Located at War Memorial Park is this Civilian War Memorial to remember the civilians who sacrificed their lives during the Japanese occupation between 1942 – 1945.
This Civilian War Memorial is also affectionately known as the Chopsticks by the Singaporeans. Doesn’t it look like a pair of chopsticks to you? There are 2 pair of chopsticks in fact, 4 of them. They are at 68 metres tall represent the 4 different races in Singapore – Chinese, Malay, Indians and Eurasians
In the early 1960s, during our national building years, many constructions took place, to build residential buildings and industrial development. That was also when they discovered mass grave in different parts of Singapore.
After War World II, when the Japanese surrendered, they reported that about 5,000 – 6,000 civilians died during the Japanese occupation. However, with the discovering of those mass graves, it proved otherwise. In fact, according to the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC), the number of civilians who have died during the Japanese occupation was estimated to be around 40,000 – 50,000 people.
The Civilian War Memorial was unveiled on 15 February 1967, 25 years after Singapore falls into the hands of the Japanese by our first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
During the unveiling ceremony, he made a speech and said, “We meet not to rekindle old fires of hatred, nor to seek settlements for blood debts. We meet to remember the men and women who were the hapless victims of one of the fires of history. This monument will remind those of us who were here 25 years ago, of what can happen to people caught completely unaware and unprepared for what was in store for them. It will help our children understand and remember, what we have told them of this lesson we paid so bitterly to learn”
Since the unveiling, every year on 15 February, Singaporeans, young or old would gather at this Civilian War Memorial to commemorate the fateful day and we vow to never allow history to repeat itself.