On a small hill over looking the valley of the town in Rinau (somewhat near the mountain of Kota Kinabalu) is a memorial to the 2,000+ Australian and British POWs who perished on the death marches from Sandakan to Rinau – a distance of over 250 kilometers. The Japanese soldiers were exceedingly heartless and brutal in their treatment of these brave soldiers, and for their courage and perseverance in the face of such inhumanity. Unfortunately, all but six of them died before the Japanese finally surrendered.
The sad thing, however, was that many visitors to the gardens were disgustingly rowdy – screaming and yelling, clambering to take pictures of themselves (accompanied by the now-ubiquitous peace sign) by the plaques and flowers, seemingly uncaring for the fact that this is a place of somber reflection on the depraved things humans do to one another and a site where hopes for the betterment of humanity may be made – sincere wishes that never again will such atrocities be committed.
To so flippantly treat such a hallowed ground is to callously disregard the valiant sacrifice these soldiers made for democracy and freedom.