Thursday, August 16, 2012

A look at History - A lesson relearnt

In celebration of National Day , several museums are having open house to their premises for Singaporeans and PRs. I'll take this chance to visit the museum if I have not been there for a long time. Last weekend, I've decided to visit the historic site, the Old Ford factory.

The Old Ford factory
The factory is the site of the historic surrender of the British to the Japanese on 15 February 1942 in World War II. It was here that the meeting between Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival and General Tomoyuki Yamashita was held and the signing of unconditional surrender document of the British forces to the Japanese Army in the Ford Board Room. This surrender was also widely seen as a turning point for anti-colonialism in Southeast Asia.

The Ford factory was Ford Motor Work's first Southeast Asia motor car assembly plantAfter Japanese invaded Singapore, it was converted to be the Japanese military headquarters and service depot for Japanese military vehicle.It is also the place where the Japanese tortured the Prisoners of War.

In 1997, the back of the factory was demolished to make way for condominium while the front is gazetted a national monument. Now know as the Memories at Old Ford Factory.

The trip
We went there by bus. It was quite a  trip from Toa Payoh. But luckily, it's a short distance from the bus stop.
As we brought a pram for the sleeping gal, we were directed to walk up the slope to the factory. I wondered whether this the very path Lt. General Arthur Percival and his officers took on the day of surrender. I wondered what were they thinking when they took the path.
Old Ford factory corridor 
 The Exhibition
The exhibition starts by introducing how Singapore was being surrendered to the Japanese.

A picture speaks a thousand words

Lt. Gen. Arthur Percival
Lt. Gen Yamashita

The highlight is the Board room where surrender negotiation took place. It is the very room when the important history took place. The NHB tried to restored everything the same as the very day. The chairs were the original. The table was a replica.
The Board room where the surrender took place

Singapore's dark period as Syonan-To. A lot of recounts from eye witnesses and survivors , including Elizabeth Choy (She was being tortured for helping the POW),  during the dark years. A number of newspaper cuttings and comics featuring the dark years. I didn't take a lot of pictures as many simply brought tears to my eyes.
The helpless baby that made me cry

Death railway

The show must go on and so must me! POW

Accounts of how the Force 136 strikes back when Singaporeans eventually found that to end the sufferings, they have to do it themselves.

Lim Bo Seng's dairy

Radio those days
We learnt about the rocketing inflation, black market, banana notes and the worries of people whether or not to change all their notes to the banana notes
cheque book

Lottery tickets and banana money. Note the one cent note doesn't even have serial numbers 

more banana money

Rocketing Inflation. That time $0.50 is already a lot of money

War crime trials. Traitors punishment.

When vaccines and medications are rare. Poeple gets innovative using remedies that were not heard before. Sanitary is also a problem.
Guess what's this?

It's for containing the 'night soil'

Vaccines were rare those days. All were for military use. Citizens have to resort to traditional cures and home remedies

How they survive shortage of materials

Eye ailments were cured by Lallang!

End of war

Random shots
For translation and explanation, view

Syonan Garden where you find food crops that are widely grown during the Japanese occupation

Railway signal post used as a direction board

The major events

The happening

Peace in Chinese

Conclusion after viewing.
Most of the stories I have heard from my mom and view from TV. The brutality and cruelty of war. The heroic display by the locals and heroes such as Lim Bo Seng. Peace is not something to be taken for granted and should be bear in mind.

I've learnt how people in those days cope with difficulties. 

It's a pity that we couldn't find padi and sugar cane in Syonan Garden. I read somewhere you can see various stages of padi growth. I'm not sure what happen to them. Probably I should have went for a guided tour. 

Also, the talking map is not 'talking' anymore. Down for maintainance?

Learning through history, I learnt to be more appreciative of life, self reliant, be creative (to overcome problems) and most of all, be happy. 


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