Saturday, April 13, 2013

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Today my adventures took me to an interesting but disturbing place. As always I randomly selected a bus for my venture and ended up at a the lush green Bukit Timah Nature Park. I wandered around the eastern edges of the park and came across a building with a sign that said "No Pets Allowed". I was annoyed at the thought that anyone would want to keep ME out of their establishment. As I passed the main entrance, a scholarly looking Siamese cat  appeared and asked me what my name was. His name was Simon (yes...Simon the Siamese) and asked me if I wanted to enter the building. I told him, "Yes I want to but the sign says No Pets Allowed!"
Simon replied, " You didn't look at the sign very closely did you? Look at the picture on the sign...You don't look like a dog to me."
He was right of course so in we went. The building is called "Memories at Old Ford Factory" and Simon told me he is the docent for curious kitties.
The building was originally built in October 1941as the first Ford factory in Southeast Asia. A few months later the British started to use the facility to put together military aircraft that had been shipped to Singapore in crates. All the aircraft were subsequently flown out when things started to look bleak for the allies as the Japanese were swiftly taking over all of Malaysia

On 15 Feb 1942, in this plant, Lt General Percival signed surrender paperwork and handed it over to Lt General Tomoyuki (AKA Tiger of Malaya) of the Japanese Army. The day became known as Black Sunday. 130,000 allied troops and 3000 civilians were imprisoned for 44 Months and subjected to horrible treatment. One of the civilians, William Haxworth, secretly drew 300 cartoons depicting life under imprisonment to help improve moral. However as time passed the pictures of the prisoners slowly started to show the malnutrition they were being subjected to.
After WWII General Percival retired but the Tiger of Malaya was tried and executed for war atrocities in 1945.
In 1947 the building was turned back into a Ford factory and was used to assemble cars until 1980. It was turned into a museum in 2006.
Simon taught me a lot but I was really bummed out after my visit. "War is Hell". I was so pleased to notice a sculpture in front of the museum as I was leaving entitled "Peace".


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