Their Name Liveth for Evermore
Lim Bo Seng is one of Singapore’s more famous WW2 heroes, celebrated in local folk lore besides last stand Lt Adnan, POW Elizabeth Choy and others who stood against the Japanese during their invasion and occupation.
Lim Bo Seng left Singapore just before the ominously named Impregnable Fortress capitulated, and headed to India and trained with Force 136. Force 136 as we know, conducted sabotage and other guerilla operations in Japanese-occupied Malaya. Lim Bo Seng returned to Malaya in the Dutch submarine O24, an interesting quirk of European cooperation in the Far East as the sub was transferred to the British Eastern Fleet command operating out of Colombo in 1942. Lim Bo Seng and others in the pioneer Force 136 landed in Perak in 1943 under Operation Gustavus. The Japanese eventually got wind of the British SOE-led guerillas after they captured and interrogated a series of guerilla fighters and supporters, and arrested Lim Bo Seng.
History singled out that Chua Koon Eng, also known as “Bill” and who helped the resistance, was the key blame for Lim Bo Seng’s capture and death. This was partly because since Bill was released and carried about his business after cooperating with his Japanese captors on Lim Bo Seng’s activities. Oddly, other people who were interrogated and expectedly cooperated under duress did not get a similar blame for Lim Bo Seng’s death. Chua Koon Eng’s name liveth for evermore, for different reasons.
Also see: Interview with Lim Bo Seng’s Children
By Monica Kotwani
POSTED: 29 Jun 2014 15:47
Future generations must not forget the sacrifices made by Singapore’s pioneers, and peace for a country comes only when one is able to defend the nation, said the family of Singapore’s war hero Lim Bo Seng, at a ceremony on Sunday to mark 70 years since his death.
SINGAPORE: Future generations must not forget the sacrifices made by Singapore’s pioneers, and peace for a country comes only when one is able to defend the nation, said the family of Singapore’s war hero Lim Bo Seng.
They were at a ceremony at Kranji War Cemetery on Sunday morning to mark 70 years since his death at the hands of the Japanese military police during the Japanese Occupation in Malaya and Singapore.
The ceremony was organised by Changi Museum.
Lim Bo Seng was one of many operatives in Force 136 tasked to infiltrate and conduct sabotage missions in Japanese-occupied Malaya.
The agents were trained in India and sent to their missions which were often dangerous, but conducted by ordinary civilians who were compelled by a greater cause.
His son, Dr Lim Whye Geok, said he was only four years old when his father left Singapore to join Force 136.
He said his memories of his father have been built up through stories shared by his eldest sister, and from a diary Lim Bo Seng had left behind for his wife after his death.
Dr Lim read an excerpt during the ceremony: “My duty and honour will not permit me to look back. Every day, tens of thousands are dying for their countries.
“You must not grieve for me. On the other hand, you should take pride in my sacrifice and devote yourself to the upbringing of the children. Tell them what happened to me and direct them along my footsteps.”
Lim Bo Seng’s daughter, Lim Oon Geok, said: “In his letter to my mother, he had written that when you start something, no matter what, you have to see it to his end. And he did say that when he bid goodbye to all of us, he never thought that it was eternal.”
As Singapore turns 50, his family hopes the legacy and sacrifices made by him and other pioneers are not forgotten.
Lim Teck Yin, Lim Bo Seng’s grandson, said: “For me, when I had the opportunity to read my grandfather’s diary, the full extent of the sense of sacrifice and the pain particularly of leaving behind my grandmother and the children remains very stark in my memory.
“For Singapore going forward, we always need to remember that we stand on foundations that our pioneers have set and that every generation has got to build for the next generation.”
Lim Bo Seng died in a Perak prison in 1944.
His remains were later buried at MacRitchie Reservoir in 1946.