Sunrise from Kent Ridge [Leon Fabre]
Sun 13 Feb 2011 – The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk remembers the valiant defense of the ridge by the Malay Regiment in 1942 during World War II. During the Battle of Pasir Panjang Ridge (now Kent Ridge) on 13-14 February 1942, a company of the Malay Regiment fought a battle from Clementi Road back to a last stand at Opium Hill where they were all but wiped out by invading Japanese forces.
Six British officers, seven Malay officers and 146 other ranks were killed in battle and Singapore would fall a day later on 15th February 1942 [“The Malay Regiment – “Ta’at Dan Setia”: 1933-1945,” by Lim Kay Tong].
Route and some highlights (click for larger view)
General Arthur Percival (GOC Malaya) had this to say about the Regiment,
“…by their stubborn defence of the Pasir Panjang ridge at the height of the Battle of Singapore, they set an example of steadfastness and endurance which will become a great tradition in the Regiment and inspiration for future generations”.
The commemorative walk recalls the battle and introduces participants to aspects of the biology, history and geography of the ridge. It’s a 7.00am start from the University Cultural Centre and it is an interested group who turns up to walk that early – so we never impose a limit on the number as anyone who makes it is welcome!
This year, the advertisement for the walk was released on 31 Jan 2011 at Habitatnews and circulated to the mailing list and NUS staff. By the morning of the 13th February 2011, it was a party of fifty people (including the guides) and two dogs, Kai the ridgeback and Chase the labrador, who made the walk under a lovely sun to the Reflections at Bukit Chandu, five hours later.
It was quite an international crowd with Brits, Americans, Aussies, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Indians and a Swede who walked with the locals that morning. Many were reasonably informed about the war and were integrating bits of information with their existing knowledge that day. It was a hefty hike too but except for a long exposed stretch, most of the walk was shaded and sufficient breaks peppered the walk which ensured no one was having too much difficulty.
The merry crowd of fifty!
The Kent Ridge plaque – due for a shift inward for the road widening.
Kai and Chase, the ridgeback and labrador, how apt! [Han-Ming Shen]
Thanks to the invaluable help from the guiding team of Airani S, Kenneth Pinto, Lai Chee Kien, Alvin Wong and Stella Wee.
You can read more about Pasir Panjang/Kent Ridge heritage here – pasirpanjang.rafflesmuseum.net
Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, 13 Feb 2011
Maps and blog posts
Photo albums by:
– N. Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman