The Japanese occupied Singapore between Jan 1942 and Sep 1945.
All Europeans except Germans and Italians were rounded up and sent to prison. The local Chinese were not spared either. Many wealthy Chinese fled
As a friend and a person with a touch of kindness, the German acquaintance readily agreed.
Everything went well in the first year of Japanese Occupation.
In the second year the German wife was unhappy. The food cost had gone up and they were in fact subsidizing people they were helping. The Chinese couple with some money readily agreed to pay the cost of their stay.
Not long after, it occurred to the German acquaintance he is taking a huge risk hiding Chinese refugees. He spoke to the Chinese couple about it and being reasonable people they readily agreed to pay a monthly risk premium over and above their cost of stay.
Again, a couple of months later the Chinese couple were informed that other people in similar situation being hidden by other Germans were paying a higher market price. It wouldn’t be fair for other refugees if he were to charge less. Furthermore, he has had enquiries from other refugees but it was only out of kindness and friendship that he has not turned them out and accept others.
Extremely touched by the thoughtfulness of their hosts the Chinese couple readily agreed to pay market price for their stay.
One day the German felt a pang of guilt and decided to visit his priest. He told the priest he has sinned a long time ago and would like to confess.
The priest asked what he had done.
He said: I have broken the law and took in a refugee couple.
The priest said: Son, you have done the right thing, you have not sinned.
Feeling slightly relieved he added: But I charged them a nominal monthly rent for their stay.
The priest said: That is quite alright my son. It is a small price for the couple to pay for their freedom and safety.
Feeling even more relieved he went on: It wasn’t really nominal. At first it was. I charged them the prevailing market rate for their stay.
The priest said: Son, that wasn’t very nice but from an economic point of view it is the only way you can be fair to others.
Feeling very much relieved he then asked: I am glad to know what I have done so far wasn’t sinful. You have no idea what it meant to me for you to affirm my moral standards are no way lower than others.
The priest said: It is not easy to live a good life but we must never stop trying. It is the only way we can find salvation.
At this juncture the wife came into the picture and asked: Is it okay we don’t tell them the war was over a long time ago?