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当我正要发表我在星期日参观伦敦帝国战争博物馆的图片文章时,我在新闻上看到了一则消息,一所新加坡展览馆即将在星期三开幕。我十分的惊讶。

头脑正常的男子或女人,有谁会把新加坡的展览馆命名为昭南?昭南岛是第二次世界大战日本侵略者给新加坡的称呼。

将昭南艺术馆的开幕订在日本攻陷新加坡那一天更是出乎寻常。就让笑话有始有终吧,新加坡政府不妨邀请日本极右疯狂极端份子观礼展览馆的开幕仪式。

在名称和时间上的决定是对五万名被日本人杀害的新加坡人,大部份属于六十万人的华族社群的记忆的公开侮辱。新加坡人被处决的数目按人头除以本地人口来计算,是二战中最高的。在所谓的肃清行动(大检证)中被追捕者包括绰号为马来亚亨利福特的陈嘉庚。他号召并推动筹集大笔义款支持中国抗日战争。在千千万万的遇害者中有左翼活跃份子、共产主义者、国民党支持者和那些在入侵前从事抵制日货运动者。屠杀是随意的进行戴眼镜的年青华人和手心柔软者都一律被处决。

表面上,这无耻的政治决策的责任被推卸给专题小组。如果专题小组成员是真正代表新加坡老百姓的话,那我们的历史教育出了严重的问题。当我向伦敦几位朋友提起这件事时,他们即刻的反应为病态新加坡怎么搞到这样

昭南艺术馆本来应该是个战争展览馆。我怀疑这战争展览馆会特设一个走狗展览厅。如果是真的话,李光耀和前总统纳丹将登上不名誉之榜。

除了这个不幸的名称外,展览馆讲解员如何处理新加坡在抗日战争中所扮演的角色也将是评价的因素。到目前为止,被承认的抵抗日本侵略者的只限于林谋盛和英国控制的136部队。

官方历史书籍难得提到左翼活动者战前筹款支持中国抗战和抵制日货的群众运动。由马来亚共产党领导的抗日战斗在官方宣传中被边缘化。事实上,在1940年时,马共拥有五千名成员和十万名支持者(新加坡:百科全书)。如果要使展览馆是忠于史实的而不只是搞宣传而已,这些是讲解员所要面对的挑战。

星期天参观了帝国战争博物馆后,我建议展览馆馆长从伦敦帝国战争博物馆准备今年三月举办的人民的力量:为和平而斗争的陈列中吸取灵感。

目前的展览品陈列了伊朗、阿富汗和叙利亚的战事特辑,展览馆馆长并不顾忌解说使到当权机构难堪的课题或图象,他们也不跟随政府设下的故事。虽然博物馆是由政府拨款资助并且和军事单位关系密切,他们还是挑战战争和军事干预的官方报告。

如果英国能够这么做,新加坡为何不能?

*词汇按语:   走狗是流行与通俗的华文词汇用来称呼那些勾结日本的人。

欧洲等同词汇是“quisling”。它出自挪威二战时勾结纳粹的国内政权领袖毕孔奎斯林(Vidkun Quisling)的名字。英文、挪威文、荷兰文、法文和德文等都共用这一词汇。

“Quisling”在日语为卖国奴,意思指出卖他自己国家的奴才。

看来日本严厉地看待他们自己帝国的奴才。而华人把Quisling 看成比人类还要低等。

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The name of the “Syonan Gallery: War and Its Legacies”

Tan Wah-Piao

The name of the “Syonan Gallery: War and Its Legacies” wasn’t chosen to indicate approval of the Japanese Occupation, Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, said Wednesday (15 February).

The comments by Yaacob, who was speaking at the official opening of the gallery at the former Ford Factory in Upper Bukit Timah, come amid strong reactions from some Singaporeans who felt that the name “Syonan Gallery” legitimises the brutal occupation of Singapore by Japan between 1942 and 1945.

Speaking on the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, Yaacob said the name symbolises the sacrifices of the older generation during the war.

“It remembers what our forefathers went through, commemorates the generation of Singaporeans who experienced the occupation and reaffirms our collective commitment never to let this happen again,” he said.

Also attending the opening was Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, Ong Ye Kung.

Since the naming of “Syonan Gallery” was announced last Thursday (9 February), many people have expressed both disapproval and support for the move.

Donald Low, a dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said on Facebook, “If we were upset with Indonesia for naming one of their ships after the marines who were executed for inflicting death and terror in Singapore, why in the world would we want to name a museum here ‘Syonan Gallery’?”

But Ambassador-at-large Bilahari Kausikan disagreed with the critics. “This is a controversy over nothing if people will only realise that to remember is not necessarily to honour”, Bilahari said. “Calling it the Syonan Gallery no more honours that period of our history than Raffles Place honours colonialism”.

Yaacob said the period when Singapore was Syonan-to was an epochal event in its history. The gallery reminds Singaporeans on the importance of defending the sovereignty of their country, he added.

“During the Japanese Occupation, Singapore lost not only our freedom, but also our name. For those of us who lived through this period, this brings back many raw and painful memories.

“For our young, it is a sombre reminder that we must never forget,” Yaacob said.

 

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