Singapores James Bond
||HE was slapped, whipped,
punched, kicked and clubbed for two hours by
two stick-wielding Japanese soldiers.
But Mr Tan Chong Tee,
then 27, refused to answer the soldiers
questions on the whereabouts of some comrades
that they were trying to capture.
nothing," he kept saying stubbornly.
That was March
26, 1944, when Mr Tan was captured by the
Japanese during a crackdown of underground
espionage organisations in Ipoh.
Now, 53 years later,
the sprightly 81-year-old retiree who lives in an
apartment at Cavenagh Road still remembers clearly
the physical pain and agony he went through.
Japanese hit me with their hands, their legs and
wooden sticks," he recalled, speaking in
wanted to beat me up until I could no longer
withstand the pain. But I was determined not to say
anything. I knew that being captured by Japanese
meant only death.
didnt matter whether I told them anything or
Click to hear
Mr Tan Chong Tee (in Mandarin)
And he would be
tortured again...and again, during the 18 months that
he was imprisoned.
"My back and
chest were badly injured and I soon passed out,"
he said of the first time he was beaten.
"When I came to
later, I found myself drenched in water. The soldiers
went on torturing me and I fainted several times.
"But there was no
way they could get me to talk. I was prepared to lay
down my life for my comrades."
For food, he was given
only three or four pieces of rotten sweet potato
daily. Sometimes, he had to go hungry for days.
He and his comrades
were locked up in separate cells which measured less
than 0.37 square metres each.
There was only one
barred window in his cell. The walls were stained
with blood and filth.
The bed was made up of
four pieces of plank nailed together, while the
toilet was nothing more than a broken bucket.
He often heard screams
coming from the torture chambers.
"Many a time, I
saw young men and women being taken inside and the
Japanese would torture them in every imaginable way.
The prisoners were subjected to brutal acts like
burning, electrocution and whipping.
"By the time the
torture sessions had ended, they had to be carried or
Today, Mr Tan
Chong Tee is a sprightly 81- year -old, who
paints and writes books.
|Mr Tan was not fearful of losing
his own life. But after his leader, Mr Lim Bo
Seng, was tortured to death, he vowed to stay
alive so that he could tell others about Mr
Lims heroism and seek justice for those
comrades who had perished.
"It was this
thought that kept me going
we lived in
the hope that we would one day escape from
this hellish place."
As Mr Tan was
an important prisoner, the Japanese did not
Japanese surrendered, he was released on the
condition that he changed his name and
severed all ties with his past.
He must also never
return to Malaya. The Japanese knew that they had to
destroy evidence relating to the espionage case as
they would soon be tried for their war crimes.
Mr Tan accepted the
terms. While he was being escorted to a new life in
Japan, he escaped when his train stopped at Ipoh.
After the war, Mr Tan
became a businessman and raised a family. But till
this very day, his wartime experiences are still
vividly imprinted in his mind.
Next: Find out how Mr Tan had to
sacrifice his loved ones.
Chee Beng's start page
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