Life and Death  

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Today I celebrate 31 years of what I can only describe as a frantic hodge-podge of anarchy, bliss, innocence, inner turmoil and unmitigated orgasms. Yes folks, it is this humble author's birthday.

In commemoration of this non-momentous occasion, I decided to read up on articles that talked about a sinister chapter of Philippine history. This dark day in 1942 was the day that one of our country's worst war crimes was committed, and forever etched into the annals of Philippine history. Today is anniversary of the Bataan Death March.

On April 9, 1942 - waaaaay before I was born - more than 60,000 Filipino prisoners-of-war were forcibly transferred from the Bataan peninsula to prison camps, traversing a distance of close to 100 kilometers, while enduring tremendous physical abuse, disease and starvation. The Death March also included close to a thousand Filipino-Chinese civilians and nearly twelve thousand Americans. Many of those who were forced to endure the cruelty of this event died of hunger, disease, and the sheer utter brutality of the Japanese.

While I owe all this information to Wikipedia, simply reading about this very important piece of our history sort of put me in perspective. I can only imagine the scenes of despair that took place during that long walk to uncertainty. To think that the high death toll was never accurately accounted for was for me a testament of how hard it was to live in those days. I certainly gained a different kind of respect for my heritage, and I am ashamed to admit that it took me 31 years to think about learning more about the tragic event that coincided with the day I was born.

In May of 2009, in behalf of the Japanese government, ambassadors met with Bataan Death March survivors in San Antonio Texas during their last annual reunion to extend their government's apology. Talk about long overdue.

The Bataan Death March made me think about Japan in a whole new light. From now on Japan will no longer simply be about anime or short skirt Japanese school uniforms, or even Maria Ozawa. The thought of all the suffering that those people went through simply makes a shiver run down my spine. Respect.

Being born on a day that commemorated the deaths of thousands definitely makes a person think about his own existence. It doesn't just mess up your psyche, it also makes you happy to be alive today. It's time I move on with my march.

2 comments

woah, you are almost half of my age now. anyways, a happy happy birthday.

some tsorbas said to better understand our purpose, one must discover the events of our birthdate. i am glad that you found meaning on april 9. kudos.

blessed shall you be!

thanks yas!

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Stories from the Simian Crease by Binchee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.
Based on a work at binchee.blogspot.com