Wednesday, December 09, 2009

World War Two at Upper East Coast Road – Peter Chan

It all started when I received some exciting bits of military intelligence reports about the role of the Americans in Singapore during WW2. All this time, I was under the impression that only the British fought for the liberation of Singapore from the Japanese. Between October 1944 and July 1945, American B29 bombers conducted intelligence and bombing sorties on selected targets in Singapore. The targets included POW Centers, oil storage installations, airfields, enemy bases and key installations.


Photos 1a & 1b: American intelligence report (circa 1945). The handwritten ‘answers” illustrates my guesswork; a major part of the blame was because we dealt with the British Imperial metrics. Having to deal with “feet & yards” metrics in the age of S.I. was quite a challenge.

From aerial intelligence reports, two items caught my attention. They were a “Tanah Merah Powder Magazine 1,100 yards WSW of Bedok Village” and an “unidentified installation 335 yards west of Bedok Village”. Since Char Lee (aka “Icemoon”) and Chin Siew Min had vested interest in this geographical part of Singapore, they pitched in time and resources to investigate further, without which this article would not have been possible.

Photos 2a & 3b: View of photos from Parbury Avenue. TOP; 11 Kew Drive was the yellow dotted line box; a concrete bunker. 1 Kew Drive was the yellow bold line box, a heavy machine gun nest inside a pill-box. At the top of this photo is Bedok Corner (circa 1960). BOTTOM; Tanah Merah Powder Magazine (circa 1962). Tanah Merah Kechil the dirt track starts at the middle-bottom of this photo and would eventually connect with present-day Tanah Merah Kechil South.

The Tanah Merah Powder Magazine operated as an ammunition depot and was first reported in General Gillman’s 1927 report on the defenses of Singapore. General Gillman (whose name was given to Gillman Barracks) drew up defense plans in view of the perceived Japanese threat. It was not just a normal British ammunition depot but a depot that was co-owned by one Tan Seng Poh (whose name gave rise to Seng Poh Road in the Tiong Bahru Estate area). Tan Seng Poh was an enterprising local Chinese merchant of considerable status and did business with the colonial government.

Insofar as the “unidentified installation” is concern, there was no precedence because it was not built by the British. The local spy networks confirmed that it was built by the Japanese and manned by several infantry soldiers. Originally it was thought to be an Observation Post (OP) monitoring possible enemy naval movements off the east coast of Singapore but an air-recon on 12 July 1945 found it to be a wireless station. The Bedok W/T Station had 3 tall tubular masts set out in the form of a triangle of sides 235’ X 250’ X 130’ and the masts were built in the open space between two houses. It was managed by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Photos 3a & 3b: TOP: Bedok W/T Site lies abandon. The two houses are circled in yellow. Below is Upper East Coast Road with a car heading towards Bedok Corner (circa 1960). During the Indonesian Confrontation era of 1963 - 1966, the site was occupied by British anti-aircraft guns. BOTTOM: a jetty was built to unload ammunition for the Tanah Merah Powder Magazine (circa 1937).

There were six feet deep trenches dug north of Upper East Coast Road. The beach was fortified with barbed-wire from Tanjung Rhu to Teluk Ayer Mata Ikan (3 meters in thickness, 50 - 150 meters from the shoreline) and only visible during low-tide. If the Japanese had not surrendered on 16 August 1945, could this part of Singapore be another “D-Day”, in similar fashion to the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France?

During our pursuit of the subject, we discovered a more somber past. Many are familiar with the massacre sites at Siglap, Amber Road, Upper Changi Road and Changi Creek but Bedok Hill Massacre is seldom mentioned. Why is this so? Unlike the Sook Ching victims, Bedok Hill Massacre involved captured Malay and Chinese military personnel who stood in defense of Singapore. Just after 6.30pm on February 28, 1942, 100 captured men from 1st Bn. Malay Regiment, 4th Bn. Straits Settlement Volunteer Force from Malacca, and the Negeri Sembilan F.M.S. Volunteer Force were machine-gunned down and their bodies dumped into the trenches.

Photos 4a & 4b: TOP: British mobile light anti-aircraft gun on top of a hill. A partial view of Upper East Coast Road bend can be seen to the left of the group of soldiers (circa 1941). The sea is on the left. BOTTOM: the sea is off Upper East Coast Road. In the distance are the hills of Pulau Karimun, Indonesia (circa 1941).

Where was this Bedok Hill? From one survivor account: “We stopped on the seafront near Bedok close to a low hill. Here an anti-aircraft gun had been sited by the British. The whole detachment marched up a lane round the side of a low hill. A level patch on the hill slope was the site of the trenches. Dwellers in a nearby kampong still remember the stench of rotting corpses which hung over their houses when the wind blew in from the sea a week later”.

From my personal recollections, I knew there was a British-built WW2 pill-box at Kew Drive. There were similar constructs along Bedok Road next to the Bedok Methodist Church, one on the grounds of Temasek Secondary School and the other at Bedok Corner facing Bedok Junction.

So where was the location of the Bedok Hill Massacre site? What has become of Tanah Merah Powder Magazine and the Bedok W/T Station? Watch this space again!

Related posts:

1) Balek kampong to Bedok Corner 1

2) Balek kampong to Bedok Corner 2

52 comments:

Ngiam Shih Tung said...

Interesting. What's your source for the American reconnaissance reports ? Is it on the web ?

Zen said...

Actually the british was heavily engaged in the defence of India from the japanese invading forces and back at the home front, joined forces with the allies, namely the US, planning to recover nazi occupied europe. The American were the one, with huge resources of manpower and armaments, was able to 'seize' the japanese by the throat by carpet and incendiary bombing practically every part of Japan (having many wooden homes). Surrender was a matter of time. Therefore it was not surprising that bombing of Singapore at this juncture was mainly carried out by the B29s. With many supply lines cut off my the American (mainly submarines) the Japanese in Singapore could not survive for long even if they intended to fight to the last.

Brian and Tess said...

'Singapore Burning' by Colin Smith (which is probably the best book on the fall of Singapore to the Japanese) says the British war crimes investigator thought the death toll through massacres was 'considerably in excess of 5,000' but goes on to say 'Some Singaporean Chinese insist that the true death toll in what became known as the sook ching pogram was more like 50,000'.

On the recapture of Singapore this book says little noting that it was a British warship which led the fleet back into Singapore harbour after 3 and a half years and that Mountbatten, Britain's S E Asia supremo took the formal surrender. But it was US forces who defeated the Japanese (with the Atom bomb of course finishing matters) and which doubtless led the blockade of the Japanese on Singapore.

My father who was posted to Singapore in 1960 told me that he should have been there in 1941 - he was on his way from the Middle East but was still en route when Singapore fell so quickly - he was lucky, unlike those troops already there and the Singapore people.

Little is said about this episode here in the UK - it is known to be one of Britain's worst military episodes.

Brian and Tess said...

sorry that should have said my father was on his way in 1942 not 1941

Victor said...

Regarding Ngiam S T's comment above, I understand that sometimes, the source has to be protected, even after so long. Could it be the same reason why Peter deliberately made the photos so small, and "non-enlargeable" too?

Edward said...

Two of my maternal uncles died during the Sook Ching massacre. I am not quite sure about the exact location of their incarceration, but I vaguely recall my mother mentioned the prison in Outram. One of my uncles was a detective in the colonial police force and would have been classified as an anti-Japanese element. My mother and granny saw them behind a wire mesh fence on at least one occasion. I don’t know if this would place the location of the detention centre in Outram or Changi.

Edward said...

There are a number of good books on the fall of Singapore published and revisited over the years. “Singapore Burning” by Colin Smith that Brian and Tess mentioned is an excellent book. Highly recommended. “The Battle for Singapore” by Peter Thompson is another good source. They were published in 2005 and 2006 respectively. An older book “Sinister Twilight” by Noel Barber (published in 1968) also provides a good historical account of the fall of Singapore. Very interesting too.

Zen said...

The Japanese surrender in Singapore was received by Lord Louis Mountbatten on 12 Sep 1945.
Japan surrender was officially received by Gen.McArthur on the 2 Sep 1945 on board USS Missouri. These two victory ceremonies were intended to wipe out the humiliations suffered by Britain and the US over the fall of Singapore and Philippines respectively. In all honesty, the US was primarily the prime force that defeated Japan (the dropping of two atom bombs). Earlier, admiral Yamamoto said resignedly after the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour: "We have awaken a sleeping tiger..."

pinto said...

Peter, looking forward to the continuation of this post.

Lam Chun See said...

I have split the photos and increased the contrast. Hope it helps. Too bad I do not have Victor's photoshop skills :(

Lam Chun See said...

Peter's description of the beach fortification from Tanjung Rhu to Teluk Ayer Mata Ikan is interesting. During my reservist days, I was transferred from combat engineers to PDF which was mostly responsible for local defence. During some of our low-key in-camp years, we had to carry out TEWT exercises (Tactical Ex without troops). Of course all this was done in the comfort of the offices at PDF HQ in Beach Rd Camp. My part was to plan the beach obstacles along the east coast area.

Anonymous said...

Since we're on the topic of WW2 in Singapore, did you know that that was fighting done along Braddell Road, in what is now the Toa Payoh and Bishan area. And what we already know around the Sime Road/Adam Road area. Check out this link.

http://www.britain-at-war.org.uk/WW2/royal_norfolks_in_far_east/html/action_in_malaya_and_singapore.htm

Zen said...

My grandma told me that she saw a few young aussie soldiers hiding in our kampong which was located in present lorong chuan/braddell road area. The soldiers appeared panicky, nervous and inexperienced. At that time heavy fighting was going on in the western part of Singapore which received the main assault from the Japanese troops.

Anonymous said...

is it at the temasek jc section? the area with a lot of japanese owned factories?

Icemoon said...

No anon, that was what I thought too, before we did the research. :)

stay tune for part II. history will fall in place as we see the modern buildings and landscape.

danielkassim said...

Folks,just to add further to the suspense! The number of men who were massacred on the hill is 90.There were 25 Chinese volunteers from B Coy and at least 1 Eurasian from D Coy of the Malacca Volunteer Corps(MVC),also known as the 4 SSVF. Along with them there were 5 Malay officers- 1captain from 3 FMSVF,2 LTs from C Coy,4SSVF and 2 LTs from 1st Malays. The rest were a mixture of local men from Royal artillery and other units.

The only survivor of the massacre mentioned that there was an AA gun at the position so we can assume that its on the hill closest to the powder magazine since the AA gun would most probably be sighted to protect the Magazine.

Also,what is more intriguing is that the Japanese took the trouble of removing the remains of the men to a place at Kampung Jalan Haji Salam,abt a click or two away.Why bother removing those remains when you they have thousands more buried close by? The answer,I think lies in the pictures.

danielkassim said...

Pinto, would your interest be familial-there was at least one officer in 4 SSVF by the name of Pinto who ended up at Outram gaol after the British capitulation.

danielkassim said...

Brian and Tess, Colin Smith's book is the most comprehensive and entertaining but have you read Alan Warren's book?

peter said...

There was a masjid (mosque) at Jalan Haji Salam back then. Could it be the case that Islamic burial rites had to be followed?

danielkassim said...

Peter,not really.Kampung Jln Haji Salam was surrounded by fruit plantations and very much isolated-it was most probably because they did not want the returning British to find the remains of the men.The massacre was an outright war crime against surrendered combatants under the Geneva convention.By the way Peter, where did you get the photos?

peter said...

The 3 of us did a lot of research. Much of the information came from declassified government documents from England and Washington. We did not turned to available publications written by authors because that would have meant secondary information was used.

Reading through the primary information certainly made us better understood how WW2 ended. Mind you there were lots of "behind the scenes" negotiations that are not found in current publications.

As I said I did not specially got into doing research. My interest into history was purely by coincidence. It so happened friends shared some declassified documents that aroused my interest especially when names like "Bedok" and "Tanah Merah" were involved. Maps, photos and aerial photos showed us more than what words could do.

Interestingly there is a project going on at Adam Park, next to Hillcrest Arcadia, which was the scene of WW2 battles (house 2 house fighting) between the Japanese and the British. The people found remnants of bullets and insignias in some of the black & white houses. Adam Park was also a POW Camp during WW2.

peter said...

I am not sure whether there ever had been mention about massacre of military men by the Japanese during WW2.

One place I knew (because it was my childhood kampung area) was Dairy Farm Road. Probably Dairy Farm condo or the space opposite it was the site where 50 captured Scottish soldiers were shot dead by advancing Japanese infantry units sweeping through Upper Bukit Timah Road. That unit if I am correct was the 2nd Arglles Battalion. The Scots were putting up road barricades at the foot of today's Gombak Drive.

There is a big bungalow along Pasir Panajng Road which is now used as a church. It was the accomodation for German U-boat crew when they arrived in Singapore. During WW2, the Germans used Penang (Prai Harbour) and Singapore (Tanjung Berlayar) as a repair and bunkering facility. The German Officers Mess was on top of today's Haw par Villa.

Icemoon said...

danielkassim, mind telling us where you read the remains were moved? and what happened to the remains after?

and won't excessive shifting create attention? the malays in the kampong will 'bao-toe' after the war.

danielkassim said...

Icemoon,info from survivor and a possible witness from around the area.What happened to the remains is indeterminate.However a friend of mine who used to live around the area figures that they were removed to a small cemetery behind the old Bedok boys school.The cemetery is no longer there,all exhumed some time ago.

By the time they moved the remains they would have been small pieces that could have possibly fit into a large box.Bare in mind the hill in question was a chinese cemetery even in 1942 so it would have been easy for the Japs to recover the remains as a) they were only covered by planks and not buried.b) the area was open-as I recall my jaunts around the area in the late 70s there were alot of stray dogs-so I assume that there might be some in 1942/43.C) troops involved in op were Kempeitai or at least Hojo Kempei so security was assured.

danielkassim said...

Peter, I must say that I am absolutely impressed by your 'work'.I used to live at Sennett road,just a 2 clicks away-but I'm a child of the 70s.By that time the area was already very different.

My research lines are the same as yours-I too prefer to refer to the same type of documents that you see.However what surprises me is the photos that you have found eg. the powder magazine. Pls confirm that photo 4a(mobile gun) is circa 1941?Is it captioned that way?

danielkassim said...

By the way Peter,the Japs,apart from the Sook Ching pogrom,were well known for their atrocities-before the landed on Singapore-the Imperial Guards Div massacred 150 Australian and Indian wounded at Parit Sulong-the Div Cmdr was hung for this by the Aussies in 1948. Then there was the Ops Rimau raid incident- where 15 or so Australian and British prisoners who were captured during the raid were executed.

The ninety who died on the hill fell thru the cracks-no one was convicted of the massacre and the families only got to know what happened to their men as late as 1947/48.

Des said...

My father served at RAF Changi and I'm trying to track down where I used to live in the 60's. I know that the swamp at the end of our road was drained in the 80's and found to be a mass grave from a WW2massacre, so it appears I may have lived at Sennet Road?

It was near a cemetary, opposite the jungle, with a kampong in walking distance.

We aslo walked along a canal - or large fast-flowing monsoon drain to an ahmas night market. My mother told me that a child had drowned in the canal.

My mum talked about Opera Estate so I used that as a starting point - but I'm now wondering if it was Sennet Road?

Cheers
Denise

peter said...

Hi DanielKassim,

Photo 4A is 1941.

The remiander of Operation Rimau soldiers who were captured faced the firing squard in Singapore. I am not sure what is on this spot today (perhaps a school) but it's behind the CALTEX Station today. 10 or 12 were shot there.

Hi Denise,

Ahmah's Night market was around Bedok Corner. So that fast-flowing drain is Sungei Bedok or Bedok Canal today. There was a Malay cemetery at Jalan Greja area in the 1960s. The lake you mention is the one at Koh Sek Lim Road across the monsoon drain. It is now NeWater Plant.

peter said...

Hi DanielKassim

I forgot to mention the CALTEX Station is at the junction of Dover Road and North Buona Vista Road.

The Chinese cemetery you mentioned was behind the SHELL Station @Simpang Bedok before it was cleared for landed properties. I think it was bounded by Upper Changi Road and Tanah Merah Kechil Avenue - there's a Buddhist temple in that place today.

Tom said...

I Remember the pill box's and the location Peter had mentioned, I was told by some one why the the British had built the pill box's around Singpore in the first place they thought if any one was going to Invade Singapore they would come in from the sea, and when the Japanese army came down through Malaya and in to Singapore the guns in the pill box's could not be used because some of the guns were not mobile I wonder if that is true?. when I was stationed in Selarang Barracks Changi in 1961, I remember bodies being dug up behind the Dental hut I dont know how many or thier nationality. some one mentioned books about the war I recommend a book called Moon Over Malaya, its about men from the arglls and the marines telling what really happend in Singapore and Malaya during the dark days of December 1941to February 1942, its a good book.

Daniel Kassim said...

Peter,thank you so much for all the info.I was getting a bit confused about the Caltex station until you mentioned Dover and Buona Vista.The Rimau survivors were interred at Outram Gaol so it was easier bringing them over to that side of Singapore.There was a another massacre,this time of a group of Malay regiment soldiers and one woman around the same vicinity.

I would love to share more with you-pls email me.

peter said...

what's your email DanielKassim?

peter said...

There's a good program on Starhub cable TV on the History Channel. The program is "Asia At War". The recent one talks about the massacre and sufferings inflicted on the Canadians, Chinese cultural elites (movie-makers) and British POWS in Hong Kong during 3.5 years of occupation. There's also mention about the guerilla warfare waged at Kai Tak Airport, Victoria Prison and the secret pact between the Communists and the British (M19) in Shenzen.

Worth watching if you are into atrocities of the war.

Daniel Kassim said...

Peter,not much into atrocities-but I come across lots of it in my research on 4 SSVF(MVC).Disturbing but absolutely necessary for me to know their story.

My email is danielkassim@gmail.com


Tom,
Good of you to mention 'Moon over Malaya'.Jonathan and Audrey did a wonderful job on that.The story of the 'Asiatic' combatant(as they used to be called) has not been told.

LingtheMerciless said...

Hi Peter,

I read your blog with delight! I've also read Icemoon's account re the plane crash outside my now current humble abode at the Calypso. Thanks for sharing info!

I've always lived in the west and have only recently moved to the east, hence my lack of knowledge of this area. Am still discovering this place.

My sister-in-law's grandma used to stay around these parts. My friend's grandparents still live in #494 Upper East Coast. My mom remembers the land opposite ours bringing the place where "jipun tai see lang" ie Japanese killed people. My friends living in the east have also told me stories of "hauntings" that occur around the Lucky Heights, Summit and Kew residence area. Wonder if there was any truth in that?

I walk my dogs along the backside of our estate along the greenlung and end up right next to the bus depot. Opposite the temple, the trees are laced with triangle prayer flags and items of workshops are left beneath trees. Wonder if you know the significance of that?

I also know that the soil and foundation folks have been testing the soil along that path and have given their thumbs up for the MRT station, although they said the info was still confidential. I was devastated when I saw them testing the soil as I thought they were gonna build more condos! The ura website's designation of this area was "subject to detailed planning". I guess MRT is the next project, and I hear Marina South will be linked to the new Bayshore station. Not sure how long this will take.

I used to live along Holland Road opposite where "Istana Woodneuk" is situated next to the Botanic Gardens. Apparently, that was another site of a planecrash pre-WW2. And the whole Dempsey area is rich in military history. Did some research on the internet and found it rather fascinating. Snuck in a few years ago and managed to take some photos : http://lingthemerciless.blogspot.com/2006/11/of-railways-and-forgotten-mansions.html

Wonder if you've got any info on that area?

LingtheMerciless said...

BTW, I know there are coconut trees dotting the green space between Upper East Coast Rd and the ECP (more visible along the ECP). Not sure if that could have contributed to the "palm beach" name?

I walk my dogs in that area and have come across an equatorial spitting cobra (http://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/snakes/equatorial_spitting_cobra.htm) once. I know a family of predatory birds (what appears to be Brahminy Kites) has made that area their home, along with other bird, insect and reptile species. A monkey and giant iguanas has been sighted. I do hope they preserve that area.

peter said...

To Lingthe merciless

My apologies if I am addressing the wrong gender. I usually assume that people who take their dogs out for a walk are ladies. Welcome neighbour!!!

OK some answers to your questions.

1. Proposed MRT stations site opposite Temasek Secondary School and one under Bayshore Road. The others down Bedok South Avenue 1/Marine Parade Road.

I say proposed bcos things can change. This is why there are "repeat" soil investigation still going now.

2. Demspey Road formerly a british Army Camp until SAF took over to become CMPB. On the oposite side to Dempsey Road nearer to Rideout Road was a British Army Camp (built from wood, 1-storey). It was called Tyersall Park Camp - I last saw in the late 1970s. Before that it was the camp for Indians who came under the British Army in WW2.

3. Palm trees (not coconut trees planted along ECP. Not sure where Palm Beach Restaurant got its name but the original palm trees along this stretch of Upper East Coast (from my time in the 60s) is in front of this condo facing Bedok South Ave 3 (traffic lights).

4. Your Calypso previously was a big bungalow converted to a motel called Dragon Inn. Then became RED HOUSE Seafood Restaurant.

5. So you related to the YEO family of #494?

LingtheMerciless said...

Thanks Mr Lam for answering my questions! It's great that you have so much information to share! Got some comments on your replies below...

1. The MRT fella said they will be doing "tunneling" which will not affect the surface of the soil. I hope that will not affect the foundation of the trees standing tall aboveground.

2. I remember an ex-commando doctor telling us stories about the army camps at Dempsey when he was stationed there when we organised an impromptu ghost tour during lantern festival many years ago. Inevitably, unexplained phenomena experiences will come up!

4. It's amazing that Hua Yu Wee Restaurant is the last seafood restaurant standing along Upper East Coast. I think you mentioned that the govt acquired the land, resulting in the seafood restaurants being relocated to ECP. How did Hua Yu Wee manage to stand their ground? It seems like the building has maintained its original condition. There are several Malay houses along Jalan Haji Salam and Bedok Ave which give me a glimpse of kampong days gone past in this area! Truly amazing!

5. Nope, not related to the Yeos, although I know some of the family members! :)

Ling (Ms)
(you are right that ladies walk their doggies, although the men prefer to play rough with them) :)

peter said...

Did I say the government acquired the land so the seafood restaurant smoved out? Dont think I said that. The sea as in mnay countirs is State-owned, so the seafront bungalows lost their view. My grandmother's bungalow (became Temasek Sec School) and a few were acquired, so you see some of them are 99yr leasehold.

The seafood restaurants had to move out bcos they rented from the private property owners. The govt did not renew the restaurant licence in the mid-80s. Hwa Yew Wee started in 1990s, so the rules once more "ok can do seafood business". That is why Spring Court was there - now the Verizon. Previously it was Tai Sun Restaurant before becoming Spring Court.

peter said...

That kampung houses at jalan haji Salm built around 1923 or 1928 by the owner's decendents who still lives around the place. You will be surprise that owner is not a malay but bought several acres of land from Upper East Coast all the way to the end of Jalan Bilal near the mosque. That he sub-divided the land into smaller plots but still big enough for individual big bungalows with 10,000sq ft of land each. A well-knwon Singapore lawyer (now resident in Penang I think) was Philip Hoalim.

LingtheMerciless said...

Sorry...thought I read that in this blog...perhaps a comment from someone at the end....but thks for the clarification.

Did a search on Philip Hoalim and this is what I got :

http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/in_memoriam/obituary_philip_hoalim_junior_1916_2007.html

Lam Chun See said...

Ling. I think you might have confused me with Peter. I am the host of this blog. My friend Peter Chan regularly guest-blogs by contributing articles here.

I don't think it's only ladies who walk their dogs. Sometimes, I see guys do that in neighbourhood. But mostly it's the maids who do it .. haha.

Occasionally I see men jogging with their dogs. The poor creatures would be panting like mad. Sometime, my son's classmate who lives at Namly Place jogs with his dog to our place at Lily Ave.

peter said...

Have u seen man rides bicycle and dog runs?

Have you seen maid holding on to 3 to 4 dogs of all breeds?

Clarification - The "Malay" who owns the land and sub-divide was not Philip Hoalim. Philip bought a sub-plot from that "Malay". There is a nice sweet tale about a special name given to that kampung house but some other time I tell the story.......The family is linked to some one very very big in Singapore. You never can guess it.

I also konfused - Ms Ling also do NS at Dempsey Road?

Anonymous said...

The poor maid!

What happens if the 4 dogs rush on their separate ways - one to the east, the others to the west, north and south, respt. ?

For that matter, what if there are dogs 'in heat'?

LingtheMerciless said...

Yes, I realised that I got Mr Lam and Peter confused! Sorry once again abt that! :P

And no, I don't believe I've ever done NS at Dempsey! Unless there was a time when ladies had to do NS? haha....but I used to live next to Dempsey for a few years before moving to the east.

My husband's too lazy to walk my pooches (sigh) and has to go to work earlier than I do...so I walk my dogs with my fantastic dog nanny almost every morning.

Sometimes we go mountain biking with our dogs at certain parts of Singapore...off leash. They would either be in front of our bikes or behind...I think they were born to be trail dogs - just like the old days when dogs could roam free in kampongs - I can only imagine!

Anyway, I think one day I'm gonna bring my camera along one of our walks and take photos of some of the old houses that dot the Upper East Coast / Bedok stretch! Who knows how long before they get turned into yet another character-less 3 storey-ed modern house.

Thks for the info and stories! Lurve reading them!

Paul Ananth said...

I found your account of the Bedok Hill massacre quite intriguing.

Was just reading the memoirs of Mustapha Hassan which have recently been translated into English. He gives an account of how the KMM (pre war Nationalist organisation) became a fifth column for the Japanese and how he claims he tried to protect the officers of the 1st Malay regiment and the SSVF. Among those saved from the massacre were Yusof Ishak, editor of Utusan and later President of Singapore - the man in all our wallets!

Paul Ananth said...

Sorry that should be Mustapha Hussain

Generic Viagra said...

Nice blog, very informative. I always follow this topic about the war because I'm doing a reporter about it. Thank the info.

Denyse Tessensohn said...

Hello Chun See
I am planning a play - never written one before, so it's a new challenge - on the trial of Dr Charles Paglar, 1946.
Briefly, he was arrested with 90 others after the British returned, and while most were released he was the test case. All the history books say the case was adjourned sine die, but in fact he was acquitted - but the stain of being accused as a collaborator remains.
Would be grateful for anyone's input on this.
Also, whether anyone can refer me to a report where it is stated that the Allies were planning to carpet bomb Singapore and Malays prior to the dropping of the atom bomb - they had not other plan to stop the war otherwise.
thank you everyone
Denyse Tessensohn

Anonymous said...

Where is the part two? And where were those trenches? Please answer. Thanks Peter

Ivan Choong said...

Hi Peter,

I've left a message for you on FB and I do hope you received it.

tks said...

Nice blog. I hoped this is maintained.

I moved into 14 Kew Drive a few years ago, and was just checking the history of this area. 1 & 11 Kew Drive are still around but of course they are new buildings. All the houses in this area have been rebuilt. Possibly the only old building still standing is the single storey 18 Kew Drive. Electricity is still supplied to the house via overhead cables. There is a old Malay bungalow along Jalan Haji Salam visible from East Coast Road. Maybe that is in the photo but I am not sure.

In terms of elevation, it seems that the highest point should be my neighbour's house at my back i.e. 26 Kew Drive, facing inland. Mine should be second highest, facing the sea.

Presently, there is initial clearing and construction work at the forested area South of Upper East Road. This should be for the upcoming Thomson East Coast MRT Line.

I hope to learn more about this area.