Jalan Puay Poon

Places
Jalan Puay Poon
Junction of Upper East Coast Road and Bedok South Ave 1 (outside 185 Upper East Coast Road – telecommunications facility)
Get Directions

The grim days of World War II and the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945 did not leave the eastern side of Singapore untouched. A number of mass graves in Siglap and Bedok attested to the human toll exacted by war, and the tragedy of the Sook Ching (“purge” in Mandarin) executions by the Japanese invading forces.

Island-wide screenings were conducted by the kempeitai (“Military Police Corps” in Japanese) with the assistance of local informants, although the screening process appeared to be arbitrary. Chinese civilians and volunteer soldiers who were picked through this process were executed and buried in mass graves at various sites including Jalan Puay Poon and off Evergreen Avenue. The entire operation was aimed at punishing local resistance and suppressing opposition to Japanese rule.

While several mass graves were found in Siglap in 1951, the extent of these graves was only discovered after sand-washing operations in the 1960s. In fact, one group of graves found in 1966 contained the remains of over 2,000 victims. Some of the personal artefacts recovered from the graves are now held by the National Museum of Singapore and included coins, a belt buckle, a wallet and ornaments.

Across Singapore, tens of thousands of people were killed during the Sook Ching, with the number of victims estimated to be between 25,000 and 50,000. After lobbying by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the remains of these victims were reinterred under the Civilian War Memorial which was completed in 1967 and dedicated to victims of the Japanese Occupation.