When prolonged malnutrition takes effect, among the first things to go is a desire for sex. The fact that some civilians at Stanley internment camp during Hong Kong’s wartime Japanese occupation maintained sufficient amorous interest for babies to be produced says much about the nutrition available there. Physical tiredness, general lassitude and depression had kicked in for most by the late summer of 1942. Anecdotal evidence suggests that by then, several months into imprisonment, even those interned with their pre-war sexual partners simply couldn’t be bothered. But those with access to black-market food were in a different position. The nutrition contained in a single Red Cross food parcel was credited with at least one pregnancy towards the end of the war. Stanley saw men and women interned together. In other parts of East and Southeast Asia, civilian prison camps were segregated, particularly in the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia), where the pre-war Dutch civilian population numbered more than 100,000. Mainly concentrated on the islands of Java and Sumatra, camps accommodated thousands of women and young children, often in desperately primitive conditions. Pregnancies in women-only camps, long after any possibility that a husband or boyfriend was the father had passed, were not unknown. Some civilian women in Southeast Asia provided sexual services to Japanese, Korean or Formosan guards in return for additional food, medical supplies, clothes or other items. In these circumstances, abortions were often induced by midwives, using massage techniques augmented by herbal potions. Some pregnancies continued beyond a point of no return, with scandalous results when a part-Asian infant emerged. Some married women came into Stanley in early 1942 already pregnant, and their children were born in the camp. By the war’s end, in August 1945, more than 50 children had been born there. Other babies were conceived in captivity, though internment posed practical challenges. An average room slept about 10 people, sometimes more, in a space that, pre-war, was considered adequate for one married couple. Privacy was at a premium. So where did trysts take place? A discreet rendezvous in the cemetery or the undergrowth was an obvious solution. Part of the camp grounds, the cemetery was prized for its relative solitude and expansive views of the sea and southern islands, which allowed a degree of mental (if not physical) escape from the everyday stresses of confinement. Not all partners were married, however. In Hong Kong, wartime romances blossomed, aided partly by the “live-for-the-day” mentality of many internees. Where health and opportunities permitted, transient sexual relationships were an inevitable, mostly tolerantly observed fact of camp life, as this limerick makes clear: There was a young lady of fashion, Who, one night, had an access of passion. To her lover she said, as they climbed into bed, Mine’s one thing the b*****ds can’t ration! I am indebted for this amusing rhyme to the late American author Emily Hahn, who recited it from memory over lunch in England, in 1996. Hahn lived in Hong Kong during the early years of the Japanese occupation, and was exchanged with other Americans in September 1943. Her experiences of daily life in the occupied city were documented in her chatty memoir, China to Me (1944), and essay compilation, Hong Kong Holiday (1946). While she was not interned, Hahn had many friends who were and one of these quoted this doggerel to her, some years after the war ended.