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Singapore Tourism Board

Singapore remembers the end Of WWII in the Asia Pacific

2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two (WWII) in the Asia Pacific…

2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two (WWII) in the Asia Pacific. Between February and September this year, WWII veterans, visitors and Singaporeans can look forward to a series of events to commemorate this historic occasion.

Led by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), together with partners including the British High Commission, the National Heritage Board, the National Institute of Education and Singapore`s WWII attractions, these events will include heritage tours, WWII commemorative exhibitions, a WWII Veterans’ Forum, public conferences and talks on the Asia Pacific war as well as promotions at Singapore’s WWII attractions. These activities will culminate in September with memorial services at the Kranji War Memorial, the Changi Chapel Museum and the Sembawang Wharves.

In addition, exclusively in September, visitors and locals will have the rare opportunity to visit WWII sites which are normally restricted to the public. Through special tours organised by local tour operators such as Journeys, Faber Tours and Tour East, the public will get the chance to view the original Changi Murals, beautiful wall paintings created by Changi prisoner of war Stanley Warren in the former Roberts Barracks, now part of Changi Air Base.

These tours will also offer the public a chance to view a stretch of the prison wall of the infamous Changi Prison, where 50,000 prisoners of war and civilians were held in captivity between 1942 and 1945. These tours also include visits to Singapore’s key war heritage sites, including Fort Siloso, Changi Chapel Museum, the Battle Box at Fort Canning, Reflections at Bukit Chandu and Labrador Park.

In addition, for the first time, the tunnels at Labrador Park will be opened to the public. From March onwards, the public can explore the park’s preserved war-time tunnels, one of Singapore’s strategic defensive sites and a key site of resistance during WWII. The opening of the tunnels will be held in conjunction with a two-day carnival to draw families and visitors to this historic 16-hectare site. Visitors can also experience the Pasir Panjang Heritage Trail, a walking trail offered by Reflections at Bukit Chandu which takes visitors through Bukit Chandu (Opium Hill) and Kent Ridge Park – the scene of Singapore`s final heroic battle against Japanese invaders on 14 February 1942.

One of Singapore’s key WWII attractions, the Changi Museum, will also be refurbished in conjunction with the WWII 60th Anniversary Commemoration events. New exhibits featuring original artworks by the prison’s internees will be displayed for the first time in an enhanced section of the museum. Original artefacts from Changi Prison, including a prison cell door, a piece of the prison boundary wall and chapel pews will also be incorporated into the museum. The new exhibits at the museum will be launched on the same day as the Changi Chapel Memorial Service on September 10.

Singapore’s WWII 60th Anniversary Commemoration activities will also honour the courage and sacrifices of those who served in Southeast Asia during the war. Veterans and former prisoners of war from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand will be invited to visit Singapore through customized WWII travel packages. These packages will offer visitors the opportunity to attend the September memorial services and visit Singapore’s key WWII sites. In addition to veterans and their families, STB and its trade partners plan to market these packages to historians, military and history enthusiasts, students, academics and journalists in these countries. STB expects to attract some 5,000 visitors with these packages.

STB will also be launching a series of ‘September WWII specials’ to encourage both locals and visitors to discover and appreciate Singapore’s historic sites and war-time legacy. These will offer the public an assortment of one-to-one promotions, special discounts on admission fees or redemption offers at all WWII museums and sites. These offers will be compiled in a special WWII Commemorative booklet which STB will be distributing free of charge at all Singapore Visitors Centres, as well as through its network of regional offices.

Mr Chang Chee Pey, STB’s Director for Sightseeing and Cruise, said this year’s WWII Commemoration events bring together a large group of partners as diverse as the British High Commission to the National Institute of Education to Singapore’s heritage museums.

Said Mr Chang: “Singapore has a rich wartime legacy that may not be well-known, even among Singaporeans. This legacy is preserved and kept alive for future generations by our many WWII heritage sites and attractions. This series of commemorative activities will not only pay tribute to those who fought in the war, but will also raise awareness and appreciation of Singapore’s war-time history and its lesser-known heritage offerings among locals and visitors.”

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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