Q&A: Hacksaw Ridge

Sonny writes: Watching Hacksaw Ridge recently started me on a WW2 Tv and movie binge – Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Saving Private Ryan. Hacksaw Ridge itself stars Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss, a  conscientious objector who volunteered to serves as a medic during WW2, recieving the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Okinawa.

Q&A after watching Hacksaw Ridge

Doctor Liew: The younger generation today no longer identifies with the second world war… to them it’s more like watching a Western.

Sonny: But Saving Private Ryan was a big hit… I guess that was like 10 years ago though… (Editor’s note: It was actually released in 1998 –  18 years ago)

You were born in 1945 – the war had ended by then  – do you feel a sense of affinity watching WW2 movies?

Doctor Liew: I was born in February 1945… so the war hadn’t quite ended.

My mother – your grandma, she had malaria at the time, and so when I was born I was a very small baby. Well… that means she either that I was born premature or that she had malaria. They told me she was in and out of fevers.

Sonny: So they never really knew if she had malaria or not. This was something you surmised later.

Doctor Liew: Yes… anyway she couldn’t breast feed me because of the illness. And at that time, because of war shortages, you couldn’t find any milk formula. Fortunately our 4th aunt had given birth a year and half before I was born, and she was still breast feeding at the time, so she ended up breast feeding me too. That’s how I survived.

Those kinds of hardships are what I associate with the war.

Sonny: What about things you actually remember? What is your first memory?

Doctor Liew: I remember living in Mambau (Editor’s note: a small town in Seremban, Negri Sembilan, Malaysia) before there was electricity… In the night we had to depend on kerosene gas lamps  and candles… and I also made a vain attempt to catch fireflies & put them in bottles for lighting!


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