War Memory and the Making of Modern Malaysia and Singapore

Hack, Karl and Blackburn, Kevin (2012). War Memory and the Making of Modern Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore: NUS Press.

URL: http://www.nus.edu.sg/nuspress/subjects/SS/978-997...


Singapore fell to Japanese forces on 15 February 1942. Within a matter of days, the occupying army took prisoner more than 100,000 British, Australian and Indian soldiers, and massacred thousands of Chinese civilians. A resistance movement formed in Malaya's jungle-covered mountains, but the vast majority of people resigned themselves to life under Japanese rule. The Occupation of Malaya would last three and a half long years, until the British returned in September 1945.

How is this period remembered? And how have individuals, communities, and states shaped and reshaped collections in the postwar era as the events of the time slipped out of living memory? This volume uses observations gathered from members of various communities involved in or affected by the conflict - Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians, British and Australians to respond to these questions. Its first-hand accounts range from the thoughts of families left bereft by Japanese massacres to the ideals of young women who flocked to the Japanese-sponsored Indian National Army, hoping to march on Delhi. The authors also draw on onter forms of memory, including the soaring pillars of Singapore's Civilian War Memorial and traditional Chinese cemeteries in Malaysia.

In preparing this volume, the authors have reinserted previously marginalized or self-censored voices back into the story in a way that allows them to reflect on the nature of conflict and memory. Moreover, these voices speak of the searing transit from war and massacre through resistance and decolonization to the moulding of postcolonial states and identities.

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