Japanese Occupation and Bukit Brown

Today in Singapore I returned to Bukit Brown to hear more stories of the people who lived and died during WW2. We came across several unmarked graves which are only denoted by numbers. The records show they were either either killed during war operations or civilian casualties but in either case remained unidentified. During the few months before Singapore came under Japanese occupation there were air raids which resulted in mass casualties and they were buried in trenches. The location of these ranch graves were never identified.

We also heard of war heroes famous and forgotten. One such was a police officer Wong Chin Yoke who tried to start a resistance movement from Indonesia. He was betrayed and killed and as such forgotten by history. His remains were later reinterred here in an plot guarded by two Sikh guards.

Our guide pointed out that these were “active” Sikh guards as opposed to the retired ones we later encountered. The difference is rather obvious.

We also heard about the Endau settlement which was established in a effort to resettle Chinese to reduce the population and cope with the food shortage. It is interesting to note people who cooperated with the Japanese in such activities either as a survival mechanism or through coercion. An interesting character in all this was a Japanese Shinozaki. He oversaw the resettlement projects and encouraged the communities to accept it. He was also credited with issuing protection passes during the Sook Chin massacres and later gave witness during the war trials.

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