Changi is among the most well known South East Asian military prisoner campsites in the world. Thanks to the movies and books telling the world on life in these military prisoner camps such as James Clavel’s Rat Trap or the famous film Bridge over River Kwai. Of course, the memory of these World War II prison camps is still vivid especially in the countries where these were set up. Now Singapore tries the best to turn this terrible memory into a historical site, which is purely for learning and for experiencing. The Changi Chapel and Museum set up next to the Changi Prison delivers the memories and the authentic looks of the rooms and all the equipments used there just as if you travelled back in time.
First, it is worth knowing that Changi is still the main prison of Singapore. If you have heard of the more than strict laws, which apply in Singapore, then you can imagine that this scene really delivers the authentic atmosphere for the Changi Chapel and Museum located about a kilometre away from the prison complex. Changi Chapel and Museum is a duplicated version that was first re built next to the prison building. The museum is dedicated to all the prisoners of war. There are several photographs and memorabilia preserving the memory of those who were kept here as prisoners. Their paintings drawings and all the memories they left behind is treasured and exhibited for the future generations to learn and to know why war is so sad. You can read here letters for the family and you can learn about personal stories too.
A part of Changi Chapel‘s replica can be found within the museum featuring the beautiful real-life sized murals which beautifully depict scenes of Christ’s life. The real murals are in the grounds of a nearby operating military camp with several other buildings and remaining. The Changi Chapel, which can be viewed next to the museum with its wooden form, gives back the atmosphere of those hard times during the World War II perfectly. The water colour paintings of prisoners such as Mary Angela Bateman or William Haxworth who were also prisoners of the Changi camp make the most outstanding and artistic part of the exhibition in the Changi Chapel and Museum. Several former prisoners of wars visit these war memorial places and the war trails to remember the old times together with several fans of history and those who are specialised in the history and happenings of World War II. Around 2000, the whole Changi Chapel and Museum had to be moved because of the Changi Prison’s extension works. The complex has been officially accredited for its Museum status only in 2001.
The admission for the Changi Chapel and Museum is free although there are guided tours for SGD 8 per person, which take you around the territory of the museum and shares lots of interesting historical details with you. The Changi Chapel and Museum is part of several war trail tours too, which lead you to the main WWII sites of Singapore.