Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Strange Historical Sights in Singapore

When I was a kid, I used to pass this place that had an old WW2 piller box. Not a cheap and nasty guard house, but a big concrete bunker - the size of a small house. It was built into a small hill and had a dominating view of that long and winding road; you could only see it after you turned around the bend. A perfect ambush area!

I'm pretty sure it was the British who built it. The area used to be a British military-civilian camp area.

Apparently, the whole area is ringed with lesser fortifications, trench systems, underground bunkers etc.. One of the houses there have converted their WW2 bomb shelter into a wine cellar- talk about "beating the swords into plowshares"!! Another neighbor found a deep tunnel and plugged it up with concrete. Imagine, one day someone might find Yamashita's treasure there one day... or a big unstable ammo dump.

In the past, it used to stand much higher and the embrasures (or machine gun slots) were visible. Now its sunken in by several feet and the slots have been bricked over. Ivy has now covered over the old red brick and its barely noticeable now.

But as a kid, I remember always being a little awestruck when I walked past it. I wondered whether the soldiers who stood guard ever got a chance to fire a shot in anger.

Even now it captures my imagination...

The old fort still stands guard
Domineering over the countryside road
Its menacing leer frightens noone now.
The people it guarded have long gone.
The realm it protected has perished.
Yet, it peers into the distance with blinded eyes.
Waiting for an enemy that will not come.

But I'm here though you may not see me
I linger in your presence
My hands brush on your ivy covered wall
What tales can you tell?
What secrets do you hide?

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