National Museum of Singapore showcases World War II stories

The National Museum of Singapore has organized an exhibition named 'Witness to War: Remembering 1942' to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore during World War II. It opens on Saturday, September 23.

Witness to War
Witness to War: Remembering 1942 National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is getting ready to take its viewers into the past with an exhibition based on the World War II lined up for the coming months. The exhibition, titled, "Witness to War: Remembering 1942," gives a close and personal narrative of the fall of Singapore, including witness accounts. It begins on Saturday, September 23.

The exhibition commemorates the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, which happened on February 15, when the British forces surrendered to Japan after a week of combat. The downfall is represented through a fresh perspective, providing a different angle to history. Incidents leading up to Singapore's involvement in the war and the aftermath of the surrender have been brought into focus here.

The exhibition, which is scheduled to continue until March 25, 2018, has several events lined up, including panel discussions, performances, story-telling, film shows, handicraft workshops, cooking demonstrations, and photographic displays. Artefacts from 10 overseas museums and institutions have been imported, along with an exploration of the Japanese Empire's war campaign.

However, the most riveting part of the exhibition has to be the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from war witnesses: ordinary people whose lives were affected during the Singapore hostilities in 1942. "The exhibition presents the complexities of the events that led to the fall of Singapore, paying homage to the extraordinary tenacity with which these men and women bore their circumstances," says the official website of the museum.

"Witness to War" has two threads: a macro thread that explores international repercussions of the war, and a micro thread consisting of personal stories. "Visitors will get a sense of what Singapore was like before the outbreak of hostilities. For example, films from Hong Kong were screened in theatres in Singapore to raise funds for the anti-Japanese war efforts," Angelita Teo, director of the National Museum of Singapore, told The Straits Times.

Apart from the mentioned events, the exhibition will display artwork by Tiatia, an Australian artist, and Debbie Ding, a Singaporean artist. The artworks were developed in the first Australia-Singapore Joint Artist Residency. These will be displayed outside the galleries of the exhibition.