After three years since it was closed for redevelopment, Changi Chapel and Museum is finally reopening its doors on May 19. The museum is, arguably, the most iconic of World War II sites in Singapore – never mind the fact that it’s housed in a purpose-built venue, and the chapel is a reconstruction (the original was shipped to Australia after the war). Following the update, the commemorative site features new content and artefacts showcased in an intimate and engaging format to tell the stories of industry and ingenuity within the Prisoners-of-War camps in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation.
An aviation hub, Changi is home to the best airport in the world – one that has held the title for eight consecutive years including 2020. But besides its glimmering glory, this 'hood in the east has a rather morbid past. Within its grounds is Singapore's largest – and oldest – prison which was used as a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during the Japanese Occupation in World War II. Furthermore, its beach was the site of the Sook Ching massacre, and its infamous hospital – now abandoned – is the stuff on nightmares.
But further back in time, Changi was once a swampland known as Tanjong Rusa before it was given the name Tanjong Changi in the early 19th century. There are various origins to the etymological roots of its name. Some say it stems from a tall tree called Pokok Chengal, others say it comes from a climbing shrub known as the Changi Ular or Chengal Asir. A mix of old and new, Changi retains its old-school charm by the sea and has the world's tallest man-made indoor waterfall – all in one 'hood.