Literary Perspectives on Humanities Learning Journey

During the Humanities and Social Sciences Learning Festival in Term 2 Week 10, Year Three students embarked on the Resilience Trail as part of the programme led by the Singapore History Consultants.

Brian Ko shares how his literature lessons on war poetry in Term 2 helped to frame his perspectives of this learning journey.

On this informative learning journey in the surrounds of Kranji, I learned more about Singapore’s experience during the Second World War among other national concerns. My learning was made more enjoyable, exciting and educational by my previous exposure to war poems during my Literature lessons. The poems included Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen, How to Die by Siegfried Sassoon and The Soldier by Rupert Brooke. While analysing the poems’ tone, we explored the idea of fighting and dying for one’s country as well as perspectives on war propaganda. Though the poems discussed in class were based on the First World War, the themes are applicable to the event of the Second World War.

2016 Year 3 HSS Resilience Trail 18 - Kranji War Memorial

The highlight of the trail for me was the visit to the Kranji War Memorial. It was there I realised how tragic and dreadful war is. Singapore had its part to play in the biggest war known to mankind. Many had given up their lives fighting for Singapore against the Japanese who invaded in 1942. Even though the Japanese won the Battle of Singapore, the fighting spirit of the people was not abated. This can be seen in the efforts of resistance groups were formed to oppose the Japanese who retaliated till their surrender.

2016 Year 3 HSS Resilience Trail 52 - Kranji War Memorial

The grand, monumental burial ground for the brave fallen made an impression on me, especially since it was my first visit. Seeing the headstones made me realise that men and women of various ages have been sacrificed in war. Our facilitator shared with us that the youngest person buried at the Kranji War Memorial was a boy of age 16, merely a year older than us. His age surprised me. A boy who was one year older than me. Furthermore, the boy died a year after the war. That means, the boy managed to survive the war, but was not able to enjoy post-war peace due to his injuries sustained.

2016 Year 3 HSS Resilience Trail 29 - Kranji War Memorial

At the end of the day, this journey have made me realise how valuable peace is. Peace might not last forever and we should not be taking what we have today for granted. What we have today have been fought for and came at a price.

2016 Year 3 HSS Resilience Trail 44 - Kranji War Memorial

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