Chapter 5
Governor of Straits Settlements (Penang, Melaka, Singapore)
Elements included in the British Administration (1867-1942)
-Law and order
British system of administration > Equality in the eyes of the law
-Social changes
> Growth of towns and population
> Land allocated for planation purposes and seizure of land from village communities
>Western education due to the civilizing mission
>Setting up of army, naval and air force bases
>Deployment of soldiers and policemen to maintain law and order
What were people's views towards Singapore before the JO
-The people respected the British as rulers of Singapore and accepted the British rule. The locals celebrated King George V's Silver Jubilee. As such, most people did not question the British rule and followed what was planned for them.
How did the British defend Singapore against the Japanese in 1942?
-They used the ‘main fleet strategy' tactic. It involved Britain sending battleships from Europe if there was trouble in Asia. The ‘HMS Prince of Wales' and the ‘HMS Repulse' were the battleships sent to aid Singapore when the Japanese invaded. These battleships would supposedly provide naval support against any potential invaders and aid the troops who were fighting on land.
What caused the ‘impregnable fortress' to fall?
War in Europe
-Axis powers > Germany, Italy and Japan
-Allied powers > Britain, France and USA
-Started when Germany invaded Poland in 1939
-France and Britain declared war on Germany
-The alliance system pulled the rest of Europe into the war.
War in Asia
-Japan was in a war with China since 1937
-Japan decided to invade Southeast Asia due to the shortage of its resources
-Japan bombed the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl harbour in 1941 as it was seen as a threat to its invasion of Southeast Asia
Invasion of Singapore
-The big guns protecting Singapore's coast made invasion by sea difficult.
-Singapore was invaded from the north after British forces was defeated in Johor
-Britain was unable to send ample aids to defend Singapore.
-Placed most of its military forces in Europe to fight against the Axis power
-Singapore came under the Japanese rule on 15 Feb 1942, 1 st day of Chinese New Year
How did the Japanese promote ‘Asia for Asians' in Singapore?
-They cultivated Asian consciousness. They spread the idea that Asians were just as good as the Europeans. For instance, movies, books newspapers and radio broadcasts were also used for propaganda purposes to sing praises of the Asians. These would help to instill pride in the locals that they would be able to rule their own country well.
How was the daily life of the people in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation?
-There was a rule of fear and the kempeitai . The Kempeitai were put in charge to promote loyalty and submission among the people in Singapore by the use of force. For instance, people were forced to bow down to the Japanese soldiers or face punishment. Hence, many people lived in anxiety as minor offences or anyone accused of being anti-Japanese could bring about harsh treatment on them.
What were the problems faced in the post-war after the return of the British?
-Lack of food
-Lack of houses
-Lack of proper education
-Lack of jobs
How did the people exhibit their growing discontent with the British?
-Strikes took place so often in 1947 that it was remembered as ‘The year of the strikes'.
-People went into rioting in 1950
What were the growing demands of the British
-There was demand for better treatment of local civil servants. From 1948, the colonial government started to recruit more locals into the civil service as many interned British officials were sent back to Britain to recuperate. However, the British officials continued to enjoy better wages and hold senior positions within the civil service though the locals were equally well-qualified. The practice of unequal treatment had resulted in the local civil servants making demands on the government for better pay and job benefits.