Exploring Singapore

Bootie

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#1
When the chance to visit anywhere in the world fell upon my lap due to my wife’s impeccable work ethic and a handsome reward to her of free flights from a Middle Eastern based Airline she left the destination choice up to me. The only caveat being the flights had to be from Edinburgh to Doha initially. The choices onward from Doha were tantalising to say the least, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan all locations that were considered but as an avid fan of military history and the Second World War in particular I decided on Singapore. I knew vaguely of the role Singapore played in the conflict but decided to look into it a little bit more.

The average person could probably tell you nothing of the fate that befell Singapore in early 1942. Those with a little more knowledge or interest would perhaps mention that it was the largest capitulation of British troops in military history and a lack of leadership and backbone by Lt. General A. E. Percival the General Officer Commanding Malaya Command was firmly to blame. I definitely fell into this group. I knew a little but not enough to hold a conversation about the topic and soon learnt that the general consensus regarding Percival was a little harsh in my opinion but I will go into that later.

As I dug deeper I realised the destination had to be Singapore, there was one hell of an interesting story there and I had to find out more so without further ado I informed my wife of my choice and why. She expected nothing less of me as I always manage to squeeze some kind of historical tourism into our trips. The fact that Singapore had nice weather, good shopping, English was spoken widely and the hotel I had chosen had a gym and a swimming pool and she was sold on it too. What I failed to tell her was the hotel I had picked was chosen due to its close proximity to Fort Canning Hill and nothing to do with her fitness regime.

It wasn’t long until the day of departure arrived and we set of from our home city of Aberdeen, Scotland at midnight on Sunday going into Monday for a 3-hour drive to Edinburgh airport in horrendous conditions, thick fog and a temperature of -7°C. This was followed by a 7-hour flight to Doha, Qatar and a further 7-hour flight to Singapore where we arrived on Tuesday morning as dawn was breaking. As we dropped through the cloud cover I had my first view of Singapore… a little jungle, a beautiful sparkling sea and a lot of skyscrapers.


Stepping of the plane at Changi Airport the heat hits you, it is hot, damn hot. 1000hrs in the morning and it was 29°C and damp, within a few minutes you have beads of sweat forming on your brow and that uncomfortable sticky feeling down the middle of your back. The other thing that became immediately apparent was the amount of change that Singapore has experienced since the end of WW2. Looking through the window of the taxi as it took us to our hotel we were greeted to the sight of sparkling skyscrapers reaching for the sky, shopping complex after shopping complex and very few buildings that looked like they pre-dated the 90’s.



I have to admit I was a little concerned that modernisation and development appeared to have wiped the Singapore of old away and that my 11000km journey may have been made in vain but backed by the knowledge of a thousand google searches I knew the history was out there and just waiting to be found.
 
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Sempai

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#2
Reads very interesting. Good choice of language/words if I may say so as a layperson in English. Good work, Shane!

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Bootie

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#3
Thanks Sempai... Im currently putting together Part Two.
 

Hedgehog

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#4
Agreed with Sempai nicely written and interesting ....nice one Shane, 9 out of 10 Shane
 

steve

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#5
Very well written sir.

Being an army brat, I've been to Singapore......arrived at the tender age of three months and left at three yrs old..........one of my brothers was born there.

Steve
 

Bootie

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#6
Nearly a year ago since this trip... lost the article in the sands of time but will put a few pics up for anyone interested.

War Memorial in Singapore.. one side for WW1 and the other side for WW2. I like the steps leading up with each year wrote on them.

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Bootie

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#7
Entrance to the Battlebox on Fort Canning Hill where the Allies made the decision to surrender to the Japanese.
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Bootie

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#8
The National Gallery Singapore... where in 1945 the Japanese signed their surrender.

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