Fullerton Building's role in ending Sook Ching massacre

A little-known fact of historical significance attached to the Fullerton Building is a "gift" made to the Japanese military administration from the Chinese community of Malaya (including Singapore) during the Japanese Occupation ("Fullerton a reflection of nation's transformation" by Dr V. Subramaniam; Thursday).

The "gift" was a contribution of 50 million Straits dollars exacted from the Chinese community, being penalty for - in the eyes of the Japanese military authorities - the grave wrong the community did by supporting China's War of National Salvation during the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45.

At 3pm on June 25, 1942, a ceremony was performed at Fullerton Building, in the room of the former Singapore Chamber of Commerce, with philanthropist Lim Boon Keng - in his capacity as president of the Overseas Chinese Association - presenting a Yokohama Specie Bank cheque for the 50 million Straits dollars to General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

After the war, Dr Lim was accused by members of the Chinese community of giving in to Japanese demands, with regard to the 50 million Straits dollars contribution.

But it was precisely this "gift" that saw an end to the Sook Ching massacre.

Alex Tan Tiong Hee

Trustee

Settlement of Dr Lim Boon Keng (1921)

Honorary Secretary

Singapore Heritage Society

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2015, with the headline 'Fullerton Building's role in ending Sook Ching massacre'. Print Edition | Subscribe