In my youth, I moved to Fuyong Estate on the slopes of Bukit Timah Hill before returning to Princess Elizabeth. Now as an adult, I live at Bukit Batok.
This meant that all my life, I have been domicile within an area of less 3 km from each another.
So I am truly a 'swa teng' person and my 'kampong' can be considered as the Hillview/Gombak/Bt Batok & Bt Timah area.
Central to this area is Bukit Batok Hill at 120m high.
As I previously mentioned in other articles, Bukit Batok Hill played a significant part during the Japanese invasion during World War II.
|Map showing the World War II positions of the opposing forces surrounding Bukit Batok in Feb 1942.|
Capturing Bukit Batok and Bukit Timah Hills meant that the entire area came under your control.
In those days, the hills of Gombak, Batok and parts of Bukit Timah were not as forested as it is today.
Capture of these strategic high points meant that you were able to observe and thus take control of movements in the surrounding areas. It was no stretch of imagination that some of the biggest battles were fought between the Japanese army and the British forces for control of this area.
|Click on the picture for a panoramic view.|
This is the view from Bukit Batok taken around 1960. The view is towards the city in the far background. Bukit Timah Hill is on the left and the Clementi/Holland area on the far right.
Today, the views are all blocked by secondary forests due to the trees planted by NParks during the greening campaign of the 1970s &1980s.
I remember that even in the late 1970s, the view from the top of Bukit Batok was 360 degrees.
You could see the entire Jurong area from one side and also you could also see all the way to Mandai in the north.
So significant was the Battle for Bukit Batok Hill that the victorious Japanese army built a shrine on the hilltop to commemorate the bravery of those who fought and died there.
This was the Syonan Chureito shrine built on the summit.
They also allowed the British to erect a smaller memorial cross nearby to honour the British soldiers who perished in the battle.
|The Syonan Chureito Shrine at the summit of Bukit Batok in 1942.|
The road built by British prisoners of war to the shrine is today known as Lorong Sesuai.
Nothing remains of the Syonan Chureito shrine today except for a recent heritage marker erected on the steps leading up to the summit.
Bukit Batok Hill is now part of the Bukit Batok Nature Park with the prominent Mediacorp TV broadcasting tower as its landmark.
|The Batok Batok Nature Park incorporating the old granite quarry|
|The Mediacorp TV broadcasting tower is on the summit of Hill 345 - Bukit Batok.|
|A second microwave broadcast tower was built in the 1990s.|
My video of Bukit Batok Hill
Infopedia on Syonan Chureito
An old Japanese war grave discovered at Bukit Batok