Saturday, April 01, 2006

A place of historical significance

The boardroom. In this boardroom, the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese on 15 Feb 1942.

While Singapore's modern history may be comparatively short, there are still many places of historical significance in Singapore that are worth a visit.

On a sunny Saturday in the month of March 2006, I travelled to the Memories at Old Ford Factory. Located at 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road, it took me about close to an hour to travel there by bus from home.

I regretted that I did not check up the visitor's information carefully before heading for Memories at Old Ford Factory. By the time I reached the place, it was already slightly past its opening hours. I could only count myself lucky that there was a tour group visiting the Old Ford Factory so the place remained opened after its opening hours.

As such, that visit to the Old Ford Factory was a rather rushed affair. By 2.30 p.m., the tour group had left, and the polite staff gave the remaining three visitors (which includes myself) a gentle reminder that the Old Ford Factory had extended its opening hours one hour beyond its normal closing time for Saturday.

Deciding not to inconvenience the staff, and also realising that it was my mistake for being too confident that the Old Ford Factory would be opened for longer hours on Saturday (apparently this was an assumption), I left the galleries. There are still quite a number of exhibits I did not have a chance to look in detail. I did not have a chance to visit the AV Theatre again. As such, I hope to make a visit to this place again sometime in the future.

If you were to wish to visit this place, please do check up the visitor's information beforehand:

Anyway, let me write about the visit proper.

Outdoors, there were plaque-like displays that depict the historical events that have taken place before and after the Japanese Occupation. Reading the words on these displays also helped one gain a better appreciation of the strategic location of the Ford Motor Factory and the Bukit Timah Hill.

In the photo above, you would see the building of the Memories at Old Ford Factory. At the bottom corner, you would see a granite stone with words 'Taking History as a Lesson' inscribed on it. The words were calligraphed by Mr Choo Thiam Siew. Please refer to this URL for more information:
. Somehow this stone lends a rather poetic feel to the place.

If you are able to read Chinese characters, you might be able to make out that the sculpture above represents the words "Peace". Titled "Peace", this is a work by Mr Chua Boon Kee. It reminded one of the value of Peace.

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Photos showing how the Ford Factory looked like in the past.

The Ford Motor Factory was built in 1941. I read that it was the first Ford vehicle assembly plant in Southeast Asia.

After reading the displays outdoors, I went into the gallery.

The boardroom.

The boardroom captured my attention. Afterall, it was in this room that the British surrendered Singapore to the Japan. There are two buttons in front of this room. If visitors were to press on it, black-and-white video clips of what had taken place on the historic day of the British surrender would present itself.

This URL offers an account of the British surrender: Check out the video clips found at the above URL.

Photos of what took place on the day of the British surrender

Nearby the boardroom, there were two sculptures put on display. One was the sculpture of Lt General A.E. Percival, Commander of the British Forces in Singapore and the other was Lt General Yamashita Tomoyuki, Commander of the Japanese 25th Army.

Make a guess whether this is the scuplture of
Lt General A.E. Percival or Lt General Yamashita Tomoyuki

There was a display about the lives of the Prisoner-Of-War. It reminded me of the exhibitions I had seen when I was at the Changi Chapel & Museum a few years ago.

I wished I could have more time then at the Memories at Old Ford Factory but as you would have read earlier, there was a price to pay for not checking the opening hours.

So I ended that visit by reflecting upon this display that you would see below:

Taking History as a Lesson

What are the lessons that we could draw from history?

If you would like to read more about the Memories at Old Ford Factory, there are some good posts by fellow bloggers that have been mentioned or have been posted on

- The Place of Surrender
- Lest we forget
- Moved by Memories
- Memories of Ford Factory

Do check them out.


pinto said...

Ah... you finally went. =) Thanks for sharing about your visit there. BTW, can you change the the link to my post to
No longer inhabiting the old cave. Cheers!

oceanskies79 said...

Hi Pinto, thanks for the notice, I have changed the link.