A 94 year old Ex POW has told me that ‘Sahibs’ is Malayan for ‘Officers’
However, the more accurate definition of Sahib is: sir or master used especially among the native inhabitants of colonial India when addressing or speaking of a European of some social or official status.
‘Food supply and the maintenance of health were the most critical problems to be faced. After the first fortnight, during which British army rations were issued, prisoners had to make do with the Japanese ration scales, which consisted mainly of rice, and it was only gradually that the cooks devised means of making it palatable. Apart from rice, a little tea, sugar and salt were issued, together with the occasional ration of meat or fish. The Japanese refused to allow Red Cross relief parcels to be distributed, so any supplementing of the meagre rations depended on the ingenuity of the prisoners themselves. It was not difficult to find one’s way out of the camp, and some of the more intrepid prisoners would forage among the old British Army dumps and sell their finds at black market prices.’
‘Hunger became a constant companion, and the men soon realised that they would need to rely on themselves for food etc. There was only very primitive tools for the men to dig latrines, clean quarters, fill bomb craters, collect and cut wood for the cooking and many other jobs.’