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Did the Japanese Occupation bring changes to the lives of teens?

Individual Contribution -Srinidhi (2E4) Aspect: Daily Life

Food rationing - Daily life

Food rationing - Daily life

The teenager's lives changed during the Japanese Occupation in the amount of food they ate and the type of food they consumed. Before the occupation, they could buy and eat whatever they wanted. However, when the Japanese occupied Singapore, the locals were introduced to food rationing and as we can learn from the video source, the prices for the food was introduced by the Military Administration Department (M.A.D), who announced them to the public. Mr Lee Chor Eck tells us you could not get whatever you wanted just because you wanted to buy it and that soap, matchsticks, rice and sugar were among the things that was being rationed. Each household would get a ration card and it would be indicated how many rations you could get, depending on the number of people in the household. We also learn further on in the video that sometimes the Japanese would give out free supplies such as salt, but it was in very limited amounts. We also find out that the Japanese actually had enough food to give out to the public, but they rationed the food to make them think that there was a shortage of rice. The rice in the military stores was only meant for the Japanese and their supporters. Men's rations slowly went down from 12 kg a month to 5 nearing the end of the occupation, and in rationed food, people often found sand, rocks, and sometimes even maggots. This shows us that in those days, to get good food was a luxury.

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Japanese Brutality: Bowing to the Japanese soldiers- Daily life

Japanese Brutality: Bowing to the Japanese soldiers- Daily life

From this source, we see that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had gotten off lightly with the the punishment for not bowing to the sentries. He had initially, like many others, not known of the rule that they had to bow to Japanese soldiers and he had passed by them without bowing. He was then called towards the soldiers and he was dealt with physically and he recounts that it was not the most severe of punishments. This shows us that others may have faced worse, and we see from the source that some people who had not followed the etiquette were made to kneel for hours in the sun, holding a heavy boulder over their heads until their arms gave way. He also recalls a time when he saw a rickshaw puller pleading for more money from a Japanese soldier. The Japanese soldier got very annoyed and flung him up into the air. From Mr Lee Kuan Yew's recounts, we can see that at that time, the Japanese soldiers were supposed to be highly respected, and anyone who failed to show them respect would be harshly dealt with. They wanted to show their superiority to the locals and they wanted everybody to know that they had more power and stature.

postcolonialweb.org
E-Book (pg 1 -3)

E-Book (pg 1 -3)

From the specified pages in the transcript, we can see that Mrs Esme Woodford is talking about learning to grow food and vegetables such as tapioca and sweet potatoes. She tells us that the Europeans had no idea on how to farm and that they had to ask around. We learn from her that it was very easy to grow tapioca and that other families and people used to grow leafy vegetables too, but her family did not. She elaborates and tells us that they used to get food from the market too, and that she used to pillion ride, and as she was stick thin, the ride always used to be a very uncomfortable one. In the same page, we learn that people learnt to live without sugar, and during the war time, they deemed salt more important than sugar. The ride to the market for her would usually be a very long one, so they only went very rarely. From the source, we can infer that the people during the war had to adapt to changes and that they could not always get whatever they wanted. Some people grew very thin due to the lack of nutrition and proper food. They had to grow their own crops in order to have enough food to go about for the family.

nas.gov.sg
Currency during the Japanese occupation- Daily life

Currency during the Japanese occupation- Daily life

A drastic change that took place in the teenager's recount of the Japanese occupation was the change in currency. It was changed from British currency to Japanese currency; 'banana money'. Locals called it this because of the picture of a banana tree on every note. The downfall of these notes came about because the notes are unlimited, and whenever the Japanese had a shortage of these notes, they just had to print more. As there were no serial numbers on these notes, it became very easy for people to forge them. Hence, the value of the 'banana notes' dropped so low that 950 worth of Japanese military currency became equal to 1 Straits dollar. Because of this extreme drop in value, prices of food items began to soar and life became harder as there was lesser food to go about for everyone in the family. This thus relates back to food prices increasing. From the source, we can see that the change in currencies really caused a lot of disruption in the lives of the locals during the Japanese Occupation.

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