When it comes to learning more about Singapore’s history, jaded sighs may often fill the room. But with nowhere to travel to or explore, why not take a short trip down memory lane with the National Heritage Board’s (NHB) Battle for Singapore. The National Heritage Board aims to commemorate their 79th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore with 40 plus exclusive programmes and access tours to historic World War II sites.
From 20 February to 14 March 2021, fall down the rabbit hole of Singapore’s tumultuous history and emerge stronger with a new grasp of Singapore’s tenacious roots. The curated tours and programmes are offered in partnership with NHB’s Museum Roundtable (MR) members, citizen historians and heritage enthusiasts. Hopefully, with this tour, our minds will be rejuvenated with a fresh sense of resilience to empower us during these difficult times.
Through Battle for Singapore 2021, we hope that Singaporeans can rediscover the history not only behind familiar landmarks and sites around Singapore, but also unearth diverse and lesser-known stories related to our nation’s WWII past,Gerald Wee, Director of International & Museum Relations, NHB.
Some highlights of the WWII tours include exploring the Former Ford Factory (with some new fancy AR technology) and Bukit Brown, which were integral parts of shaping our nation today.
Some of the highlights of Battle for Singapore 2021 include:
Fort Siloso Rediscovery Tour (NEW)
Did you know that Siloso is not just about parties, picnics or having fun in the sun? With 2021 also marking the 25thanniversary of the MR, the Fort Siloso Rediscovery Tour has been organised in partnership with several MR institutions and Sentosa Development. This tour grants visitors special access to historical sites in Fort Siloso.
Discover the fort’s role in Singapore’s maritime past and take cool pictures for the ‘gram at the Siloso Pier, coastal mine defence casement and Coastal Search Light stations. This is a fantastic opportunity to peel back the mysterious yet complex layers of Fort Siloso, as well as the stories hidden beneath the island.
Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital Heritage Gallery Tour (NEW)
Founded in 1910 by a group of Cantonese businessmen, this once-charitable healthcare facility suffered during the Japanese Occupation. Though bombs destroyed part of the hospital compound, it continued to help individuals who were deprived. Through an insightful sharing session with Mr Lee Kok Leong, the curator of the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital Heritage Gallery, unearth how this hospital aided victims of war.
Webinar: The Comfort Women of Singapore in History and Memory by Assoc. Prof. Kevin Blackburn
Back in school, we learnt mostly about the men who nurtured Colonial Singapore. It was almost as if women had been effaced from our history. Though Singapore’s Comfort Women are hardly recognised in our history textbooks, their stories are no smaller than the men who once had the upper hand in this country.
This webinar covers why Singaporean Comfort Women have not come forward to share their stories and if they’re even were Singaporean women working in the underbelly of the Japanese military – Where the idea of sex was never really discussed during such traumatic times.
Bring your loved ones along for this exciting journey to the past! Registration begins on 16 February 2021, Tuesday, from 12pm onwards. Slots will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information on Battle for Singapore 2021, visit their website.
Visuals courtesy of National Heritage Board and Sentosa Development Corporation.