Category Archives: pasir panjang

86 remember the Battle of Pasir Panjang at our annual walk and learn about the ridge

Sun 12 Feb 2017 – 86 participants and guides walked together bright and early from 7.00am to 12.00pm in remembrance at the annual Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore and we were joined by members of the Malaysia’s Military History Lover’s Club as well as friends from Australia and Japan. We have been sharing news and stories with them over Facebook since the walk.

Several volunteer guides with other museums were with us too. The Pasir Panjang guides shared stories with participants about the history, biology and geography of the ridge (see the webpage) and heard stories ourselves from the many who came.

For photos from the event, see the Pasir Panjang Heritage Facebook page.


NUS News shared the walk on their Facebook page.

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Guides – Oi Yee, Alvin, Stella, Airani and Sivasothi

The 15th Battle of Pasir Panjang Anniversary Walk, Sat 13 Feb 2016

Sat 13 Feb 2016 – The Pasir Panjang guides took 36 members of the public on a five-hour commemorative walk from 7.00am to 12.00pm, tracing the events of the Battle of Pasir Panjang in World War II, and adding the layers of heritage which surround the area.

Thanks to the participants for their lovely company and the guides for their excellent service – Kok Oi Yee, Alvin Wong, Kenneth Pinto, Airani S, Quek Kiah Sen, Wendy Sim, Yap Von Bing, Lai Chee Kian and N. Sivasothi.

147 photos of the walk on Flickr here.

This is the 15th year of the walk, which initiated in 2002 in response to the lack of awareness about the Battle of Pair Panjang at the time, and of natural and other heritage of the area.

The walk up the ridge from University Cultural Centre, past NUS Museums
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The trail board outside NUS Museums
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Yusoff Ishak House, where we are reminded of the moniker,
the “National University of Stairs
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Lai Chee Kien introduces the architecture of NUS
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Kok Oi Yee, Quek Kiah Shen and Wendy Sim share stories about
the many traditional uses of Kent Ridge plants.
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Yap Von Bing explains the interaction of wildlife with ridge vegetation

Visiting the 1946 outpost in small groups,
here with guides Kenneth Pinto and Alvin Wong

At KE7, a traditional picture with the traffic mirror!
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The 1952 visit of Princess Marina of Greece, aka Duchess of Kent
and how Kent Ridge got its name, recounted by Airani S.

At Kent Ridge Park, the story of the Battle continues
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Thanks everyone for the wonderful company!
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Attention NUS staff and students – catalyse the community as a Kent Ridge Heritage guide!

Kent Ridge Heritage Trail Guide recruitment
Register by 15 Feb 2015:

NUS Toddycats are recruiting student and staff of NUS to be nature guides for the monthly hour-long Kent Ridge Walk Conversations series in 2015. Guides are expected to read recommended literature, prepare for content and delivery, attend three evening training sessions and pass an assessment in order to conduct weekday evening walks (5.30pm – 7.00pm) for the NUS community and eventually the public.

If you enjoy meeting people, having conversations, sharing stories and love green spaces, this is an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals! NUS Toddycats are a friendly, competent and passionate team intent on sharing stories of heritage and the environment and in this series, facilitating conversations between members of the NUS community.

We have been guiding on the ridge for over a decade and think its time to catalyse our community further by helping them discover their heritage on the ridge – and each other!

Register to train as a Kent Ridge Heritage Guide at: It’ll be tough, but we’ll figure out a schedule!

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The Kent Ridge walks begin – the first NUS walk this Friday 06 Sep 2013!

About the walk

Kent Ridge is a spine that runs through NUS and host to a wonderful heritage of plants, animals and history. Buried in our busy lives, we don’t take enough time to explore our neighbourhood.

So we will help – by offering the a series of walks for NUS Staff and students, which begin this Friday! In just 90 minutes, discover a taste of the ridge with a short walk from Central Library to Kent Ridge MRT.

Learn about the bee-pollinated and bat-dispersed plants, the fragrant Tembusu and the irresistible fruit which blackens your lips, all part of the very tough Adinandra belukar.

Where did soldiers look out to the threat of marauding troops against a blackened sky and the sound of thunderous artillery. We will shake off the imagined sounds to listen to our resident birds and learn how Kent Ridge got its name.

After just 90 minutes, we will disappear underground and resume our frantic lives. We hope, though, that you return home enriched with some measure of the heritage nestled in the ridge.


The first of the series of walks begin this Friday 06 Sep 2013: 5.00pm – 6.30pm. You MUST register for there are only 20 places!

Register at!

We will email the confirmed participants with details.

See you on the ridge!





The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, Sun 12 Feb 2012: 7.00am

In 1942 during Second World War, 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].

Join the Raffles Museum Toddycats, volunteers of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, on Sunday, 12 Feb 2012: 7:00am – 12:00pm as we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Pasir Panjang Ridge (now Kent Ridge)! This event is in collaboration with the National Archives of Singapore, NHB.

Your guides will share with you stories about the Battle of Pasir Panjang, the geography, history and the flora and fauna of the area. We will also reveal how the ridge got its present name as it was renamed ‘Kent Ridge’ in 1954.

Registration is now open! Just fill in the form at:

Route of the walk

This 5km walk will start at the University Cultural Centre and end at National Archives’ World War II Interpretative Centre at the Reflections at Bukit Chandu (RBC) via Kent Ridge Road, The Gap and Kent Ridge Park.

For more details on this walk:

You can read more about Pasir Panjang/Kent Ridge heritage here –

Update: photos from the walk here.

Fifty people and two dogs on the Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk

Sunrise from Kent Ridge [Leon Fabre]
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].

Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, 13 Feb 2011
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!

Kent Ridge plaque, 13 Feb 2011
The Kent Ridge plaque – due for a shift inward for the road widening.

Kai and Chase on BPP, 13 Feb 2011
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 –

Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, 13 Feb 2011

Maps and blog posts

Photo albums by:

– N. Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman

Sustaining the annual MIA Trail for International Museum Day

Raffles Museum Todycats’ Pasir Panjang Heritage guides have been offering an annual repertoire of three to four public education heritage tours since 2002.

In 2006 I was pondering a request from NHB’s Corp Comms. They wanted something unusual to excite the public and media over International Museum Day (which, by the way, has pretty much become International Museum Week). So I chatted over Holland Village nasi lemak with two kakis from Museum Roundtable, Stella and Amy, who were also staff of National Heritage Board (NHB).

Influenced by the popular movie “Night at the Museum“, we settled on an evening tour of three galleries and one park, and called it The MIA trail.

The trail proved to popular probably because of the timing and varied diet of Raffles Museum’s Public Gallery, Kent Ridge Park and Reflections at Bukit Chandu. Initially we included the newly opened Memories at the Old Ford Factory but that was just too tiring for both participants and volunteer guides. We also abandoned Friday night tours as participants tend to be too tired after work.

So we decided two bus loads of participants annually on a Saturday evening would be all we could manage for the long term. As such, the small group of Pasir Pajang Heritage Guides (now just six of us) have managed to keep this up for five years and counting in addition to al our other programmes.

The MIA Night Trail-1
A dedicated webpage and domain name for registration

These days, spaces are filled up within 24 hours of advertisement. NUS staff can easily swamp the number of places offered within a day, so some years, I let the IMD advertisements do the talking first before sending out the email alert. This way the public get a chance to sign up for the tour. With NHB kindly footing the transport bill as part of International Museum Day, it’s a treat for everyone.

With Google Docs to the rescue, I manage registration single-handedly. The webpage at and Habitatnews adverts just need a little updating each year. Even then, it still takes 12-18 hours in total to process updates, manage registration and inform participants. It would be easier if I was less responsive but I prefer to confirm tour participants quickly and efficiently. And I fight off absenteeism by reminding confirmed participants that there is an eager waiting list.

IMD Participant Status-1
Registration fills within a day of publicity

Since all of this occurs during my exam marking period, this means I can expect an overnighter or two. Finding an efficient volunteer administrator has escaped me all these years. It got to the point I was tempted to abandon all of this. I persisted in the end as the MIA Trail is an enjoyable tour, people do learn quite a bit and the veteran guides are fun and quite good.

The guides can look forward to the pre-event refresher course which doubles as a social gathering. It is a tangible reward to catch up during the refreshers, which adds to our public education goals.

It’s not all status quo as we add a little to the mix each year. So now we take out crab specimens for a closer examination while in the museum, other Toddycats are recruited to add variety as station guides in the Public Gallery and this year, I hope to have participants “listen” to bats in Kent Ridge Park.

crab demo at MIA trail
How to determine the gender of tree-climbing crabs

All I need to do now is to remind my contact in Archives to keep Reflections open on the 22nd!

MIA Trail - night view of Southern Islands from Kent Ridge
The night view of Southern Islands from Kent Ride

– N. Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman