History Fieldtrips to WWII sites in Singapore

I had been planning a history field trip on WWII, so I needed to recce some places. The first place was Labrador Park. Labrador Park was one of the places where the British had built underground tunnels and put cannons to fight against the Japanese. We went there during the Chinese New Year holiday.

labrador park1

Unfortunately, the Japanese came from the north, so the artillery were not fully utilised. Contrary to popular belief, the cannons were not facing the wrong direction. Their purpose was to protect against seaward invasion, but they could be turned too.
labrador park2
The tunnels are currently sealed, and not opened to the public. One of the tunnels lead to Sentosa, under the sea.

Another location was Bukit Chandu, which was just in the vicinity. Fierce fighting had taken place here, and the bungalow where we visited was used by the Malay Regiment in their last days of fighting.
bukit chandu1
He had refused to let me take photos initially, until we reached Reflections at Bukit Chandu.

bukit chandu2

The Malay Regiment had fought bravely, in the last fights against the Japanese, but they were outnumbered. They had managed to spot the Japanese who had dressed up as Punjabi soldiers marching in the wrong formation. They had marched in fours instead of threes. The malay soldiers won the first battle, but the Japanese came back for revenge, and had nearly decimated the entire troops. A few days later, Singapore surrendered to the Japanese.
bukit chandu3
I had brought El along on both occasions, and he had learnt a little about history. He asked for books on WWII and had a lot of questions. I borrowed a book from the library about WWII, but the focus was on the European front. Another book was about the internment of the Japanese in USA after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was an interesting read, based on real life events.

After going to these two places, we decided to go to Labrador Park sand playground, and he had a lot of fun playing on sand. We had brought along sandcastle building equipment, but without water, the sand could not be hardened to build sand castles.

Sand Playground

El had just finished his piano lesson, and we decided to head over to Bishan Park. It had rained earlier, so the sand pit would be wet. That was the only way to build sandcastles.

I was quite surprised that he remembered the place was red in colour, because the last time we went there, it was dark and I did not see the colour.

The moment we reached there, El jumped over the concrete waves and when he reached the last wave, he tripped and fell. He kicked up a big fuss and I quickly pulled out a plaster from my bag and stuck it on his skinned knee after washing his wound.

There was a bunch of teens hanging around that area. We went to another side, and started digging and filling up the containers. Gar was having fun as he tried to use the spade.
Brothers Playing Together

El also suddenly wanted to pee and he would usually tell us only when he absolutely had to go and could not hold it any longer. There were no toilets nearby, and we had no choice but to do the unthinkable.
Sandcastles
We managed to make two castles before their father told us to get ready to go. The grey clouds were looming over at Ang Mo Kio just across the road, and he smelled the rain. El looked up to the sky and kept asking where the grey clouds were.
Kwa Ti

I wanted to go off quickly because those teenagers had gathered at the spider web playground beside us and were cursing away.

Suddenly, Gar stuck his hands in the sand pit and gleefully showed me his sandy hands. Immediately I got him to shake the sand grains off.
look at my hands

El insisted on finishing his sandcastle, and we kept hurrying him. Not sure why, but he refused to let the sandcastles remain there. He jumped on them and flattened them.
sandcastles

Probably in too much pain, he refused to walk. I had no choice but to carry him. I had to walk briskly with him in my arms and a big and heavy bag as well. We headed back to the shelter where some scouts were resting, and washed their hands at the taps.

Then, we had to walk even more quickly to the car park, but it started raining. I had an umbrella, but Gar was slightly drenched.

Our trip was cut short, and I felt a little sad that the March holidays were coming to an end.

El’s Sports Day

El attended Sports Day that was organised by volunteers affiliated to his kindergarten. He was in Yellow Bananas team, and there were K1 to P2 children in his team. He went there first with his father and grandfather. Gar and I then walked over.

I heard that the team leader was quite good at engaging the children. He deliberately counted wrongly, and the children jumped in to correct him.

The first event was to soak a sponge with water, run in a zigzag manner, then do jumping jacks, before squeezing the water into a bottle and then run back to the team. El forgot to do the zigzags and jumping jacks, and he ran straight to the station.

el sports day Squeezing water from the sponge into a cup, pouring it into a bottle and then forgetting to take the sponge back during the telematch.

After that, there was a second race. They were supposed to use garbage bags to pass water bombs from the first pair to the last pair. They kept dropping the water bombs, and some of the children went to the team leader to complain about getting their pants wet.

At first, El was paired with an older girl, but she kept dropping the water bomb. The team leader then got El to pair with him. Throughout the entire time, he kept calling El’s name wrongly, and he mixed up some of the children. They should have stuck the names to the chest instead of the back.

photo (63) El started to get tired while waiting for his turn. By then, his father and grandfather brought Gar to the grandparents’ place, while I stayed with El.

After the two matches, they went to wash their hands and then had some snacks.

photo (62)

photo (50)

He was staring forlornly at the snacks.

The team leader continued to engage them in riddles.

“What did the sea say when somebody said ‘hi’?”
“Nothing, he merely waved.”

“How did the bee go to school?”
“By school buzz.”

Soon, the children were contributing their riddles. El joined in and asked a general knowledge question rather than a riddle.

“What is the largest animal?” he asked.
“Dinosaurs!”
“Elephants!”
“Giraffes!”
Finally, the team leader acted it out before they guessed it was the whale.

They had lots of fun, but when they were asked to go and wash their hands, he continued eating. He then suddenly cried when there were no more nuggets. He refused to join them, and he kept looking around for nuggets. I took him to the adult volunteers, but there were no more nuggets.

In the end, the team went to continue their games, while he grabbed hold of my leg and sobbed. I had to convince him to stop crying and that I would bring him to the nearby shopping mall to buy nuggets for him.

Gosh! What an abrupt end to the sports day.

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