Monday, 2 February 2015

Old Memories @ The Ford Factory

Once the first Ford car assembly plant in SE Asia the building, since 2006, has been a national monument and home to the World War II museum and gallery, telling the story of the British surrender to the Japanese in 1942 and what life was like through the occupation.

On February 15th 1942 General Arthur Percival walked to the factory and in the board room there surrendered to General Tomoyuki Yamashita and the Japanese.

The building was built in October 1941 and opened as Fords first assembly plant but, just as few short months later the Japanese invaded. However, previous to the Occupation the RAF had assembled fighters planes that were shipped over to Singapore in parts and built at the factory. Once the Japanese took over they used it briefly as their Headquarters before moving later further down to Bukit Timah Road and into Raffles College. During the Occupation Japanese car firm Nissan took it over and built military vehicles for the Japanese forces. Finally when the war ended Ford did return and reopened its factory before finally closing for business in June 1980. It then stood empty until it was decided it should be gazetted a National monument, which happened on the anniversary of the surrender on 15 February 2006.

The museum came about following a S$10.3 million renovation of the factory, which once covered much of the hill behind, where now sits condos. All that remains of the old building is the frontage although the board room where the surrender took place is still in place.

The museum tells the story of the surrender and what life was like under the Japanese, with many harrowing stories as well as a plethora of artifacts. There is much written information which you probably can't take in on just one visit. There is however a 1/2 hr film explaining the surrender and many of the historical facts and stories that are told in the museum, and I would certainly recommend watching this. For anyone that is interested in this time in Singapore's history, or the World war this is certainly a place you should visit and for those who have visitors to the country too.

"banana money" the wartime Japanese currency 
Just one of the stories of the atrocities, this one just a few meters from where my condo now sits

As you enter from Upper Bukit Timah Rd in front of the building sits a statue by Singaporean Chua Boon Kee called "He Ping" which in Chinese means "peace"

"He Ping" - Peace

Old Memories @ Ford Factory
351 Upper Bukit Timah Rd

Entrance fee $3

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