IAMA Malaysian-born survivor of Japanese WWII POW camps. I served in the US Army during the Korean War, then became a US citizen and doctor. AMA.
My name is Dr. Paul Loong. I am of Chinese ethnicity, and was born in Malaysia (Malaya at the time) in 1923. I served as an RAF mechanic at the outbreak of World War II, then was captured by the Japanese, March 8, 1942. I was a prisoner of war for the next three and a half years.
As a POW, I worked first building a hydroelectric dam at Mitsushima, then in the copper mines at Hitachi. We were treated very badly, with 1 in 5 POWs dying due to abuse, malnutrition and illness.
During that time, I was able to keep a secret diary of my experiences in the camps.
After I was liberated on August 15, 1945, I came to the US. In an effort to become a citizen, I served in the Merchant Marine on oil tankers for several years, then served with the US Army 25th Infantry Division in the Korean War.
I was able to become a permanent resident thanks to help from a Congressman, went to college and medical school, then worked as a rehabilitation specialist for the Veterans Administration.
My daughter Theresa created a documentary about my story, "Every Day Is A Holiday," which has been shown on public television and is viewable online until July 7 here: EveryDayIsAHoliday.org
I am on Skype with my son Joseph, who is reading your questions and typing my responses.
Articles about my story: NJ Star Ledger
Update, July 6: Answering a few more questions. Thanks for submitting. Update, July 5, 7:44pm ET: Okay, I think we're going to finish up for tonight. I'll try to wrap up any additional questions tomorrow. Thanks all for participating, and you have until July 7th to watch the film online at EveryDayIsAHoliday.org ¡Vaya con dios!
Update, July 5, 4:41pm ET: We're back, answering your questions.
Update, July 5, 3:45pm ET: Thanks all for your responses and questions. We will be taking a break for dinner until about 4:30pm ET, where will resume responding to your questions. Please feel free to keep submitting.