“Defiance has a name: Lieutenant Adnan”

When Circle Line as newly opened, Pasir Panjang MRT Station (CC26) featured a movie banner which declared, “Defiance has a name: Lieutenant Adnan”! That sent shivers down the spine of the Pasir Panjang Heritage Guides and we eagerly look forward to the movie.

Defiance has a name Lieutenant Adnan (Kenneth Pinto)
Photo by Kenneth Pinto on a CCL jaunt with John Larkin

Despite our eager anticipation, we saw no sign of the movie anywhere in Singapore! Kenneth Pinto who first alerted me about the banner was just as puzzled when nothing more was heard of the movie weeks later.

Eventually we realised the banner was a “Art in Transit” contribution by filmmaker Ho Tzu Nyen. We were certainly taken in!

“At the Pasir Panjang station, for example, the artwork features Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi, a war hero who led Singapore in the Battle of Pasir Panjang against the Japanese in 1942. Images of Singaporean actor Aaron Aziz, playing Lt. Adnan, are used to create a mock movie poster about the war hero.

Injecting a bit of humor into an artwork about a grimmer period in Singapore’s history, the poster offers a tribute to Lt. Adnan’s bravery during the Japanese occupation in World War II.

The tribute to Lt. Adnan was the work of Singaporean artist and filmmaker Ho Tzu Nyen, who represented Singapore at the 2011 Venice Biennale.”

– “Slow Down and Enjoy the Art, Singapore,” by Shibani Mahtani. Wall Street Journal, 11 October 2011.

Pasir Panjang MRT

The MRT station is located across from Pepys Road, along which lies the former Opium Factory which gave Bukit Chandu its name.

We won’t get to see the movie, but hope that thousands of Singaporeans will pause to remember, like I do, each time I am at Pasir Pajang MRT station.

“Defiance has a name: Lieutenant Adnan”



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