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Tea Leaves

'War tourism' lays old battles to rest

Lessons can still be learned from the Thailand-Burma 'death railway'

People lay wreaths and poppies in memory of those who died building the Thailand-Burma "death railway" during World War II in Kanachanaburi province, Thailand on April 25, 2004   © Reuters

Growing up in the U.K. in the 1950s, I was fascinated by a livid scar on my father's leg. The size of a small soup bowl, it was all that was left of a putrid jungle ulcer he suffered as a prisoner of the Imperial Japanese Army on the infamous "death railway" in Thailand.

He must have got it from an infected cut when he was transported from Changi prison in Singapore in 1943 to work as a slave laborer, hacking a path and breaking rocks through the jungle to build the line to Burma, now called Myanmar.

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