Having only this evening viewed a truly remarkable (and sobering) documentary on BBC2 TV, The Fall of Singapore: The Great Betrayal, I was reminded of the recent death of that delightful and much admired satirical artist, Ronald Searle.
He was stationed in Singapore when it fell to the Japanese, and he was imprisoned first in Changi Jail and then taken as a slave labourer on the infamous Siam-Burma Death Railway.
It is not bad taste, I’m convinced, to present this mordant poésie trouvée as a tribute to a great honorary Frenchman, since it is in his own words.
A Way of Seeing.
‘My friends and I,
we all signed up together,’
he recalled. ‘Basically
all the people we loved and knew,
and grew up with, simply
for the nearest bamboo.’
*Quoted verbatim from the Daily Telegraph obituary column, 3 January 2012. Ronald Searle, acclaimed as one of the world's greatest satirical artists, died 30 December 2011, aged 91.