Boudewijn van Oort was born to Dutch immigrant parents in 1938 in the Transvaal province of South Africa, near Johannesburg. The family spent five years in Indonesia ( 1940-1945) and returned to South Africa as refugees.
In 1951 the family settled in Canada. After High School training at Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa, Canada, he took a degree in Geology and Physics at Carleton University, Ottawa. On a Rhodes scholarship he studied “modern Greats” in Oxford, where his interest in philosophy was aroused by Professor Peter Strawson, and his interest in modern history was stimulated by Sir Martin Gilbert, then newly appointed official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill. In his spare time he rowed in the College Eight. Oxford granted him a BA and MA degree.
Upon graduation he was employed in the oil and gas industry as a Petroleum Engineer, serving for short periods in Nigeria and Venezuela. He was engaged in North Sea Development between 1966 and 1984, from its very beginning to its peak as an oil and gas province. He assisted with the establishment of a Post Graduate school for Petroleum Engineering at Heriot Watt University. For family reasons he moved to Victoria, Canada in 1985, where he was employed by the Provincial government until his retirement in 2002.
The impulse for writing Tjideng Reunion was aroused by his father ‘s 1990 funeral on the Sunshine Coast, near Vancouver, British Columbia. “The Pacific war ended officially on August 15, 1945,” writes Boudewijn, “but we who became trapped in it had to register our own ending, to slay personal dragons.”
As the author notes with typical restraint, “The writing of this book presented a peculiar challenge: for a three-year period, March 1942–May 1945, covering our internment in Bandoeng (now Bandung) on Java, there is almost no contemporary surviving written material describing the lives of some fourteen thousand fellow citizens.”