The Changi Chapel and Museum holds many emotional and inspirational stories and memories of those who suffered and survived the World War II in Singapore. World War II is just a textbook knowledge to younger generations like us. But coming here, is where history comes alive.
The National Museum of Singapore does showcase the history of Singapore during Japanese Occupation. But here is where you go deeper, to read the individuals’ stories.
Though the Changi Chapel and Museum is not a really grand museum with spectacular architecture, it’s certainly an significant one.It is built in 1988, but relocated to its current location in 2001, and dedicated to those who lived and died during WWII.
An Emotional Visit
Though the Changi Chapel and Museum is located way outside the central of Singapore, where most attractions are, many visitors still made the trip down here.
They come from different parts of the world, and many from countries which are involved in WWII then.
The Changi Chapel you see below is just a replica of the many chapels that were built during WWII. It’s located just outside the museum, and open for visit too.
Unlike other chapels today, the Changi Chapel does not open for regular weekend services. Inside the chapel are letters, photographs, notes written by the civilians and soldiers during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore.
These little notes bring back memories on how tough lives then were.
There’s also strings of Japanese paper cranes, which we were told, folded by descendants of Japanese soldiers. These cranes signifies the prayers for peace.
The main part of the visit, is the Changi Museum. This is where you walk down a memory lane, reading stories, examining rare exhibits left behind during the Japanese Occupation.
The hall is not really huge, and doesn’t have thousands of exhibits to showcase. That’s not the point anyway. Each exhibit and storyboard tells a story about that period of war at that time.
What’s amazing is that you can even read first-hand experiences and quotes from the people living then – the soldiers, citizens, POWs – about their own lives and struggles.
Don’t rush through them. Take your time. You’ll love the stories shared. And it may change your life too.
There’s also a bookshop with books on the war years in Singapore, and a cafe which you can sit in after your tour.
How to get there?
You can take Bus no.2 from Tanah Merah MRT Station. Alight at bus stop right in front of Changi Museum. (Right after Changi Women’s Prison / Drug Rehabilitation Centre)
For specific directions to Changi Chapel and Museum, click here.
Opening hours: 9.30 am to 4.30pm
Approximate Stay: 1-2 hours
Guided Tour (English, 45 min):
*Recommended* Have an experienced and knowledgeable tour guide to bring you around. They have all the real life stories you want to hear. First tour starts at 10am, and last tour at 3.45pm.
S$8 per adult, S$4 per child.
You can also rent an audio set to guide you around the museum exhibition. You can choose an individual set, or a shared one.
Individual: S$8 per adult, S$4 per child.
Shared: S$6 per adult, S$3 per child.
Yay or Nay?
You might love the Changi Chapel and Museum as it opens your eyes to the real life during World War II in Singapore. It can also be a heart wrenching visit, especially for visitors who survive the war. It can also be an interesting visit if your country was involved in WWII then. Young people who did not experience WWII will learn lots of it from this tour.
Australians rate their visits to Changi Chapel and Museum highly!
On the other hand, you might not love this place as the sombre environment may dampen your lively mood. Young children may find this place bored as there’s nothing for them.
What Say You?
Like many others, we learn about World War II through history textbooks, or at most, Wikipedia. But only through the stories shared at the Changi Chapel and Museum do we know what the people are going through daily, during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore.
An emotional, yet educational trip indeed.
What about you? Share with us your experience there too!
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