Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sook Ching - A Japanese Study of Singapore War Atrocities

Civilian War Memorial in War Memorial Park
Quite by chance I came across an interesting article by Hayashi Hirofumi, professor of politics at Kanto-Gakuin University and the Co-Director of the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility.

The appalling atrocities committed by the occupying Japanese forces on the citizens of Singapore, goes a long way in explaining why the older Chinese in Singapore do not trust, nor wish to have any contact with, the Japanese.

My interest in this relates to a request for information from the late Dr. Alan Hayton who was the father of my closest high school friend.  He studied medicine in Dunedin with a Dr Ross and the latter was subsequently posted or went to work in Singapore.

Dr Ross has two claims to fame.  The first was that he bravely rescued a person from drowning in the waters off Singapore. This was apparently featured in the Singapore papers of the time.

His second moment in history was a much sadder occurrence.  He was one of the medical staff massacred by the Japanese while staying with his patients in Alexandra Hospital.  Dr Hayton asked me if I could find out any details of this event but alas I could not at the time of my residence in Singapore.

While the oppression of Europeans has been well recorded, the details of Sook Ching, the pre-planned slaughter of local Chinese men by the Japanese, is a little more sketchy.  Professor Hayashi Hirofumi is certainly no apologist for the war crimes perpetrated again the Singaporean Chinese, but he does draw upon Japanese sources to broaden the picture of what actually transpired.

His article is well worth reading and slams the Japanese Government for their history of denial and quite deliberately excluding any reference to Sook Ching in Japanese student texts.

It has also just been announced that China will officially recognise December 13 as a memorial day for those who were massacred in Nanjing by the Japanese invaders.
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