Chapter 5: Did the Japanese Occupation (JO) Change the Way People Viewed…
Chapter 5: Did the Japanese Occupation (JO) Change the Way People Viewed Singapore (III)
People's Views Towards SG After the JO
Return of the British
USA dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 Augest 1945 respectively. Japanese gov surrendered shortly after, ending war in Asia.
JO in SG thus ended. British colonial rule resumed. However, it was different after JO
Life was still tough after JO
British Military Administration (BMA)
Resposible to rule SG till 1 April 1946
A number of problems
Housing shortage. People had to live in cramped overcrowded spaces. Rents were also high due to housing shortage.
Many children did not attend school during JO. Wanted to continue studies when British returned. However, there was a lack of schools, teachers and textbooks (tb) to meet demand for education
Insufficient food due to disruption of trade. Black market thrived and food continued to be sold at high prices.
Trade was disrupted and businesses needed time to recover. Some students chose not to return to school. They entered the workforce only to find that jobs were limited.
They tried to solve the problem. e.g. the harbour was cleared so that trade could re-established and essential item could be brought back. Food rationing was also resumed. Schools were re-opened, and 62000 children were back in schools
However, there was a lack of funds and resources. Shortage in housingm jobs and essential item thus remained. Black market still continued. Some junior BMA officials even took part in Black Market activities, therefore BMA were sometimes refered to 'Black Market Admisistration'
Growing Discontent with the British
After JO, many workers joined trade unions in hopes to secure better working conditions and wages. Unions organise strikes to push employers to agree their demands. Took place at a time of food and housing shortage.
Chinese middle age students felt they were unfairly treated. Wanted a change in conditions
One example was Maria Hertogh riot due to custody case (refer to tb page 49)
Growing Demands on the British
Demand for Better Treatment of Local Civil Servants
Civil Servent- person who works for the government. They were unhappy bout the unequal treatment. They demanded the government to raise their pay.
Demand for Local Political Involvement
Wanted locals to govern the country. Stop believing that British was superior, wanted to leave the British empire and locals control SG.
Demand for Citizenship
Chinese Chamber of Commerce started to petition the British colonial gov to consider granting citizenship to China-born Chinese Immigrants over age 21. This shows they had a stronger sense of belonging to SG and wanted more control over own rights
Some people were not intrested in SG's political future. They were more concerned with rebuilding their lives after JO. e.g. People wanted to go to University after JO and cut off from other activities.
JO had been a traumatic experience for many people in SG. The fact that British lost SG to Japan showed people that British rule could be challenged. They wanted greater role in shaping SG's political future and how SG was governed after JO. These developments drove the people to aspire towards a SG that was free of colonial rule