‘A Packed Pint’ (April 1945)

'A packed pint'‘… A Packed Pint … ?’

After much research, the only reference to a packed pint was found in one of George Sprog’s Diaries, a fellow POW of Changi, who also turned his hand to cartooning to keep his sanity.

George writes…

“The disbursement of the rations was carried out with as much solemnity and scrutiny as a Papal election and with as many subtle points of formality involved; the slightest deviation from the norm would give rise to accusations and scandalous gossip. ‘Did you see that? Did you see that orderly give the rice a whack with a spoon as he scooped it up? Giving old Paddy a packed pint! It’s favouritism, I tell you, I’m going to complain.’” However, Des could had the freedom of mind to dream, and perhaps he was thinking to the future when again he could enjoy ‘a cold, packed pint’ at his favourite watering hole (pub).

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/changi/life/cartoons.htm

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.