The Civilian War Memorial in Singapore, alternately called the "Memorial to the civilian victims of the Japanese occupation", as the name implies, is a memorial dedicated to the Civilians who lost their lives during the World War II and the occupation. The Civilian War Memorial was built in remembrance of the 50,000 civilians from the 4 ethnic groups killed during World War II.
Built in 1964, the 67-metre high landmark is better known to locals as the 'Chopsticks Memorial' with its four tapered columns symbolizing the four main races - Malay, Chinese, Tamil and 'Others' (including Eurasian and European) who lost their lives during the Japanese occupation. The Civilian War Memorial is situated inside the War Memorial Park at the Beach Road in the Central Area of Singapore's,main business hub. This imposing white structure is situated in a beautiful setting of flowers and fountains.
History of the Civilian War Memorial
During the World War II (1942-1945), the Japanese forces occupied Singapore and they started an operation against the native Chinese community called the "Sook Ching". The Japanese aimed at erasing all anti-Japanese forces from Singapore and made it a rule that all Chinese men aged between 18 and 50 should report to the Japanese Military police known as the Kempeitai. This "Sook Ching" operation is blamed for the brutal deaths of purportedly 50,000 Chinese civilians.
The construction-work for the Memorial started on 23rd April, 1966 and it was finally complete by January of 1967 at a cost of approximately SGD 500,000.
The Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew inaugurated the Civilian War Memorial on 15th February, 1967. A memorial service is organized on the 15th of February every year at the Civilian War Memorial in commemoration of the civilian victims, killed during the War. It also marks the day when the Allied soldiers surrendered Singapore to the Japanese forces in 1942.
Founded in memory of the civilians who were brutally massacred by the Japanese forces during World War II, the Civilian War Memorial stands on a calm and tranquil park amidst the din and bustle of the frenzied traffic near the City Hall and Padang. The locals describe the Civilian War Memorial as a structure which resembles 4 huge chopsticks each of them standing tall at 67 meters.
Do not miss this historical monument while you are in Singapore. Your visit to the spot will be homage for the numerous victims killed during the World War II in Singapore.
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