31 Dec. 1941

The year ends today. President Quezon has declared a three-day holiday. A number of shops have put up signs saying “Happy New Year”. Such wishes seem cruelly cynical.

Very little news. Evasive communiqués. There’s talk of Japanese reinforcements landing in the north. Everyone is deeply worried and has difficulty hiding it. It’s as though we are at the bedside of someone very dear whose life is hanging by a thread. One clutches at the slightest hope: “No bad news is good news.” Many are worried about their assets and are trying to put them somewhere safe. No more air raids on Manila since last Sunday. A few alerts. This morning numerous explosions from the direction of Pasay. I was walking along the boulevard with an Englishman — very typically English — and he was unsparing in his criticism of the Americans.

Life goes on. The nightclubs are reopening. Yesterday to the cinema to see the delectable Deanna Durbin in a new film with Charles Laughton [It Started with Eve]. He acts exceptionally well — the part of a sick old man whose life refuses to leave him.

Will we weather the cape of 1 January?

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