THE ALLIED PRISONERS-OF-WAR
Upon conquering Singapore, the Japanese imprisoned all the Europeans. They became prisoners-of-war (P.O.Ws.). The P.O.Ws. Were kept in various prison camps.
The P.O.Ws. Who remained in Singapore were made to clean up the city, bury the dead and restore water and electricity supplies. There was also a shortage of food. As a result, many of the P.O.Ws. Were reduced to skin and bones.
Some of the P.O.Ws. Were sent to Thailand to construct a railroad. The men used simple tools to fell trees and cut rocks. They were made to work long hours and were given insufficient food. As a result, many P.O.Ws. Died there. This was how the railway became known as The Death Railway.
The local people in Singapore were often bullied by the Japanese guards. They were made to bow whenever they bypassed a Japanese soldier on guard duty. If they refused, they would be punished by the Japanese soldiers.
The Japanese punished the Chinese most severely. This was because they had actively helped China in its fight against Japan. The Japanese gathered all Chinese men, aged between 18 to 50, for an anti-Japanese examination. During the examination, a masked man would scan the people and single out those whom they thought were anti-Japanese. These unfortunate Chinese would be taken in lorries to the Changi Beach or other beaches on the east coast. There, they would be shot by the Japanese soldiers. Those who were not identified as anti-Japanese were allowed to go home.
The Japanese punished the Eurasians too because they looked like the Europeans. Those who were thought to be the helpers of the British were shot.
THE "SYONAN-TO" DAYS
MASS MEDIA AND EDUCATION:
To prevent the local people from knowing too much about news outside, the Japanese controlled the mass media. The local Chinese and English newspapers published only news that favoured the Japanese. Only Japanese movies and propaganda films were screened in cinemas. In school, the students were taught the Japanese language. Every morning, these students were made to sing the Japanese national anthem too.