Thursday, September 08, 2005

Kranji War Cemetery II

They Died For All Free Men

My second visit to Kranji war cemetery was on a Friday morning, I took leave and I drove my Dad's car (cos my parents were on holiday) there amid the morning rush, but not before having a prata breakfast along the laid back side of Sembawang Road. On arriving, it seemed that the cemetery didn't escape the buzz, workers were polishing the marble on Benjamin Sheares' tomb. Some of the green fingers were doing their gardening, maintaining the flowers that smile upon the graves. Some guys were mowing the already short grass...

Walking past all that activity, I made it to the memorial. Between the walls of names of the dead, a few "vaults" held the memorial register. Curiously, I pried open the metal door to one of the "vaults". To my pleasant surprise, visitors left pictures, cards and information printouts in them.

A Face to the name

Their names surround me, names, names and more names. Screaming out at me in the silence, they all seemed to be vying for my attention but at the same time they seemed so detached. The pictures that were left behind gave faces to some of the names. Black and White was the colour of their time, many of them show men in their prime.


Some printouts from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission were found too. Casualty information made available online to family members looking for commemorations of their loved ones make it all an easier task.

In memory

Another pleasant surprise from the "vault" awaited me. This was the story of one of the POWs who survived captivity and lived a long life. Not all the stories here have sad endings. It kind of reminded me of the movie Saving Private Ryan where "Ryan" was saved from battle at the cost of the lives of the rescue team. The dying Captain of the team in his last breaths told him; "Earn This"

A second chance at life

Elite; The mark of a paratrooper, a modern concept at that time.

How does one forgive the deeds that resulted in the death and destruction of so many? I suppose it's just war and I guess, it's the only way to move on. We cannot hold grudges forever. I believe that many of the people who fought the war didn't want to but fought because it was the right thing to do then. Hence forget, we must not, as we can never allow this to happen again, ever.

Forget me not

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII in the Asia Pacific. A dedication service to honour and commemorate all those who sacrificed their lives will be held at 7 am on the 12th of September 2005 at Kranji War Memorial. Admission is Free. Tel: (65) 6269 6158

To view the rest of the pictures for Part II click here.

For Part I of this feature click here.


At 4:27 AM, Blogger tHemUxIcboX said...

I've always wanted to go there to visit the graves. Went there once in Sec School and wanted to go there again as I love and feel touched by these pple so much. Everyone thought I was mad... "why would you want to go there under the hot sun to be bitten by mosquitoes just to visit the graves??" But I just know that I want to, its facinating to see how pple are long long time ago...or maybe I read too much of the history text books... hehe ... but thanks for going there and taking these wonderful photos ;) esp the one about Uncle Charlie ...

At 8:41 AM, Blogger siyang said...

wow I didnt know u had this interest.. haha.. by the reaction from your friends, i think i would be considered weirder, I used my precious leave to go there..and I'm taking leave again on Monday to attend the dedication ceremony.. :p Also, Thanks for your compliments, I'm glad you liked them :)

At 9:16 PM, Blogger chocolate said...

inspirational post =)


At 10:50 PM, Anonymous poww said...


thank you for your post and wonderful, WONDERFUL pictures of the kranji war memorial. i teared reading.. also probably because, i have this extreme soft spot for old people and people who have lived thru inspirational and challenging times of their lives.

the photos complements very well and they're very nicely shot. wotmore.. u have a much superior quality camera now to boot!


i look forward to read such future posts from u..

hope all is well.


At 9:42 AM, Blogger siyang said...

Hi poww,

ur welcome and thanks for dropping by & the nice complements :)

yes, I think old people, esp those that have lived thru the war have lots of stories to tell, but sometimes we (or me at least) distance ourselves from them.. communication problem or generation gap.. I wish I could be closer to them


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