* 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. 🙂 ((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
Some important dates and events during 1942-1945:
- 08 December 1941 : The Japanese launched air raids and begin bombing all over Singapore.
- 15 February 1942 : Japanese officially took over Singapore.
- 18 February 1942 : The first round of execution took place at Changi Beach.
- 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.
- 06 August 1945 : Atomic bomb “Little Boy” exploded 1,900 feet above Hiroshima at 8:15 am.
- 08 August 1945 : Atomic bomb “Fat Man”exploded 1,650 feet above Nagasaki at 11:02 am.
- 15 August 1945 : Japan surrendered.