Free e-book launched at scaled-down WWII commemoration ceremony, Latest news from Singapore

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World War II veterans, families of those who died during the Japanese occupation of Singapore and religious leaders attended a scaled-down memorial ceremony yesterday, as a free e-book was launched to detail the sacrifices of people during the tumultuous years.

At War Memorial Park on Beach Road, about fifty participants in two areas observed a minute of silence and laid wreaths during a small ceremony. In previous years, up to 1,000 participants attended.

Yesterday marked the 79th anniversary of the British surrender to the Japanese in 1942 and was also Total Defense Day.

The event was the 54th memorial service since 1967, when the memorial was unveiled by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

The hour-long ceremony was co-hosted by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) and Nexus, the department responsible for total defense and national education at the Ministry of Defense. Organizers focused on keeping war memories vital to Singapore’s national narrative alive.

SCCCI President Roland Ng said at the ceremony: “We hope that our future generations can fully understand the importance of freedom and peace through the lessons learned from the Japanese occupation, reiterating the importance to stand united, to defend our country and to prepare for danger in peacetime. “

The SCCCI yesterday launched its 36-page eBook, The Story Of The Civilian War Memorial. It contains brief information on how the memorial was erected and some stories from the war.

It is written in English and Chinese and is aimed at the younger generation who are further removed from a war than the pioneer generation experienced and which they cannot forget to this day.

Guest of Honor Minister of Education Lawrence Wong said, “Over time, the generation that endured the occupation … will gradually fade away. It is important that we keep these memories alive.

“(The eBook) will help the new generations growing up to understand how we got here, why it could easily have turned out so differently, and why Singapore is worth standing up for.”

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