The 20th Century
- Learn about the racial discrimination during the years when Singapore was still a British Colony
- The Second World War and the Syonan Years
- Post War Singapore
When the British were our colonial masters, the government were only made up of Europeans. Singapore was part of the crown colony of Britain and the governor represents the King or Queen of Britain.
During the early 20th century, there were little Asian participation in the governing of Singapore. The citizens did not have a say in how they want to be governed. Although there were little Asians in the assembly, these few racial and religious leaders tried their best to voice out the problems facing their commmunity. The British made some improvements, but not enough of it. The people were still displeased with the British.
When the British ruled Singapore, they discriminate the locals. They believe they are a surpeme race, therefore they should not mix with the locals. Thus in certain restaurants and hotels, locals are not welcomed and were refused entry. This made the locals even more displeased with the British.
In 1942, on 7 February, the Japanese Arm Forces landed their troops in Pulau Ubin. Then on 8 February, they landed on Mainland Singapore. Due to shortage of men, Singapore failed to defend herself. On 15 February 1942, the British decided to surrender to the Japanese. After the Japanese came to power, they renamed Singapore as "Syonan To" (See-o-nun toe) which means "Light of the South".
The Japanese saw the Chinese in Singaproe as threats due to the strong resistance from Chinese when they tried to conquer China. Therefore, there was a Sook Ching, which was an operation to remove all those who are considered to be anti-Japanese. The Japanese would also carry out massacres to wipe out the Chinese men, as they are the utmost enemy of the Japanese. The Malays and Indians were not seen as threat, therefore the Japanese tried to convince them that they would bring them out of colonial rule.
During the Syonan years, the civilians suffered. Women were raped and killed, children were starved, so worked as slaves and most of the girls were prostitute for the Japanese. Men were either killed or locked up in prison where they had nothing to eat. Those who escaped such harsh treatments stayed at home and received little or no food ration. Most of them had to grow their own food. Then an anti-Japanese group arose. They were known as the "Malayan People's Anti Japanese Alliance" (MPAJA). These people hid in jungles and sabotaged the Japanese.
The Japanese was defeated in the war of Coral Island, where the Americans stepped in to prevent them from conquering more lands. Then in June 1942, the Japanese decided to attack the island of Midway, however they were again defeated by the Americans. Although these defeats greatly decreased their power, the Japanese refused to give up.
In order to stop all wars and to drive the Japanese back to where they belong, the Americans dropped "Little Guy", a newly invented atomic bomb, onto the Japanese city Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. However that did not cause the Japanese to surrender, although many from their country died from this. Then another atomic bomb, "Fat Man" was dropped on another city Nagasaki. This finally brought the Japanese to surrender on 15 August 1945.
After the Japanese left Singapore, the British colonial masters came back into power. However the civilians had little respect for them, as they chicken out during the war and failed to protect Singapore. The original MPAJA (anti-Japanese) became a well-respected group of people. After the war, they turned to become MPABA, which was the Malayan People Anti British Alliance. They aim to bring Singapore and the rest of Malaya out from the colonial masters and become independent states. They wanted to beat European superiority and bring Singapore to achieve independence.
Post-war problems arose. There were shortage of food and housing, high unemployment, disruption of water, electricity and gas supplies, disruption of education and poor health conditions. The citizens turned to blame the British colonial masters for their problem. Other problems arose and one of the most severe was the influence of Communism. Communist were active in Singapore and they led the students and workers on strike. Such clashes created problems for the colonial masters. Local politicians persuaded the British for self-government and finally in 1948, Singapore had her first democratic election.
- The Founding of Singapore
- The 20th Century
- The Road to Independence
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