Monday, February 16, 2009

Lest We Forget

Yesterday, February 15, was the 47th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942. The Battle of Singapore was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of World War II when the Empire of Japan invaded the Allied stronghold of Singapore. The fighting in Singapore lasted from 7 February 1942 to 15 February 1942. The fall of Singapore (then a major British military base in South East Asia) to the Japanese resulted in the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. About 80,000 Indian, Australian and British troops became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the Malayan campaign.

With the British Surrender, the Japanese Occupation of Singapore had begun. The city was renamed Syonan-to (Japanese: 昭南島 Shōnan-tō, literally Light-of-the-South Island). The Japanese sought vengeance against the Chinese and to eliminate anyone who held anti-Japanese sentiment. The Imperial authorities were suspicious of the Chinese because of the Second Sino-Japanese War and killed many in the Sook Ching Massacre. The other races of Singapore, such as the Malays and the Indians were not spared. Singapore residents would suffer great hardships under Japanese rule over the following three and a half years. [source: wiki]

1/6 scale 12-inch Japanese soldiers from left to right: Seaman 1st class, Japanese Imperial Navy by BBI in 2002, Japanese Army Officer and Japanese Infantryman by Cotswold Collectibles, 1999

Japanese Imperial Navy Seaman 1st class "Yamato Ichiro"

Japanese Army Officer with tropical field cap and Katana sword

Japanese Infantryman with the 'Buun-Tchokyu' (good-luck flag) tied to his Model 38 Arisaka rifle.

That's why when Mr Lee Kuan Yew (now Minister Mentor) became Prime Minister, the NS (Amendment) act was passed on 14 March 1967 as the Singapore government felt that it was necessary to build its own substantial military force and not be dependent on others for our country's defence.

February 15 is also Total Defence Day and yesterday marked its 25th anniversary since it was introduced in 1984 to drive the five aspects of total defence - psychological, social, economic, civil and military defence. This year, the campaign gets personal with the tag-line: WHAT WILL YOU DEFEND? and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean puts it best with his answer: "My Family, My Home, My Country - Singapore!"


cosmicbaby said...

Thanx for the history lesson! :) Lets us bring all our WW2 Jap troopers down to China Town this weekend and share it with the old folks there. I am sure the will be marveled by the life like datails of tis figures :)

alex teo said...

hi marcus, i know of some old folks who are still very bitter about the Japanese Occupation and angry at the Japanese in general. me thinks its not wise to show them WW2 Jap troopers, dun know what they'll do - LOL :D

Joshua said...

agreed alex, most are still bitter about the atrocities the japanese have done...

and it is indeed good to remind the new generation of singaporeans about our history and how we shouldn't take our freedom for granted.

though in terms of freedom, we could always use a little more tobacco, alcohol and firearms. =D

alex teo said...

hi joshua, Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms - that's a pretty potent mix and can only get explosive - TAF call indeed ;p

Dash MacBastard said...

Thanks for the recent history lessons, Alex. Though I'm not that big into military figures, I did appreciate Sunday's post of your WWII US Air Crew. My Grandfather was a waist aboard a B-24 Liberator. Kind of cool to see a figure of that crewman.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. Don't know where you are located but I'm going to the Toy Fair in NYC later today. Do you need me to check anything out for you?

alex teo said...

wow dash, a real waist gunner?!! must have some great stories to tell. that and all the nice gear he had. check out my next post.

thanks sstein55 :) man, i envy you - going to the Toy Fair today. Enjoy your trip!! i'm located all the way on the other side of the globe in sunny Singapore.