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Art and Cartoons about the Japanese Occupation in Singapore and Malaysia
Saturday, 19 Mar 2016, 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Level 5, Possibility Room
70 years after the end of World War II and 50 years after Singapore’s independence, the Japanese Occupation remains a pivotal period in the history of Singapore. Its importance in nation-building and national education can be seen in textbooks and commemorative dates such as Total Defense Day. Besides textual materials (documents, speeches, diaries, etc), art and cartoons are also important sources of history. What can art and cartoons tell us about the Japanese Occupation in Singapore through how it is portrayed and remembered? This short sharing will examine artist Liu Kang’s Chop Suey (1946), a collection of cartoons about the Japanese Occupation; Lim Yew Kuan’s Lingering Fear (1954), a painting depicting the arrest of his older brother by the Kempeitai in 1944; and a set of cartoons drawn by artist Abdullah Ariff during the Japanese Occupation of Penang in 1942.
Lim Cheng Tju is an educator with an interest in history and popular culture. His articles have appeared in the Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science, Journal of Popular Culture and Print Quarterly. He is the country editor (Singapore) for the International Journal of Comic Art and also the co-editor of Liquid City 2, an anthology of Southeast Asian comics published by Image Comics. He is one of the authors of The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity (Amsterdam University Press/National University of Singapore Press).
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