Premier's Anzac Student Tour Study tour commemorating 75th anniversary of the fall of singapore

Departed Perth International Airport Sunday 16 April 2017.

Day 1 by Mya: Whilst flying over the Indian Ocean, I began to realise where I really was, and what all of these months of preparation and hard work everyone has achieved together, has led up to. It is a privilege to represent our state of Western Australia, my community and school overseas in Singapore. I excitedly counted down the hours, and eventually the minutes until we landed on foreign soil. I pictured a vibrant, urban jungle as we slowly descended to the ground, the twinkling lights of the city already glowing around the aircraft.

A ship in harbour is safe, but that's not what ships are built for - John A. Shedd.
Advertising poster at Changi Airport.

Day 2 by Janka: It is this acceptance of the different ethnic groups that make up Singapore that greatly contributes to the cultural diversity and social success of the nation. Although the different cultural districts originated as a system for separating the ethnic groups within Singapore under Sir Stamford Raffles, the districts are geographically so close together, and blend into one another, symbolising the harmony within Singapore.

Day 3 by Mitchell: Given the politics and historical context of Singapore, we come to understand how such a diverse nation is both united and accepting of one another. Singapore pays great respect to its cultures and its past, using policy and governance as uniting features.

Day 1 by Patrick: Something that amazed me was the size of this humid, green, densely populated nation. I knew that it was very small, but I was extremely surprised to find out that east to west it only stretches 47km, and north to south is only 27km as the crow flies. To put that into perspective, it is 42km from my home to Boyup Brook, the nearest town. The fact that an entire nation's width can fall within just a few extra kilometres of that distance is something that I personally struggle to comprehend.

Day 1 by Brandon: As the group were driven through the city, we stared, in wonder, at the buildings and the many different ways that the Singaporean government had incorporated an immense amount of plant diversity into the city-scape. In amazement, we watched as each building became more entwined with nature than the last. Even on such a small island, they manage to reserve so much space for greenery. The sheer scale of the forestry within the city itself was astonishing. Trees pieced the landscape just as much as the buildings did.

Day 2 by Coby: Today marked the group's first eye-opening introduction into Singapore and offered us a chance to truly immerse ourselves in the Singaporean culture and history. Described as a city where “East meets West,” Singapore boasts a highly cultural diverse population and it was interesting to see this illustrated by the different religions and architectural styles present throughout the city's distinctive ethnic areas.

Day 3 by Ming Hui. At our first stop at Changi Beach, Chris adeptly explained the chaos during the Allied retreat and the terror felt by civilians in the beginning days of Japanese occupation, yet he also mentioned the lack of emotional connection between those past Singaporeans and the soldiers who died in that campaign. I describe them as Singaporeans, however, prior to WWII they were only known as a collection of Chinese, Malay and Indian immigrants with limited attachment to the piece of land under British colonial rule; they came, they worked, they returned home - not to Singapore but to China, Malaysia or India. If the British had won that battle, there’s a high chance this would have continued to be the case. With Allied defeat, not only did the immigrant’s role in Singapore develop significantly, but the relationship between the British colonial rulers and native civilians also underwent change.

Old Ford Factory.

Day 4 by Cale: To stand in the room and to be able to see the transcript of what was said on that fateful day brought the events to life, almost to the point where Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival and General Tomoyuki Yamashita appeared at the table, discussing the terms of surrender.
Day 4 by Bryce: This relatively simple visual display allowed me to truly listen to the personal accounts without distractions and immerse myself in the experience.
Day 4 by Caitlyn: In the words George Yeo, Minister of Trade and Industry (2001), “It is very important that we do not take peace for granted - that we do not assume that there will always be harmony; that there will be no more war; that there's no need for us to defend ourselves.”

Day 5 by Patrick: In the Battle Box, the tour very hastily made it clear to me that the Allied forces in Singapore were not prepared for the Japanese attack. I also realised that the superiors were well aware of this. General Arthur Percival, the man in charge the of the Allies in Singapore, had made a request for the British War Office to send approximately 600 aircraft, 300 tanks and a Naval Fleet to strengthen Singapore and ensure the safety of the Crown Colony. The return for the request came in the form of 181 outdated aircraft, from late in the First World War, a fleet of two warships and several smaller cruisers with no tanks sent at all.

Day 5 by Janka: What was most interesting for me was the huge pressure Percival faced when deciding whether to surrender to the Japanese. The stigma and blame that was attached to his decision later turned him into the scapegoat for the failure of the Malayan campaign, as he bore the responsibility for the decision. However, I believe that in considering the lives of civilians and the welfare of his men, surrender, albeit difficult, was the right decision considering the circumstance, and that Percival was in that way very brave to risk the staunch pride of the British Empire for the sake of humanity on the island.

Day 5 by Cale: The tour of the Battle Box has tied together the five main parts of the Fall Of Singapore, in my opinion: Firstly, the battle, then the surrender, the incarceration at Changi Gaol, the experiences of the civilians, and the experiences of the POWs along the Burma-Siam Railway and across Asia. Although the tour is only at the halfway mark, I have already learnt more than I could ever hope or wish for, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Hwa Chong Institution.

Day 6 by Yulun (Francis): This Friday had been very fruitful and enriching for me. Not only did I learn from new perspectives of the Japanese Occupation from you guys, but I also made many new friends. I managed to view the Japanese Occupation from a different angle after hearing the Australian students voice out their opinions and thinking. Before this activity, I did not even know that there were sympathetic and kind Japanese officers during the occupation.
P.S. Through experience, I think that Aussies are the friendliest and nicest people on earth.

Day 6 by Mya: The Hwa Chong Institution’s open hospitality and friendliness was a credit to themselves and school, and a memory of the Anzac Tour I will treasure. Discussing the internationally contributed Fall of Singapore with Singaporean students, was a sensational conversation; everyone’s opinions and thoughts shared and built onto by each other. To be given the opportunity to meet students who have the same passion for history as I do, from an international school, is a privilege I am very grateful for.

Day 7 by Caitlyn: I feel as though the country of Singapore embodies the message that the zoo preaches; the greenery of the city, the lack of litter and the harmony between man and nature all prove to the citizens, both local and international, that it is not difficult to be a sustainable, beautiful metropolis.
Day 8 by Cale: We began today’s story with a visit to Bukit Chandu Museum, taking in the interpretative “Reflections at Bukit Chandu” exhibit, which tells the story of the final stand of the Malayan Regiments. The museum is placed atop Bukit Chandu hill, where the last stand of the Malay Regiment took place in the Battle of Pasir Panjang. The last stand of these Malayan troops is the story fit to sit among the legends of Achilles and Hercules. The men from the Malayan regiments fought under the flag of the British Empire with a ferocity only paralleled by the Japanese, fighting under the Jawi motto “Ta'at Setia”, meaning “Loyal and True” in English.
Sentosa Island.

Day 8 by Caitlyn: One particular thing that Chris said today was that “when you are exposed to different cultures, your worldview expands significantly.” For me, this fully epitomises the tour; the changing perspectives; the broader view of the world; the deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made.

Colonel David John Hay shared with us an interesting story about the Australian slouch hat; Colonel Hay said that when he wore his slouch hat, which was inspired by Governor General Cosgrove, foreign civilians recognised his nationality and experienced an emotional connection to him.
‘The digital realm, free from physical constraints, allows for unlimited possibilities of expression and transformation’ (Toshiyuki Inoko, co-founder).
Day 10 by Patrick: When asked how I found the ceremony, I would reply with the words: ‘It was pretty raw to be honest’, simply because that is all I had to describe what I witnessed and the way I felt.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.