Category Archives: pasir panjang

Registration is open for the Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk – Sun 16 Feb 2020

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 
with the NUS Toddycats, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore.

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Sun 16 Feb 2020: 7.00am – 12.00pm from NUS

The heroic account of the Malay Regiment at the Battle of Pasir Panjang left a strong impression on us, and there few of us have come together to commemorate the Malay Regiment’s defense of the ridge every year since 2002.

Guides will share with the public stories about the battle, the geography, history and the flora and fauna of the area which drew us to explore the ridge decades ago which led us to gradually learn of its history.

Our commemorative route takes us from the battle front at the National University of Singapore to Kent Ridge Road and through the Gap to Kent Ridge Park and ends at Reflections of Bukit Chandu (note that this is closed in 2020).

All are welcome, just register at Eventbrite.

You must be able to wake up and join us at 7.00am at NUS’ University Cultural Centre and be physically fit enough to walk 5km (with some stairs) at a moderate pace over five hours. 

Please read the other details and guidelines for preparation on the Eventbrite page.

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 2019

Sat 9th Feb 2019 – some 70 members of the public with a special passion for heritage gathered before dawn to commemorate the Battle of Pasir Panjang. Fought through the ridge 77 years ago, it would be the last two days before Singapore fell on 15th Feb 2019.

We traced the steps of the Malay Regiment as they held off the Imperial Japanese Army, and then were forced into a desperate and retreating battle. We began, as they did, at the junction of Ayer Rajah Road and Reformatory Road – what is today Ayer Rajah Expressway and Clementi Road.

We remembered the observations of Penrod Dean before we set off:

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.” [link]

After the 7.00am briefing amidst a grove of Gelam trees next to the NUS University Cultural Centre, we made our way up the ridge, onto Kent Ridge Road, past The Gap into Kent Ridge Park and finally Bukit Chandu.

Along the way, we shared stories of the battle, interweaved with the history, geography and biology of the ridge. This year – also the 200th anniversary of modern Singapore’s founding – the recurring theme was a biologist view of human behaviour: from expanding civilisations to colonialism, World War 2 and beyond: the exploitation and manipulation of humanity by a minority of their own kind.

But importantly, we took heart by remembering these men who had been banded together, who faced impossible odds, fought on these grounds beyond the call of king or country, neither for creed nor ethnicity but simply for each other.

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We begin the walk amidst the grove of gem trees, at NUS’ University
Cultural Centre, where the Battle of Pasir Panjang began.
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A series of markers for the Kent Ridge Heritage Trail pepper the route
and provide highlights about historical points along the way.
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Veteran guide, Oi Yee, who walked the ridge in the 1950’s, shares tales about the botany and uses of Simpoh Air and Resam from kampung days.
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Following the guides up to point 270 on the maintenance trail.
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Sivasothi aka Otterman explain the events leading to the renaming
of the ridge after the Duchess of Kent in 1954, during the Emergency.
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Just before Bukit Chandu, the group listens to a heartfelt account about
the last stand of Lt Adnan bin Saidi and his men of The Malay Regiment.
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Ever changing landscape: The point blocks at Normanton Park, where the Normanton Oil Depot was located. This will be lost to redevelopment soon.

For more about the heritage of Pasir Panjang, see the webpage and blog.

Photos:

Ridge Walk – five Friday evening briskwalks along the Southern Ridges (Jan – May 2018)

Join us on our briskwalk? Please register your participation at the Eventbrite webpage, thanks!

In 2008, a 9-km series of trails, bridges and walkways were unveiled, which reconnected the Southern Ridges which had been carved through by several roads (see map). An almost continuous traffic-free walk from NUS to HarbourFront became possible which takes two hours at a brisk pace.

This is an excellent way to get in some exercise at the end of a tough week, amidst a unique landscape and greenery. Get to know various points along the Southern Ridges and plan future visits. But we are hard pressed to find the time, aren’t we?

To get you going, NUS Toddycats are leading a series of brisk walks for NUS staff, students and friends from YIH Plaza through to HarbourFront MRT on the following dates:

  1. Fri 26 Jan 2018
  2. Fri 23 Feb 2018
  3. Fri 23 Mar 2018
  4. Fri 27 Apr 2018
  5. Fri 25 May 2018

Please register your participation at the Eventbrite webpage – pick your date and register for that individually.

You may leave the group at any time. Some of the typical stop points along the way include:

  • 2.0km, 22 mins – Science Park 1 (Kent Ridge MRT Station)/li>
  • 4.0km, 51 mins – Reflections at Bukit Chandu (near Pasir Panjang MRT Station)
  • 5.3km, 1h 12mins – Hort Park (near Labrador Park MRT Station)
  • 6.2km, 1h 22mins – Henderson Waves (near Telok Blangah) – Bus Stop no. 14051 & 14059
  • 8.8km, 2h 5mins – HarbourFront (near MRT Station)

Your guides frm NUS Toddycats will be Kenneth Pinto, Xu Weiting, Airani S & N. Sivasothi.

If there is threat of heavy rain, strong winds prior to a storm or haze, we will inform you early or if unable, at YIH Plaza itself.

Click to view the larger map
Southern Ridges Walk

Registration open for the Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk – Sun 11 Feb 2018 [Update: Walk is fully signed up]

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk
Sun 11 Feb 2018: 7.00am – 12.00pm
With the NUS Toddycats, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore

All are welcome, just register at Eventbrite.

On 13th February 1942 the Japanese Imperial Army has stormed through Malaya and invaded Singapore. Approaching Singapore City from the west, a seasoned Japanese army is forced to engage the small force of the Malay Regiment fending them off from the high ground of Pasir Panjang Ridge.

A fierce battle is put up by men of the Malay Regiment amidst the confusion of aerial and artillery bombardment, a dark sky smothered by fumes of a burning fuel dump, loss of communications and the early deaths of senior officers who had moved about to keep their men coordinated.

They would battle on for nearly two days and are wiped out almost to the last man on the eve of Chinese New Year.

On 15th of February, 1942, General Percival marches down Bukit Timah Road to surrender to General Yamashita of the Japanese Imperial Army at the Ford Factory.

The accounts of the desperate and heroic Battle of Pasir Panjang left a strong impression on the Pasir Panjang Heritage Guides, so we commemorate the Malay Regiment’s defense of the ridge every year.

The National University of Singapore is built on part of the old battleground and its forest still contains a 1936 British military outpost which strategically oversees Jurong, Bukit Timah and Singapore City. In 1954, the Pasir Panjang Ridge was renamed ‘Kent Ridge,’ and the old stone marker which commemorates this event persists to this day, often overlooked, at the Gap.

Guides will share with the public stories about the battle, the geography, history and the flora and fauna of the area which drew us to explore the ridge decades ago and to gradually learn of its history.

Our commemorative route takes us from the National University of Singapore to Kent Ridge Road and through the Gap to Kent Ridge Park and ends at Reflections of Bukit Chandu.

Everyone is welcome – just register at Eventbrite.
You will have to wake up early enough to join us at 7.00am at the University Cultural Centre [map] and be physically fit enough to walk 5km at a moderate pace with some stairs!

This is a five hour walk and February is a hot month, so please bring at least a litre of water and some sandwiches or snacks. Rain is always possible so do bring an umbrella and waterproofing for your barang-barang!

Links

  • Pasir Panjang/Kent Ridge Heritage webpage [link] and Facebook page [link]
  • “Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 2009 Review,” by Kenneth Pinto. Raffles Museum Toddycats, 19 Feb 2009. [link]
  • Photos from 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2008.
Route
Click the map for a larger view or see Google Maps.

The Kent Ridge Heritage Trail – a decade-old map to explore the ridge with!

Kent Ridge has always been an area of great academic interest and experience and in NUS has been the focus of nature and heritage walks, academic research, student learning as well as walks and runs for health and fitness. Most recently, a briskwalk series was introduced to promote fitness of staff welded behind their desks, and for us to relax with one another on Friday evenings.

In January 2007, the map for the Kent Ridge Heritage “Walk and Run” Trail was finalised after months of work with contributions from various stakeholders of Kent Ridge in and out of NUS. The Kent Ridge Heritage Trail is mapped by signboards at various locations from Clementi Road to Bukit Chandu, and we hope this 10-year old map will encourage you to explore the area! Click to download the pdf.

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To find out more about the area, visit the Pasir Panjang/Kent Ridge Heritage webpage.