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* It’s Singapore’s 50th birthday today, and I would like to celebrate this special day with this piece about the Japanese Occupation from 1942-1945. ūüôā ((Incorporated a bit of “A Soldier’s Last Entry”)) Hope you will enjoy it!

17 January 1942.

I bid my loved ones quite possibly the last time

As they watch me stride off to the battlegrounds

This roaring in my ears I hear

Should fear be this loud?

15 February 1942.

A day to celebrate and a day for red

Oh yes, how the Japanese celebrate

In shambles and smoke this city of fallen grace

A single white and red flag stood

So proud and tall and sorely bright

I swear it makes my bones shake with might

18 February 1942.

There are shots and red and unblinking eyes

It makes me wish to run

My fingers are trembling as though

They themselves have lived through the horrors

Still replaying like a broken recorder

Right in front of my eyes

30 July 1943.

We have invisible shackles and chains

Around our hands and feet and mouth

They walk past us with eyes

Which bend us to their will

Though the country will know of my bravery

And nothing of my name

My greatest source of warmth

Is knowing my loved ones are safe

26 September 1943.

Fed scraps of food

When food is sparse

I rather not eat than to be given hope

That with every next bite

I will be given more

16 April 1944.

so parched. so hungry.

i feel the onslaught of

a thousand droughts.

09 June 1945.

Our roots have been torn out

Mere weeds that were plucked clean

Our next generation will no longer learn our language

They now bear the tongues of our enemies

06 August 1945.

Our saving grace!

It gives hope to us stranded voyagers

In this turbulent stormy sea

But I fear these hands of mine

Will not live long enough for sunlight

To break through yonder skies so grey

– a.h.

________________________________________________________

Some important dates and events during 1942-1945:

  1. 08 December 1941 : The Japanese launched air raids and begin bombing all over Singapore.
  2. 15 February 1942 : Japanese officially took over Singapore.
  3. 18 February 1942 : The first round of execution took place at Changi Beach.
  4. Between 1942 to 1945 : Japanese soldiers patrolled the streets and commoners had to bow to them when they passed by. Those who failed to do so would be slapped or beaten and some people would be taken away. To remove Western influence, the Japanese set up schools and forced the people to learn their language. Textbooks were printed in Japanese. Every morning, the children had to stand facing the direction of Japan and sing the Japanese national anthem. Resources were scarce and food quality and availability decreased greatly.
  5. 06 August 1945 :¬†Atomic bomb “Little Boy” exploded 1,900 feet above Hiroshima at 8:15 am.
  6. 08 August 1945 :¬†Atomic bomb “Fat Man”exploded 1,650 feet above Nagasaki at 11:02 am.
  7. 15 August 1945 : Japan surrendered.
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