Monday, August 08, 2005

Reflecting at Bukit Chandu

Being Singapore's 40 Birthday, due to a lack of tickets to the Parade, I thought it'd be good to remember those who gave up their lives in the defence of the nation we all hold dear to our hearts.

I dropped by Reflections at Bukit Chandu over the weekend.

Visiting Reflections at Bukit Chandu's gonna be a trek unless you've private transport, but it shouldn't stop you really. Here some
directions that may come in handy.

Upon entering the compound, three statues of heroic Malay Regiment soldiers stand steadfast, readying themselves for a battle which will always be remembered. On the floor is a plaque, with a tribute to their heroic sacrifice.

On the wall of the house is a mural depicting the Battle of Pasir Panjang. The portrait expresses the confusion and disarray of the battle, with a Japanese soldier brutally slashing the face of a Malay Regiment soldier. This sets the scene for things to come.

The facade of the colonial house is one of grandeur. Interesting nugget: Bukit Chandu means Opium Hill in Malay.

Upon entering the house, a solemn mood prevails. The displays lining the walls told the story of the heroic Malay Regiment who stood their ground, including their accounts and artefacts of the weapons used during the time.

Military equipment enthusiasts will marvel at the artefacts which include binoculars, bayonets, field communications headsets, jerry cans and even mess tins.

Part of the displays included bicycles which aided the relentless assault of the Japanese and actual weaponary which was used in the massacre.

Displays of Malay Regiment uniforms and a bust of Lt Adnan, whose story is told throughout the walls of the house. A hero above all, without peer. His tragic end at the hands of the enemy was heartrending to listen to, through accounts from his descendants.

The multi-sensory experience which the Bukit Chandu Theatre provides brings you deep into the heart of battle. The show vividly re-enacted the peace before the battle, the confusion arising from the cacophony of battle sounds, and the actual sacrifice remained etched deeply in you, long after the show.

I found the drawings of the horror inflicted upon by the Japanese, as seen through children's eyes especially chilling. It was sad that children had been subjected to such horror.

The experience at Bukit Chandu promises to be overwhelming. It was unnerving to stand where fellow men had fell in their valiant defence of Singapore. It brings to mind the question, "Would you stand your ground as the Askar Melayu did?"


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