Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Educational Tour - Kranji War Memorial follow up- Remembrance Day

11 November - Remembrance Day is a memorial day observe in most Commonwealth Countries to remember member of armed forces that have fallen in the line of duty.

In Singapore Remembrance Day is held on the Sunday nearest to 11 November in Kranji War Memorial. In Year 2012, the ceremony was held on the actual day.

The procedure of the ceremony went as followed:-

0715 - Arrival of guest and donation and collection of Poppies (symbol of fallen soldiers)

0720 - Choir performance by Tanglin Trust School Choir

0730 - Positioning of Guards of Honour, Buglers, Drummers and Pipers. Speech by Guest of Honours. Singing of Amazing Grace, Abide With me, I vow to thee, my country

0815 - End of Ceremony

0820 - Tea

0830 - 0915 - Walking Tour host by Singapore Changi Chapel Museum. (Optional)

Personally, I feel that the main aim of the Ceremony is to ensure that our future generation will not forget that such atrocities have happened before and we must never allow it to happen again - "Lest We Forget".

The Walking Tour is not part of the Ceremony per se. However, the tour brings to life and enhance our understanding of the sacrifice the heroes have made for our Country.

The tour guide began the tour by bring us to Singapore State Cemetery (You can write more about it here.)

After which, we entered Kranji War Memorial. Kranji War Memorial main building represents the three branches of military. The top represent the Navy Submarine periscope, the roof represent the wing of an airplane while the columns represent the marching columns of the army.

The guide first introduced to us the resting place of LTC Ivan Lyon, leader of Z force. He lead two convert mission into Singapore Operation Jaywick and Operation Rimau.

Operation Jaywick was launched from Australia and was a huge success. Sailing from Australia using a capture Japanese Fishing Boat, they managed to sink seven Japanese Ship. All the men return to Australia safely. As there was a media blackout, the Japanese thought the deed was done by the locals and took it out on them.

Operation Rimau was the opposite of Jaywick, it was a huge failure and the whole unit was ultimately killed to a man. 13 in action while the remaining 10 was capture and put on trial for espionage, found guilty and beheaded just before the Japanese surrender.

The guide then lead as to the war columns and explained that Indians were given the honor of the central columns. To support the war, two million soldiers were raised "over night" to support the war effort. The soldiers were not train properly and vast numbers were killed.

Following that we were lead to the Singapore Malay regiment columns that defended Singapore along Pasir Panjang Ridge. Here, the 1000 members of the Malay regiment face off 18000 Japanese soldiers. Every inch of the land taken here by the Japanese was paid in blood. Ultimately when the ammunition of the Malay Regiment ran out, they fought using hand to hand combat. Captain Yazid Ahmad, the commander was eventually capture, torture and put to death.

The guide then lead us to the Straits Settlement Volunteer Corp and Dalforce. The men were given a few rounds of bullets, shotguns, parang and no uniform before they were sent to fight against the Japanese.

The tour ended with a brief commentary on the Japanese "Sook Ching" massacre. Which basically means elimination of Chinese in Malaya and Singapore that has resisted - actual or deem or those perceive to be sympathetic to the British caused. Base on name list and direct observation; example, those who wear specs (deem to be scholars), have tattoos (in triads) and wealthy businessmen were executed.

My writing prowess is not enough to convey the feeling of sadness and at times anger on the atrocities that happened two generation away. Visit the Kranji War Memorial and join the guided tour if possible - understand the issue and stories behind the events - "Lest We Forget".