‘Glimpses of Malaya’ in “Thumbs Up”, a magazine of the 2/20 Bn AIF in 1941

The War Diary of the 2/20 Battalion reported on the publication of their own magazine “Thumbs Up” saying ‘very much credit was due to NX53925, Pte F W Wilson for his untiring efforts in connection with this most popular publication.’

‘Glimpses of Malaya’  by PIC  from “Thumbs Up“, Volume 1, Number 1, May 1941.

  • The quaint bullock-waggons with their pairs of humpy-necked zebus patiently plodding along with their loads of wood. Sometimes a Burmese covered waggon with its sweeping roofs that covered and shaded the beasts as well as the driver.
  • The native shops, dirty and crowded, with their goods one jumbled mass of mixed up articles, and usually a group of stolid faced Chinamen lounging about them.
  • The humble Malayan homes with children and chickens in equal numbers.
  • How we trekked through rubber plantation every tree with its cuts and cup that make the collection of latex possible.
  • The shy and gaily dressed women and the chattering children whose thumbs were always up in friendly greeting as we passed.
  • The beach, the swimming enclosure, and the native fishing boats that seemed to sit on the horizon.
  • The temples of worship that were found in each hamlet.
  • The jungle that we hacked our way through with parang and bill-hook.
  • Mahomet Sutan (who sold papers in the barracks) with his sunny smile and picturesque costume.
  • The blackouts when the canteen was closed and the night seemed twice as hot.
  • The natives washing themselves and their clothes at a wayside water tap.
  • The attap huts with their palm-leaf walls and roofs and their dirt floors.
  • The lovely two-storied homes along the beach front that had such homely names as “Clovelly” and “Palm Beach”.
  • The dhobies who collected our washing and the barbers who cut our hair.
  • The coconut palms and the paddi-fields we saw from the road.
  • The headaches we got at first trying to work out the value of 15 cents when a dollar was worth 2/11.
  • And those sunsets.

Some jokes from “Thumbs Up

“How” asked the officer on the rifle range, “did you get those 4 straight hits? Your range is 600 yards but your sight is set on 300 yards.”

Digger:  “See that rock along there? Well I’m bouncing them off that.”

A young officer was drilling his men for the first time. “We’ll have astride jumping first” he said. “When I say ONE jump in the air, when I say TWO come down with your feet apart.”

Voice from the ranks “Cripes mate, don’t make it too long between the one and the two.”

One of the Diggers was on guard and had probably been thinking of dear old Aussie, when he was brought back to the realities by the sudden approach of footsteps and, being taken unawares, made ‘the challenge’ in a most unorthodox manner.

“Halt! Who am I?” he yelled.

The challenged person, who happened to be one of his own officers, quickly replied “I don’t know, but come forward and recognise yourself.”

(‘Thumbs Up’, Volume 1, Number 1, May 1941, the magazine of the 2/20 Battalion AIF.)

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