The Mystic East

The Mystic East

Woman's Weekly Uproar

This poem, written in Skeeter's handwriting, was found in amongst his letters and papers kept by him from WWII. It is published posthumously.

There was a P.S. at the bottom which read, "Adele Smith is the special correspondent for the Woman's Weekly in Malaya and she wrote a story about the wonderful time the boys are having in Malaya. Evidently they don't agree with her".

For those who don't know, Adele Smith was a writer for the Australian Woman's Weekly in the early 1940's and a little too upbeat in describing the activities of the Australian troops while in Malaya. Her story caused an uproar among the men - and it strained their relationships with the women at home who were under the impression that they were out carousing.

Sadly, it was not long after this poem was written that these men were taken prisoner (in February 1942).

We're not certain of authorship - if anyone has any more information, please get in touch.

You've heard of the Malayan States, the land of stink and smell,
Where you sweat while doing nothing, and the mosquitos give you hell.
Well, the AIF has landed in this corner of the East,
Where the rotten, stinking climate is not fit for man or beast.
Still, there's not much use in grumbling, conditions could be worse,
I'll just think up a few complaints and write them down in verse.

First of all is the Dhoby's Itch and burning prickly heat,
and that awful sting of Tinea that breaks out on your feet.
There are all kinds of diseases that have us in their toils,
While some of the lads are breaking out in scores of great big boils.

There are insects here in thousands, from centipedes to bugs,
And they all hop in for their nibble at us poor silly mugs.
The townships too are not so hot with big deep stinking drains,
If a man got drunk and fell in one he'd knock out all his brains.

We know all about Port Dickson and Seremban as well,
The streets of old Mallacca, the hot spots of KL.
When first we went into a shop, they took us down a treat,
But now we've learnt a thing or two, we're not such easy meat.

Another thing we do not like is the bloody awful beer,
And when I think of the Melbourne pubs, I nearly shed a tear.
There's Tiger and there's Anchor, two most popular makes,
We drink about six bottles, next morning we see snakes.
Then there's the taxi dancers, who glide around the floor,
A dollar for a book of four, no wonder we are poor.

But we are having a wonderful time, according to Adele Smith.
The millionaires and swimming pools are really just a myth.
We do not like the country, but what really makes us hot,
We'll land back in dear old Aussie, without having fired a shot.

And at the next Dawn Service, while we stand in the Domain,
Paying tribute to our comrades, who did not die in vain.
What of the second AASC? you'll hear the people say,
Why, there's the front line soldiers, the tourists from Malay.