Two More Glimpses of Evelina

One

The cemetery at Stanley is very beautiful and many internee accounts testify to the, albeit temporary, feeling of peace it gave them to walk or sit there. So I was surprised when I asked Evelina, sometime in the 1990s, if she had any memories of it:

 We never went there. It was for people on the other side of camp.

 I thought this was an example of Evelina’s personal quirkiness – she had a strong sense of space, both her own and that of others. But then I found this passage in Derek Round’s book on the romance between Mutal Fielder (an internee inStanley) and Kenelm Digby (held in Sarawak):

 Looking back, it seems strange we did not see more of our Hong Kong friends while we were in the camp. One couple, who had been our closest friends we never saw at all. They live din another part of the camp, but it still seems odd we didn’t see them.[1]

 So other internees stuck to ‘their’ part of the Camp too, even when it came to visiting or not visiting friends. Emily Hahn seems to have got it right in the novel Miss Jill:

It was a crowded, insufficient sort of place, Stanley Camp, and yet somehow one drew smaller circles within the outer circle. One tried to save steps. One kept one’s working acquaintanceship within reasonable limits of distance.[2]

 Two

 It was sometime in the early 1960s. Evelina was feeling good about life:

 I wouldn’t take any of it back. Not even the time in camp.

 Thomas said nothing. He wasn’t so sure.


[1] Derek Round, Barbed Wire Between Us, 2002, 161.

[2] Emily Hahn, Miss Jill, 1948, 238.

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