Samples of exhibits found in the Changi Museum collection
image by imd2007

The kids have two weeks off for Easter now and already a week has wizzed by full of activites. Rather than going away and spending truck loads of money, we decided to hire a car for a few days and do a few things that are awkward if relying on taxis. Our first day of fun started with a bike ride and ended with a museum.

Our first destination was East Coast Park to have a bike ride and try to get Ben out of the habit of using trainer wheels. He actually got the hang of it pretty quickly, but after 15 minutes decided that he wanted to go back to the easy way. It's hard work running beside him until you feel confident enough to let go of his saddle, so we weren't too disappointed.

We then drove as far as we could towards the airport along the East Coast Park Service Road. The road is actually temporarily blocked off at the National Sailing Centre, so we stopped here to watch some really young kids learning to sail. There were so many little boats out on the water, and instructors on motorised inflatable dingys were zipping around shouting instructions and generally making sure no one got into serious trouble. It all looked a bit chaotic to me, but it was fun to watch.

From there we headed to the Changi Village via The Changi Museum. This museum is dedicated to all those who suffered during WWII. It tells the stories of POWs at Changi Prison through letters, photos, drawings, and personal artifacts. There are simply made shaving blades, engraved silver boxes and other beautifully crafted artifacts that kept the POWs busy and engaged during their years of captivity.

There are some fascinating displays, including the 'banana money' the Japanese government printed during their occupation of Singapore, and a gorgeous patchwork quilt that the women captives made as the only way to communicate with the men. There is also a charming collection of drawings and watercolours done by artists that capture life behind the walls and barbed wire.

The children were fascinated by the plan of a cell done out with tape on the floor, as they could see where the toilet would have been, the 'slab' for sleeping, and little space for anything else. A photo showed four men sitting around in a cell making the most of the space.

Changi Chapel sits in the courtyard; a symbolic replica of the simple churches and chapels built by internees as places of comfort and solace. It is now a point of pilgrimage for veterans and families of ex-POWs.

The museum is well worth a visit. There are organised tours you can do which incorporate other areas around Changi (Changi WWII tour) or other strategic spots around Singapore where battles, plots and wartime activity occured (the Battlefield Tour). Go to the Changi Museum website for more details.


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