"Witness To War: Remembering 1942" Exhibition At The National Museum Of Singapore

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This year marks the 75th year since the fall of Singapore in 1942 and the National Museum of Singapore has launched its latest exhibition, Witness to War: Remembering 1942 to commemorate it.

The exhibition touches on the Asia Pacific war when Japan attacked the United States military and naval bases in Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines as well as the British possessions of Malaya, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The attack on Singapore was part of a wider campaign waged by the Japanese Empire across the Pacific. It presents the complexities of the events that led to the outbreak of the war in Singapore in 1942. 

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With the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, anti-Japanese activities quickly gained momentum among the Chinese community in the region. In Hong Kong, actors and actresses came together to put up opera performances and organize charity sales to raise funds for the Chinese Nationalist Government's resistance against the Japanese Army.

Films from Hong Kong about Chinese patriotism and anti-Japanese resistance were also screened in Singapore.

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The two opera actors in the photo above are of the same person, Hong Kong entrepreneur Ho Kom-Tong - Bruce Lee's maternal grandfather.

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Photos of the Japanese community in the pre-war Singapore

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The 25-Pounder Gun

One of the star exhibit recently acquired by the museum, is this 25-pounder field gun which was a standard weapon used by the British and Allied troops during World War Two. It was an improvement over the 18-pounder gun and had a firing range of approximately 12,300 metres.



Do keep a lookout for the 2.5 minutes sound and light immersive experience surrounding this exhibit. Take a deep breathe towards the end to see if you could catch a whiff of gunpowder, recreated through artificial means.

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A ceremonial Samurai Sword, or Katana, belonging to Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita

If you have studied Singapore history, you would have known that Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival surrendered Singapore unconditionally to Lieutenant-General Yamashita at the Ford Factory.

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A sketch of Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, displayed in a glass cabinet right next to the Katana

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Japanese Army field telephone and carrying case

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Geographical map and markers of places invaded by the Japanese

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A notice issued by the Japanese Military Administration board headed by Lieutenant-General Sakai Takashi, announcing to the people of Hong Kong their plan to eliminate imperialism in the city.

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Propaganda posters

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A Union Jack flag captured from a government building in Singapore by a Japanese soldier in 1942. It bears the date of the British surrender and the soldier's name, Sergeant-Major Uchiyama.

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Another highlight of this exhibition is the video interviews with the war survivors. Watch as they narrate their stories accompanied by animation on a screen. There is even an interview with Resistance Fighter, Lim Bo Seng's children.

On display is his diary, with a digitized copy from the last page which is a farewell letter to his wife.

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A video interview with the children of Lim Bo Seng

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Behind each of these walls, is a war-survivor waiting to share first-hand account of their stories with you.

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The exhibition ended off with a reflection corner where you could write a letter to any of the war survivors or you could simply share your feelings by writing them down.

I find the exhibition rather short and the ending abrupt but there are two other permanent war-related exhibitions in the Museum on level 1 (Syonan-To) and 2 (Surviving Syonan).

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This exhibition is held at the exhibition galleries at the basement of the National Museum from 10am to 7pm daily. The exhibition is from now till 25 March 2018.

Admission is free for citizens and PRs. Admission fee is applicable for international visitors.


NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE
93 Stamford Road
Singapore 178897

Telephone:
(+65) 6332 3659 / (+65) 6332 5642

Opening Hours:
10am - 7pm daily
Last admission at 6.30pm

http://www.nationalmuseum.sg


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