I didn’t have to, but I did. It was an order, what other choice did I have? I was merely a low level officer; the power was in Hiroto’s hands. She broke the camp rules, outside dealings, but did she? It was medicine to save innocent women, innocent women who have been caught up in a war for power, which has resulted in the women becoming the powerless, and me the powerful. Each day I have to dig deep, keep on digging I tell myself, for reasons to be here; pride, family honour, dignity for my people, remember what father said; Japanese are the ones who made the Europeans rich, yet for hundreds of years the Europeans looked down upon us, now it’s Japan’s turn, still, my moral conscience has clouded my mind to the atrocities that I have seen, a short time ago I was a teacher of a class with half Japanese and half European, and they couldn’t see any differences, they looked to the inside, why can’t these officers look to the inside, morality in children is a quality that is needed now, yet I see the children in the camp being bashed by that brute Tomiashi, I want to help, but Japan is now powerful, Japan must prevail.
I passed the fuel to Tanaka, my hand trembling, I wanted to latch onto the bottle, throw it away, throw all this away, is this how far we have come, is the power really worth this? Ablaze, my eyes cloud while I have to control myself not to react, I must be strong in front of these European women, the powerful are not weak, they have oppressed me, although I cannot see it, them crying is the first instance of any reminisce of human emotion since I left my teaching job in the village, I didn’t want to leave the students, but the European students had fled with their families and we had instilled in our minds that the powerful nation would prevail, but is power worth this? I feel the confusion and anguish drop over me like a sheet of cold rain that chills you to your spine, this is wrong, this is wrong, but it’s for the great nation, we will be powerful, my stomach feels queasy. Days pass, although I feel no time as my soul feels extinguished, another lady…she merely spoke, she merely spoke I whisper to myself, this is becoming too much, but I tie her to the posts, and insert the sharp bamboo into the ground, she has disrespected the Emperor she must honour the flag, stuff the emperor I say to myself, as I watch this innocent women struggle in the Sumatran sun as she fights to stay upright and avoid being impaled.
Let me run over, let me free her, please! I tell my heart, I plead with my heart, but my brain prevents me, it’s for the nation, we will be powerful, but somehow that ideology is not what drives me to watch on, I am emotionless while watching this torture being committed, stuff the emperor, I clench my fists. The choir lady runs over with water, God bless her, humanity! It was not to be, Tomiashi yells and I have to intervene, emotion takes over me, “I’m sorry” I tell her “I’m sorry”, now I know that my heart and my mind are as one, no amount of power is worth this, this innocent women should not be here, she should be at home with her loving family, as should I, she’s so beautiful, I miss her, my wife… it is only good luck that it is not her who is baking in the sun, my mind is made, stuff the emperor. Japan loses, Captain Tanaka and the other leading officers talk about the dishonour, the poverty that Japan will now endure, I look out the window of the officers’ quarters, and see the women smiling and cheering while Colonel Hirota tells them the news, they are now the powerful, and I am the powerless, I smile. By Fergus Neal
Statement of Intention
Upon taking a wider viewing of the film and seeing the obvious conflicts at play, I forced myself to look deeper and see the not so obvious conflicts that are omnipresent in the bystander characters. I chose to write a creative piece from the perspective of one of the guards who only features shortly in the film, has no name, but can be noted for saying a small but intriguing “sorry” to Daisy when she attempts to give Susan water, as if the emotion is starting to come to effect within him, and in citing this I chose to write a creative piece on his perspective and the inner conflict as well as conflict with the whole situation that he has faced that has culminated in him showing humility and apologizing to Daisy for not being able to allow water to be given to the tortured Susan.
I chose to write in a formal way, but with a creative sense of writing present throughout which allowed me to delve deeper and actually place myself in this man’s shoes. My piece is for the audience of my teacher and fellow class mates as they should be able to comprehend the ideas that I am trying to convey through having seen, and understood the key aspects of the film. The purpose of this creative piece is to demonstrate how conflict occurs between the powerful and powerless, but also how those in power may experience their own internal conflict in looking deeper into power and how it can cause a sense of inner conflict in relation to that person’s values.