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Through My Mother's Eyes by Michael McCoy (Read 12943 times)
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Through My Mother's Eyes by Michael McCoy
Apr 14th, 2010, 7:43am
 
This is the second recent attempt to publish a bogus memoir vandalizing the history of civilian internment in the Philippines during WWII.  The comment paragraphs followed by the review were written by Sascha Jansen, who was interned at Santo Tomas as a child.  Mike  

Hi All.

McCoy just won the Northern Calif Screenwriters Award for his script on the book of LIES. Go to DocMcCoy web page and it will get you into the award page. Click Screenplays and it will tell you more. I do not know under what criteria they determine how people win, but I can bet, they would not like to hear about the fact he is selling this under false pretenses.

We can all write letters to the Screenwriters Guild just to peak their interest and raise questions.

We made the UST project not happen. What say we do the same here. Angus and I can run separate letters under BACEPOW and I can include the book report. Let me know.

Aloha - Sascha
THROUGH MY MOTHER’S EYES by Michael McCoy with Jean Marie Heskett.  Strategic Book Publishing. New York, New York

Here we go again, boys and girls. Hang on for another wild ride through the depths of Never Never Land. How I love this stuff!

Meant to be a factual account of the perils, misadventures and Eloise type imagery of a 6 year old girl child as she enters the gates of the Civilian Prison Camp of Santo Tomas, the author turns this biographical tale of WWII in the Philippines into a deep, deceiving, sink - hole of fiction. Watch your step.

I do not altogether fault the author, McCoy, in this often startling tale of hurling stories of untruths set through the dates of January, 1942 – April, 1945. After all, these tales of intrigue were dictated by his mother to her son to tell her “own” account of the war. As a journalist, however, McCoy failed miserably by not verifying any of the facts. A good journalist does extensive research on an important piece of history. Michael McCoy, with his mother, Jean Marie Heskett, had a great collaborative idea how to tell a good story. However, the stories are too good in part, telling the reader more than meets the eye.

If writers could just relate real stories without peppering the truths with horrific fabrications, they would really have a masterpiece of adventure.
Why is it they feel the necessity to add “real historical facts” of out and out lies?  So many of us who were in the same situation know better and are still alive to point fingers and say, “This Did Not Happen. We Were There!”

Heskett relates that when the camp Commandant Hayashi, had taken the Education Building and it’s prisoners hostage, the U.S. command was looking for an interpreter to coach Jap snipers from existing bomb shelters. General Chase chose little 9 yr. old, Jean Marie to be the interpreter. According to the book, she offered her linguistic services to the General, as she spoke (some) Japanese and was willing to help. Being as the General had “no other interpreters,” he gladly accepted the offer and pressed her into service to coax the Japanese snipers to surrender and come out of the shelters. As she interrogated the hiding Jap soldiers by sticking her head in the shelter, she heard them say that “they would rather die, than surrender.”

She turned around and told Gen. Chase. That is when Chase gave his soldiers orders to use their flamethrowers into the dugouts! Blooey! Charred Yakitori!

The truth of the matter was, General Chase traveled with two Nisei, Sgt. Ken K. Uyesugi, and Tadashi “Tad” Nomura, G-2, 1st Brigade, Division Headquarters. A very little known fact to the general public, the Nisei contingency of G-2 of Military Intelligence Japanese, were a group in the war kept under wraps for the most part not wanting the enemy knowing of their existence. There were ten Nisei G-2 interpreters assigned to one Division. Sgt.Uyesugi, and Tad Nomura, our very own British STIC internee/Japanese interpreter, by the name of Earl Stanley, with Frank Carey, another prisoner, were always with General Chase and Colonel Brady from the time the First Cavalry entered the camp compound on February 3rd.

When the liberation occurred, all the Japanese Command and soldiers followed Comandant Hayashi into the Education Building to hold the over 200 men and boys hostage. No Japanese soldiers were hiding in any trenches or were they outside of the Ed. Building until the enemy formally surrendered on February 5th.

Think about this whole scenario for a moment. No General would dare ask a nine year old girl to stick her head in a trench to talk to enemy soldiers to press them into surrendering. By the way – where did little Jean Marie master the Japanese language to such an extent as to negotiate a surrender? There was never an incident of any officer using flame throwers in Santo Tomas in such close proximity to prisoners and U.S. soldiers.

Sgt. Kenji Uyesugi and yours truly were long lasting pen pals, trading many stories, memories and experiences. We first met in STIC with my mother as we literally ran into each other walking swiftly around a blind corner in one of the courtyards of the Main Building. He became a teacher of Asiatic Studies at USC and received his BS of Business Administration before ending his long career with Canada’s Sun Life………………

In another unbelievable maneuver, by the story telling principle in this book,  is the tale of the total obliteration of eight British and Australian (continued)
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Re: Through My Mother's Eyes by Michael McCoy
Reply #1 - Apr 14th, 2010, 8:14am
 
(review continued)

who were in the Main Building sipping tea during the infamous shelling of the camp. There they were at tea time, contently savoring the welcomed brew, when “Blooey,” they were blown to smitherines by an incoming shell, “hide and hair splattered” to kingdom come. All dead – witnessed by little Jean Marie-and it seems, only by Jean Marie.

Going over the official list of the dead for the shelling time in Santo Tomas, in our bible, Santo Tomas Internment Camp, by Frederic H. Stevens, There were recorded seventeen people Killed in Action in February. Eleven men and six women - three of the women my family knew personally. That leaves only three women accounted for – none of whom were in that supposed number of eight British women savoring their tea time. This devastating incident did not happen. They were never listed on the Death Roster! None of this is in print…………..No one has ever heard of this enormous bit of garbage.

In this book, there are pictures about our experiences in camp and also official war pictures. The caption under a picture of little Jean Marie and her friends, on her way to the United States, tells us that the picture was taken on the SS John Lafitte. Then in a chapter describing her voyage to freedom, she tells the reader she was on the SS Admiral Capps. Which is it? Then in a disturbing flamboyant account, she relates to her unsuspecting son/author, that the Admiral Capps and the rest of the ships in the convoy were attacked by Kamikaze planes! Ayamatta! Ayamatta! Takusan no kaze!

This book reviewer and family were all on the Admiral Capps with many other friends who still live around me in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was 12 years old and will tell the world we were never ever attacked by a single Kamikaze plane during any part of our trip. My friends agree with me.

The only thing that came close to a disaster were floating mines dangerously close to our ship. They were promptly blown out of the water by sharp shooters at the ready. We proceeded to San Francisco without further incident.

One of the worst things Heskett and McCoy brings to light is the actual bayoneting of a ten year old boy standing in Roll Call formation in the Annex. According to Jean Marie, Heskett’s mother was room monitor and was responsible for herding people together for the roll. It was written that the Commandant was so incensed that the boy did not bow, he ordered him bayoneted and her mother was taken away and beaten. Nothing like this ever happened to children in our camp, and no room monitor/mother was ever beaten. Another unbelievable tale to raise our ire is put into words as fact.

Well, you get the picture. There are many more unbelievable passages and “facts” in this degrading book. The Bay Area Civilian Ex-POW organization formally denounces this book as a shameful project of lies and deceit.

Again, one does not need to resort to subterfuge to tell a good story – duping the public will have us dining out on this meal for a long time to come. Please pass the Grey Poupon!

Bay Area Civilian Ex-POWs – Chapter of the AMEXPOW National Org.

Sascha Jansen – Sr. Vice Commander – BACEPOW

Mabuhayma@aol.com  
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