A Visit to Reflections at Bukit Chandu

The minute-long signal was being sounded all over Singapore at 12.05pm today to mark the Total Defence Day, and this year is a special one.

It is the 70th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore. On the 15th of February 1942, the British surrendered their crown colony, dubbed as the “Impregnable Fortress”, to the Japanese after only seven days of resistance. Hong Kong, Britain’s other crown colony of the East, had also fallen on 25 December 1941.

With the last line of defence broken and the Allies short of food supplies and ammunition, Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival (1887 – 1996) led his officers in an unconditional surrender to the Japanese military commander Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita. The Japanese Occupation officially began, as the people of Singapore lived in horror and suffering for the next three years and eight months.

The Battle of Pasir Panjang was one of the important events before the Fall of Singapore. The 1st and 2nd Battalion of the Malay Regiment (Askar Melayu) were tasked to defend the western and southern parts of the island. The Japanese invaders advanced quickly to Jurong after their landings at Kranji and Sarimbun. By 13 February 1942, the Japanese started attacking Pasir Panjang Ridge, forcing the defenders to retreat to Bukit Chandu.

Bukit Chandu was then an important strategic location for the Allies, as the loss of the hill would provide a direct route for the invaders to Alexandra, where the British had ammunition storage, military hospital and other key installations.

One fifth of the Malay Regiment perished in the fierce battle. Heroic Second Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi (1915 – 1942) urged his troops not to surrender and fight to the last man despite heavily outnumbered. When Bukit Chandu was eventually captured two days later, Adnan bin Saidi was caught and brutally killed by the Japanese.

Bukit Chandu means opium hill in Malay, after a British-owned opium-processing factory that was established at the foot of the hill in 1910.

The Reflections at Bukit Chandu located at the peak of the hill (via Pepys Road) was formerly a black and white bungalow built by the colonial government for the senior officers. More than 100 years old, it was designed with strong “Mock Tudor” British architectural style. During the Second World War, the house was being used to store military and food supplies.  In the past, there were also two similar bungalows on the hill but they were demolished in 1987.

In 2002, the bungalow was restored and officially reopened as a small interesting museum which showcases the details of how the Malay Regiment defended Bukit Chandu against the Japanese invasion. It will be opened to the public for free from 15th to 18th February 2012. Do pay a visit if you are interested in knowing more about the darkest period of Singapore’s history.

Published: 15 February 2012

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11 Responses to A Visit to Reflections at Bukit Chandu

  1. Khai says:

    A very good place to go especially for the younger generations, so that they know the country’s history and will have that fighting spirit in them. Dissappointed I didn’t pay a visit to this place when I was in SG last weekend and the weekend before it.

  2. Ivan says:

    I will make a trip there one day.

  3. shannon says:

    Are we allowed to take pictures in there?

  4. daphne says:

    oh, my friends and I will be visiting there tomorrow…

  5. TheSillyAshy says:

    Do you think this house is originally on this hill or the actual site has been relocated?

  6. Muhd Yasir says:

    I’ve always wanted to go BUKIT CHANDU

  7. Russell Statham says:

    Visited bukit Chandu 24/4/14 excellent memorial. Top notch helpful staff. Many thanks!

  8. SGBloke says:

    I went to Bukit Chandu on 13/05/2014. I was touched by the displays and exhibits. I must salute to the senior staffs there making the whole experience visit memorable. Keep it the good job:)

  9. Ujang Mormin, who fought in historic Battle of Pasir Panjang, dies after contracting COVID-19

    11 February 2021
    Channel NewsAsia

    World War II veteran Ujang Mormin, who fought alongside war hero Lieutenant Adnan Saidi in the historic Battle of Pasir Panjang, died in Malaysia on Tuesday (Feb 9) after contracting COVID-19.

    He was 100.

    Affectionately known as Tok Ujang, he served as an army private with the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment (1 RAMD), after joining the British army in 1939. In 1941, he was deployed to British military fort Gap Ridge in Singapore.

    The Battle of Pasir Panjang took place in February 1942, marking the final stage of the Japanese invasion of Singapore.

    Mr Ujang, who hails from Kampung Kundur, Rembau, is one of a handful from 1 RAMD who survived the battle.

    His grandniece, Lailawati Jamil, 59, confirmed his death when contacted by Bernama.

    She said Mr Ujang was admitted to the Sungei Buloh hospital on Jan 26 after testing positive for COVID-19. On Feb 5, she was told he was in critical condition.

    “He had, prior to this, expressed his longing to meet relatives and friends, as if he knew the time had come, but due to the current COVID-19 situation, we could not visit him,” she said.

    He was buried at the RAMD Cemetery in Port Dickson on Wednesday.

    “Due to COVID-19, we had to conduct the funeral in the new norm,” said army chief Zamrose Mohd Zain. “However, we did take the initiative to give him the military funeral honours in appreciation of his service in the army.”

    He added that the army, through the RAMD Foundation, the ATM Veteran Foundation, ATM Veteran Affairs Department and RAMD Officers Club also presented donations to the family.

    CONDOLENCES POUR IN FROM GOVERNMENT, ROYALTY

    On Wednesday, the Negeri Sembilan government sent its condolences to his family, with Chief Minister Aminuddin Harun saying his death was a big loss to Malaysia.

    “We have lost a great fighter, a Negeri Sembilan-born, whose deeds and services to the country will always be remembered,” he said.

    The Malaysian king and queen have also expressed their condolences to Ujang’s family.

    General Zamrose conveyed their condolences to Lailawati at a press conference after the war veteran’s funeral on Wednesday.

    He added that the condolences were also expressed in a letter delivered to his family by the king’s escort.

    “Their Majesties also consented to the necessary aid to be given to the war veteran’s family,” he said.

    General Zamrose said condolences also poured in from the Sultan of Kedah, Al Aminul Karim Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah, who is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Malay Regiment (RAMD), Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, as well as from the Ministry of Defence and the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM).

    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-wwii-war-veteran-ujang-mormin-dies-covid-19-14171442

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