I had to take a few days off work this week due to a work policy not allowing you to carry over annual leave into the new financial year. For one of the days i decided to go check out an exhibit named “Witness to War: Remembering 1942” at the Singapore National Museum.
This exhibit details the events leading up to the fall of Singapore, such as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the rise of Nazi Germany and the entrance of the USA into the war after Pearl Harbour. Of course the focus is more on the Singaporean side, including the dropping of leaflets requesting for surrender by the British Empire, the marching into Singapore from Malaya via Bukit Timah Road, followed by the suffering felt by the local people by the Japanese occupation.
I have also read the book “A History of Modern Singapore”, so i was briefed on this in more detail before going to the exhibit. The exhibit was more on the emotional side of the local residents having to go through Japanese occupation, rather than talking about the military side of things which i find more interesting. The military made up of British, Australian, Indian and some local militia were just over-matched by the momentum and firepower of the Japanese military.
Overall, a good exhibit though brief. The speed at which it takes you from the events leading up to 1942, followed by Japanese occupation is really fast. It is kind of symbolic of the actual fall of the British Empire in Singapore, because it happened quickly within a week or so. The most interesting thing for me was the ‘movietones’ you get to watch, which were kind of propaganda/news snippets aired in cinemas of the day. Also the artefacts from the area were interesting to observe.