Sunday, February 17, 2013

Surrender Of The Japanese

The signing of the document
A cheering crowd welcome the return
 of British forces on 5 September 1945.
After atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. the Japanese surrendered shortly after. The British troops returned to Singapore on 5 September 1945. On 12 September 1945, huge crowds gathered at the Padang and cheered for the return of the British. in the Municipal Building (now City Hall), Japanese military leaders signed the surrender document which was accepted bu the Supreme Allied Commander for Southeast Asia, Lord Louis Mountbatten.

On 15 August, Japan announced its surrender. The formal signing of the surrender instrument was held at City Hall, Singapore, then known as "Municipal Hall", on 12 September. This was followed by a celebration at the Padang, which included a victory parade. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, came to Singapore to receive the formal surrender of the Japanese forces in the region from General SeishirĊ Itagaki on behalf of General Hisaichi Terauchi. A British military administration utilizing surrendered Japanese troops as security forces was formed to govern the island until March 1946.
The Japanese delegation leaves theMunicipal Building after the surrender ceremony on 12 September 1945.
After the Japanese surrendered, there was a state of anomie in Singapore, as the British had not yet arrived to take control. The Japanese occupiers had a considerably weakened hold over the populace. There were widespread incidents of looting and revenge-killing. Much of the infrastructure had been wrecked, including the harbour facilities and electricity, water supply, and telephone services. It took four or five years for the economy to return to pre-war levels. When British troops finally arrived they met with cheering and fanfare.

Banana money became worthless after the occupation ended. Many individuals who had acquired their wealth through banana currency were rendered penniless overnight.

Sources: CPDD Ministry Of Education. (2007).Singapore From Settlement To Nation Pre 1819 To 1971. Singapore. Marshall Cavendish Education. (Date accessed: 17 Feb 13)

Battle At Bukit TImah Hill

Japanese Bukit Timah.jpg
Japanese soldiers in Bukit Timah

The Battle of Bukit Timah, which took place on 11 February 1942, was part of the final stage of the Empire of Japan's invasion of Singapore during World War II. By 10 February, the Japanese had landed in full force on Singapore Island. They controlled the entire western part of the island, and much of the north. Their next objective was Bukit Timah and the capture of vital water, food, ammunition, and vehicles, machine parts and other supplies. Now, flushed with success, the Japanese again advanced in full force.

On that night, the Japanese 5th Division, supported by tanks, advanced down Choa Chu KangRoad. The 12th Indian Brigade and some British troops under Major Angus MacDonald and Captain Mike Blackwood (both were officers from the Argylls who would both later die on the steamship Rooseboom while escaping Singapore) blocked the road and opened fire with an anti-tank gun, destroying the first Japanese tank, but this was merely the first of a force of 50 tanks.
Japanese troops assaulting
 Bukit Timah hill, under Allied fire.
There followed some hand-to-hand combat, as well as bayonet charges from both sides. In this stage of battle, Dalforce, an irregular force made up of ethnic Chinese men from Singapore, took heavy losses. The poorly trained and equipped members of Dalforce were armed only with parangs, grenades, rifles and shotguns normally used for hunting, and suffered heavy casualties. By midnight, the Japanese had overwhelmed the defenders and captured Bukit Timah.
The British launched a counterattack the following morning with two brigades. But by midday, faced with strong Japanese resistance, the counterattack failed.
The next day, the Japanese Imperial Guards advanced from the north, outflanking the British defenders and forcing their retreat. In the ensuing battle, the Chinese members of Dalforce fought bravely, some to their deaths. Here, the Japanese suffered some of their heaviest casualties in the campaign to occupy Singapore. In revenge, they massacred Chinese men, women and children living in a nearby village.

Source: (Date accessed: 17 Feb 13)

Food Quality

Since food is scarce, expensive and not sufficient, sweet potatoes and yam became the staple food of most diets of Singaporeans because they were considerably cheaper than rice and could also be grown in gardens. They were then turned into a variety of dishes, as both dessert and all three meals of the day. The nutrients helped stave off starvation, and new ways of consuming tapioca with other produce were regularly invented in order to stave off the monotony. Both the British and Japanese authorities encouraged the population to grow their own food if they had even the smallest amount of land, the encouragement and produce were similar to what occurred with victory gardens in the Western nations during World War II Ipomoea aquatica, which grew relatively easy and flourished relatively well near the water, became a popular crop, as did other vegetables.

Source: (Date accessed: 17 Feb 13)


The Japanese issued banana money as their main currency since Straits currency became rare. The Japanese instituted elements of acommand economy in which there were restrictions on the demand and supply of resources, thus creating a popular black market. The "banana currency" started to suffer from high inflation and dropped drastically in value because the authorities would simply print more whenever they needed more money; consequently the black market often used Straits currency.

Source: (Date accessed: 17 Feb 13)
Banana Notes


The people of Singapore resented Japanese rule. Anti-Japanese groups were formed to fight against the Japanese. For example, the Malayan Communist Party formed the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army(MPAJA) to fight against the Japanese in the Malayan Jungle. Members of MPAJA would carry out sudden attacks on the Japanese military whenever they had the chance.

Ivan Lyon (center) celebrating with two other
 members of 
Z Force following the
 success of 
Operation "Jaywick".
Another group of forces was known as Z Force led by Major Ivan Lyon infiltrated Singapore Harbour and sank or damaged seven Japanese shipscomprising over 39,000 long tons (40,000 metric tons). Lyon led another operation, codenamed Rimau, with the same objective almost a year later and sank three ships. Lyon and 13 of his men were killed after the Japanese discovered them. The other 10 who participated in the operation were charged with espionage in a kangaroo court and subsequently executed.

There was also another force called Force 136, who was led by Lim Bo Seng, code named Gustavus. They established an espionage network in Malaya and Singapore and gather intelligence about Japanese forces for the Allies. However, Operation Gustavus failed and Lim was captured along with his men. Lim died in prison due to ill-treatment.Force 136 was eventually disbanded after the war. 

Sources: (Date accessed: 17 Feb 13)
CPDD Ministry Of Education. (2007).Singapore From Settlement To Nation Pre 1819 To 1971. Singapore. Marshall Cavendish Education.