Fast facts about the Syonan Jinja
The Japanese shrine that two boys got lost trying to locate is known as Syonan Jinja (Light of the South Shrine).
A Shinto shrine built to commemorate the Japanese soldiers who died in the conquest of Malaya and Sumatra during World War II. Dedicated to Sun Goddess Amaterasu Omikami and modelled after the Ise Grand Shrine in Japan.
In the forest at the western part of MacRitchie Reservoir near Sime Road.
Major Yasuji Tamura, who oversaw the project, envisioned the Syonan Jinja to be the leading Shinto shrine in the southern regions of Asia. Some 20,000 British and Australian prisoners-of-war provided the labour for its construction.
Construction began two months after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. It was opened the next year to mark the first anniversary of the Japanese victory.
The shrine was a venue for many public ceremonies in which the local populace was compelled to show obeisance to their Japanese overlords.
Fearing its desecration by returning Allied forces, the Japanese burned the shrine to the ground before surrendering. Destruction by fire was an acceptable practice as part of purification rites in the Shinto religion.
Today, only remnants of the shrine can be found, such as stone steps, stone foundation of a wooden bridge, and a stone basin. On Sept 16, 2002, the National Heritage Board designated the area a historic site.
Dos and don’ts of hiking, according to an expert
Amazing Trekkers Club founder Hazleen Panayiotou on her top five dos and don'ts when hiking or using a walking trail:
- Walk with a buddy or a group (five or fewer currently).
- Take essential items such as water, snacks and emergency food, first aid kit, fully charged phone and powerbank, compass, ID card, money, whistle, torchlight and rain gear.
- Wear a quick-dry outfit, walking boots and hiking socks.
- Research the trail map, check weather and trail conditions, study alternative routes and stay on trail. Leave a trip plan with family or friends.
- Check in and out using the SafeEntry app.
- Don't wear flip flops, jeans or cotton attire for the hike.
- Don't go during the hottest time of the day, or when there is rain or lightning.
- Don't go on long trails without enough food and water or climb hilly terrain if it is muddy and wet.
- Don't carry food in plastic bags as they may attract wild animals.
- When lost, don't go deeper into the forest or near water bodies, especially at night as nocturnal animals may be present.
- GRACIA YAP