Dislocations: Memory and Meaning of the Fall of Singapore, 1942 at National Museum of Singapore

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National Museum of Singapore commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore with a new exhibition relating the untold stories and personal perspectives of the various people who lived through it.

Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Exhibition Gallery, Basement 1
Date: 29 Jan - 29 May 2022
Admission: Free

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore in 2022, the National Museum of Singapore will be launching a new exhibition Dislocations: Memory and Meaning of the Fall of Singapore, 1942 that shares memories and perspectives of the war.

Dislocations will bring together different personal accounts and examines the impact of war memory on subsequent generations of Singaporeans up to the present.

Also on display on the National Museum’s Front Lawn is a decommissioned and surviving example of the AMX-13 SM1 tank. These tanks signified the fortitude, indomitable will and fighting spirit of our fledgling nation, and the display serves as a reminder of how everyone has a part to play to ensure Singapore’s security.

Exploring Different Perspective of War

Dislocations will go beyond the usual World War Two narratives to showcase an extended timeline of the war to provide a deeper understanding of the people’s experiences in wartime Singapore. There are seven exhibition zones that feature historical artefacts together with video projections, immersive experiences, and digital touchpoints.

The experience covers events in the lead-up to the war including defence
preparations, the subsequent battle, the Fall of Singapore, and its aftermath. The exhibition will also shed light on previously unexplored topics such as the evacuation of civilians the week before the surrender, defensive preparations by locals, and war memories depicted through commemorative materials, documents, sketches, and paintings, which attempts to juxtapose and draw connections between the diverse experiences of the war.

One of the zones that felt emotionally powerful is one where voice actors recite actual announcements put on newspapers after the war where loved ones left messages to seek out each other or to inform of their well-being. 

For the first time, the exhibition will also feature the largest display of over 200 personal artefacts from the Sook Ching burial site at Jalan Puay Poon.

Interactive Elements

The exhibition also showcases a number of interactive and touch experiences that adds to the experience, especially for the younger audience. 

Pre-Exhibition Game - Sunset in Singapore

The exhibition experience begins before one steps into the museum, through an immersive pre-exhibition game, Sunset in Singapore, that allows visitors to encounter the war through the lens of various groups of people in Singapore at that time, such as an Allied soldier, nurse, or civilian. Sunset in Singapore offers players a glimpse of the various ways in which the war was experienced. 

AR Experience - Empress of Asia

The Empress of Asia (EOA) was a former passenger cruise liner requisitioned by the British Admiralty and was sank by Japanese forces when it was bringing reinforcements to Singapore. 

In the 3rd section of the exhibition, The Battle of Singapore, families will find a selection of objects salvaged from the wreck of the EOA. Using Augmented Reality (AR), families may use their phones to view what eight of the salvaged objects may have looked like in their original state.

Reflection on the War

Through a blend of personal artefacts, official documents and oral histories, familiar¬†stories are enhanced by lesser-known accounts to engage Singaporeans young and old on their¬†memories ‚Äď whether lived or inherited ‚Äď of the war. The concluding section of Dislocations¬†invites visitors to reflect upon their family‚Äôs own retelling of the war, facilitating intergenerational¬†dialogue about its significance, while allowing the National Museum to engage in a conversation¬†with families on this historic event that remains relevant even after decades have passed.¬†

Visitors are further asked to visualise what they would like to see in a future exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore in 2042.

Programmes & Tours

In conjunction with Dislocations, the National Museum is also launching a series of public programmes aimed at engaging the public. These programmes include talks and tours exploring different aspects of World War Two in Singapore. There will also be storytelling programmes held for families during the March school holidays, encouraging families to learn more about the Fall of Singapore. 

In February 2022, the public can also look forward to the launch of Battle for Singapore 2022, a series of public programmes across Dislocations, Changi Chapel and Museum (CCM) as well as Reflections at Bukit Chandu (RBC) that will provide a more holistic understanding of the World War Two experience in Singapore.

Curator Tour of Dislocations: The Memory and Meaning of the Fall of Singapore, 1942

Photo Credit: National Museum of Singapore

Venue: Exhibition Gallery 1, Basement Level, National Museum of Singapore
Date: 26 February 2022, 3pm ‚Äď 4pm
Fees: $15 per participant

Join our curator on an exclusive tour of Dislocations: The Memory and Meaning of the Fall of Singapore, 1942, as they share insight on the objects and stories on display, and a behind-the-scenes look at how the exhibition came together.

Interactive Storytelling: Timmy & Tammy Talking to Grandpa about the War

Photo Credit: National Museum of Singapore

Venue: The Salon (Level 1), National Museum of Singapore
Date: 12 March 2022, 10.30am, 2pm, 3.30pm (45 mins per session)
Age Suitability: Suitable for families with children aged 5 to 9.
Fees: $10 per adult/child pair

In this storytelling session based on the popular children’s book Timmy & Tammy Talking to Grandpa about the War, children will learn about banana money and food ration cards that were used during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore, and speak with Great-grandma, who lived through World War Two. After the session, explore the Surviving Syonan gallery in your own time with the help of a list of highlights.

Each ticket admits one child and one adult (parent or grandparent) only. Limited to 22 adult-child pairs due to Safe Management Measures. Interested parties can register at familyfunnms.peatix.com. 

Complimentary shuttle service to Changi Chapel and Museum and Reflections at Bukit Chandu 

Date: Beginning second half of February until May 2022

Visitors can hop on to a complimentary shuttle service that will take them to two World War Two¬†interpretative centres managed by the National Museum of Singapore ‚Äď Changi Chapel and¬†Museum, and Reflections at Bukit Chandu.

More details of the shuttle service will be provided on the National Museum’s website and social media pages.

Twinned Tours: Changi Chapel & Museum and Changi Point 

Venue: Changi Chapel & Museum
Date: 19 February 2022, 9am ‚Äď 11am, 10.15am ‚Äď 12.15pm (2 sessions)

Explore both the Changi Chapel and Museum (CCM) and key sights at Changi Point that tell the story of World War Two in Singapore and the experience of prisoners of war during the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945. 

Start with a tour of the CCM to view the artefacts and stories of POWs imprisoned at Changi and learn more about their courage and resilience. This will be followed by a walk with Jerome Lim of The Long and Winding Road to uncover stories of World War Two behind the facilities and structures that still remain at Changi Point.

The Happiness Box Story Narration 

Venue: Changi Chapel & Museum
Date: 19 February, 3pm - 3.30pm & 4pm - 4.30pm (2 sessions)

Find out more about the inspirational story behind the creation of The Happiness Box in this engaging narration of the picture book The Happiness Box: A Wartime Book of Hope by Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean, presented by the Storytelling Centre Limited. 

This will be followed by a dramatised re-telling of the original book by David Griffin and Leslie¬†Greener (based on the adaptation by Bryony Marks), where three best friends ‚Äď a lizard, a¬†monkey and a frog ‚Äď find a magical box and journey through the jungle to discover the secret of¬†happiness.

Curator Tour of Changi Chapel and Museum 

Venue: Changi Chapel & Museum
Date:¬†20 February, 9am ‚Äď 10am¬†

Join our curator as they share stories of the prisoner-of-war experience presented at the Changi Chapel and Museum in an exclusive before-hours tour.

Curator Tour of Reflections at Bukit Chandu 

Venue: Reflections at Bukit Chandu
Date:¬†13 February, 9am ‚Äď 10am

Join our curator as they bring you through the stories of the Malay Regiment and Bukit Chandu, in an exclusive before-hours tour of Reflections at Bukit Chandu.

History through Comics: Lieutenant Adnan and the Last Regiment 

Venue: Reflections at Bukit Chandu
Date:¬†13 February, 2pm ‚Äď 4pm¬†
Age Suitability: For ages 11 and up

Hear from Danny Jalil and Zaki Ragman, the creators of Lieutenant Adnan and the Last Regiment, as they share about the inspiration and creative process behind this engaging comic book. Plus, get a chance to tell your own story about the Malay Regiment through the medium of comics in a hands-on workshop guided by Zaki Ragman.

Booking and Ticketing

Visitors are encouraged to pre-book their museum admission tickets ahead of their visit. For more information, please visit https://go.gov.sg/dislocations1942 or the National Museum’s Facebook and Instagram pages to book tickets or for more information on the museum.

Admission is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. 



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This article is prepared by

Jiarong Yu
Daddy to 2 adorable little ones. Misses them the moment they are not around, regrets missing them the moment they are around.

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