‘Just De-Bugging My Dear, That’s All!’

' De-bugging'‘Just De-bugging My Dear, That’s All!’

De-bugging was the process of bashing furniture on the floor with the intention that most of the insects and bugs within would drop out!
Des used to tell of one of the POW’s jobs when Japanese combat troops arrived at Changi for a good rest. The POW’s were forced to debug the transit camp, which they did, but they also planted ‘bed bugs’ into the bedding, which they would collect for days. Des recalled the joy the allied troops had when seeing these Japanese soldiers in the early hours of the morning expel themselves from the barracks, scratching themselves all over. So much for a good night’s sleep!!
‘Lice were another matter. They dug into the clothing and into the individual where they irritated and festered. We only really got rid of them when the British arrived and disinfected and deloused us individually.’
Source: You’ll Never Get Off The Island by Keith Wilson; 1989, Pg 50

In order to cope, I believe, most men surrounded themselves in their own personal and protective armour. Mine, as I have already written, was work, an almost obsessive sense of duty; for others it was humour or religious faith; and for nearly all of us, it was the setting of a deadline: ‘home by Christmas’ or ‘home for my wife’s birthday, or some other date of personal significance. In establishing a mental goal to work towards we were focussing on a future life which we could anticipate living and, in the process, attempt to reject the reality of what we were experiencing, deferring our disappointment. Keeping an ‘end point’ in mind, even though deep down we know it was artificial, gave us hope – one of the most powerful weapons in the limited armoury of defence we could own. If we were to not only survive but also remain sane, it was all we could do.

Source: A Doctors War, by Dr Rowley Richards, pg 157, Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.