#OnThisDay (12 Sep 1945) The Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia ended
Image credit: Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts
#OnThisDay (12 Sep 1945) the often brutal Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia ended. The official surrender ceremony was held at the Municipal Building (later, Singapore’s City Hall and today’s National Gallery). There was widespread joy amongst the people who felt that they were free once again.
The joyous feeling did not last very long as people struggled to make ends meet during the immediate post-war years. They lived in abysmal conditions, had little money to pay for basic necessities, and often had to deal with food shortages and poor healthcare services.
Yet, the survivors coped with daily life with grit and tenacity as they rallied to help provide social services for the communities. For example, in 1946, the Social Welfare Department (SWD), with the help of local volunteers, established the “People’s Kitchen” that offered inexpensive but nutritious meals to the needy. Volunteers also assisted in conducting free healthcare services such as mass immunisations and x-ray screenings for the people.
Our forefathers’ resourcefulness, self-reliance and resilience are values that underpin Singapore’s society and continue to be relevant today, even as we fight new battles such as the COVID-19 pandemic and tougher economic challenges. #SGUnited