Thursday, 23 February 2006

Pasir Panjang - "splendid scenic views"

"Pasir Panjang means "the sandy stretch, long beach". It became a popular resort like Tanjong Katong towards the end of the last century, which accounts for the many seaside residences,notably Haw-Par Villa and Labrador Villa. What DIsneyland is to the Occidentals, Haw-Par Villa is to the Orientals. It is a special tourist attraction, like its Hong Kong counterpart."

"Parts of Pasir Panjang give splendid scenic views of the adjacent islands and back country. The Gap is one and named Marina Hill after the late Duchess of Kent when she visited it [Singapore] with her son, some years ago. Also Kent Ridge. Bouna Vista Roads (North and South) were so named because of the views they offer (bona vista means good view)."

- S. Ramachandra, 1969: p36. "Singapore Landmark."

Thanks to Timothy Pwee (National Library) who transcribed part of the text and emailed me a photo of the page this afternoon, in response to my urgent SMS! This was referenced by "Toponymics. A study of Singapore Street names." By Victor R Savage & Brenda S A Yeoh, 2004 (2nd edition). Eastern Universities Press, Singapore. 436pp.

See also Oi Yee on the Ridge, and the Kent Ridge Commemorative Plaque.

Monday, 20 February 2006

"I never knew that the ridge was formerly known as 'Pasir Panjang Ridge'."

"Footnotes in Life" reflects on our 2006 Commemorative Walk for the Battle of Pasir Panjang (not the fall of Singapore). Seems incomplete but the fact he learnt abut the Ridge's original name is reassuring for us guides!

"Toddycats." By Footnotes in Life, 20 Feb 2006.

The walk started at a quarter past 7am or something like that, and it started with a briefing telling us what we were going to see and the historical background of the ridge. I never knew that the ridge was formerly known as 'Pasir Panjang Ridge'. The fact that it was a ridge never crossed my mind too. I just thought that NUS was in a strange part of Singapore which was still hilly and haven't been leveled to reclaim more land.

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Penrod V. Dean on the Malay Regiment

Trey tm at Mind's Eye has a photoblog and on 13 Feb 2006 he remembered the "Malay Regiment - The Last Stand"

Australian troops fighting nearby looked on with horror at what happened next. "The Malays started to fight the Japanese on Reformatory Road," said Lt. Penrod V. Dean of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion. "They had dug slit trenches but they didn't have a lot of weapons. They started fighting the Japanese just with rifles virtually. And when the Japanese broke through them, the Malays took to them with bayonets, they put bayonets on the rifles and with a bayonet charge they drove the Japanese back across Reformatory Road."

"They were very brave people. They fought very hard, but for every Malay soldier there was about 10 or 12 Japanese soldiers. So it was inevitable what was going to happen."

Source not stated; but is sounds almost exactly what Penrod said in the documentary by National Archives called "The Malay Regiment"which is showing at "Memories at Old Ford Factory".

Thursday, 9 February 2006

RSI interview with NYP animators of the Battle of Bukit Chandu

The Battle of Bukit Chandu
By Justin Teo, Radio Singapore International
First published 09 February 2006

If you take a trip up Singapore’s Pasir Panjang Hill, you’ll find the Reflections of Bukit Chandu Museum which is dedicated to the soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Battalion Malay Regiment who defended the western sector of Singapore during World War Two.

The museum has now added a new animated short film that captures the final moments of the Battle of Bukit Chandu.

I’m Justin Teo and this week in Undertones, I speak to Charles Lee, part of the Nanyang Polytechnic team which created the animation, to find out about their inspiration for this project.

For most students studying digital media or animation, the final-year project will usually result in some Japanese anime-inspired production or maybe a music video.

But for Charles Lee and his friends at Nanyang Polytechnic, it meant getting inspiration from a bit of local history.

CL: For our final-year project, we’re suppose to do an animated clip, so I gathered six of my classmates and we had an idea of doing a short film but we didn’t know on what topic. So previously before I started school, I was actually working for the National Archives where I did a few projects. I found out about the war memorial up on Pasir Panjang. All of us decided to go up and take a look. They were actually screening live-footage to show the battles. We though it’d be better to use animation instead of live-footage to show the battle. This was because there are many school excursions to the museum and we wondered if animation would be a better medium to tell students about the story behind Bukit Chandu; we figured kids would appreciate animation better. So we approached the National Archives and asked them if they’d be interested in doing something like that.

With the Singapore government pushing the creative industry to come up with more 3D animation and high-technology productions, it’s refreshing to see students who understand the value of 2D animation.

Charles and his team had decided to combine 2D and 3D animation in the Battle of Bukit Chandu.

CL: Most of the animation is hand-drawn. Only the guns, equipment and background are in 3D models. Other than that, all the humans are hand-drawn. We felt that 2D animation expresses the characters of the soldiers much better; 3D would have made the characters too stiff. We also wanted a very rough look for the soldiers and 3D would have made them look too polished and clean. We were going for a different feel. That’s why we used 2D for the characters.

Pencil drawings and 2D interpretations of animation are not common these days, where did Charles and his team get inspiration for the short film?

CL: We were actually inspired by Animatrix. They have a lot of experimental films using different types of techniques to do the animation. They had a few short films done by Japanese companies and they have a lot of different styles in their animation.

Since the animation is based on a factual event in Singapore’s history, a lot of research was needed to retain the accuracy and feel of the Battle.

CL: The research part took us about two to three months. We went down to the National Archives and they supported us with all the necessary information. They actually guided us through the park where the battle took place. We walked through the trail and studied the different kinds of vegetation. We also studied all the weapons and how the mechanisms work. A lot of detail involved. We even noted the slope of the land since the battle was up-hill; these were the considerations that had to be researched on.

Due to the nature of the event, the Battle of Bukit Chandu animation is voiced in Malay and Japanese.

How difficult was it to do the dialogue for this short film?

CL: We got a few of our friends to translate the dialogue. The script was actually added into the story and it wasn’t provided for, so some of the dialogue was actually made-up. We wrote the script and passed it to our friends who translated and did the voice-overs.

This short film won awards at Comgraph and Crowbar, two events that recognize the achievements of animation talent here and internationally.- RSI

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Revisited by Lim Choo Hoon

During my efforts to secure a copy of Dol Ramli's History of the Malay Regiment 1933-1942, I found this resource:

Lim, Choo Hoon. The Battle of Pasir Panjang Revisited. Pointer: Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces, 28(1): 2002. [Originally accessed on 8 February 2006.]

"Historians in this region ... felt that it was one of the fiercest battles fought before Singapore fell and the great sacrifices by officers and men of the Malay Regiment to fight to the last marked the highest form of "honour, duty, and courage" for the professional armed forces."

"The 48-hour Battle of Pasir Panjang put up by men and officers of the Malay Regiment exemplified the highest form of "duty, honour and country" that soldiers can show in war. The courage, bravery, and sacrifice to defend Singapore island despite the foregone defeat of British forces will always remain one of the highlights in the story of the Battle of Singapore." - Lim Choo Hoon. [The Battle of Pasir Panjang Revisited. Pointer, Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces, 28(1): 2002.]

The Malay Regiment "showed what esprit de corps and discipline can achieve. Garrisons of posts held their ground and many of them were wiped out almost to a man." - A.E. Percival. [The War in Malaya, New Delhi: Sagar Publications, 1971, p. 291.]"

I have archived this in pdf, just in case the website becomes unavailable.