13 February 2014
AT NOON on Saturday, the blast of air raid sirens will be heard again. It is a reminder that the fall of Singapore to the Japanese imperial army occurred on this date, Feb 15, in 1942. This year, for the second year, the Singapore Armed Forces will hold the Total Defence Commemoration Ceremony at the War Memorial Park on Feb 15.
As part of this event, recruits from the 3rd Battalion Singapore Guards will be handed their rifles in a weapon presentation ceremony at 6.20pm. This recalls the exact time of the surrender of allied forces to the Japanese at the old Ford Motor Factory on Upper Bukit Timah Road.
For a generation of Singaporeans now passing away, the Japanese occupation was the single most significant formative experience of their lives. The sense of helplessness, the fear of a new set of colonial overlords, the loss of close relatives and the dislocation of families resulted in many a story being told over dining tables as Singaporeans were growing up.
… The writer is the dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. He was Singapore’s ambassador to Indonesia from 1986 to 1993.
RSIS / Print
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