

What was a typical day like for you during the Japanese occupation?

What are some things/stories (however small) from that period that you think people of today (especially the younger generation) have either forgotten or don't know about but you think worthy of remembering?

What are your thoughts on Hainanese language/dialect in Singapore today?

WWIIGPA115 karma

"It was pretty normal as there wasn't much violence. They didn't bother you much. However, there was a lack of clothing, we had to use flour bags to make clothes and that was considered pretty good. There was also a lack of food too. As for stories, after a year or two during the occupation, the businessmen that I once saw grew much more skinnier and had no money to buy belts. So they used their neckties"

i_come_from_saturn19 karma

Compared to today, back in the twenties in China and Singapore, what was gay culture like? Was the culture even something that existed back then? Was it about the same as today only now everyone makes a big deal out of it?

WWIIGPA67 karma

"Homosexuality was very rare back then. I didn't hear much about it"

remembermelover13 karma

Were they as inhumane as the movies make them out to seem during that period? What were some of the horror stories you witnessed? If you prefer not to answer I understand. There's just so much Hollywood-drenched drama around ww2 I sometimes wonder how close to the truth it is. Thank you for any answer in advance, sir!

WWIIGPA50 karma

"I have never seen any movies about the Japanese and WWII. But I have experienced first hand myself."