I am pleased with myself for waking up at 4.30 a.m. in the morning on 14 Feb 2009 so that I could reach the National University of Singapore, University Cultural Centre (UCC), by 7 a.m. What was I doing there so early in the morning?
About a week ago, Kenneth sent me and the Friends-of-Yesterday.sg an email to inform us of the The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk that would take place on 14 Feb 2009, 7 a.m. - 12 p.m. I have been wanting to attend this walk for the past few years but the walk in previous years were held on Sundays when I usually have rehearsals. When I realised that this year's The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk were to fall on a day when I was free, I readily signed myself up for the walk.
Initially, I was wondering if I could indeed wake up early enough to reach the starting point in time. It was actually a challenge. I was still half-asleep when I got myself out of bed at 4.30 a.m. Anyway, I managed to catch up on a few winks on my journey to the National University of Singapore (NUS). I am glad that I have made it for the walk. It was an enriching walk that opened me to many new things that I was unaware of.
Firstly, I did not know that the area of land in the photo right above was actually the start of the Battle of Pasir Panjang (year 1942). The area of land in the photo is near Reformatory Road which is known today as "Clementi Road". The Malay Regiment had fought a heroic battle against the Japanese right from this part of Singapore in Feb 1942. I do hope that I have heard the guides of the walk clearly enough to get my facts as correct as possible. Meantime, Wikipedia may shed a bit more light on the subject of the Battle of Pasir Panjang.
During the walk, the guides pointed us to various heritage-trail boards like the one right above. Many of these boards were rather new to me. I do not remember seeing them when I was an undergraduate taking lessons at the National University of Singapore. I thank the sponsors who have made these heritage-trail boards possible.
The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk is not merely about history. I was enlightened with some geography knowledge during the walk. I learnt what a ridge is. In addition, many of the guides of the walk were biology enthuasiasts and graduates. While I was on the walk, I was enriched with knowledge of the flora and fauna along the Southern Ridges. Like all other participants who took part in the walk, I had the pleasure to look for and identify plants such as the Dillenia Suffruticosa (commonly known as Simpoh Air). Chun See of Good Morning Yesterday has wrote a post titled Traditional Food Packaging that shares how the leaf of this plant was used to wrap and pack rojak.
During the walk, participants also learnt how the figs are being pollinated by wasps. We also had the chance to look at the molt of a cicada.
For me, the most interesting part of the walk was that I get to know of places in NUS that I have never been to before in my entire life. The Commemorative Walk took us to what used to be a military
The walk also brought us to an important marker that marks the change of the name of Pasir Panjang Ridge to Kent Ridge. It is fascinating how the few lines of words can tell so much of history.
What was enlightening was that the guides also shared about how we can be more mindful of conserving and respecting our environment. Simple thing like bringing along our own water bottles when we attend outdoor events and not relying on getting water contained in disposable plastic bottle can go an extra mile to reduce waste. I have also learnt how the delicate balance of the ecology system can be affected by excessive fogging and use of insecticide that kills insects indiscrimately when the target was mosquitoes that cause dengue fever.
Eventually, before I knew it, five hours had passed and we reached the destination of the walk, the gallery: Reflections at Bukit Chandu. Since I was at the gallery, I gladly got myself an admission ticket to the gallery. Afterall, even though I was exhausted from the 5-hours-walk, it would be efficient if I could visit the gallery while I was already in the vicinity than to make another trip to the gallery on another day. For visitors who want to have a thorough visit of the gallery, it may not be a good idea to visit the gallery immediately after the walk especially if one is exhausted. Yet, it would be quite a worthwhile experience to end the walk by browsing quickly through the various exhibits at the gallery after the walk.
Last but not the least, I would like to thank all the guides of The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk for their dedication and enthusiasm. Thanks for the excellent walk. I won't mind paying a nominal fee for the walk but the organisers of this walk pleasantly surprised me by providing the walk free.
If you should find yourself missing out on a number of things because you did not attend this walk, do consider checking if you could attend this same walk next year. It was worth waking up early in the morning to catch a walk if you are at least interested in history, geography, biology, or just spend a weekend doing something different.
Last weekend’s Battle of Pasir Panjang walk
Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 2009 Review