Temasek derived from Malay word ‘tasik’ which means lake or sea. Later on in the history, Temasek was changed into Singapura which means Lion City in Sanskrit. Different version in history are saying different stories of how and where the old Singapura really came from. People who was alive during the Pre-Singapura are likely to speak Teochew and other languages like Cantonese, Malay and decent command in Mandarin.
There are no much stories or articles around internet that talks about how happened during those time when the Japanese colonized Singapore. A story of a grandmother who was alive during the said time was told by her grandchild. In her blog, she talked about how her grandmother suffered and experienced during Pre-Singapura. Her grandma and some of her relatives were living in the Northern part of Singapore during Japanese occupation. And they knew that the Japanese were coming. Her grandmother cut the hair of her girl cousin like a boy. Later that night, they heard loud banging at their doors. Three men entered their house and asked for girls. They looked around, including her grandmother, but she told the three men that they are dirty (could me they have menstruation). The three men also looked for her grandmother’s cousin but since her hair was cut like a boy, they dismissed the house. After that, they heard that a woman nearby was raped by the three men.
Operation Sook Ming was also mentioned which means ‘purge through cleansing’ in Chinese. It is a Japanese operation wherein Chinese males in Singapore were being called to different mass screening centres, and those who are suspected to be an anti-Japanese were being executed. 25,000-50,000 were claimed to be dead because of it. It only lasted for 12 days but the trauma for the people who suffered and their loved ones will never not be part of the history.
They call the 10-dollar bill that was used during the Japanese occupation as banana money because there are banana trees drew on the money that soon became worthless due to runaway inflation and black market practices.
The Japanese set up schools and education institutes and they pressured the locals to learn Japanese language. One of the education institute they built was Shonan Japanese School. Everyday, students had to face the direction where Japan is and sing their national anthem, Kimigayo. They printed school workbooks in Japanese and radio and movies were broadcasted and played in Japanese.
We never really know how people who was alive and still living who experienced first-hand this part of the history really felt. What can you say about this? Do you have any stories you’d like to share to us? We would like to hear for you, too.