The Fall of Singapore happened on the 15th of February, 1942, on the Chinese New Year day. It was the largest surrender of British-led forces in history.
Singapore was supposed to be an impregnable fortress.
Older people in Singapore and Malaysia still remember the hardship they endured over three and half years under the Japanese occupation. My 81-year-old mother remembers the black Chinese New Year day when the Japanese invaded. Many families did not finish their New Year meal.
I wrote three series of articles recording the history of this period of time in my other blog:
Please pop over there to have a good read and share your thoughts with me.View of the city of Singapore as it appeared at the time of the 5th Indian Division’s arrival on 5 September 1945. © IWM (IND 4817)
Yesterday, my nephew shared a New Year gathering picture from Singapore with me. The picture shows that nearly 70 years after the Second World War, my elderly parents are now happily surrounded by their children and grandchildren.
They enjoyed a symbolic meal called the Prosperity Toss, or Yusheng, in a restaurant in Singapore.
It was a far cry from 1942, when my mother recalled after the Japanese occupation, as a malnourished 10-year-old, she carried stones in a bucket at Changi area for the Japanese, in exchange for some rice and cassava. My mother’s war-time memory is in my Changi stones and Prisoners of War in Singapore post.
What is the Prosperity Toss?
This Prosperity Toss meal is very popular in the South East Asia over the past few decades. Some people argue that the dish was originally a Cantonese dish, but it has been transformed and developed in Malaysia, and the ritual of ‘tossing for prosperity’ was formed.
My friend Hui-Min from Singapore also recalled enjoying this symbolic meal with her family: Everyone would toss the ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying auspicious wishes.
The painful war was over. Now let the New Year bring us hope and peace. Let us learn to appreciate the happiness and fortune we have today, and value the sacrifices of many people during the war.