Friday, March 23, 2007

What Worth Doing When You Travel To Singapore As A World War II Veteran

What Worth Doing When You Travel To Singapore As A World War II Veteran
by: Jaffa Matt

Well, what do World War II veterans have in common with Singapore? Very long lasting, unforgettable memories that you can share with fellow family members and friends. Especially those who had survived or had served in Singapore back in the year between 1942 to 1945.

So, if you travel to Singapore again with your family or friends or loved ones, would you like to walk down the memory lane? (Some memories are painful but some still brought back a smile. Do you agree?)

Well veterans, if you happen to travel back to Singapore in your next holiday, make your travel a memorable one. These are some places worth visiting to bring back those dark years.

The Battle Box

The Battle Box is the largest underground command center of the British Malaya Command Headquarters in Singapore during World War II and tucked into the hillside of Fort Canning.

This bombproof complex comprises of 22 rooms linked together by a corridor and capable of recycling its own air supply.

Today, the Battle Box has undergone extensive restoration. Visitors will be able to relive the morning of February 15, 1942 when Singapore fell to the Japanese.

Reflections of Bukit Chandu
Bukit Chandu

Back in 1942, 1400 soldiers of the Malay Regiment fought with courage against 13000 Japanese soldiers. They chose death over dishonour.

Pepper’s Ghost will bring you through the Battle of Pasir Panjang and you will be able to walk through the Galleries displaying maps, photographs and information regarding the Malay Regiment and the Defence of Malaya.

Fort Siloso
Fort Siloso

The British built Fort Siloso in the 1880s to protect Singapore harbour’s western entrance. During the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945), it became concentration camp for POWs.
Fort Siloso serves as an important window to Singapore’s colonial past and as reminder of the war years.

Changi Chapel & Museum
Changi Museum

This place, called a beacon of hope for the hopeless. Built by Changi Prison inmates, the Changi Chapel stands as a monument to those who maintained their faith and dignity during the Japanese Occupation.

More than 50 000 civilians and soldiers were imprisoned during those days. Some exhibits that you can find and relate to their agony are letters, photographs, drawings and their personal effects. However, their main attraction is a replica of The Changi Murals, a series of wall painting recreated from the originals painted by Stanley Warren.

Old Ford Factory
Ford Factory

On February 15, 1942, Lt Gen A.E.Percival then Commander of the British Forces in Singapore surrendered to the Japanese Army. The ‘ceremony’ took place here, the Old Ford Factory.

On February 16, 2006, Singapore Minister for Defence Mr Teo Chee Hean officially opened Memories at Old Ford Factory. Here, you can find the exhibition ‘Syonan Years: Singapore Under Japanese Rule, 1942-1945’.

Kranji War Memorial

Kranji War Memorial honours the men from Britain, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Malaya, the Netherlands and New Zealand who gave their lives for freedom in World War II.

Here you can find 4000 servicemen’s graves stand in neat rows. For about 24 000 soldiers and air force men, whose bodies were never recovered, their names were inscribed on 12 columns. Besides that, it is also a burial ground for Singapore’s first two presidents.

Civilian War Memorial

Located in the Padang, the Civilian War Memorial is dedicated to all those who perished during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore between February 15, 1942 to September 12, 1945. Every year on 15 February, a memorial service is held here to remember the victims of the war.

Here you can find four identical vertical pillars rise to a pinnacle of 92.5 metres, symbolising the shared experiences of the four major races of Singapore - Chinese, Malay, Indian and other races. The remains of the unidentified war victims are buried beneath the monument.

Copyright © 2006 Jaffa Matt

About The Author
Jaffa Matt is a Freelance writer who was born and live in Singapore. His website My Singapore provides ideas & informative articles about his country, Singapore.