So, it’s obviously been a while since my trip to Singapore. My intention was write this blog quite soon after my return but life got in the way – work (which is manic right now), shopping, seeing friends, relaxing etc – and somehow the weeks ticked by and I didn’t add to this blog. But, I’m here now and I’m going to write about my third day in Singapore.
This was the wettest day of my trip. It rained all morning. But that didn’t stop me. My plan for this trip was to go to a few museums that I didn’t to go to last time, and that was exactly what I did that day. I headed out on the subway and a bus to the outer reaches of Singapore to Changi, and specifically the Changi Chapel and Museum.
Changi used to be a very quiet village outside of the main town of Singapore, with country roads and a few beaches. This changed slightly when they built the new prison there in the mid 1930’s, and built a new road. This new prison was, for the era, a modern prison with electric lights, a modern alarm system, telephones, and kitchens which could prepare food for prisoners from several cultures separately.
When Singapore fell in 1942 to the Japanese, it was used as a POW camp and 1000’s of POWs were interned there. They were mostly soldiers (Indians, British and Australians), but about 2000 European civilians were also interned in Changi. The conditions were horrific, overcrowded, with limited sanitation and food. Disease was obviously rife.
The Changi Chapel and and Museum is dedicated to the memory of the people there, to share their stories and to educate visitors about what happened there. It was a moving place to visit, but I’m glad I did.
After I finished in the museum, and after I had eaten lunch in the cafe next door, I headed to the beach. This involved getting back on the bus and heading for Changi village itself – the prison is actually not in Changi. Changi definitely had a small town feel to it, a complete contrast to high rise Singapore. Changi was all low rise buildings which felt like local buildings, shops and restaurants all serving the local community. The beach was a few minute walk from central Changi. Again, it felt like a local beach – there was minimal development there. I was probably the only tourist there. It was lovely place to spend a couple of hours, walking along the beach and paddling in the sea. The sun wasn’t shining but the rain had mostly stopped. The international airport is also there and when the planes come into land they actually look like they’re about to land on the beach.
There’s also a walk you can do, along the coast called the Changi Point Coastal Walk, but as some of it was closed for some reason I didn’t get very far, so I turned round. I had by this point seen as much there is to see, without getting on a boat (which actually is an option), so I headed back into Singapore.