October 12, 2005
August 11, 2005
I am a chronicler of Empire, and for me the most vividly fateful spot in Asia, a landmark where one empire allegorically gave way to another, is an unprepossessing industrial building in the heart of Singapore island not far from the skyscrapers and tumultuous energies of the Lion City. It was once the factory of the Ford Motor Co., and in it, on the evening of Feb. 15, 1942, the commander of the British forces in Singapore, Lieut. General Arthur Ernest Percival, surrendered the city to General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Imperial Japanese Army. The moment truly prefigured the end of the British Empire in the East—and falsely suggested the arrival of a comparable successor, Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Insight into a crucial moment in Singapore, and the World's, past.