We read about the rise of Japan and its advances
on its neighbours in the previous chapter. What
effects did Japans expansion have on
Singapore? Recall that there were many Chinese
living in Singapore.
These Chinese were loyal to their homeland,
China. When news of Japan invading China reached
them, they grew angry and were urged to seek
revenge on the Japanese.
MOVEMENT IN SINGAPORE:
To show their
anti-Japanese feelings, the Chinese refused to
patronise Japanese shops, doctors or barbers.
They also prevented other customers from buying
Japanese goods. Chinese shops were not allowed to
sell Japanese goods. Those who broke the boycott
were severely punished.
demonstrations were organised. The Chinese held
parades and street meetings. There were times
when the demonstrators went overboard and the
marches turned violent. Law and order was
disrupted and the police had to arrest them.
TO WAR FUNDS
were made to help China at war. Chinese leaders
helped to raise funds by collecting money from
rich merchants and ordinary workers. Chinese
women and students sold flowers and flags to
raise funds. Other contributions include
warplanes, ambulances, medical supplies and
Local women raising funds
Some Chinese in Singapore volunteered to work
in China. About 450 skilled workers left
Singapore for China. In China, they worked mainly
as motor mechanics or drivers who helped to
transport war materials.
British Naval Base in Singapore
||Aware of the swift
rise of Japan, the British constructed a naval
base in Singapore. Warships could be sent from
the naval base to fight the enemies during a war.
The base would be well equipped with war
supplies, docks to service and repair ships, etc.
|Singapore was chosen
as the site because of its good geographical
position and its importance as a port. Setting up
a naval base in Singapore would enable the
British to protect its overseas empire and trade
||The construction of
the naval base took place in an area in northern
Singapore very slowly at first. Work was only
sped up in the 1930s when Japan conquered
Manchuria and attacked China. By 1938, the
construction work was completed.
By the late 1930s, Singapore was thought to be an
invincible fortress. The Singapore Naval Base had
modern facilities and was strongly defended by
airbases and gun positions.
However, the main weakness of the base was the
lack of a strong fleet of warships. Shortly after
its completion, Hitler began to attack Europe.
Britain then concentrated its resources on
fighting against Germany. It could only send a
small fleet of warships to Singapore.
When Japan successfully invaded Singapore in 1942, the
British commanders realised that Singapore could no
longer be defended.
To prevent the Japanese from making use of the naval
base, the British destroyed the base instead.