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Memories at Old Ford Factory, Singapore

21 June 2010 No Comment

Memories at Old Ford Factory

When the old Ford factory started operation in 1941, it was the first motor vehicle factory in South East Asia; a beacon for a new era of industrial progress in the region. Less than a year later, as Japanese troops marched into Singapore this site bear witness to the humiliating capitulation of British forces in Singapore to the Japanese. For the remainder of the Second World War, the factory was used to support the Japanese war machine.

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Restored Facade of the Old Ford Factory

Memories at Old Ford Factory

A Plaque commemorating the site as a Historic Monument

Today, after significant restoration efforts, the historical site is renamed as ‘Memories at Old Ford Factory’. The main attraction is the boardroom where the British surrender took place, furnished to look exactly like back in the day. A wide-ranging collection of everyday items from the Japanese occupation years is also on exhibit. Such items include weapons and soldier tools, medals, office stationary, identity cards, old banknotes and ration cards, and a number of photographs. Below are some examples of the exhibits:

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Rubber stamp holder (center foreground), and a hole puncher (right background)

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Memories at Old Ford Factory

It is believed by some that the Japanese occupation during the Second World War was the turning point for western colonialism in South East Asia. The Japanese were certainly not shy to portray themselves as liberators and friends of the local populace; one of their war propaganda posters shows a map of South East Asia with sinking Allied ships in the waters and smiling natives waving Japanese flags, done in the familiar Japanese cartoon style. Another poster depicts raw materials as cartoon characters walking into a factory from one side, and emerging from another side as industrial and consumer goods. There are, however, other sides of the story.

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Japanese War Propaganda

By the end of the war, many South East Asians feel that the short-lived Japanese occupation caused more hardship and was more brutal than what they suffered under centuries of colonial rules. The suffering of the local populace and prisoner of wars are also exhibited through the collection photos.

Overall, the Memories at Old Ford Factory carries an interesting collection of antiques which would be of great interest to World War II buffs, it is a pity that the location is rather distant from the city centre. Be sure to check out the old railway track that runs in the vicinity, another legacy of British colonial rule.

Travel Info

Opening Hours: 9am – 5.30pm (Mon – Sat), 12 noon – 5.30pm (Sun)
Ticket price: SGD 3.00 (Adult). Check website for more info.

Website http://www.s1942.org.sg/s1942/moff/

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