Friday, 13 July 2012

One of Singapore's "Forgotten" Monuments: The Civilian War Memorial

People walk past it everyday, and sometimes walk underneath it on their way to the MRT. But few if any actually go into Singapore's tiny War Memorial Park and ponder on what must be Singapore's almost forgotten monument, the Civilian War Memorial. Erected in 1967, this monument commemorates the civilian deaths during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore (1942-1945) in the Second World War. 

Comprising four equal pillars (rising to a height of 70 metres), each representing the four major racial groupings in Singapore, it has often been affectionately known as the "Chopsticks" monument. The monument was largely funded by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce with the support of the local community. It is though that almost 50 thousand Chinese men were murdered by the Japanese, an act of genocide that has been largely under-reported. The architect was Leong Swee Lim, and it superficially resembles the shorter and squatter Heroes Monument on the Shanghai Bund that was erected in the 1990s.

From whichever direction you approach, the monument always looks impressive.

Words in the four official languages may be found around the monument. 

Remains of unknown and unnamed civilians (dug up from various killing fields around the island) have been interred in the urn and under the monument.

The monument stands tall even when viewed alongside surrounding skyscrapers.

The English and Chinese title are seen on the Southern and Northern flanks of the monument.

If you happen to be near Raffles City, do take a few minutes to visit the Civilian War Memorial.

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