15 Feb – The fall of Singapore

15 Feb 1942 marked the The Fall of Singapore.

Chinese New Year 74 years ago was sombre and no one was in a celebratory mood.
Japan brought World War 2 to Singapore and occupied us for the next three years.
water rationing 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.
Kranji War Memorial

** 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)

I hope kids will only experience war in Call of Duty.
the Fall of Singapore

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?

Sungei Road Thieves Market

Some call it Thieves Market or Sungei Road Flea Market.
Older folks will call it 结霜桥 (Hokkien for Frozen Bridge, not related to Walt Disney cartoon) with reference to the old ice factory.

It goes by a lot of names but it remains a heritage and landmark along Sungei Road.

Daddy brought two kids along to check out some goods before the area is torn down for good. Thieves Market is located at the inter-junction of Larut Road and Pitt Street (GPS 1.305145, 103.856316)

(Image credit Google map)

Crowded weekends, and potential customers checking the goods. In the old days, the items peddled here were stolen, thus the “Thieves Market” tag.
Sungei Road Flea Market

One person’s junk is another’s treasure. You can find old Army attire, watches, VCDs, phones, wallets, fans and old cooking utensils.

If you can afford a McDonald meal, it is not necessary for you to employ your bargaining skills. The old uncles will automatically discount for you when they see you hanging around with kids.

Our loot (pun intended) :p
– binoculars – $5 discount to $3
– Wrestling WWE RAW Vcds – $5 to $2.50, buy more get more discounts too haha

Thieves Market provide a meagre livelihood and more importantly a connection point for the folks. Soon, this area will be torn down for future developments.

Another piece of Singapore’s history will walk into the dust.

Do take note that this area is very hot and we were drenched within 10 minutes. If you are visiting for nostalgic reasons, 30min walk will cover the whole area.

Refer to map above, Daddy recommends you take a slow stroll along Rochor River for Sungei Road’s next famous icon.

A delicious bowl of Laksa (结霜桥叻沙) awaits at Block 27 (S200027), and one bowl is not enough. The boss did not scrimp on the cockles and fishcakes even though one bowl cost only $2 (YES Two Dollars!)

No wonder there is always a queue at Sungei Road Laksa.

– Do checkout 星期二特写 (Tuesday Report)’s feature about Thieves Market this Tuesday (14Oct) at 1030pm Ch8.

– Sungei Road Thieves Market is opened from 1pm to 7pm
– Sungei Road Laksa is closed on the First and Third Wednesday every month