Friday, June 17, 2011

The Death Railway

Who would ever think that beneath this lovely scene lie the harrowing stories of the brutalities of war, of shattered dreams, and of thousands of lives lost?

This postcard features the Kanchanaburi portion of the infamous Death Railway which was constructed during the Second World War. Thousands of prisoners of war (POWs) were forced to work on a railway that was used to transport the supplies of the Japanese Imperial Army.
"The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar). Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre." - Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

About 130 kilometers of the original 415-km line, which used to connect Ban Pong, Thailand to Thanbuyuzayat, Burma, are still operational today. Parts of abandoned route have been converted into walking trails. Proposals to rebuild the complete railway have been made, but not one of the plans has been realized due to the immense work and large amount of money the reconstruction project entails.

To honor the suffering and death of thousands of prisoners and laborers in the construction of the Death Railway, several memorials have been built along the route from Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

I thank Kulnita for sending me this postcard. It urged me to revisit history and draw parallelism to the experiences of the Philippines and Thailand during the World War II. We both have sad stories to tell, but they are the tales worth telling over and over again. LEST WE FORGET.

I would also like to share the wonderful stamp used by Kulnita to send the postcard.

The card also bears the stamp of the Mueang Sing Historical Park in Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi province, Thailand.

Wishing you meaningful and happy journeys...

This is my first entry to Postcard Friendship Friday
hosted by Beth of The Best Hearts Are Crunchy
Postcard Friendship Firday


  1. Nice card from Thailand! I also got my first card from there, kaso parang ad card yata. haha :-D Same stamp used. ^^

    Hope I can read, and write, Thai. :-)

  2. It must be an exceptional journey to make, remembering all those people along the way.

  3. One would never imagine looking at this scene with its colourful flowers how much suffering had gone into making the line. Good to be reminded of the past.

  4. Thanks for visiting Eros, Aimee, Sheila, and Joy. :)

  5. Such a beautiful place now. Several movies made about the building of this railway. Happy PFF!

  6. The flowers in front make it look so nice. But that is a brutal route for the railway.