Under the Pong Pong Tree by Hal Levey
They get a sense of their new reality when Col. Kosaka stands in the shade of a Pong Pong tree—a tree that bears poisonous fruit—and orders the beheading of Mr. Tan, owner of a rubber plantation.
Li Lian Goh, a beautiful, sixteen-year-old girl, survives the carnage that follows, but her family is torn apart—like so many others that come under the iron fist of the Japanese.
She’s consigned to a military brothel where she is impregnated by a cruel Japanese officer. Desperate to survive and protect her unborn daughter, she manages to escape and gives birth in a Malay village to a baby girl she names Maimunah.
Capt. Mike Cagle, an American fighter pilot in Vietnam, meets Maimunah in her home village many years later, and he’s dazzled by her beauty. But their blossoming romance seems doomed when a missile locks onto Cagle’s F-4.
Love and the brutality of war are woven together in a beautiful, heart-wrenching tapestry in Under the Pong Pong Tree.”
Biography of Hal Levey
I was born in Boston and spent my early life in the small seaside town of Winthrop, Massachusetts. My academic career happened at the State University of New York College of Medicine in Brooklyn. I am a widower with a son and daughter and seven grandchildren.
Much of the background for Under thePong Pong Tree was acquired during a year as China Medical Board Visiting Professor on the medical faculty of the National University of Singapore.
I did a certain amount of recreational jungle bashing upcountry in Malaysia, and befriended the RAF contingent at the Seletar Air Base in Singapore.
“Under the Pong Pong Tree is a powerful examination of the long-term and immediate atrocities of war.” – Julia Ann Charpentier