November 12, 1944

The Committee ruled that camote water is community property and can no longer be boiled down into syrup exclusively for the kitchen staff.

Jerry says it is an important point that the garbage from the guardhouse kitchen for forty guards has fattened their sow and six piglets, while the leftovers from garbage of 460 internces is not enough to feed the camp sow and six piglets who run around the pen mad for food, with their sides like slats and outstanding ribs. It is no use hating Oura and Yamato. They are placed there by Manila heads with orders to do just what they are doing. It is no use to say they will pay for it because those responsible will will die by the sword as we come hack to the Islands and it avails us nothing to wreak vengeance upon the innocent ones who are left.

After a supper of luscious ground beef with rice—good servings for all—everyone felt better.

The electricity was on all day but at 7 it was turned off. Every night now the switch is pulled in town. Not only camp but Baguio is in complete blackout from 7 to 7.

I enjoy my new milk—one tablespoon of powdered milk mixed with one teaspoon of pressed butter, giving it a creamy effect, prolonging my remaining half can of milk into a month instead of two weeks. Jerry has given up trying to trade for milk. It is prohibitive.

We hear that permit is granted for us to sing patriotic songs on Thanksgiving Day and now from topside comes the practice. In complete blackout, with a brilliant dome of stars, we listen to the piano and lusty voices in distant accord singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” “God Save the King,” “God Bless America.” It is moving, how moving, tremendously impressive even though it is faint, as we drift off to early sleep.

The children come down and ask me, “Mummy, did Daddy tell you—we have a couple of handsful of extra rice in case we need it!” Yes, he had told me, during a moment of exhaustion, yet shaky with relief, how he had helped in the bodega and after all the sacks were stored in piles, he garnered bit by bit little grains of spilled rice from the cracks in the floor, a small pile of
dirty, moldly, discarded rice which would be swept up for the chickens as was done with the rest that has been left there. But he gathered a couple of handsful. even as I have watched Chinese gather it grain by grain from cracks of a godown at Hong Kong or Shanghai, watched them with a shudder in realizing that every single grain is so important as they pick it out carefully,
close to that narrow margin between life and death. Now we know how they think and feel. Like the old sow, we are running around madly in circles, turning, twisting, trying to find enough grains to keep going. This time we are the 500, not the 40 who have enough.

Now we know this too—that hungry ones were hemmed in, helpless, prisoners in another sense than ours but still prisoners, even as we are now. We must work five hours for a camote. We get 300 grams while our conquerors get 600. We watch their pig grow fat while we and our pig grow lean and weak, yet we are surrounded by little Formosans in tin shelters and tin hats, with bullets and bayonets which gleam even in the total darkness. A telephone could call more soldiers to kill any revolt. And besides all this, there is a growing languor, dizziness, shakiness, heaviness, lassitude. Not all of us feel it yet, but more do each week, even with tablet vitamins. Hemmed in by those who feel superior to us, with growing famine even on the outside of our fence, we know that it is hopeless to move or rebel. There is only one way—to take it. Help can come only from beyond, out where there is strength and no hunger, out where there is growing force to fight the captors. Even as an observer’s thinking may be changed for life after watching such a condition, turning him toward a desire to help from then on such hopeless, helpless people, so should our thoughts change direction from now on, to devote our lives toward solving the great complex world problem of distribution, so that nowhere can 500 starve while 40 become fat. Revolution does not need to be revenge or complete turnover of class, but a basic change toward equal distribution, a turning over to a new standard and attitude.