NEWS, Released docs, Singapore — 02/08/2012 10:55 PM

“The fall of Singapore”, re-discovering the Japanese Occupation (New Straits Times)

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In conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, Discovery Channel presents an in-depth look at the event in a special two-part series, “1942 — The Fall Of Singapore”.

By Ridhatul Rizki Sayuti
New Straits Times

The documentary features rarely seen archival footage and reenactments that reveal new and shocking insight into the events

Once known as the Gibraltar Of The East”, Singapore is now a cosmopolitan city that plays a key role in international trade and finance. Seventy years ago, its citizens suffered the impact of World War 2 when the Japanese captured the island from the British.

Shot in key locations, the show includes firsthand accounts from surviving soldiers, airmen and nurses from the frontline, as well as civilian eyewitnesses. It also features multinational perspectives from the Australian infantry gunners to the Japanese foot soldiers.

Professor Dr Brian Farrell, an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore, says the event had one direct impact, as it greatly reduced the role of Britain in the war against Japan.

“It temporarily curbed British power in Southeast Asia and it changed the question from whether the British would leave Southeast Asia, to when they would do so, how and under what condition, and on what terms,” he says in an interview with Life & Times.

Farrell, who wrote The Defence And Fall Of Singapore, says there were few challenges to complete the research on Japanese attack on Malaya and the conquest of Malaya and Singapore since the subject had been written before.

“I need to make sure that I can provide new information by pointing out that there were new questions to consider or new sources to examine.” Fortunately, he started his research at a right time. “When I began my study, some important documents were released by the British and Australian government,” he says.

These had been retained for 50 years because of the sensitivity of the subject and the recrimination between the British and the Australian government at that time. “I was the first trained academic historian who got to examine these new available materials”.

Farrell has been a military historian for 25 years and he has been studying Singapore’s history for 19 years. He added that it took him nearly 10 years to complete The Defence And Fall Of Singapore. A Canadian, Farrell specialises on World War 1 and the British Empire, post-war imperial defence strategy and the failures of commanders and troops on the ground and the Japanese successes during World War 2.

“Currently I’m researching the cold war in Southeast Asia and its connection to the confrontation in Indonesia in 1960. I also have a book coming out this year on the aspect of Japanese attacks on Malaya in 1941.”

This documentary will air tomorrow at 9pm on Astro Channel 551.

SOURCE:  New Straits Times

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