The Old Ford Factory holds an archive of memories about Singapore's wartime occupation by the Japanese.
It may have been the site of the first Ford plant in Southeast Asia, but the Ford Motor Factory in Singapore has a more infamous reputation.
It was here that the British formally surrendered Malaya to the Japanese during World War II, leading to more than 3 years of hardship for those living in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945.
Fittingly, the space is now holds the memories and reflections of the hardships faced by those who lived through the darkest years of the country’s modern history.
Based on first-hand oral accounts, archival records and primary documents, the courage and resilience of Singaporeans are showcased as they endured the atrocities of the Japanese Occupation.
Check out the museum’s Talking Map exhibition that features a mosaic map of the Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Burma and Sumatra, and a 3-D model of Singapore reconstructed from topographic maps from 1945. Visitors can follow the route of the Japanese as they advanced down the Malay Peninsula into Singapore during the Malayan Campaign in December 1941.
Meanwhile, the quaint Syonan Garden nestled in the “backyard” of the museum gives a taste of what life was like back then, with an assortment of food crops like tapioca, sweet potato and yam, that were grown during the Occupation.
During the war, the factory was used by the Japanese to assemble military trucks and other vehicles. It resumed operations in 1947 before it was finally shut down in 1980. Today, it has been restored to provide a haunting reminder of Singapore’s past.