Friday, 8 February 2008

My flat, wet country...











The country where I grew up is Indonesia.It is so different from the Netherlands. In Indonesia there were mountains, volcanoes, sawas( flooded rice fields ), kalis ( brown rivers containing crocs), coconut palms and bamboo. We lived in beautiful spacious houses, but then the war broke out and we had to give up everything, all our possessions and we were interned in Japanese concentration camps for 2 1/2 years. After the war we went to our homeland the Netherlands.No greater contrast was possible! Here were no mountains at all; more than half the country is as flat as a pancake, and wet, terribly wet! Here are also rivers but no crocs. There are flooded areas as well especially in winter, but they are beyond the dikes. There are fields separated from each other by ditches filled with water. And then of course the greatest difference is the climate with four seasons. Here are oak trees, birches, beeches and willows.
This afternoon I cycled to a neighbouring village to visit one of my friends of the Women for Peace group. She lives in a brandnew block of flats on the 13 th floor and has a magnificent view of the polders, which are so characteristic of this part of the Netherlands that is called Holland. I took some photos on my way to her house and from the balcony of her house

11 comments:

Patty said...

You have some very nice photos. Must have a lovely view from her balcony. Have a fantastic week-end.

leo1934 said...

Hi, my name is Leo and I am pleased that google send your blog to me. I was born in 1934 on Sumatra, was in Soerabaja, Moentilan and Banjoebiroe camps. Live in US. Let us establish contact and exchange experiences a bit. What was your path during the war? Love to hear from you.
Leo

reader Wil said...

Yea, the view was marvellous!

reader Wil said...

Hi Leo we are the same age! Thanks for writing!. Well I was a baby when I came to Indonesia. My parents were Dutch from Rotterdam. My father sailed from Java, where we lived in Soerabaja and later in Malang. He sailed to China and Japan.During the war my mum, two sister and I were imprisoned in the Halmaheira concentration camp in Semarang. I wrote about my life in December, which you can find on this blog as well. Please tell me of your life in Indonesia.

leo1934 said...

Thanks for responding, Wil. Yes, seems like we are only 2 months apart (me February). I have a lot of questions for you, including where you were before Halmaheira as it is my understanding that it did not become a women & children camp till 1944. My mother, brother and I were sent to Moentilan but Tante Anny (not a blood tante but Tante nonetheless) was transferred from the Soerabaja Wijk to Semarang. I also have a lot of information to share. As a matter of fact, I am writing a book about my experiences and observations in Moentilan and Banjoebiroe and I am coming along with it nicely. I have no problem crystallizing my memories. It is like I am standing there and hear and see everything, and even smell the smells. It will not be a sad story. Yes, it is about inhumane treatment, about cruelty, about suffering, about losing all of part of your life. But it really is a story about our capability to survive from day to day, to start a new life everyday, about the power of hope and determination, about hanging on to a sense of humor like a life raft.

I would much prefer, however, to exchange memories with you in a less open forum. Would that be OK with you? My e-mail address for these purposes is leo1934@sbcglobal.net. Hope to hear from you there

Enjoyed reading a number of your postings on my way to the one you wrote in Dec 2007. It is an utter riot to me to read someone writing in English and be so Dutch to the core. Nice. Lovely Blog site, BTW.

reader Wil said...

Thank you for your answer. I'll write you on your e-mail address.
This is what you wrote:"it really is a story about our capability to survive"....And that's exactly what I always say: "I don't consider myself to be a victim"..The concentration camp taught me a lot.

reader Wil said...

Hi Leo I've sent the e-mail just now!

leo1934 said...

You just said the exact same thing that I said to a friend yesterday. I am a different and better person because of the camp and what I learned from it. And I added that I would be prepared to do it all over again just for that reason. Talk to you later.

leo1934 said...

I did not get your e-mail, Wil. I may have wiped it out when I deleted my junk mail box. If you had a picture or anything like that in it, it may very will have landed in the bad box. I am so sorry. Would you mind sending it again? Terimakasi banjak.

reader Wil said...
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reader Wil said...
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