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Remembering the Fall of Singapore

The Crucifixion Mural drawn by Bombardier Stanley Warren in 1942 (The Changi Murals)

On this day exactly 63 years ago in 1942, the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese during World War II.

Those who can remember having survived that period of uncertainty and doom are now likely to be at least 68 years old. These people will never forget that fateful day - they were preparing to celebrate the first day of Chinese New Year when the Japanese landed in Singapore.
For those who were born after the war and hence did not have first-hand knowledge of the Fall of Singapore, here are some important dates:

8 Dec 1941  -  Japanese soldiers made a surprise landing at Kota Bahru, Malaya.

31 Jan 1942  -  Japanese soldiers entered and occupied Johore Bahru. From there, they carried out aerial bombardment on Singapore constantly.

7 Feb 1942  -  The Japanese Imperial Guards occupied Pulau Ubin.

8 Feb 1942  -  The first Japanese troops landed in Singapore on Sarimbun Beach in the north-west of Singapore.  After repairing the causeway, they marched into Singapore.

9 Feb 1942  -  The Japanese 5th & 18th Divisions made an amphibious landing on the north-west part of Singapore.

15 Feb 1942  -  Singapore surrendered to the Japanese. It was also the first day of the Chinese New Year. British Lt General Percival surrendered to General Yamashita at the Ford Factory's Board Room in Bukit Timah.

In remembrance of that dark period in Singapore's history, the Government designated 15 February as Total Defence Day in 1984. Since then, Total Defence Day has been commemorated annually in Singapore.
Total Defence Campaign 2005*
There’s a Part for Everyone is the theme of the 2005 Total Defence (TD) campaign. This tagline aims to encourage Singaporeans to play a more active role in contributing to making Singapore stronger and thereby enhancing the future of our nation.
Organisations in Singapore are supporting the commemoration of Total Defence Day with their own activities.
The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) is launching the Total Defence PhotoFest 2005 officially today at 10.00 am, at the Suntec City Entertainment Centre Atrium. The Total Defence PhotoFest 2005 will run from 15 to 20 February 2005 from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm daily.
The Total Defence PhotoFest 2005 will show Singaporeans how they can play an active role in TD in their daily lives, with an exhibition featuring photographs that capture the five aspects of TD in action.
MINDEF is also holding The TD Photo Competition – “Total Defence Caught in Action!” which aims to get Singaporeans from all walks of life to contribute photos that best depict the meaning of the five aspects of TD and how they can participate in TD.
There are two categories, Open and Youth, and Singaporeans are invited to submit entries from 15 Feb to 15 May 05.
The winning entries will be showcased at the National Day 2005 Carnival at Marina Bay from 6 to 14 August 2005 and in a series of roving photo exhibitions in the HDB heartland in the later part of the year.
“Total Defence Caught in Action!” is co-organised by The Photographic Society of Singapore. The main sponsor of the competition is Nikon Singapore Pte Ltd.
As part of this year’s mass communications campaign, MINDEF is reintroducing the evergreen TD song “There’s a Part for Everyone” over the airwaves. The song has been revamped for a more contemporary feel and to appeal to the younger generation. Singapore Idol favourite, Ms Olinda Cho, was chosen to sing the TD Song.
Damai Secondary School is holding a mock water and electricity shutdown for an hour from 0800 - 0900h today to commemorate TDD. There will be a drama presentation entitiled ‘Born in Syonan : Are You Singaporean? by Act 3 on 21 February 2005 for the upper secondary pupils during Assembly in the hall.
Damai Primary School will stage an evacuation exercise and an assembly show today. The evacuation exercise serves to bring home the important message of being prepared at all times and knowing what to do in an emergency. It is also to remind everyone that there is a part for them to play during such an emergency.
Students of Unity Primary School Pupils will be given a chance to experience post-war life and treasure the importance of food and water in this exercise. This will be conducted during recess today.
* Source: Press Release 3 Feb 2005


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15 February 2005