Post Page Advertisement [Top]

3rd Stop: Changi Beach - The Sook Ching Massacre

Totally transformed today, Changi Beach Park now welcomes families to enjoy the sun, sand and sea; have a BBQ, cycle or fly a kite. In fact, earlier in the year; this was part of the route for the Adidas Sundown Marathon 2009. It probably never occurred to those happy beach going souls that the grounds they're standing was once the most active and brutal shooting ground during the Japanese Occupation, where our Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew believes between 50,000 to 100,000 died. The final death toll could not be confirmed.

The massacre took place from 18 February to 4 March 1942. The term Sook Ching (肅清) means "a purge through cleansing" in Chinese and was a systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore by the Japanese military.

Wealthy Chinese had been financing the Chinese National Revolutionary Army led by Chiang Kai-Shek in the Second Sino-Japanese War through a series of fund-raising propagandist events. The Japanese military authorities, led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita, decided on a policy of "eliminating" those who harboured strong anti-Japanese sentiments.

A square stamp

On boarding the bus at the Johore Battery, everyone was stamped on the hand. A square stamp. The importance of the stamp was explained to us. The Japanese Military went through a very stringent process to identify the status of every civilian. A square stamp meant you were harmless and freed from the "extermination". A triangle on the other hand meant the opposite fate. The Japanese Military were on a hunt for Chinese men with "anti-Japanese" sentiments.
- wealthy men who could contribute generously to the Chinese revolt
- Hainanese who were perceived to be communists
- men with tattoos who were perceived to be Triad members
- well educated students
- civil servants amongst others

The last view of those who lost their lives in the Sook Ching Massacre

These men with triangle stamps were marched up to Changi Beach; lined up in rows facing the sea and made to dig the sand in front of them. They were in fact digging their own graves! After the ground was dug, shots were mercilessly fired from the back. There was no escape. It was a massive burial site. In the nights, family members would carry lanterns to salvage the remains of their loved ones.

As we stood at the beach, similarly in 3 rows, a poem by British war poet Siegfried Sassoon "How To Die" was recited.

How to Die

Dark clouds are smouldering into red
While down the craters morning burns.
The dying soldier shifts his head
To watch the glory that returns;
He lifts his fingers toward the skies
Where holy brightness breaks in flame;
Radiance reflected in his eyes,
And on his lips a whispered name.

You’d think, to hear some people talk,
That lads go West with sobs and curses,
And sullen faces white as chalk,
Hankering for wreaths and tombs and hearses.
But they’ve been taught the way to do it
Like Christian soldiers; not with haste
And shuddering groans; but passing through it
With due regard for decent taste.

- Siegfried Sassoon

We had some time to walk about the beach and be respectful of all those that have unjustly lost their lives here.

Finding prayer offerings along the beach

Part 1 - Singapore Under The Gun. Changi Museum & Johore Battery
Part 2 - The Sook Ching Massacre
Part 3 - The Battle Box & Victory of Singapore

More War On Wheels Bus Tour 2009 Photos

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visting and leaving your comments.

Bottom Ad [Post Page]