Bandages were in short supply so they developed a mean of sticking latex over dressings which was used extensively by the medicos. Sewing needles were made from bicycle spokes. Due to the lack of cloth, clothes were patch with latex, not the best look but effective.
This image of Des Bettany’s artwork has been reproduced with permission from the book ‘Don’t Ever Again Say “It Can’t Be Done”’ published by The Changi Museum, Singapore.
‘And with the latex that came out of the rubber trees – latex which the Japanese regarded as useless because the wicked British Imperialists had destroyed all the coagulant as they retreated – with this some planters soled boots and shoes. They coagulated the latex – crudely but effectively – by urinating in it. A little sand added to the hardening fluid, and there was a tough sole for a shoe.
With the same material, they devised a means of patching clothes – cotton having vanished from our lives – and of preparing an adhesive tape for medical dressings.’
Source: The Naked Island by Russell Braddon; 1955 edition Pan Books Ltd, Pg 246