Sunday, December 26, 2004

Ingenuity in adversity

Well, have made it through Christmas. I might write more about it later, but there's a lot I don't feel like writing about at the moment.

So, instead, a few words about the most extraordinary documentary I've just seen - Miracle on the River Kwai - about the makeshift hospital camps set up by the POWs building the infamous jungle railway.

It was remarkble in that one of the old soldiers they interviewed was a talented draughtsman, and had sketched scenes. They bought home the experience much harder, for being an eyewitness record.

But... the thing that amazed me and made it such a fantstic document was the improvised medical procedures the interns (what a telling double meaning that is...) came up with. They realised that blood plasma from prisoners contained antibodies - so seperated plasma from samples using a centrifuge made from discarded bottles and a bicycle to drive the spin.

They made a vitamin replacement drink by fermenting rice, banana and spit.


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