Forum: Colonial flags should be displayed publicly

The Union flag (left) and the flag of the Federated Malay States at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Union flag (left) and the flag of the Federated Malay States at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

I am disappointed that the Union flag and the flag of the Federated Malay States returned by the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Sherman are now displayed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an area that once housed Tanglin Barracks ('Colonial flags returned to where they belong', Jan 4).

Perhaps the authorities thought it appropriate to display the flags at the location where they were last flown in 1942, but the significance is no longer relevant as it is no longer a military base, nor does it serve a military purpose.

Besides, the flags are now displayed at a venue that is not openly accessible to the public and foreign visitors.

The two flags were safeguarded by Lt-Col Sherman, who also organised the Japanese surrender ceremony at City Hall in 1945.

The emotional and psychological significance of the two flags cannot be overstated.

They serve as an additional reminder to Singaporeans of the bravery and resilience of Singaporeans like my parents and grandparents, who underwent 3½ difficult and traumatic years during the Japanese Occupation, as well as of the British and allied servicemen, many of whom never returned from battle and internment camps after the fall of Singapore.

These flags belong to Singapore and all who have a shared history of its past.

They will also serve to remind future generations to never take the security of Singapore for granted.

These flags belong to Singapore and all who have a shared history of its past. They will also serve to remind future generations to never take the security of Singapore for granted.

They deserve to be displayed either at the Old Ford Factory in Bukit Timah, or an appropriate location where the public can view them with pride and honour.

Gerard Ong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2020, with the headline 'Colonial flags should be displayed publicly'. Print Edition | Subscribe