Public Talk (registration required) – this talk is organised by the Singapore Maritime Heritage Interest Group, in unofficial tribute to the Republic of Singapore Navy’s 50th anniversary (May 2017).
“What could we learn from the 1603 sea battle off Changi?”
A/P Peter Borschberg
Department of History
National University of Singapore
Wed 19 April 2017: 6:30 pm – 9.00pm
National Library Building (Victoria Street)
POD, Level 16
A/P Borschberg is a renowned historian of pre-British history of Singapore and the region. This talk is based on this map from 1607, depicting a sea battle off the coast of Changi in 1603. Learn more about the talk and the speaker here.
The talk is free, but please register due to limited seats [link].
Koufu has kindly sponsored the refreshments at the end of talk.
Thanks to Mok Ly Yng for the alert.
Coloured WW2 footage by Romano Archives, from The Battle of Singapore, without sound or narration.
The footage features air, ship and artillery bombardment, amphibious landings, infantry movement, banzai, tanks rolling into the city past the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles and “Tiger of Malaya,” General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
You can see some of the footage used in this documentary, WWII Battlefront Pacific: Fall of Singapore (2001; Madacy Entertainment):
Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KK) were inadvertent record-breakers in 1966:
“In 1966, Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) or KK as it was popularly referred to, saw 39,856 deliveries and entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest number of births in a single maternity facility anywhere in the world!
Then, “more than 85 percent of all births in Singapore took place in KKH, where over 100 babies were delivered daily.”
KK held the record until 1976.
The same year, “the National Family Planning Campaign was launched to curb a projected population boom. The new “Stop At Two” (children) policy’s slogan was “Girl or Boy — Two is enough”.”
“The campaign was so successful that the Government later realized that Singapore would not be able to replace its population in a generation. In 1986, the campaign tack and the slogan became “Have three or more, if you can afford it”.”
– “The record-breaking Kandang Kerbau Hospital babies of 1966!”
Half a century later, KK or KKH as they refer to themselves now, are attempting a second, and this time intentional, record-breaking reunion – all kerbaus are invited to “Born in KKH – A Celebration of Singapore, Family Life and a Healthy Lifestyle” on Sun 16 Oc 2016: 8.30am @ Bishan Stadium.
See the webpage for more. If you are attempting the record, there are details to take note of such as having copy of your BC, a QR code as well as your NRIC on the day.
Are you a kerbau?
“Rochor River flowing between Sungei Road and Rochor Canal Road. Buffaloes, as seen bathing in river in the picture, were kept by the local Indian community in the area, which was how the name of nearby Kandang Kerbau or “buffalo pen” came about” – description and photo from National Archives of Singapore
“Pesta Ubin” is the 5th iteration of Ubin Day and offers a wonderful array of activities by more than 30 groups who enjoy nature, heritage, adventure and recreation activities on Pulau Ubin. Many events are offered free of charge to share the joy of this unique island with Singaporeans.
For more details, see the Pesta Ubin blog and facebook pages.
The festival starts on the 14th of May 2016 with a Chek Jawa boardwalk tour, a basic mountain-biking course, and an evening at the Wayang Stage, explorations of the western tip, a specialist heritage tour, and learning kampung cooking in a 100-year old kampung house! The truly marvellous array of activities continue until mid-June!
This festival is a ground-up exercise coordinated by WildSingapore which facilitates the offerings of various groups. A unique feature is a code of conduct the groups subscribe to, called the Ubin Way:
- Greet each other with a smile, a “Hello” or “How was your day on Pulau Ubin?” Respect the culture and get to know the people of Ubin, and each other.
- Do not litter – and pick up litter that we see. Bring it back to the mainland.
- Be gentle with wildlife – no balloons release, avoid noisy activities, be considerate during photography, don’t pluck plants or harm animals. At night, do not blind animals with the glare of strong lights.
- Minimise our footprint – avoid bottled water, styrofoam, plastic bags, useless freebies, pamphlets and single use items
- Encourage participants to patronise local businesses and share news about activities on the island.
To contribute an activity or volunteer, see the About page.
The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, Sat 13 Feb 2016: 7.00am – 12.00pm with my Pasir Panjang Heritage kakis from NUS Toddycats, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore: Kok Oi Yee, Airani S, Alvin Wong, Quek Kiah Shen, Wendy Sim, Lai Chee Kian, Stella Wee, Kenneth Pinto.
Register at Eventbrite and details at Habitatnews
General A. E. Percival, the Commander-in-Chief of the Malayan Command:
“by their stubborn defence of the Pasir Panjang Ridge at the height of the Battle of Singapore, they set an example of steadfastness and endurance which will become a great tradition in the Regiment and an inspiration for the future generations.””
- “The Malay Regiment – “Ta’at Dan Setia”: 1933-1945,” by Lim Kay Tong. Originally from Knowledgenet, 1999. [link]
- Battle of Pasir Panjang. Wikipedia. [link]
- Sunrise in campus and a battle remembered (2012) [link]
- “Commemorating the Battle of Pasir Panjang.” Otterman speaks…, 04 Oct 2005 [link]
- “Adnan lives on.” Otterman speaks…, 29 Feb 2004. [link]
- More links at Habitatnews: Pasir Panjang Heritage
We walk this Sunday.
Chinese New Year always a bittersweet time. The occasion brings me back to 1942 – it’s World War II and Singapore is under siege. Out of the flames and scars of battle, loyalty and courage is demonstrated in many instances, and the Battle of Pasir Panjang is certainly an extraordinary story.
I only learnt about this battle in my backyard in the late 90’s.
General A. E. Percival, the Commander-in-Chief of the Malayan Command wrote in The War in Malaya (1949),
The main Japanese offensive during the thirteenth developed along the Pasir Panjang Ridge to the west of Singapore Town. It was a key position on that part of the front, for it not only over-looked the country to the north but also gave direct access to the vitally important Alexandra area where our main ammunition magazine, the main ordnance depot, the military hospital, and other installations were grouped. The attack was made by the Japanese 18th Division and was preceded by a two hours’ artillery, air, and mortar bombardment.
The attack fell chiefly on the Malay Regiment which was holding this feature and which fought magnificently. On this and the following day the regiment fully justified the confidence which had been placed in it and showed what esprit de corps and discipline can achieve. Garrisons of posts held their ground and many of them were wiped out almost to a man. It was only when it was weakened by heavy losses that the regiment was forced to give ground. Those who have described the resistance on Singapore Island as half-hearted do scant justice to resistance such as this.”
My fellow Pasir Panjang heritage guides and I will share this story and more during the Battle of Pasir Panjang Anniversary Walk. This annual walk has been conducted since February 2002 to recall the battle and share stories of heritage, biology and the environment with rather interesting members of the public – they wake up early to join us at 7.00am for a five-hour walk!
Read Jerome Lim’s comprehensive account from 2011 in The Long and Winding Road.
This year we walk on Sat 15 Feb 2014 (registration here), which my students correctly guessed to be Total Defense Day but struggled to recall that it commemorates the Fall of Singapore on 15 Feb 1942. Well, I’ll remind them to listen out for the island-wide sounding of sirens at midday.
Photos by Kenneth Pinto.