When Singapore Was Syonan-To
A man may outlive a thousand sorrows or a thousand joys but that is all a fairy-tale to a listener. Our lives are real for ourselves alone. To the young people of today, what happened more than 75 years ago may seem but a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing to them.
Yet what happened at the concentration camps, the massacre on Changi Beach, the round-up of ‘comfort’ girls, the activities of the black marketeers, life as a servant of the Japanese Government, the story of Lim Bo Seng… are all too real. Many ask of history that it should buttress their own prejudices. But in this book N.I. Low depicts the period 1942-45 with impeccable accuracy, with sharp insight and pathos.
As the late Victor Purcell wrote, this is more than a graphic account of a grim period; it is a distinctive and very unusual piece of writing — a combination of the English outlook with that peculiar Chinese satire that does not culminate in a razor’s edge, but ends in a sort of wry resignation.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 136
Year Published: 2017