Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bukit Batok Hill (2)

For residents of P.E.E. and Hillview, the hills of Bukit Batok, Bukit Timah and Bukit Gombak were special to them as the estate was surrounded by these hills. Ex-residents will each definitely have their own stories to tell about these places.

I have previously blogged on Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak but have yet to touch on Bukit Timah.
I will do this once I gather my thoughts. Soon.

For now, I want to share with everyone some very rare pictures of Bukit Batok hill itself.
As we all know, the Imperial Japanese Army built the war memorial on the summit in 1942.
This memorial, called the Syonan Chureito, was destroyed after the Japanese surrendered at the end of WWII.
Contrary to popular misconception, it was not destroyed by the returning British but was actually dismantled by the Japanese themselves. Their reason was to prevent the desecration of the memorial by the returning British forces. The ashes of the Japanese dead from the shrine were re-interred at the Japanese Cemetery at Chuan Hoe Road at Yio Chu Kang.

The road leading up to the summit of Bukit Batok (today called Lorong Sesuai)
was built by British and Australian Prisoners of War. They were forced to march
from the POW Camp at Sime Road each day to labour on the road building.
The original road ran in a straight line down from the summit to join Bukit Timah Road.
This junction with Bukit Timah Road would be where today's Southhaven Condominium stands.


The foundation stone for the shrine that was built at the summit was laid by General Yamashita himself.
Every Japanese soldier had to attend the dedication service once a year called the Yasukuni to pay respect to their fallen comrades.





The 2 base pillars and the 121 steps are all that remains of the memorial today.
The original 121 steps have been repaired over the years and there are actually only 119 steps left today.
A memorial to the Allied dead was also erected by the POWs behind the Syonan Chureito 

Here is a picture comparing the area in 1950s and today in 2012. I have marked out the original Jurong Road (in white) on the 2012 section for your reference. Click on this picture for a detailed view.


Related posts:
Bukit Batok Hill (1)
Bukit Batok Nature Park & Old Jurong Road Videos


5 comments:

  1. Some very useful and informative info you have got there. Thank you!

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  2. Thanks for the details and research. Some of these pictures I've never seen before. Cheers! Adrian

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  3. Hi, thanks for your research. I've find it interesting. Would also like to ask whether the Old Jurong Road is referred as 十二英里 (12 miles) in the past?

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    1. Hello Iris,
      Old Jurong Road was a short stretch from Jalan Jurong Kechil and was only about 1 to 1-1/2 miles long. Due to the creation of a new "Jurong Road', a section between Jln Jurong Kechil up to 9-1/2 miles was renamed "Old Jurong Road.
      The stretch at 12 miles just further from Bulim Cemetery was still called Jurong Road.
      I have an article about this at this link:-
      http://ijamestann.blogspot.sg/2011/12/hillview-ave-to-jurong-road.html

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  4. You just validated what my grandfather told me back in 94, that the Japanese used POWs to shape that flat gradient up to the memorial...

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