Civilian War Memorial
Beach Rd, Civilian War Memorial
Location: War Memorial Park, Beach Road
The Civilian War Memorial is a monument located adjacent to Suntec City Conventional Hall and directly opposite Raffles City Shopping Centre. It is dedicated to the civilians who perished during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore between 1942 - 1945.
The following inscription in our four main languages (English, Mandarin, Malay and Indian) is at the base of the memorial plattform, "Memorial to the Civilian Victims of the Japanese Occupation 1942-1945".
The 'Chopsticks Memorial' of the four pillars with tapering columns symbolizes the unity of four common races in Singapore – Chinese, Indian, Malay and Eurasian, merging into one. Soaring more than 68 metres into the sky, the memorial resembles the shared sufferings and war experiences of the common races then.
On 19th March 1963, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce (Present Day’s Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry) established a Memorial Building Fund Committee for a proposed memorial after the government allocated 4.5 acres of land at Beach Road for a memorial for civilian victims, also known as Civilian War Memorial today.
Half of the Civilian War Memorial was funded by the Government of Singapore, the remaining balance was borne by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The project teams were led by Mr. Ko Teck Kin, Chairman of the Memorial Fund Committee and Mr. Soon Peng Yam, Chairman of the working committee of the memorial.
Swan and Maclaren, a well established firm of architects, won the design competition for the Civilan War Memorial. The design was said to have best met the competition’s requirements in expressing the “feelings of solemnity, tranquillity, courage and sorrow”.
The Civilian War Memorial was finally unveiled on 15 February, 1967, exactly 25 years after the “Fall of Singapore”. Every year on 15th of February, families and friends gather at the monument to mourn the loss of the fallen soldiers as well as their beloved families and friends.
Our late minister mentor, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, said in the opening ceremony "We meet not to rekindle old fires of hatred, nor to seek settlements for blood debts. We meet to remember the men and women who were the hapless victims of one of the fires of history. This monument will remind those of us who were here 25 years ago, of what can happen to people caught completely unaware and unprepared for what was in store for them. It will help our children understand and remember, what we have told them of this lesson we paid so bitterly to learn".
Earlier this year, Singapore's National Cadet Corps' student cadets and Singapore Police Force bagpipers marched into the War Memorial at Singapore's War Memorial Park on Feb. 15, 2015. The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) held the 48th war memorial service in commemoration of the civilian victims of the Japanese Occupation. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey).
15th February will always remain a day with significant historical value to all Singaporeans, young and old… This was the day that Singapore learnt the importance of “Total Defence”.
1. National Library Board Singapore . (30 July, 2015). Civilian War Memorial. Retrieved from SINGAPORE INFOPEDIA: Link Here
2. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (24 May , 2015). Article: Civilian War Memorial. Retrieved from WIKIPEDIA THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA: Link Here