Civilian War Memorial

Weather :

Timings : All day, Park Lighting Hours: 7:00 PM - 7:00 AM

Time Required : 0.5 - 1 hour

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Civilian War Memorial, Singapore Overview

The Civilian War Memorial is a monument dedicated to the civilians that lost their lives during World War II. Located within War Memorial Park at Beach Road in Singapore’s Central Area, this memorial is a sombre reminder of the perils of the Japanese Occupation in the country and is a symbol of hope for post-war Singapore. The monument is an iconic heritage landmark in the Lion City today, frequented by locals and tourists alike.

Gazetted as a national monument in 2013, Singapore's Civilian War Memorial comprises of four identical 70-metre tall white pillars, signifying the shared grief and unity of the country’s four major ethnic groups – Chinese, Indian, Eurasian, and Malay. Affectionately known as the ‘Four Chopsticks Memorial,’ this architectural marvel has an imposing façade that is set atop a burial chamber holding the victims’ remains in 606 urns. Each column also has an empty urn placed inside, with inscriptions commemorating the sacrifices of civilians. Housed inside a calm, verdant park with fountains, pools, and landscaped gardens, the Civilian War Memorial offers a serene location to contemplate and pay tribute to the spirit of Singapore. An inter-religious memorial service is held every year on the 15th of February in remembrance of these brave souls.

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Civilian War Memorial
Civilian War Memorial
Civilian War Memorial
Civilian War Memorial

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Things to See at Civilian War Memorial

  • The Civilian War Memorial has been built upon a burial chamber, which has 606 urns. These urns contain the exhumed remains of the thousands of civilians who were killed in Singapore during the Second World War.
  • The four tapering columns of the monument are 70m long and represent four cultures merging into one. This shows the unity of Singapore, responsible for the multicultural society that exists today.
  • The four pillars surround a bronze urn, which rests upon a pedestal.
  • The bronze urn is decorated with lion heads which symbolizes the remains of the dead, buried beneath the Memorial.
  • A shallow pool of water lies at the base of the Memorial and it is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
  • The memorial is lit up at night and it looks magnificent. Visitors can relax in the park surrounding this Memorial.

History of Singapore Civilian War Memorial

Thousands of ethnic Chinese people were killed in the Sook Ching Massacre during the Second World War, when the Japanese Empire occupied Singapore. Sook Ching was the name of the operation that the Japanese carried out for two weeks, in 1942. During this operation, Chinese males aged between 18-50 years were called to mass screening centers and those who were suspected of being anti-Japanese were executed. The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) put the number of people killed at 40,000.

On February 1962, thousands of mass graves were found at Siglap, all of which contained the remains of the civilians killed by the Japanese during the war. After this discovery in 1963, the government at the request of the SCCC, put aside 4.5 acres of land for the construction of the war memorial. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on 15th June 1963 and was attended by representatives of the Inter-Religious Organisation and members of the consular corps.

The Civilian War Memorial was completed in January 1967 and was officially unveiled on 15th February 1967, which happened to be the 25th anniversary of the fall of Singapore. During the unveiling prayers were said by leaders of the Inter-Religious Council representing Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh and Zoroastrian faiths, after which wreaths were laid, followed by a three-minute silence.

How to Reach Civilian War Memorial

The Civilian War Memorial is located within War Memorial Park and is bounded by Nicoll Highway, Stamford Road, Beach Road, And Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189562. One can arrive here by alighting at the Esplanade or City Hall MRT stations.

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