15 Feb 1942 marked the The Fall of Singapore.
Fast forward to 21st century, Singapore is prosperous, families have the freedom to choose their lifestyles.
Basic food, sanitation and accommodation needs are fulfilled, we worry about career advancement, PSLE, COE and holidays.
I keep reminding my kids how fortunate Singaporeans are today.
But the World is not so safe. Terrorist bombings, radicalisation, North South Korea and South China Sea tensions are teachable moments for the kids. No one owns Singapore a living and we should not take Singapore’s peace and progress for granted.
** Every 15th Feb, SCDF’s nationwide siren, sweet potatoes and Total Defence comes to mind.
No one can guarantee that basic necessities like water and food will be available during period of tension.
Eating sweet potatoes is symbolic of the tough times which families encountered during Japanese occupation. Food was scarce, sweet potato and yam became sustenance substitutes.
Some schools are still letting kids taste sweet potatoes in school today but kids might not understand the significance. We heard some schools even let kids grow their own sweet potatoes (West Spring Primary School)
Those who grew up in the 80s and 90s, will have experienced water rationing.
Someone will inform households that water-tap will be cutoff at certain hours. When the water truck rolls into our neighbourhood, it was a novelty to bring buckets down to queue for water. (Although parents will have already stockpiled water beforehand hee hee)
We learn from young that water might not always flow from our tap.
Water rationing might be due to drought (Youtube link about water rationing in 1963), or if Malaysia decided to cut off Singapore’s water supply.
During Mahathir’s reign in the 80s and 90s, it was not uncommon to find newspaper articles of Malaysia politicians threatening to cut off Singapore’s water. (Newater is another teachable moment for the kids)
At 6.20pm on 15th Feb, sirens will blared across Singapore. During an emergency (War or terrorists), sirens might warn us to hide indoors or shelters as part of Total Defence campaign. Do you know that some MRT stations are also bomb shelters? (more details on SCDF website)
To commemorate the 74th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, a series of heritage tours and talks has been organised (schedules here, but mostly booked)
We have a few other recommendations for families :
– Visit Kranji War Memorial
– Eat sweet potato
– Implement your own water-rationing at home, perhaps for 4 hours. (It might be too cruel to cut off internet :p )
– Discover nearest bomb shelter (MRT or HDB) in your neighbourhood (your storeroom not counted)
– Every household can do the following activities :
a) Learn about CPR and evacuation (know how to react during earthquake overseas)
b) Rehearse your fire evacuation drill, or get a first aid box.
c) Blood donation, adult volunteers are always mobilised during emergencies to donate precious blood.
Singapore is not going to War, but do we know how to respond during an emergency?
How can we let the next generation know that the World out there is not as safe as Singapore?
Do you have any other tips and ideas to share?
ps.. pop by 2014 Total Defence exhibit “What will you defend?“