We interviewed student Huang Qiuhong who published her article “The Japanese Occupation of Singapore: Examining the Success of the Endau Settlement” in the Emory Journal of Asian Studies. Read on to learn her motivations for writing the article, and her future aspirations.
Q: What led you to write this paper and submit it to the journal?
This paper was written as part of the final assignment for the undergraduate course 02.126 Southeast Asia under Japan: Motives, Memoirs, and Media. Dr Sandeep Ray, the instructor for this course, informed me of this opportunity and encouraged me to publish my work in the Emory Journal of Asian Studies.
Throughout the course, I gained a greater understanding of the impact of the Japanese occupation on the Southeast Asian peninsula. I was inspired to write about the Endau settlement after the field trip to the permanent World War II exhibition at the Former Ford Factory. The exhibit highlighting the relative success of the Endau resettlement policy stood out among the curated exhibits, emphasizing the brutality of the Japanese occupation in Singapore. Being taught to look at the situation from different perspectives, I began to ponder the struggles of the Japanese in their governance of Malaya in this period, which is often overshadowed by their controversial practices.
The Endau settlement is an astonishing account that provides insight into the resilience of those involved in the resettlement scheme under the Japanese occupation. This part of history deserves greater appreciation and having the paper published was a way of circulating the story to a wider audience.
Q: What is the paper about?
The paper examines the factors that contributed to the successful management of the Endau settlement under the Japanese Occupation in Malaya. Due to the issue of food shortage during the occupation period, a relocation scheme was announced in 1943 to relocate between 300,000 and half a million people out of urban centres in Singapore into the rural areas. Among the resettlement programs that was announced during the brief occupation period, the Endau settlement (New Syonan) is the most successful scheme implemented under the Japanese administration. Through employing the interview transcripts obtained from oral histories in the National Archives of Singapore, the article analyses the relative success of the Endau relocation program and provides insight into settler’s personal perspectives to gauge the program’s success.
Q: We understand that you are currently in the final semester of the Master’s in Urban Science, Planning and Policy program. What do you plan to do after graduating?
I foresee myself to be in the defence sector where I am able to contribute my skillsets to enhance the peace and security in Singapore. A strong defence system is needed for Singapore to safeguard its sovereignty and continue prospering as a small city-state.
To read the article, please visit here.