13 insights from a Singaporean WWII veteran

Have you ever wondered how life was like during the Japanese Occupation?

Was it even possible to have survived?

With sheer tenacity and willpower, it seems that survival was actually possible, as this 94-year-old Singaporean bears testimony.

The grandfather recounts his experience through an AMA thread on Reddit here. The subreddit AMA stands for Ask Me Anything, which prompts users to ask questions about any topic — just like an online press conference.

Some of his replies may run chills down your spine, and serve as a reminder for us not to take the simple things such as peace and stability for granted.

From this informative AMA, here are 13 insights we’ve gained.


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1. A typical day during the Japanese occupation

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2. Nightmares of the war and the silver lining

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3. How he escaped the Sook Ching massacre

For the uninitiated, the Sook Ching massacre was a Japanese military operation, which took place from 21 February to 4 March 1942 to purge or remove anti-Japanese elements from Singapore’s Chinese community. Chinese males aged 18 to 50 were summoned to mass screening centres.

Execution was the fate that befell those suspected of being anti-Japanese.

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4. On how he coped post-war

Instead of dwelling over the horrors of the war, grandpa was determined to rebuild his life, working hard to sell chicken rice.

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5. Best memory in life

Fortunately, life was not all doom and gloom for the grandpa, who have had some happy moments in life before it was cruelly robbed away by the Japanese occupation.

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Unfortunately, grandpa is no longer in contact with the Jewish family today.

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6. On how he eventually planned to settle down in Singapore

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7. His feelings and views towards the Japanese today

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8. On his grandson marrying/ dating a Japanese girl

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9. On atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki & Singaporeans then and now

In August 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killed at least 129,000 people.

Six days after Nagasaki’s bombing and declaration of war by the Soviet Union, Japan surrendered to the Allies. In September, Japan signed the instrument of surrender, effectively putting the Pacific Theatre of World War II to an end.

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10. On LKY and PAP

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11. On an old friend who also survived the Japanese occupation

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12. On future challenges

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13. Advice to the younger generations

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Indeed, wise words from a man who’ve seen it all.

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Featured image via Reddit
With reference to Reddit, Singapore Infopedia