Diary of Albert E. Holland

November 24, 1944

Nov. 24th

No action – It is interesting to note how intelligent people can torture themselves. Perhaps they derive pleasure from this torture – a form of masochism – Internees who for perhaps fairly sound reasons believed that our troops would be in Manila by the middle of December, now argue with much less reason that they will not be able to take Manila until April or May, that they will isolate Luzon and starve the Japanese (adding “and us”). They add sentences like this to newspaper reports of the progress of a relief ship: “The Japanese add that supplies will only be sent to Manila if conditions permit.” These people see us all dying, They almost gloat over a future mound of bones in front of the Main Building –

My view is that we can hope for release by Xmas – Let us pin our hopes on that date, but not too tightly, for we may wish to shift to New Years Day – There will be deaths – That is true – But let us do everything to prevent as many as possible – Let us care for the sick,

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give up part of our rations for the children, and cheer up the aged – Let us remember that only by self sacrifice can this period of suffering be made endurable – The old “dog-eat-dog” life should not exist now. Let each of us set an example to the others – then when release comes, we shall be able to look back on these days, our bitterness and sadness lessened by the knowledge that we made all the sacrifices we possibly could to help each other.

This possibly sounds like drivel and rot to you – But I still believe that “forgetfulness of self” is the best way to endure suffering. And “Good humor is the finest mark of courage.”

I saw Clair & José Ossorio26 this evening – Claire has a very bad case of Beriberi, José is thin and needs an operation, – The children look pale – they have no stocks of supplemental food – I cannot understand why José, who is so wealthy in his own name and has a wealthy father, does not buy up milk, butter, beans & bacon & sugar. they are all available (milk P 120 per can, butter P 40, beans P 120 per kilo, bacon P 150 per kilo, sugar P 130 per kilo – good P.I. pesos). Suppose it costs him P 10,000 ?– He

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has at least 20-30 times that in the bank. He could buy

15 cans milk P 1,950
30 can butter P 1,200
10 kg beans P 1,200
10 kg bacon P 1,500
20 kg sugar P 2,600

P8,450

This would last the 5 of them at least 1 month – But both Jess and José seem hipped on saving money – Luis is different – He has spent a great deal of money – As a result he & his family are fine. If M.J. were here, he would do everything for us – Actually, the company people have been treated very shabbily – In 3 years I have received only about P 4500 equivalent in purchasing power (taking the Purchasing at the various times payments were made) to approx. P 1100 or about 5 weeks salary – I have had to borrow the equivalent of P 3200 in good pesos payable after the war – (3 months salary) and even this has not been enough – As I say, if M.J. had been here, it would have been different –

 

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