The National Heritage Board (NHB)’s annual Battle for Singapore invites participants to explore the sites and stories of Singapore’s war-time past. In commemoration of the 82nd anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, this year’s line-up features special access programmes including guided tours, theatrical experiences, talks, film screenings and exhibitions. Sites featured include one which witnessed some of the first landings of the invading Japanese forces, and the bunker where the decision to surrender to the Japanese was made.
Off the beaten track exploration
This year’s Battle for Singapore will take place from 17 February to 3 March 2024. One of the key programmes is the Cycling Buona Vista tours led by historian Dr John Kwok and heritage researcher and writer Mr Lee Kok Leong down the Buona Vista defence line. Participants will learn of the strategies employed by both the invading Japanese forces and the defending Allied forces as they trace the final battles for Singapore that erupted in the southwestern region spanning Pasir Panjang, Gillman Barracks, Alexandra Military Hospital and other military sites.
Another programme highlight will be the tours to Cashin House at Lim Chu Kang Nature Park. Built on a pier overlooking the Johor Strait, it witnessed some of the first landings of the invading Japanese forces during the initial wave of attacks launched by the Japanese army on 8 February 1942. The site is only accessible through the National Parks Board’s NParks specially curated programmes and activities, covering topics such as heritage and nature appreciation.
Other Battle for Singapore 2024 programmes
There will also be a diverse line-up of programmes in collaboration with NHB’s Museum Roundtable (MR) members. A 110-minute immersive theatrical experience titled NO QUESTION OF SURRENDER: Three Days Before the Fall will premiere at the official opening of Battlebox, an educational tourist destination which used to be the Fort Canning Bunker where Lieutenant-General Arthur E. Percival and the Allied forces made the decision to surrender to the invading Japanese forces. Other new offerings which are part of Battle for Singapore include food-related programmes at the National Museum of Singapore, such as a special WWII edition of Makan with Seniors and an opportunity to taste and learn the recipes of wartime cooks.
The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) will also be coming on board with an artist tour and conversation with Ho Tzu Nyen and Dr Ma Jung-Yeon. The tour and conversation will centre on Ho’s Hotel Aporia video installation currently on display at SAM (part of the ongoing exhibition Ho Tzu Nyen: Time and the Tiger) which confronts the complex ideological and historical backdrops that plagued the 1940s – giving participants an opportunity to delve deeper into the role of art in unpacking complex histories. Other collaborating MR partners this year include Changi Chapel and Museum, Former Ford Factory, Fort Siloso, MINT Museum of Toys, Navy Museum and Reflections at Bukit Chandu.
Overall, this year’s entire programme line-up will feature more than 25 programmes and over 70 tour runs covering various formats and collaborations, including those offered by MR members, academics, heritage enthusiasts and interest groups.
📅 17 Feb to 3 Mar 2024
📍 Various locations
Members of the public may visit here for more information and to sign up for Battle for Singapore 2024 programmes. Registration for tours and programmes commences 15 February 2024, Thursday at 10am, on a first-come first-served basis.
Cashin House: Witness to Invasion
Join heritage veteran Mr Jerome Lim on a trip to the sensitively reconstructed Cashin House. Located at Lim Chu Kang Nature Park, the site witnessed some of the first landings of the invading Japanese forces. Learn about the perspectives of men on the opposing sides as they engaged in battle, and about the area’s historical landscape.
This programme is presented in collaboration with NParks and Mr Jerome Lim.
Note: Admission is free but registration is required
Cycling Buona Vista
Explore the Buona Vista defence line on bicycle and learn more about the final days of the Battle of Singapore in this part of Singapore. Cycle past landmarks familiar and new, led by our volunteer guides – Dr John Kwok or Mr Lee Kok Leong – and appreciate the strategies employed by both the invading Japanese forces and defending Allied forces in the southwestern region of Singapore.
This programme is led by volunteer guides Dr John Kwok and Mr Lee Kok Leong.
Note: A charge of $35 applies for this tour
We Shall Remember: The Story of Singapore at War – Children’s Tour
Join us on an exciting afternoon’s discovery at the Battlebox through a curator’s tour and author talk, specially designed for curious participants aged 9-14 years old! Uncover bite-sized secrets and stories of the Battlebox with curator and historian Tan Teng Teng.
After the tour, participants can enjoy an author’s talk and conversation with Sim Ee Waun – the author of We Shall Remember: The Story of Singapore at War, and be regaled with little-known stories about the war in Singapore, and learn about the intricacies, conundrums and surprises that came with writing the book.
This programme is presented by Battlebox.
Note: A charge of $15 applies for this programme
Peace Blossoms Display at Fort Siloso
Fort Siloso, Singapore’s best-preserved 19th century fort, was officially gazetted on the Total Defence Day (15 February 2022) as a National Monument, and is home to the remains of fortified military structures, guns and tunnels that were used during WWII.
As we commemorate the Battle of Singapore from 15 to 19 February 2024, we remember the crucial role that Fort Siloso had played in defending Singapore. The muzzles of eight guns at Fort Siloso will be decorated with flowers in a symbolic gesture of peace, called the Sentosa Peace Blossoms. Flowers of peace, such as Peace Lily, Gerbera, Eustoma, Lavender and Chrysanthemum, will be arranged into beautiful floral bouquets to “silence the guns” as our message for peace.
This programme is presented by Fort Siloso.
Note: Free. No pre-registration is required for visiting this display.
It’s the weekend and are you looking for things / activities to do? Check out our weekly roundup of Things To Do This Weekend In Singapore.
🪁🎭 MARCH SCHOOl HOLIDAY 🎭🪁
It is the March one-week school break. We have compiled a list of March School Holidays 2024 Activities for Kids.
For other upcoming events, visit Events in Singapore.
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