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Civilian War Memorial
Ranked #140 of 805 things to do in Singapore
Attraction details
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
877 reviews
553 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 853 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2013

We came across this memorial kind of by accident while looking for a way to the Merl-ion from Raffles.
It serves an important purpose insofar as to the British WW2 in Singapore is mainly remembered for the crushing defeat, the Prisoners of War and the horror of the fate which befell them in captivity. This monument bears witness to the brutality of the Japanese to the Asian Civilian population of the City and does so in a dignified yet forceful manner. I have to admit it provoked me to go and do some research (ok - googling) into that aspect of history, and in doing so i expect it has served its purpose in keeping alive the memories of the horror and suffering of the people it commemorates.
As a structure its big, bold and dominates its locale and yet has simple lettering to get its point across. Glad we came across this.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Me_n_my_rucksack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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85 reviews from our community

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  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
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English first
Gladesville, Australia
Level Contributor
465 reviews
261 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,783 helpful votes
“25 million ways to avoid saying ‘Sorry’”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2013

After smashing the British-who believed Singapore was an invincible fortress, the Japanese initiated a revenge campaign of terror targeting Chinese-Singaporean men via kidnappings & arrests, killing them with bayonets, machetes & reckless thought. An estimated 70,000 men between the ages of 18 to 50 were murdered by the Japanese secret police who’s leader trained in Germany with the Nazi Schutzstaffel also known as the SS, Adolf Hitler’s secret police.

Known as the Sook Ching Massacre, the ethnic cleansing here takes a backseat to the better known Fall of Singapore on Feb 15th when the Japanese took 130,000 Allied soldiers prisoner, described by Winston Churchill as Britain’s worst military disaster in its long history. Numerous mass graves & burial pits were discovered after the war, an unspeakable tragedy. The human remains were recovered, cremated & reburied in a chamber under the Civilian War Memorial, built to honour these victims in the heart of the city.

The design features 4 long pillars at 222 feet, representing the 4 main ethnic groups that made up the population of Singapore English, Chinese, Indian & Malay. Locally known as the ‘chopsticks’, the towering height of the structure gives it a commanding presence over its simplistic design. In 2013 it become a national monument on the anniversary of Singapore’s surrender to the Japanese on the 15th February. The inscription in 4 languages has no poetic statement, inspirational quotes or even any harsh words towards the Japanese, it is just a solem space. Standing directly underneath the four pillars, looking up gives visitors an unusual view of the monument, it is a simple yet thought provoking.

In 1965 after gaining independence, the Singaporean government representing the people demanded reparations & an official apology from the Japanese. The government instead accepted $25 million dollars in compensation, another $25 million dollars in interest-free loans & agreed to forget the apology. This is what is wrong with our world, when human lives are considered so cheap that a simple sorry is too complicated to say.

Within walking distance to City Hall MRT, Chijimes Cathedral, the Raffles Hotel & the Cenotaph.

Visited February 2013
7 Thank The_Pale_Ridah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
105 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Not a sight to go see”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2013 via mobile

Near City Hall so perhaps you glimpse it in passing. I would not make a point of seeing this. Attractions are the Raffles Hotel and Swisshotel.

Visited April 2013
Thank Ez2ctheworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
170 reviews
123 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Memories Of Japanese Occupation Passed”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2013

Nice place to take some photo shoot along the street there are Tan Kim Seng Monument,Lim Bo Seng Monument another the Hero Patriotism Monument for loss of life during World War period.Huge Merlion statues,Sir Stamford Statues around the area overlooking Huge esplanade and old City Hall Building walk along Elizabeth Walk ,Old Fullerton Overhead bridge ,The Parliament House..... will not waste your time one of the Singapore Tourism Hot Spot all in one place convenient located.

Thank kokomitay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Canada
Level Contributor
605 reviews
354 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 361 helpful votes
“A Memorial and Grave Site”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 26, 2013

The Civilian War Memorial is a monument dedicated to civilians who perished during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore (1942-1945). Most people will look at the memorial and realize that it is an interesting piece of architecture set in a park. The casual tourist may stop, take a picture, and just keep going. Many do not realize that the monument is built on a burial chamber which contains ashes of thousands of unknown civilians exhumed from mass graves of civilians that were killed during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War 2. This memorial provides an opportunity to stop and reflect on what happened to the people living in this city in a time of war. It is more than a memorial, it is the resting place for many civilians killed in the war.

Visited November 2012
5 Thank trainfan2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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