SEAC, The Services Newspaper of South East Asia Command, August 15th 1944

Priests of The Yellow Robe NEMESIS IN THE PACIFIC By Major E. W. SHEPPARD /JJ.REAT things have been hap­ pening in the Far East while we have been so preoccupied with the European War. Spare a few minutes from your contemplation of German revolt. Russian advances, Nor­ mandy offensives. and flying bombs, to survey the war in the Orient. The main centre of interest is the American drive into the heart of the Japanese island de­ fences in the Southern Pacific. Starting with the conquest of the Caroline Islands north of New Guinea, it has now penetrat­ ed to the Marianas, where Sai­ pan has been occupied deeply, and Guam and Tinian, to the south of Saipan, are now being attacked a n d .••••••...................... will fall shortly. This places our Allies within 1.200 miles of Japan itself, and only the Vol­ cano and Bonin groups serve as bastions in between. The Philippines, the first big Jap conquest of the war, are about the same distance from the Marianas to the west, and beyond them is the main sea line of communication with all the Japanese armies in South China, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, and all the territories and islands in between.* Which way will the next Allied thrust go? Unprepared The enemy would give much to know. But it has been one great merit of General Mar- Arthur's and Admiral Nimitz’s strategy that he has always been kept guessng as to the direction in which they will strike. Another example of this may be seen farther south. Here the conquest of New Guinea is as good as complete. The 45,000 Japanese encircled about Aitape failed in their desperate attempts to break out of the ring of death. The fate of the 55 000 Japanese trapped in the islands of the Bi*- mark Archipelago is equally as­ sured. The enemy will make no • The war against Japan is well in hand, says President j j Roosevelt. This global map shows how near (in Pacific terms) • j the Allies now arc to their two main objectives—the • : Philippines and the Jap homeland. Pacific HQ has moved now : • to Saipan ( SEAC 12 Aug ). : ¦ ; .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... attempt to save them, for he knows .that it would be as vain as it would be costly. But with all this great island group in the South-Western Paci­ fic in Allied hands as a base for further operations, the Japanese High Command faces the question whether we shall use it to launch the southern prong of a two­ pronged attack against the Philip­ pines, or for an offensive west­ ward against the Celebes and Timor, and eventually the Dutch East Indies. Precautions have ' to be taken to guard against either, and there are now none too many Japanese troops to go round. So much for the maritime theatre of the Far Eastern war. In the land theatres the cam­ paign in Burma, after sustained and ferocious fighting by Gen Slim's army has ended in a dis­ astrous setback for the enemy. He has been fiung back to the borders of Burma, to the posi­ tions from which he set out. and has nothing to show for his offen­ sive but heavy losses. W ith th e liq uid ation of Myity kyina the way will be clear to drive the Ledo road through to this area—a long steo forward to its eventual Imk- up with the old Burma Road into China. time, for China is the only dark spot in a generally cheerful Far Eastern war picture. Bid For China The Japanese, exploiting to the full what they no doubt suspect will be the last chance of dealing with her in isolation from her Allies, are pressing her hard in the centre and south. We’ can still do little—too little - —to help China in her hour of need. She can on'y be sure that whatever she loses will, with our help, eventually be retrieved. Nevertheless, the Far Eastern war as a whole is going well for us—better than we had any right to hope or to expect at this stage, when" the greatest Allied effort is necessarily being directed to the complete overthrow of Germany. Indeed, we have good reason to hope that when we are at length able to turn the whole of our strength eastwards, the crushing of Japan may be effect­ ed much sooner than at one time seemed possible. Recent events in the Fax East give ample encouragement for thi«s belief. Nazis Face Oil Crisis pR O M Pleesti to St. Nazaire, Germany's oil supply is going up in flame and billowing black smoke. In this last great battle of the war Hitler’s oil has be­ come Priority Target No. 1 for Allied air power. His re­ fineries, synthetic petrol plants and oil and petrol storage ins­ tallations from Rumania to the Bay of Bscay have been, and are still being, subjected to concen­ trated bombardment from Britain and Italy on a scale comparable wilh that of ihe attack against his aircraft plants. Sixty Attacks History may yet show this assault to be the most important air action of the war. Without oil Germany is beaien. A modern army does not march on its stomach It marches on oil . . . oil for its tanks, armour­ ed cars, ammunition, planes, self-propelled artillery: for its troop trucks, its motor-cycles, ambulances, even its small arms And even if it did march on its stomach, it must have oil for the lorries that bring up the food There must be oil for the plants producing the arms for the Army. There must be o I for ihe planes that support the Army. There must be oil for the sh ps that bring raw material to the factories, oil for the submarines that war against the enemy s supply lines, and oil for the fast torpedo-boats that menace the enemy's sea commun'.cations. Without oil the modern battle j* lost. And Hitler is fast losing his oil. Since mid-May the Allied Air Forces have carried out more than 60 major attacks on the oil­ fields. refineries and storage installations upon which the Ger­ man armed forces depend for their supplies. Output Halved Until recently one-third of Germany’s refined 0:1 products came from Ploesti. Another thir<1 came from synthetic oil plants mostly within the Reich. Plcesti has been virtually eli­ minated for refining purposes. It is reliably reported that only one of its refineries is still working— and even that one survivor may have been damaged. It is probably safe to say that the attacks have, at least tem­ porarily, reduced the Rumanian industry's working capacity of over 10,000.000 tons to below the present level of local crude oil output of round 5.500.000 tons a year. Tanks Ran Dry At the same time attacks on communications and mine-laying in the Danube must have created tremendous transport problems— problems which will, in the end, deny the Nazis access to more than a fract:on of even the reduc­ ed production of Rumania. G;ermanv s synthetic oil plants have been dealt with in similar fashion. At least 14 of the largest synthetic petrol plants in the Reich have been badly smash­ ed. Some fdea of the importance of the attacks on these targets can be gained from the fact that e;ght of them alone, all bombed at least once, formerly provided 3.500.000 tons a year. Considerably mere than 50 per CROSSWORD cent, of the oil which the Ruhr used to produce is now lost to the enemy. The Wehrmacht faces major offensives on three fronts. The battle front is always the last place on which the shortage of any essential becomes evident, but there are already signs that the Allied attacks have to be met with inadequate supplies of petrol and oil. Advancing Allied troops have found tanks abandoned by the wayside for want of fuel, and there are frequent signs that Rommel is desperately hoarding every drop of oil available. Behind the three land battles signs of acute oil and petrol shortage are multiplying. The German army is using an increas­ ing amount of horse-drawn trans­ port, in back areas. Electric barges are replacing Diesel vessels on canals and rivers. In the air it is the same story. The petrol quota of some Luft­ waffe squadrons is known to have been cut. Squadrons are even compulsorily grounded for one day a week, while the Luftwaffe has introduced a system of elemen­ tary flying training on gliders instead of power aeroplanes to save fuel in the service flying schools. VICTOR LEWIS 29 3? 34. 30 3 1 33 1 35 38 36 37 MOWN 1 Bitterly pungent. 2 Envy 3 Custom. 4 A boat. 5 Pronoun. 6 Incline. 7 Bud. 8 Go in curves. 10 That which tear*. 12 Place for luggage. 14 Chess opening. 17 Edge. 18 Through. 21 Sliver coin. 22 Trim. 24 Storms. 25 Sharpen. 27 Lubricated. 28 Boredom. 30 Blackthorn. 21 Animals. 3i) Scholar. ACROSS 2 Scotch game. 9 Shut 11 Light. 13 Be very keen. 15 Valley. 16 Correction. 17 Smart blow. 19 Adversary. 23 Shadow;. 24 F;le. 2 G Rushed. 29 Formal statement. 32 Edible lungus. 33 Tall support. 34 For. 3$ Decoration. 37 Bira. 38 Happy. umma o a fdHS am EE BO ana oF l E ED s n c a n cio T El N i O . N S I j=. I L Catafalque of bamboo and tinsel in which the body of the monk is cremated. Writer of this artlclc, the Yen G. Appleton, the Archdea­ con of Rangoon, came out«4o Burma as an S.P.G. missionary in lf)27 and has worked mainly among the Burmese. During the retreat he and h's wife organised convalescent homes in Maymyo for British troop.i. He is now acting as Director of Public Relations lor the Gov­ ernment of Burma. J^VERYWHERE in Burma you will see signs of the Buddhist religion—the great Shwc Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon, the graceful little white pagodas crowning every hill of any height, monas­ teries with their 7-spired roofs, and. more typical still, the Bud­ dhist monk. His possessions are less than those of any Commando-—a begging bowl, the three yellow garments which make up his robe, a girdle, a filter to strain out insects from his water lest he unwittingly take life, a razor to shave his head, a needle to mend his robe and. sometimes, a large fan to shield his gaze from women. He is the poorest man in Burma, yet the most res­ pected. Village Hero Sometimes he may remember the day when he forsook the world, gave up home and the hope of wife and family. On that day he was the hero of the village: dressed as a prince and riding on a pony, he processed round the village escorted by happy companions, until he came to the gate of the monastery, when he laid aside his princely clothes, shaved his head and took hie vows. There may have been echoing in his ears the words of Lerd Buddha to the first monks. “Go ye O monks, and wander forth for the gain of the many, for the welfare of the many, in compassion for the world, for the good, for the gain, for the wel­ fare of gods and men. Proclaim, O monks, the Doctrine glorious, preach ye a life of holiness, per- and puxc.'^^ In the monastery he lives according to rule. In the early morning he meditates before a statue of the Buddha, then goes the round ol the village with his begging bowl held before him, eve« modestly cast down while the devout Burmese women come and make their offerings of food. He never says ‘ thank you,” for is he not doing the lay folk a good turn by giving them oppor­ tunities of merit? To feed the menks or building a pagoda is a most meritorious deed. After the morn ms round he re­ turns to the monastery, eats his fill of the food in his begging bowl, and then teaches the boys in the monastery school or studies the Scriptures. He never eats after noon. Nirvana He does not mix much with the outside world, except perhaps to read the Scriptures to a small gathering or expound the 8-fold path which leads to release from worldly existence and 1o Ihe calm bliss of Nirvana. And when he dies there will be a magnificent funeral, which will be the occa­ sion of a local holiday and fair, for the faithful do not doubt that their good monk has reached Nirvana's goal. So the burn ins of the saint's bodv is a matter not for sadness but for joy. Every Burmese boy becomes a monk for a time—until he does so he is not regarded as a grown­ up member of the Buddhist Church. He may stay in the A TRIBUTE TO LONDON Once more, great C:ty, yours to show the world That dauntless face which gave the nations pride: When first Ihf* foe this dread armaria hurled. We lovpd you most, who saw you crucified. And knew, hearts burning, that from out your pain A s'ronger England would come forth attain. * * * The baffled enemy his mindless toy (Fit emblem of a race whose soul has fled!) Now launches: and a tongue, with ghoulish joy, Proclaims for news another Cockney dead. A lie again! They stand, who shared your str.fe. For ever. London, partners in your life. - A. C. TARBAT. monastery for only a week or two, more likely a whole Lent, and. in some cases, a whole life time. Before the Jap invasion, there were 120.000 monks in Burma out of a total population of 17 million. They do no manual work but are supported by the people. They need not even preach, for their aim is personal salvation, to get free from all ill- will, ignorance and selfishness, to crush out all lust, wanting, re­ sentment and so attain the great peace. A few became monks out of desire for an easy life. Here and there, you might find a criminal hiding his identity under the yellow robe. Some of the younger monks get caught up in politics, but the great body of them are good monks. A few monks helped the Japs, and the Japs often disguised their spies in yellow robe. But The village priest. the large majority of monks, particularly the country ones, were men of pe»ce, living their quiet religious life. The. Burman reveres the monk; he calls him Pon-jee which means “Great Glorv.” and use* a whole set of honorific words when speaking to him. To treat the monks with respect will gain the respect of the Burmese people, and will enlist a great spiritual force in the task of making Burma a peaceful, honest and happy country again.
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