Reflections at Bukit Chandu, Pasir Panjang

Reflections at Bukit Chandu is a small museum located on the site of one of Singapore’s bloodiest battles. Bukit Chandu, meaning ‘opium hill’ in Malay, was named after the opium processing factory that was built at the foot of the hill in 1910. Around the same time, a large two-storey black and white bungalow was built at the top of the hill to house senior British officers living in Singapore. Bukit Chandu’s significance, however lies in the battle that took place here days before the British surrendered Singapore to Japan in February 1942.

After the Japanese invaded Singapore and successfully moved south through the country, Pasir Panjang Ridge, which Bukit Chandu was located along, was marked as the final defence perimeter against the enemy force. Once the ridge was taken, the Japanese had clear access to the Alexandria area where the British forces' main ammunition supply was stationed, as well as the British Military Hospital. On the 14th of February, the Malay Regiment was positioned on the hill when the Japanese attacked via air and artillery in the early afternoon. It is said that for 48 hours, the 1,400 Malay soldiers fought against a Japanese contingent of 13,000 men. When the ammunition had all been used, the Malay Regiment resorted to hand-to-hand combat but were eventually defeated The very next day the British forces surrendered and Singapore was under Japanese occupation for the next three years.

Exactly 60 years after the fall of Singapore, the National Archives of Singapore opened the Reflections at Bukit Chandu Museum in the restored Bungalow on Bukit Chandu Hill. Through the use of objects, photographs, maps and interpretation panels, the museum explores the factors that led to World War II in the Asian region, the British strategy for protecting Singapore and Malaya and in greater detail, the role of the Malay Regiment in the Battle of Pasir Panjang Ridge. Audio-visual displays and oral history recordings further enhance the visitor experience and provide a deeper understanding of the history of Singapore throughout wartime.