Saturday, July 05, 2008

Labrador Of Love

Aerial view of Pasir Panjang Jetty

"Let's go to Labrador Park..." Wifey suddenly uttered while I was talking to Sonny about geeky computer stuff, "it's been quite a while since I've been there."

Growing up in Clementi as a child and through her teens, she is familiar with the southern part of the island, especially the picnics she had with her family at Labrador Beach Park.

Though it was not reclaimed and still the rugged rocky beach then, she already got to see some of the more prominent and exposed remains of World War II relics there. The ones beyond the thick, over-bearing jungle were totally unknown then.

Sonny at entrance to a revamped historic beach

Since our marriage, we moved to Tampines to set our home in the eastern part of Singapore. It was this nostalgia that prompted her to suggest going to Fort Pasir Panjang today.

Fort Pasir Panjang and Labrador Battery were built by the British to defend the southern part of the island, anticipating a coastal attack by the Japanese Imperial Army before World War II. The fort was completed in 1878.

The fort and battery were upgraded further before the war with more gun emplacements and already with comprehensive labyrinth of underground tunnels and ammunition stores amid its numerous strategicly positioned observation posts.

The World War II Memorial Plague

The popular belief of the invasion to come from the coastal area was a terrible mistake when the Japanese entered Singapore from the north from Johor, Malaysia instead.

The fort with its mighty guns meant to fire off the steep cliff to invading enemy ships were turned 180 degrees instead and proved useless since the trajectories were flat.

The mistake in intelligence strategy cost the British army, together with the Malay Regiment a loosing and bloody battle. Thousands of lives were lost.

The 6-Inch Quick Fire Gun WWII relic

Nowadays, the old and forgotten war structures have been given a new lease of life accessible to the public especially for the young generations and tourists alike to learn some fractions of Singapore's rich and varied, in this case, bleak history.

To honor the brave soldiers who fought to the death for the love of one's country, one outstanding honor was given to a Malay soldier, Lieutenant Adnan Saidi who lead the 1st Malay Brigade to fight against the invading Japanese army to a bloody end.

They succumbed to defeat when the last ammunition rationed to them was fired and fought in hand combat armed with their courage and bayonets at the end of their rifles to the death.

To boast their might and shame this brave soldier, the Japanese hung his dead body to dry as a symbol of triumph.

Gun Turret at the beach

A museum located at Bukit Candu dedicated "The Battle of Opium Hill" to him and the Malay soldiers. Converted from one of the old Colonial building, it is situated not far from the Labrador Battery... but that will be our next visit one of these days.

The British surrender to the Japanese in 1942 saw the occupied country its worst treatment to its people by the ruler yet. My Mom and Dad, so do everyone still living who were caught in those bleak few years can attest to.

There were just so many gruesome stories to told, so many cruelty and hardships the people of Singapore endured during the Japanese Occupation period. Then again all wars are cruel.

Wifey & Sonny at Harbourfront Bus Terminal

I guess the atomic bomb was a cruel necessity to stop the prolonged cruelty to humankind itself A total human tragedi.

We took the MRT all the way to Outram Station to change to North-East line to Habourfront Station for the weekend bus Service 408 to Labrador Park.

Wifey & Me with Sentosa Island as background

We alighted at Carpark A to start our walk through Singapore's history in the jungles off Batu Belayar overlooking Pulau Belakang Mati which has been redeveloped and renamed to Sentosa Island Resort.

The following photos and information board tell the story as we walked through the darkest years of human nature.

The photos will likely load slowly.
Click the info to enlarge to read
if you are willing to wait for a while.

The Casemate & Labrador Battery

Gun Emplacements 3

Sonny at one of the Observation Posts

Gun Emplacement 4

1892 Storeroom Entrance sealed

The 6 Inch Quick Firing Gun

The 4th Gun Position

Red Brick & long-gone Iron Gate Fort entrance from sea

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