Defending the Little Red Dot | A Series Of Programmes By National Library Board To Mark Total Defence Day



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The programme will include talks by international experts, film screenings, book recommendations, as well as a special tour of the ‚ÄúLight Amidst Adversity‚ÄĚ Rare Gallery.

Venue: Onsite across various venues & Online
Date:
 15 Feb to 30 Jul 2023
Time: Various timings
Fee: Free & Paid

Defending the Little Red Dot

As part of the National Library Board‚Äôs (NLB) annual programme to mark Total Defence Day, a series of programmes themed ‚ÄúDefending the Little Red Dot‚ÄĚ will be held from 15 February to 30 July 2023.¬†Delve deep into stories of resistance, resilience, and post-war remembrance in Singapore during World War II, and discover the importance of preparedness in the digital age.

Here's the line-up of the exciting programmes that you and your family can check out:

[Special Gallery Tour] Light Amidst Adversity

Venue: Rare Gallery, Level 13, National Library Building
Dates & Times: 

  • 18 Feb, 25 Feb, 11 Mar & 25 Mar 2023: 11am to 12pm & 1pm to 2pm
  • 15 Apr & 24 Jun 2023: 11am to 12pm
  • 27 May & 29 Jul 2023: 1pm to 2pm

Fee: Free | Register here

Using historical and archival materials from the collections of the National Library and the National Archives, Light Amidst Adversity seeks to explore the themes of resistance and resilience during World War II as well as post-war remembrance in Singapore. The display features a selection of rare books, photographs, artworks, personal documents, and ephemera that record local war preparations and poignant stories in a time of adversity.

A Librarian’s World: Light Amidst Adversity: Singapore during World War II

Venue: Online via Zoom
Date: 23 Feb 2023
Time:
6pm to 7pm
Fee: Free | Register here

Join Gracie Lee, Senior Librarian (Rare Collection), and Lu Wenshi, Senior Manager (Archives Services) to discover the rich stories of resistance, resilience, and post-war remembrance behind some of the items on show. The talk is held in conjunction with ‚ÄúLight Amidst Adversity‚ÄĚ, a display of historical and archival materials relating to World War II curated from the collections of the National Library and National Archives of Singapore. It will look at civilian involvement in the defence of Singapore during World War II and the strength shown by survivors of the Japanese Occupation through historical and archival records that include publications, photographs, personal documents and art works.

The News Gallery Exhibition Tour

Venue: Promenade, Level 11, National Library Building
Date: 18 Mar, 13 May & 15 Jul 2023
Time: 
2 to 3pm
Fee: Free | Register here

Explore the fascinating world of news media in an interactive tour of The News Gallery: Beyond Headlines exhibition. In this guided exhibition tour, participants will get to:

  • Discover stories of Singapore newspapers in the National Library‚Äôs collection dating from the 1820s
  • Learn about significant episodes from Singapore‚Äôs history through the perspectives of different media
  • Gain insights into fake news, and learn how one can be more discerning about information and media
  • Learn about the evolution of photojournalism and how photos still play a large part in telling real-life stories

[Talk] Archives Invites: Shaun McGuire ‚Äď The Royal New Zealand Air Force Leaves Singapore: Records Hindmost!

Venue: Online via Zoom
Date: 14 Feb 2023
Time: 
6pm to 7pm
Fee: Free | Register here

New Zealand’s contribution to the defence of Malaya in 1942 was the Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron 488 and an Aerodome Construction Unit. The two units had the good fortune of leaving Singapore shortly before the island’s fall, sparing many of its men from internment by the invading Imperial Japanese Army.

Considered low to no priority, the units’ records were left behind or lost as the forces evacuated to the Dutch East Indies. The records (and photographs that survived) from this campaign were largely compiled after the war and now reside at the Archives New Zealand.

Join Shaun McGuire, an archivist at New Zealand’s Heritage Library, Alexander Turnbull Library, as he highlights some of these records. 

[Talk] Archives Invites: Simon Froude ‚Äď Australia and the Defence of Singapore: Records Held by the National Archives of Australia

Venue: Online via Zoom
Date: 21 Feb 2023
Time: 
6pm to 7pm
Fee: Free | Register here

The defence and the ultimate fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 had profound consequences for Australia. The events ended the so-named ‚ÄúSingapore strategy‚ÄĚ upon which Australia had been relying for the defence of its continent, leaving it vulnerable to aggression in the Pacific. Some 1,789 Australians were killed and 1,306 wounded during the Battle for Singapore. 15,000 members of Australia‚Äôs 8th Division were captured, and of these, more than 7,000 died as prisoners of war.

National Archives of Australia holds a variety of records related to the fall of Singapore and its aftermath. Most significantly, there are records of discussions by the Australian War Cabinet, and cables between the Australian and British governments, discussing events and deploring the loss of Singapore.

[Talk] Archives Invites: Dr Will Butler ‚Äď Researching the Fall of Singapore, 1942 ‚Äď Records at The National Archives, UK

Venue: Online via Zoom
Date: 28 Feb 2023
Time: 
6pm to 7pm
Fee: Free | Register here

Drawing on records from The National Archives, UK, this talk will trace the British defence and subsequent fall of Singapore during the Second World War. Using a range of material produced by both politicians and military leaders before, during, and after the conflict, Head of Military Records at The National Archives, UK, Dr Will Butler will assess the historical importance of Singapore to the British strategically, examine the planning and conduct of operations leading up to the Second World War, and discuss the campaign as it occurred in early 1942 from a British perspective.

Safeguarding Your Mind Against Fake News

Venue: Online via Zoom
Date: 8 Mar 2023
Time: 
7pm to 8pm
Fee: Free | Register here

Over the years, the threat of fake news and online misinformation has evolved in their forms and impact on society. In this talk, learn about the characteristics of fake news, the psychological reasons why people fall victim to them and measures on how to safeguard one’s mind against them using NLB’s S.U.R.E. steps (Source, Understand, Research, Evaluate). Level up your Digital Defence skills in this webinar organised by the National Library Board to commemorate Total Defence Day 2023.

Information and Cyber Threats vs Digital Defence

Venue: Online via Zoom
Date: 
15 Mar 2023
Time: 
7pm to 8pm
Fee: 
Free | Register here

In this talk, delve into the Digital Defence part of Total Defence, and consider what it means for all of us in light of current events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and infodemic, banking scams, and the invasion of Ukraine.

Join Benjamin Ang, Senior Fellow and Deputy Head of the Center of Excellence for National Security (CENS), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, in this session.

Former Ford Factory Tour & Documentary Screening

Venue: Former Ford Factory
Date: 
18 Feb 2023
Time:
11am to 12.30pm, 2pm to 3.30pm
Fee: 
Free | Register here

Join this guided tour of the Former Ford Factory and discover stories of the Japanese invasion and Occupation of Singapore, as well as the resistance and resilience of the people. There will also be a screening of the short documentary film ‚ÄúBattle For Singapore‚ÄĚ, which chronicles the fall of Singapore and features archival photographs and video footage of key events.

[Film Screening] 3 Films on the Pacific War

Venue: Oldham Theatre, Level 3, National Archives Building
Date: 
19 Feb, 26 Feb & 5 Mar 2023
Time: 
5pm to 7pm
Fee: 
S$10 per ticket

Fought over a vast area of land and sea, the Pacific theatre of World War II pitted Allied forces against Japan, and saw the devastating invasion of Southeast Asia, eventually leading to the end of the war with Japan’s defeat and surrender in 1945. In remembrance of the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942, the Asian Film Archive presents a programme of three classic films that take a wider look at the Pacific War through the varied perspectives of filmmakers from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

The lineup opens with an epic retelling of the attack on Pearl Harbour, continuing with a depiction of the hardships of British and Australian prisoners-of-war in Malaya, before concluding with a widely-lauded historical epic about the Thai-Burma Death Railway. In the face of trauma and destruction, these narratives express the tenacity, camaraderie and kinship of those who lived through this dark chapter of the human experience.

Here the lineup of films that you can look forward to:

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Venue: Oldham Theatre, Level 3, National Archives Building
Date: 
19 Feb 2023
Time: 
5pm to 7pm
Fee: 
S$10 per ticket | Register here

In its dramatisation of the attack on Pearl Harbour, Tora! Tora! Tora! weaves together narrative accounts from both American and Japanese perspectives, neither glorifying nor condemning either side. Despite his reluctance to provoke the United States into entering the war, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto planned a surprise air raid on the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The attack was scheduled for a half-hour after the ultimatum reached Washington, but its delayed delivery rendered the Japanese to raid a war crime, since the two nations were at that point, still technically at peace. Meanwhile, a series of blindspots and bureaucratic blunders by the Americans led to the utter destruction of the fleet.

The film’s remarkable accuracy to the events leading up to 7 December 1941, makes it a classic among history buffs, while the spectacular aerial battle scenes continue to draw action aficionados. As Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda’s first English-language film and first international co-production, this classic was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning Best Visual Effects.

A Town Like Alice (1956)

Venue: Oldham Theatre, Level 3, National Archives Building
Date: 
26 Feb 2023
Time: 
5pm to 7pm
Fee: 
S$10 per ticket | Register here

After receiving an unexpected inheritance, a young Englishwoman returns to the Malayan village where she had sought refuge during the Japanese Occupation. She recalls her gruelling journey across the country alongside the women who were taken as prisoners-of-war. Left to care for three young children, Jean Paget (Virginia McKenna) was aided by an Australian soldier and fellow prisoner, Joe Harman (Peter Finch). Years after a painful separation, Jean learns of Joe’s whereabouts, and sets off in search of the brave soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for her.

While much of the film was shot in England’s Pinewood Studios, several scenes in this adaptation of Neville Shute’s bestselling romance were filmed on-site in Johor Bahru, Penang and Singapore. The third most popular film at the British box office that year, A Town Like Alice won McKenna and Finch BAFTA awards for Best Actress and Actor respectively.

The Bridge on the River Kwai

Venue: Oldham Theatre, Level 3, National Archives Building
Date: 
26 Feb 2023
Time: 
5pm to 7pm
Fee: 
S$10 per ticket | Register here

Set against the construction of the infamous Thai-Burma Death Railway, David Lean’s riveting epic questions the meaning of honour and dignity amid the madness of war. A stubborn battle-of-wills ensues when a newly captured British colonel refuses to yield to the camp commander’s violation of humanitarian laws. In his blind insistence on building a good bridge as a monument to British efficiency, the colonel treads the fine line between national pride and enemy collaboration. Meanwhile, a skiving commander who escapes by the skin of his teeth is recruited into a secret commando force. Aided by sympathetic locals, the multinational team embarks on an audacious mission to blow up the bridge.

With its gripping portrayal of the complexities of war, The Bridge on the River Kwai swept the 30th Academy Awards with eight nominations and seven wins, and garnered three Golden Globe Awards and four BAFTAs.

Book Recommendations

Social Defence is one of the pillars of Total Defence. This year, NLB has put together a collection of books that takes a deep dive into Social Cohesion ‚Äď understanding different points of view.

Explore a curation of works that compile the opinions of a range of people about a diversity of topics regarding community relations at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, Level 11, National Library Building, Victoria Street. Check out the highlights of the collection below with the NLB Mobile App, where you can borrow and read them from the comfort of your home.

One United People

One United People was just published last year (2022). In it, nearly two dozen essays from the theatre, community activists, journalists and academics explore questions of relations and interactions between ethnicities in Singapore. Because how we view each other’s communities influence our beliefs in our neighbours, it is an important part of the social cohesion glue binding Singaporeans together as a people and a nation. Social defence means exploring these cracks weakening our society and finding out how to patch them and reinforce the ties keeping Singapore united.

Navigating Differences

Navigating Differences is a 2020 Institute of Southeast Asian Studies compilation covering not just inter-ethnic and inter-religious interactions, but also the political, economic, geographic and even age divisions and interactions in Singapore. Questions explored include relationships with new immigrants, the middle class, welfare, and culture wars.

National Service in Singapore

Photo Credits: National Library Board

National Service in Singapore was published by World Scientific in 2019 to look at the past, present and future of this Singapore institution. The experience of Singaporeans going through NS and the cultural meanings are explored in these articles by academics.

For more information, please visit the NLB website, and NLB’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube channels.



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This article is prepared by

Leona Quek
Blessed with 3 handsome and loving boys in her life. Two of them call her Mommy, the other calls her Wifey. Every night, she wishes for an early bedtime, but misses her babies as soon as they sleep.

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