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March 17, 2008

Punggol Point Beach, Singapore

Punggol Point Beach Singapore

What is this place?
Welcome to an ‘ulu’ (undeveloped) part of Singapore’s northern shoreline at the end of Punggol Road. Once an estate for farms catering to pigs, poultry, fishes and plants, much of Punggol has undergone metamorphosis in a spanking new residential estate. Fortunately the upgrading has not extended right up to this part of Punggol.

In the northeastern reaches of Singapore, this place of interest is much nearer to Johore, Malaysia than to Singapore’s central business district. Far from the maddening crowd, this isolated strip of shore runs for several kilometers along the coastline with cloud-dotted sky in its line of sight. Wide open spaces lifted by sea breezes light up one’s spirit upon arrival. The salty air, however, is laden with industrial fragrances from nearby ocean-crossing tankers.

What did I learn?
Besides the customary sandy beach, small jetty and the usual visitors, a tombstone-like artifact, left behind by the National Heritage Board stirred my interest. Ultra-modern Singapore Inc had pinned a slab of concrete marker for posterity to remember a gruesome act of WWII history at a spot next to the flimsy-looking police post. Under torture of the sun, you can read inscriptions carved into marble on a trapezoid plaque. They explain the horrific plight of up to 400 Chinese civilians who were wiped out at the beach in the Sook Ching operation on 28 February 1942.

Besides attracting world-war veterans, peace-loving activists and curious by-standers like me, this heritage site had a compelling function. It reminded me of my years performing National Service when at times we would camp out by the sea. On another level, it touched a realization that my 2.5 years in National Service plus another 10 years of reservist (Nsman) service did possess intrinsic value: the sacrifice for the greater good of protecting our Little Red Dot’s survival and success. No matter how unmentionably tough our training was, or how disappointed we might have felt at the way the system treated us, deep down inside there remained an unspoken pride that came with completing those years of service. I am now able to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses with the mellowness that grows with each passing year.

I enjoyed the natural refreshing views. Beneath the L-shaped jetty, barnacles cling for life against tidal trauma. When the sea retreats, moss-laced rocks peep out from sandy shores. Sit on these smoothened rocks as you watch sampans ferry passengers and crew to distant ships. If you look back towards land, you may imagine Casuarina trees nodding to the wind, as if they are participating in the celebration of picnickers sitting around them.

Take care, stay happy.

seen this scene that

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Stardust said...

I find that I'm visiting Sg more through your side. =) I have not been to Punggol point beach before...

Glad to know you feel that NS is for a good cause. I am proud of the male nationals of Sg, who go through the military training and commitment for the sake of our Little Read Dot.

There is a another monument erected at Changi beach to commemorate sacrificed Singaporeans during the WWII. My husband went into frantic apologies and bowed his head profusely when he saw it.

I wish Singapore and rest of the world, peace.

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