In astronomy, when heavenly bodies align in space, it is thought that there might be exceptional physical forces that produce changes here on earth. In astrology, such conjunctions are thought to produce various metaphysical changes in energy which have effects on our destinies, etc.
Come February 14 this year there will be an extraordinary conjunction of events.
Other than an obvious fortuitous conjunction of Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year, there are a number of other much lesser known events that we might want to take some time to remember.
In 1942, during the fall of Singapore to the Japanese, a 4th year medical student Yoong Tat Sin, was killed by shrapnel on February 14. This happened at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He later died in SGH. That same evening, a group of his friends decided to give him a proper burial on the grounds of the SGH. During the occasion they were attacked by Japanese gunners and 11 students (5 Chinese, 4 Indians, 1 Malay and 1 Eurasian) perished. They were buried in the SGH grounds, after the British surrender on 16 February. An account of this war time tragedy can be found here.
On February 14, 1942, the Japanese had also over-run Alexandra Hospital (then the British Military Hospital) and massacred, bayoneting 250 patients, doctors and nurses. The next day additional groups were taken out and shot. Apparently, Gen Yamashita, upon hearing of this massacre apologised profusely, but it was too late.
The British surrendered on 15 February, 1942. It was also Chinese New Year, then.
February 15 also marks the 83rd anniversary of the College of Medicine Building. It was declared open by the Governor Sir Laurence Nunns Guillemard in 1926. Incidentally the architect of the building PH Keys was also the same chappie who designed Fullerton Building. An account of this, found here.
It is somewhat sad that few remember this history, and the heritage of the medical school and profession has been all but lost. Ironically, in times of deprivation and struggle, the school and profession seem to have had risen to greater heights of glory, than the glass and steel artifices that have been created more recently in times of great wealth.
5 years ago