Monday, November 28, 2011

Lim Bo Seng

LIm Bo Seng

Lim Bo Seng is best remembered as a loyal warrior of Singapore who joined Force 136 and battled to the end, refusing to betray his country. He was first buried somewhere in Batu Gajah, a small Malaysian town. (His body was afterwards found and transported to a hill near Macritche Reservoir, but that’s not the point), However, he had a memorial service in Tong Teh Library, in Singapore, in 1945.

So why did he end up having his body and memorial service in 2 different countries? Well, it all started when the Japanese first attacked China. He was having a pretty decent life before it. He was the 11th child of his family, but the first male, so he inherited his father’s brick and biscuit manufacturing business. He also collaborated with his brothers later on. He was also a leader in the Singapore Chinese committee, and was nominated for titles like: Chairman of the Singapore Building Industry Association, Board Member of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Executive Member and Education Director of the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan. Life could have been worse.

Then, when the war started, he started to get active, and started boycotting Japanese goods and fund-raising against the Japanese and made Japanese workers go on strike and basically stuff that the Japanese didn’t like. Well, you should know what happened next. World War II started and the Japanese took over Singapore with ease (He was in charge of rallying a group of volunteers to resist the Japanese, and they fought bravely in the battle between Singapore and Japan).

Even after the fall of Singapore, Lim Bo Seng fought bravely against the Japanese. He went to Sumatra and India and recruited and trained hundreds of volunteers, He also helped set up Force 136 together with John Davis. They aimed to help the British and bring down the Japanese. Of course, they led many dangerous missions, and it was inevitable that he would be caught one day. And he was. It was in a mission called Operation Gustavus (codenamed Operation Zipper, but that’s not important). They had to gather information about the Japanese as spies. Unfortunately, the Japanese discovered one of their members who gave everyone else away. The Japanese captured many of their members and brought them to be tortured. And most unfortunately, that included Lim Bo Seng.

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