Civilian War Memorial

Situated on a piece of parkland along Beach Road, the Civilian War Memorial was erected as a monument dedicated to the memory of those civilians who died during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore (1942-1945). The structure consisted of four 68-metre-tall pillars that together symbolised the shared suffering of the Chinese, Indians, Malays, and other races during the Occupation. The monument was commonly referred to as ‘the chopsticks’ due to the design of its pillars, which were built atop a burial chamber containing the ashes of remains exhumed from mass graves discovered in the Siglap area in 1962. These graves were thought to have contained the remains of civilians who were killed by the Japanese during the ‘Sook Ching’ massacre that started on 18 February 1942, shortly after the fall of Singapore. The construction of the memorial was jointly funded by the Singapore government using part of the $25 million atonement fund received from the Japanese government, and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The memorial was officially unveiled by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 15 February 1967, the 25th anniversary of the fall of Singapore to the Japanese. Following its unveiling, a tradition of holding a public commemoration ceremony at the memorial every year on 15 February was started.