The source provides information about Mr Tan Hwee Hock and Mr K. Nadarajah, who are two of the survivors of the Japanese Occupation. At that time, Mr Tan was only 13, when the Japanese invaded. The source gives us more information about his work life. At 15, he found work as a laboratory assistant to the Japanese. He learnt how to survive on $2.50 a day but Mr Nadarajah, however, did not work. However,he assisted his mother in delivering food to his father who was in prison daily. He had to walk there as the buses to the hospital his father was admitted in ( due to being beaten up badly) were not very regular. This was his “job”.
This source shows that the situation during The Japanese Occupation allowed many opportunities for work experiences, even though the surroundings were not desirable. In this source, Mr Booi was just a teenager when he was ‘cheated’ into joining the Japanese army. He was given the arduous task of sending the Prisoners of War to the death railway to work. However, he felt lucky that he was not given work to do in the death railway itself for he was very sure that he would have died if that was the case. From the source, we can also see the struggles that he faced after the Japanese surrendered to the British. He faced problems because he had no more work to do after the Japanese left.
Paul Fussel, a teenager during war in the Japanese Occupation, wrote a letter to his family. The letter tells us that teenagers in war were very in favor of receiving mails from their families and they felt that they could not win wars without it. "Letters were a great comfort. And the mail was indispensable." Teenagers saw letters from their families as encouragement, and they are always eager to receive mails and letters from them, which shows us how dear they hold their families and the special bonding of a family that is irreplaceable.
This is an oral history interview with Aziz bin Rahim Khan Surattee who was a teenager during the Japanese Occupation. He is interviewed by Low Lay Leng. His Personal background and education, How he found Air-raid Precaution (ARP) training exercises, The standard of living before war, his first impression of Japanese soldiers, how Japanese forced his father to sell their house were among the things that we can learn from this oral interview. It tells us about the problems his family faced and how it affected them. It also additionally shows us his struggles and what he felt about the Japanese- which is very important for us to understand.
One aspect where the teenager's lives changed was during the Japanese Occupation in the amount of food and the type of food they consumed. Before the occupation, they could purchase and eat whatever they wanted. However, when the Japanese occupied Singapore, the locals were introduced to food rationing and as we see from the video source, the prices for the food were introduced by the Military Administration Department (M.A.D), who announced them to the public. Mr Lee Chor Eck explains to us us you that 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. Depending on the number of people in the household, each household would get a ration card. We 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 eventually went down from 12 kg a month to 5 nearing the end of the occupation. This shows us that in those days, to get enough food was a luxury.
A huge change that took place in the teenager's recount of the Japanese occupation was the change in the currency. It was changed from British currency to Japanese currency, which was the 'banana money'. Locals called it this because of the picture of a banana tree on each note. The fall of these notes came about because the notes are unlimited, and whenever the Japanese had a shortage of these notes, they printed 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. Since there was this extreme drop in value, prices of food items began to soar and life became harder as there was lesser food to go around for everyone in the family. This hence 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.