Sunday, January 27, 2013

Soh Koon Eng remembered (Bukit Brown)

On December 8, 1941 at around four in the morning, the first bombs were dropped on Singapore. 61 people died and more than 700 were injured. By late January 1942, Singapore was already under constant attack by Japanese planes and an estimated 150-200 people was said to have died each day as direct result of the constant air harassment.

Soh Koon Eng, 19 years old
It was January 27, 1942, the air-raid siren was already becoming a frightening yet familiar sound and the population under blitz braced itself for further devastation. A young 19 year old girl by the name of Soh Koon Eng was at a friends place in Lorong 18, off Geylang Road when the siren went off. She decided to hurry home to her house at no 48, Lorong 20, despite her friend telling her to wait for the "all-clear".

Soh Koon Eng
(photo courtesy of Geraldine Soh)
Miss Soh Koon Eng did manage to get home and sought shelter under the altar table of their family /ancestral temple together with the rest of the family ( including her mother), when one of the bomb's dropped by the Japanese planes fell and hit the house. A few splinters hit Miss Soh Koon Eng and she cried out in pain "ma gua si !". (Hokkien for mom, i am dead) She was taken by ambulance to Kandang Kerbau Hospital where she died, never recovering from her wounds.
Death Certificate of Miss Soh Koon Eng
(photo courtesy of Geraldine Soh)
Miss Soh Koon Eng was buried in Bukit Brown, Hill 5E, plot 142.

No longer forgotten
Today is the 71st death anniversary of Miss Soh Koon Eng. If alive, she would have been 90 years old. Raymond Goh was present at her tomb to pay respects and to confirm that the tomb is unaffected by the impending 8 lane highway.
Tomb of Soh Koon Eng
(photo courtesy of Raymond Goh)
An 18 year old Soh Koon Eng with boyfriend, Mr.Charles Dias
(photo courtesy of Geraldine Soh)

This story was shared to the Bukit Brown facebook community by Miss Soh's niece, Geraldine, whose father is the younger brother of Miss Soh.

Walter Lim and Raymond Goh responded to Geraldine's query quickly and took on the task of locating the whereabouts of Miss Soh Koon Eng' s tomb and to confirm that it was not affected by the 8 lane highway.

Related articles with war stories
During the air raids or the last days before the fall of Singapore, i would have imagined Corporal Tan Huck Wan of the Singapore Voluntary Field Ambulance, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force playing an important role in saving lives, before he himself becoming a Prisoner of War or the over 10,000 Chinese volunteers that answered the call of Mr Tay Koh Yat to serve and help maintain order and eventually getting killed during the Sook Ching masacre for their defiance. This story also reminds of me the many, many nameless war victims buried in communal war trenches the earlier months after the fall of Singapore, brought in by the truck loads to Bukit Brown.

A video from Youtube:



References
Liu, G. (2001). Singapore-A Pictorial History 1819-2000. RoutledgeCurzon.
First bomb raid on Singapore. [website]. Infopedia.

2 comments:

sordar joy said...

Nice article and great knowledge. Thanks for the share. I love this story and enjoy with your words!

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ChrisAu said...

Well written bro.