7 Singapore Heroes From World War II Your History Textbook Never Talked About

You have read about Lim Bo Seng, Lt Adnan Bin Saidi, and Elizabeth Choy…

but have you read about Halford Boudewyn or Tan Kay Hai?

During the Second World War, Singapore fought a one week battle against the Japanese army and we lost. Or did the British lose? Whatever the case, Singapore fell to Japanese rule, and was renamed Syonan-to.

When Malaya/Singapore was under the occupation of the Japanese, an estimated number of 283,000 people perished within 4 years.

Under the guise of these terrible events, ordinary people rose to these occasions to be heroes.

We share with you 7 Singapore Heroes from the Second World War whom you have not read about.

1. Dr Lim Boon Keng

If the name Boon Keng sounds familiar to you, you are probably thinking of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Station named after him.

You can tell that someone has done a lot for his country when he has a train station and two roads named after him.

In Dr Lim’s case, he was a Singapore based resistance fighter against the Japanese during the Occupation years.

Before the start of the war, Dr Lim was already an active resistance fighter. He founded the Straits Chinese China Relief Fund Committee of Singapore to financially support China in the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937.

After the fall of Singapore in 1942, Dr Lim rejected the Japanese’s demands to become the leader of the Overseas Chinese Association (OCA), an association designed to serve the needs of the local Chinese community under the approval of the Japanese.

Lim finally relented when he thought that the position could be used to protect the local Chinese community during the Japanese Occupation.

Under Dr Lim, the OCA protected the Chinese community and secured the release of prominent Chinese leaders held by the Japanese military authorities. Dr Lim would also often feign a drunken stupor whenever the Japanese asked him to co-operate with them.

After the war, Dr Lim Boon Keng lived life as an ordinary citizen in Singapore, passing away on 1 January 1957 at the age of 88 years old.

2. Eter Foo

Eter Foo is a super cool 94-year-old Singaporean war veteran who also happens to own a Facebook account.

As a 22-year-old man living during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, Mr Foo went through everything he possibly could.

Fought against the Japanese√

Mr Foo was part of the Medical Auxiliary Service (MAS) where he was deployed to the front-lines during the Battle of Singapore.

In an interview with The Home Team, he recounted that he and his comrades did not have any decent weapons to fight and they were of no match to the Japanese.

Nonetheless, he was the lucky few who survived fighting against the Japanese.

Survived the Sook Ching Massacre√

According to Mr Foo, he was one of Chinese males who were rounded up in Operation Sook Ching, a Japanese Operation to eliminate anti-Japanese elements.

Fortunately, his quick thinking and his tall frame saved him when he hopped over a fence to escape from the Japanese.

Survived harsh interrogation by the Japanese√

Unfortunately, he was eventually tracked down and caught by the Japanese soldiers.

He recounted torture methods used by the Japanese to obtain information from him.

The soldiers used methods such as water cures and electrocution to torture me. They tied my legs and forced a running water pipe into my mouth, and then they kicked my stomach, causing it to swell. I couldn’t even fit into my clothes and vomited many times.

– Eter Foo

But he never divulged the names of his comrades.

Mr Foo was saved when his mother pleaded with an Indian general, who bribed the soldiers to release Mr Foo.

Worked as a Anti-Japanese Resistance Spy√

After the ordeal, Mr Foo started to learn the Japanese language in order to secure employment to support his family. It was then that he was approached by a resistance fighter to join the resistance as a spy.

Mr Foo’s mission was to collect highly confidential information such as the models of the Japanese fighter planes and the number of Japanese troops deployed.

Survived the War√

He continued serving as a spy until the Japanese finally surrender on 12 September 1945. After the war, Mr Foo served in the Police Force as part of the Special Branch in fighting against the Communist threat in the 1950s.

Mr Foo was recognised by The Home Team for his contribution in 2014.

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