Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Accidental Tourist: End of Empire - Changi Museum War Walk with The Original Singapore Walks

A special walk to commemorate the 70th year of the fall of Singapore in 1942 took me around various parts of Singapore where the British/Allied or local forces fought against the invasion of the Japanese. I am obliged not to share most of the stories and places visited due to extensive research done to plan the itineraries but the things that will stay with me after this afternoon walk is the impact of seeing the rows and rows tombstones of the Kranji War Memorial and knowing that Singapore was not left to its own devices when met with Japanese invasion in 1942. 

I now know that sea-facing guns were in fact turned around and fired at the Japanese army and the small units of British/ allied forces together with the local forces (mostly volunteers) fought to the best of their abilities (even to the point of arm on arm combat) given their limited resources (equipment, machinery and ammunition) during that time.  The only war fought in the island of Singapore is long past but memorials and walks like this serve as reminders to us Singaporeans how vulnerable and prepared we have to be against those who view our geographical positions as strategic for their ambitions. 

Until the next time, onto the world and beyond. 

Accidental Tourist: Istana Woodneuk, previous palace of Sultan of Johor (Backyard of Singapore)

Had a little adventure by trekking through overgrown vegetation, climbing up a small little hillside to reach this abandoned building (at that time not known to be a former palace, belonging to the Sultan of Johor). 

Interesting site - would have been beautiful in its heyday and quite sad to be left in its current state of abandonment. 

Until the next time, onto the world and beyond!

Info obtained from regarding the site:

On a nearby hill, Sultan Abu Bakar built another majestic blue-roofed house for his beloved fourth wife Sultana Khadijah. It was Istana Woodneuk, often confused with Istana Tyersall but was just as grand during its heydays. In 1930, the house was renovated by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar (1873 – 1959), son of Sultan Abu Bakar and the 22nd Sultan of Johor. Today, it is surrounded by thick overgrown vegetation along Holland Road, forgotten and in ruins. The land where the house is standing on still belongs to the Sultan of Johor.