The Battle Box Hot
The Battle Box is located some 9 meters underground, in one of the bunkers in the Fort Canning Park.
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Truly an experience
I recommend The Battle Box for EVERYONE - locals and tourists alike, kids and elderly alike. However, because of its location, it might be slightly inconvenient for the less agile elderly. It was really intriguing and I honestly felt transported back into time when I visited battle Box, yet in the comfort of today's technology (air-con and all).
You can skip all the mundane lessons and paragraphs of history textbooks yet learn probably learn a whole load more information here at the Battle Box. It gives a pretty cosy atmosphere, yet gives you the chills are you learn more about the times during war. Kids will definitely be excited by this novel experience.
Vestige of Singapore's war years
Inculcated into me since the early years of school, Fort Canning has always been the epitome of British resistance towards Japanese invaders during World War 2. One of the main attractions I always liked about the place would be the Battle Box, which I never fail to go for a tour whenever I visit Fort Canning Park.
Built on from original British barracks used during the Japanese invasion, the Battle Box showcases daily operations and living conditions within the bunker during the war. Realistic sounds and life-like models of soldiers are placed strategically to make you feel as if you were standing there as all the action happened around you.
Expect a tour in comfort with air conditioning brought into the bunker and refreshments from a snack koisk. Moreover, as you enter the Battle Box, you'll be supplied with plenty of materials such as maps, pamphlets that illustrates to you the rich history of the place. As a young boy on my first visit, I was initially terrified of the dark conditions and the sounds of explosion and yellings. However, as time passed, I developed a respect for the place, for the bravery of souls long gone and the cause they fought for.
The Battle Box Could Be A Bit Better
I have been to the Battle Box on Singapore’s lovely Fort Canning Hill twice. Built in 1936 as the supposedly bombproof bunker system for British HQ during WWII, its thirty or so rooms, hidden behind walls a meter thick, witnessed the fateful decision taken by General Percival to surrender to the Japanese.
On each occasion I have visited, I have been disappointed. It is indeed a fascinating warren of dark tunnels and cavernous rooms carved out of Fort Canning Hill. Unusually for Singapore (actually, not so unusual: some other attractions, such as Singapore Discovery Centre, are also showing signs of wear and tear) the once interesting dioramas and models no longer 'work’.
The fact that they are limited to being static display disappoints. Indeed, there are audio visuals to watch and these mostly seem to work, but the full scale models of the soldiers and their commanders evoke the excitement of looking at paste drying. These were once models that worked. There are switches on the walls to activate the displays. Why not renovate the place?
It is still fascinating, but it would be far more impressive if, in an age that demands IT excellence, the Battle Box could come alive. Apparently there are guided tours. That might help, but I have yet to take one.
It’s worth a look, but don’t make it a priority.
I have been to the Battle Box twice or thrice but don't mind visiting the fortress again. I remember going to Battle Box in my primary/secondary school days and it was fun! Singapore history in the classroom was not that exciting and memorable, I have to be honest, but going down to battle box put the feelings in place!
When I first headed there with my classmates, we were told to stick to each other as we could get lost in the dungeons. At the entrance of the underground fort, it was already dark and silent. Upon entering, it gave me the creeps and a certain hype of excitement with goose pimple and all. The place had a spooky atmosphere and what with all the wax figurines, it felt as if the place had a zombie feel to it. The whole experience was fun to the point that I can still elaborate on the experiences after more than a decade. Visiting Battle Box reinforced our learning at history class and social studies by enabling us to put ourselves in the mood of it all. We were able to see how the people in the dungeons lived, their appliances and the state of living during those harsh times.
When working at a student care centre after graduation, I even suggested to the committee to bring the kids during the June holidays to Battle Box. I must say, they enjoyed, and so did I.
I feel that Battle Box is one of the most enriching preservation of our history during the Japanese Occupation and does well to convey the atmosphere then. I certainly recommend this place tourists, teachers and those looking for a spooky experience whilst learning some history!
I confess - I bear history geek tendencies. Perhaps that is why I fell in love with The Battle Box when I entered the place a few years ago on a history elective field trip.
The air inside of The Battle Box smells musty, kind of like how one would expect an underground fortress to smell like, and this definitely adds to how real the place felt.
There are several wax figurines of British soldiers placed strategically throughout the museum, and they look pretty similar to real human beings from afar. There were preserved sites of communications cabins and bunks, and the whole place definitely felt very real, like we'd just been transported back into the olden days.
And if the realness of the place isn't enough, the museum is fully air-conditioned, so visitors would be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the fortress during war-time while enjoying the cool comfort that the soldiers in the past never did have the chance to. Definitely the best of both worlds.
A truly magical place that ought to be more recognized!
A surreal experience.
Although my one and only visit to The Battle Box was in Priimary 4 for a class excursion, I can definitely vividly remember that day at this fascinating place. My experience at The Battle Box was filled with excitement and a pinch of fear, because everything just felt so real, like I was there.
The underground setting gave a really eerie feel, but it also felt really cool to be there. The guide told us stories at every 'check point' we stopped at, and even pointed out at certain things such as blood stains on doors, cracks, and stuff like that which made me feel intrigued and creeped out at the same time. There were even mechanic figures which behaved almost human-like, and it was extremely convincing for my trip at that year!
I feel that tourists especially should come check out The Battle Box and learn some history of the place and of the war. Schools should also try to plan class excursions here for social studies or history lessons. I assure you it will be a really cool and memorable experience!
It was so real
The purpose of my visit to the Battlebox, I remember, was to collect essential information for my history project.
Honestly, I disliked history as a subject. (I never understood why we had to study about people that are already gone.)
I entered the customer service area with my friends a fore anticipation that I would be exposed to the same lacklustre sightings of the war times ruins, that is made worse by a monotonic briefing that would bore me to tears.
I was caught by surprise. How wrong was I to have assumed that beforehand.
When I first step foot into the customer service/briefing area, I was amazed by the interior design on it. (And of course, the air conditioning provided - I wasn't expecting the place to be as cooling as it was.) There were a few benches for us to sit on, and then a small television that would feed us information on the war times. (Just so we don't lose ourselves amidst the information given to us later by the guide.)
Then we went on a trail to the underground system that was preserved so well during the war time till this date. And mind you, it's air conditioned everywhere. I guess that was the best part as it made the whole tour around the place a comfortable one.
Being able to see it with my own eyes, how it was like for our ancestors during the war time - is what I would classically call it "making history come alive." Finally, I developed a very slight interest towards history with that.
We were introduced to a crammed, dimly-lit room and the guide revealed to us that this tiny room, maybe slightly smaller than the average size of our bedrooms, is used as a hiding place for SIX HUNDRED soldiers.
I went like "Woah. That's incredible."
There were also wax figures around that represented the British generals of that time - and oh my! They could talk! I credit the maker of these talking wax figures for doing such a great job and enhancing the experience of the learning journey.
In general, the Battlebox is a great platform to allow not just tourists, but the younger generation of Singaporeans like us to know at a greater depth of what Singapore and our ancestors went through during World War Two.
However, having no interest in history, I found myself trailing off in my thoughts midway. I guess I'm just not cut out for such history tours. Or maybe, it's because the briefing got boring.
For history lovers out there, grab some time to visit this place. (Or you should already have done so!)
It was as though I am experiencing the real thing itself.
Reminiscing the days when I was 10, I was immensely intrigued by the events of WW2 in Singapore and would read my Social Studies textbook over and over again to understand them better (wow, was I really such a geek that time?). I think I heard the Battle Box through that textbook. Later on, I went to visit the place itself with my family which I felt really exhilarated about.
Some of the remnants during the war time was preserved there. I was amazed by how old those kinds of technology were and could not keep my eyes off them. Some of the scenes of discussions by generals were re-created with wax statues. It was as though I was among the discussions itself!
Sadly, the first and last trip was more than 5 years ago and that is all I could remember. Given another chance, I would love to go back there again and understand this place better. The Battle Box truly shows how difficult the British had to deal with their Japanese opponents. It also gives us another vantage point of the war, I believe.
How the hell did the British lose Singapore?
I came here with a group of my students for a learning journey. The week before, we were covering Singapore in World War 2. I was awe-struck when I descended into the bunkers. The place is deep in the ground, and there were many rooms in there. The air smelt, well musty. To be expected when you are under the ground.
We got to see recreations of the war-room, signals and communications room and various others where soldiers worked and rested in while on duty in the bunker. It must have been terribly expensive to have built such a sophisticated centre. It is also painful to have lost the whole battle for the island despite of the centre. What is even more painful was that the enemy would have been coordinating the attack from makeshift command centres.
So, Asians can't fight? Think again.