“Daddy, why are we here?” Pangzi asked as he found himself at the Former Ford Factory in Bukit Timah for seemingly no reason. “There are not even cars on display.”
“This place used to assemble cars before it was converted to producing war planes,” I explained. “And you’re here to learn about war history.”
Of course, that’s not the full story. I let him explore the venue a bit before I revealed my true intentions.
“There’s a questionnaire you can fill. Once you get all the answers, trade it for a free tote bag at the reception,” I instructed.
“But I don’t need a tote bag. I’m not doing no quiz here,” Pangzi protested.
You don’t need one but I do!
“Listen to me,” I said in all seriousness. “It’s going to help in your history class. You need to know what happened to Singapore in the war days.”
Reluctantly, Pangzi picked up a form and started trying to tick the answers.
“This is so hard, daddy. What does occupation mean?”
“That’s easy,” I said. “Occupation is a job. When people have an occupation, they earn money.”
“Oh, then what does Japanese Occupation mean?
“Means the Japanese are not lazy. They go to work!”
“There’s no such option in the MCQ. You sure?”
“That’s because all you know is you and your MCU. Go walk around and look carefully. This Former Ford Factory is not that big. All the answers are just around.”
“Why don’t you take the quiz yourself? You’re the lazy one,” he said accusingly.
I would have, if only adults could take part.
“Let me have a look… Singapore used to be called Syonan Island – true or false?” I said. “So easy. Of course it’s not true. The old name of the country was Sang Nila Utama. I still remember my history, okay.”
“But the question says during the Second World War. Utama was way before?” he asked.
“Look, if you’re stuck, go copy the answers from that boy over there. He’s also doing the questionnaire.”
“Copy? Are you asking me to cheat, daddy? In school I’ll be expelled!”
“This Former Ford Factory is a museum, not your school. Now hurry and get me that tote bag.”
“Daddy, the receptionist told me all my answers are wrong. But she gave me the bag anyway.”
He stopped me mid-sentence.
“And I’m keeping it. I remember that I do need one for my art class.”
We were here: