Thursday 2 February 2017, The Straits Times.
SINGAPORE – The National Heritage Board (NHB) is organising 11 walking tours around Singapore to mark the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore in 1942 during World War II.
One of the tours, named The Last Days Of Empire, takes participants to memorials from University Town, where the execution of 10 Rimau (“tiger” in Malay) Commandos took place, to the Former Ford Factory, which was an assembly plant of the Ford Motor Factory of Malaya and which became the site of surrender of Singapore by the British forces to the Japanese army.
British Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival led the British forces to sign surrender documents at the Ford Motor Factory in Upper Bukit Timah Road on Feb 15, 1942, which marked the start of the Japanese Occupation in Singapore. The Japanese Occupation ended only on Sept 12, 1945.
The Operation Rimau was a daring raid undertaken by 23 British and Australian commandos in 1944.
Though many of the memorials are in plain sight, they remain poorly understood by people in Singapore.
Led by Dr Mohamed Effendy from NUS’ department of South-east Asian studies, the tour also takes participants to the strategic area of Bukit Timah which saw one of the fiercest fightings between Allied forces and the Japanese army. This site marks Lt-Gen Percival’s final defence of southern Singapore against the Japanese invaders which entered from the north on Feb 8, 1942.
From Feb 16 to March 12, 2017, members of the public can join in a series of the guided tours, a public talk, and offerings at the various Museum Roundtable (MR) museums to learn more about the events leading up to the Fall of Singapore, as well as stories of the Japanese Occupation. These events have been organised by the NHB together with community partners, MR museums, and heritage experts.
By Raynold Toh for The Straits Times.
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