This December, it will be 75 years since the Pacific War broke out.
A war that completely changed our world, as its aftermath swept the colonial empires of Britain, France and The Netherlands into history’s dustbin.
During a “textbook campaign”, the Japanese forces conquered the best part of South-East Asia and reached nearly all their planned goals. Their ninety day campaign revealed the Allies’ staggering level of un-preparedness and their almost suicidal underestimation of Japanese capabilities and equipment.
My short story “A Rude Awakening” (to be included in the November boxset) highlights the beginning of the war, as seen through the eyes of several characters based in Singapore. The story describes how the complacent mood is rudely destroyed by the Japanese attacks and the desperate efforts to stem the tide with totally inadequate and insufficient means.
Here is a fragment, describing life in Singapore as jotted down by an American reporter:
“For two whole years now Europe has been at war, but the conflict barely has scratched the surface of life in Singapore where the British “Raj” still sedately rules. Under the swaying punkahs at Raffles Hotel, curry tiffin is served daily to the Gentlemen and Ladies of the Empire. Despite the broiling hot and saturatingly humid weather, they are all fully dressed in tropical suits, complete with starched shirts, collar and tie plus the odd Panama hat, while the ladies wear summer cotton dresses and large, wilting straw bonnets.”
He took a sip of his beer while he thought about his next lines.
“Whenever someone disturbs the complacent mood by voicing his concern about the warlike rumblings coming from far-off Japan, it is met with derisive laughter. Never will the Japanese be foolish enough to start a war, if only because of the great Royal Navy!”
Or, summing it all up in the Boxset’s cover blurb:
Singapore, December 1941; the fortress sleeps, still believing its own tales of strength and invulnerability. A rigidly class based society throws garden parties and dines sedately, disregarding the slowly growing number of warning signals. Suddenly, the underestimated enemy ferociously attacks and the myth of invincibility is shattered forever.
The boxset will be released on Kindle.