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October 15, 2008

Civilian Memorial Park

Civilian Memorial Park

The Civilian Memorial Park at Beach Road houses the Civilian War Memorial, erected to remind of the shared experiences and struggles that the major races of Singapore faced during World War II.

Four pillars rise more than 60 metres high to symbolise the shared experiences of the four major races of Singapore - Chinese, Malay, Indian and other races.

The remains of unidentified war victims are buried beneath the monument.

National Heritage Board’s inscription on the Civilian War Memorial:

"This memorial is dedicated to all those who perished during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, 1942-1945. Four vertical pillars soar to over 70 metres symbolizing the shared war experiences of the Chinese, Indians, Malays and other races. The remains of unknown victims are interred beneath the monument.

The site was given by the Government of Singapore which also met half the construction cost. The balance was contributed by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The monument was unveiled by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 15 February 1967, the 25th Anniversary of the fall of Singapore to the Japanese.

Among the civilians who lost their lives were numerous Chinese targeted by the Japanese under the Sook Ching (literally “to purge” or “to eliminate”) operations. On 18 February 1942, large numbers of Chinese were forcibly assembled at designated mass screening centers. Many were unjustly accused of involvement in anti-Japanese activities, or arbitrarily condemned. No one will ever know how many were taken away and massacred. Unofficial figures put the number of dead at about 50,000. "

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