Here’s What to See At The Revamped Syonan Gallery
Do you know the story of how Singapore fell to the Japanese in only six days? Or what life was like in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation? What about Singapore’s sentiments after the British returned to Singapore?
The newly re-opened Ford Factory is the place to see all this and more. Now renamed the Syonan Gallery, the museum will take you on a journey to pre-war, wartime, and post-war Singapore. Be prepared to take in many startling sights – the Sook Ching Massacre, the types of diseases that were rampant, and a re-enactment of Singapore’s untimely surrender to the Japanese.
The museum is located at 352 Upper Bukit Timah Road. Admission to Syonan Gallery is free for all Singaporeans, students, and Permanent Residents, and S$3 for other visitors.
Our writers went down to Syonan Gallery at Ford Factory to have a look. Here’s our experience.
Tilt your head up
Every story needs a beginning. Inside the introduction chamber, you’ll notice relics encased in glass compartments. These relics tell the story of the events that led up to the Battle of Singapore. Tilt your head up! Here, you’ll see plenty of newspaper cuttings plastered on the ceiling. These cuttings show news coverage of the atrocities that the Japanese committed during the war.
The Surrender Room
This room is a replica of the room where General Arthur Percival of the Allied forces surrendered Singapore to the Japanese. This was a dark day for Singapore. Singapore was officially handed over the Japanese on 15 February 1942, and tens of thousands of Europeans were rounded up and placed in prisoner of war (POW) camps.
The War Chamber
Here’s where some of the darkest moments in Singapore’s history are documented. In this chamber, you’ll learn more about the atrocities committed by the Japanese, the rise of the Indian National Army, life during the occupation, and the lives of some of our war heroes, such Major-General Lim Bo Seng.
Legacies after the war
After the war, Singapore was in turmoil. The British had returned, but there was little cause for celebration. Unemployment was at its peak, and protests were rampant. There was a new threat that was rising – communism, and the British had a tough time resisting calls for Singapore’s separation from the Crown. The time for Singapore’s independence was coming.
The Wartime Garden
Situated just outside the gallery, the Syonan Garden is where you’ll learn about wartime crops. Here, you’ll be able to see crops commonly grown during the Japanese Occupation; e.g. tapioca, papaya, sweet potato, onion, watermelon, and coconut. You can even try a hand in pumping out water here! Don’t drink the water here though; it’s not potable.
The Syonan Gallery at Ford Factory is open from Mondays to Saturdays, from 9.00am – 5.30pm, and on Sundays from 12 noon to 5.30pm.
Admission is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, and S$3 for other visitors.
For more information, visit www.nas.gov.sg/syonangallery