In Their Own Voices: Preparing for War in Singapore
Before the fall of Singapore in 1942, people prepared for the imminent war by stockpiling food, building air raid shelters and volunteering in civil defence units.
My Grandfather Was a Rōmusha
During World War II, forced civilian labourers known as rōmusha were used by the Imperial Japanese Army for hard labour. They helped to build the Death Railway.
Cold War Rivalries Fuel Propaganda Battle in Singapore in the 1940s and 1950s
In the post-World War II period, Singapore was a battleground for ideological competition between the Soviet Union and China on one side, and the United States and United Kingdom on the other.
A Royal Wedding Gone Wrong: The 1820 Uprising in Riau That Brought the Bugis to Singapore
Celebrations during a royal wedding in Tanjung Pinang in 1819 led to a terrible misunderstanding that would change the course of history in Riau and Singapore.
They Died for All Free Men: Stories from Kranji War Cemetery
Remembering those who died while fighting the Japanese during World War II.
Red Terror: The Forgotten Story of CPM Violence and Subversion in Newly Independent Singapore
The 1970s are often remembered as a time of rapid economic transformation and progress for Singapore, but this period also saw communist bombings, assassination plots and covert information wars.
2022 marks the 80th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore. The National Library’s collection has items from the Chinese community relating to the Japanese Occupation of Singapore.
The Chinese Community During the Japanese Occupation
A showcase of items from the Chinese community relating to the Japanese Occupation. These are from the collection of the National Library of Singapore.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Lee Geok Boi trawls the oral history collection of the National Archives to document how people coped with the precious little food they had during the war.
Secret War Experiments in Singapore
The story of the Imperial Japanese Army farming bubonic plague-bearing fleas as biological weapons is very much fact, not fiction. Cheong Suk-Wai delves deeper.
Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and Its Legacies
A revamped exhibition space opens at the old Ford Factory in Bukit Timah, marking the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore. Fiona Tan details its major highlights.
Bahau: A Utopia That Went Awry
The resettlement of Eurasian and Chinese Catholics in the jungles of Malaysia during World War II has been largely forgotten. Fiona Hodgkins chronicles its painful history.
In Honour of War Heroes: The Legacy of Colin St Clair Oakes
Who was the architect behind Singapore’s Kranji War Cemetery and other similar memorials in South and Southeast Asia? Athanasios Tsakonas has the story.
Voices That Remain: Oral History Accounts of the Japanese Occupation
Oral history accounts of the Japanese Occupation take on added poignancy, says Mark Wong, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.
Witness to History
Major-General Feng Yee was China’s representative at the Japanese surrender ceremony held in Singapore in September 1945. Seow Peck Ngiam provides highlights of his military life and contributions.
The Vietnam War Through Singaporean Eyes
Four journalists from Singapore covered the Vietnam War for the international news media. Only one survived. Shirlene Noordin has the story.
Cartoons of Terror
The horrors of the Japanese Occupation (1942–45) in Singapore can be read in any number of history books. But few are likely to be as visceral as a series of cartoon books published after World War II in 1946. Titled Chop Suey, the four volumes of illustrations by the artist Liu Kang offer a rare insight into how people in Singapore were persecuted and tortured by the Japanese during the Occupation years.
The Unresolved Past: Reflections on War and Memory
Why recall traumatic memories of war when it is painful for both perpetrators and victims? Kwok Kian Woon considers the stakes in remembering and understanding war experiences in times of relative peace.
A War Crimes Trial Snapshot
A 1946 photograph from the opening of the War Crimes Trials held in Singapore is a grim reminder of the atrocities committed by the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore (1942–45) – a dark period in Singapore’s history.
Fleeing to Uncertainty: My Father’s Story
Barely 13 years old then, K. Ramakanthan and his family escaped with their lives from Perak to Johor during the Japanese Occupation. Aishwariyaa Ramakanthan recounts her father’s harrowing journey.
Civilians in the Crossfire: The Malayan Emergency Crossfire
Ronnie Tan recounts the hardship suffered by civilians as a result of the British government’s fight against the communists during the Malayan Emergency.
Trial by Firing Squad
In 1915, sepoys in Singapore revolted against their British officers in a bloody rebellion. Umej Bhatia recreates the final moments of the mutineers as they pay the ultimate price for their actions.
The Final Hours of the Empress of Asia
The Empress of Asia sank off Tuas in February 1942 while carrying troops to fight off the Japanese invasion. Dan Black recounts its final days.
Feeding the Hungry: Children in Post-War Singapore
In the aftermath of the Japanese Occupation, the colonial government set up feeding centres to address malnutrition among children in Singapore. Cheryl-Ann Low has the details.