« Curry ExpressMainQuote of the Day from AFP »

Death Railway

My guidebook notes that most people are disappointed when they see the River Kwai Bridge, which is odd as it looked exactly how I expected it to look. Maybe they expect it to have more architectural merit, like a Sydney harbour bridge dropped into the jungle, or maybe I should have more of an imagination the next time I head off to look at an unknown bridge. Ironically, the movie about it was filmed in Sri Lanka so I guess I could have gone to see the fictitious bridge without even leaving home.

In the centre of Kanchanaburi, the Death Railway Museum covers the atrocities involved in the construction of the railway line and it's interesting and informative. Then, once you've finished going around it you walk into the cafe which has a panoramic window that looks out across the prisoner of war cemetery. Nicely done.

What surprised me about the whole thing was to discover that most of the people who died building the railway line into Burma weren't prisoners of war but Asians forced to do it by the Japanee; Tamils, Malays and Chinese brought up from Malaysia, an workers from Burma. 42,000 workers brought from Malaysia died, 40,000 Burmese died, and around 13,000 Allied prisoners died - but the Asians, who are in the vast majority, are hardly ever mentioned at all.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)