War Buffs, You’ll Want to Visit Battle for Singapore 2021 to Load Up on SG War History!

Remembering the War through Battle for Singapore 2021

The historical re-enactment of the surrender at the Ford Motor Factory Boardroom can be viewed at Fort Siloso Sentosa.
Source: Sentosa

The Fall of Singapore in 1942 was a significant chapter in Singapore’s history. Despite the many decades that have passed, the tales of tenacity and resilience displayed by Singapore’s war heroes during that tumultuous period remain important and relatable to date.

Commemorating the 79th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, the National Heritage Board (NHB) invites us to revisit our wartime history via Battle For Singapore 2021.

Battle for Singapore 2021 will feature a diverse programme line-up and special access tours to historic World War II sites, offered in partnership with NHB’s Museum Roundtable members, citizen historians and heritage enthusiasts.

Battle for Singapore 2021 highlights include special access tours to WWII sites 

A view of the Former Ford Factory in Singapore where the surrender to Japanese occupation took place in 1942.
Source: Visit Singapore

A plethora of engaging activities await participants, such as tours to World War II sites like the Former Ford Factory and Bukit Brown, and online talks conducted in collaboration with community groups and researchers. 

This year’s Battle for Singapore programmes will feature close partnership with NHB’s Museum Roundtable institutions as they mark their 25th anniversary. They include the Fort Siloso Rediscovery Tour, which grants participants special access to historical sites in Fort Siloso that are open exclusively for tour participants.

There’s something for everyone – be it kids, curious explorers or history buffs! Don’t miss these intriguing highlights of Battle for Singapore 2021:

Fort Siloso Rediscovery Tour

A view of Fort Siloso at Sentosa, also known as the last remaining intact coastal gun battery in Singapore.
Source: Sentosa

Organised in partnership with Sentosa Development Corporation, the Fort Siloso Rediscovery Tour brings participants through the grounds of Fort Siloso, accompanied by history experts who will share their knowledge about the role of the fort in Singapore’s maritime past. 

The highlight of the tour will be visits to areas that are exclusively opened for tour participants. These include the Siloso Pier, coastal mine defence casement, and the Coastal Search Light stations. Led by historian Dr. John Kwok and history enthusiast Saifullah Kamaludin, the tour will tell a more complex history of Fort Siloso and its many stories.

This tour is open to participants aged 18 and above, with a $5 token charge per participant. For registration and details on tour dates, click here.

Mini Tour: Former Ford Factory – Singapore Discovery Centre 

An look inside the permanent exhibitions at Singapore Discovery Centre.
Source: Singapore Discovery Centre

This is a two-stop guided tour that visits Former Ford Factory and Singapore Discovery Centre

At the Former Ford Factory, where Britain’s Lieutenant-General A.E. Perceival surrendered unconditionally to the Japanese, setting the stage for the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, participants can learn more about the Occupation through archival records, published materials, oral history accounts and artefacts on display.

Participants will then visit the newly revamped galleries at the Singapore Discovery Centre, for an immersive journey into life during the Occupation through enhanced technology such as AR, as well as stories of resilience and courage during the war.

Any child participant of/under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. For registration and details on tour dates, click here.

Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital Heritage Gallery Tour 

An old photograph of Kwong Wai Shiu Free Hospital in 1974 with banners inviting patients of all races.
Source: KWSH Heritage

Learn about WWII through the lens of Kwong Wai Shiu Free Hospital, a charitable healthcare facility founded by a group of Cantonese businessmen in 1910. During the Japanese Occupation, part of the hospital compound was destroyed by bombs. Despite the destruction, the hospital continued with its mission of serving the needy, expanded its services to admit children and infants, and even buried war victims.

Uncover more about the hospital’s WWII history through a guided tour of the gallery and an informative sharing session by Mr Lee Kok Leong, curator of the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital Heritage Gallery

Please note that this tour is conducted in Mandarin. For registration and more details, click here.

Webinar: The Comfort Women of Singapore in History and Memory

Why have the voices of Singapore women who worked in the sex industry of the Japanese military in Singapore during the Second World War been missing from history? Were there Singapore women working as comfort women? 

Led by Assoc. Prof. Kevin Blackburn, this talk uncovers the missing voices of the comfort women of Japanese-occupied Singapore during the Second World War and explains why Singapore comfort women have not come forward with their testimonies as comfort women in other societies in Asia have done since the 1990s.  

The webinar will be held via Zoom on 6 March 2021 at 10:30am. For registration and more details, click here.

Adventures in Architecture Tour @ National Gallery Singapore 

A front view of the National Gallery Singapore, which was formerly the Supreme Court building.
Source: National Gallery Singapore

The National Gallery Singapore is a building and space anchored by time and history. Its architecture has many grand and recognisable features. Adventures in Architecture is a tour that encourages families to explore the rich history and architecture of the former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, and to think about shapes we see in everyday life. 

Children will also be introduced to basic architectural terms and vocabulary. In conjunction with Battle for Singapore 2021, the tour will be highlighting the war-time significance of the building as well as architectural elements related to Singapore’s WWII history.

Adventures in Architecture Tour will be held on 14 March 2021, and is suitable for families with children aged 5 to 8. For registration and more details on tour timings, click here.

Battle for Singapore 2021 has more than 40 tour runs and programme sessions in store! Visit www.museums.com.sg for the full list.

Registration commences on 16 February 2021 and slots on the programmes will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

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Author: Desiree Goh

Desiree is a fan of anything that promises a good story with interesting characters and set in a world more interesting than this one. Alternatively, she can be found crusading Tumblr with an arsenal of GIFs.

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