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Streaming video
Author Masjum, Mashizan.

Title End of empire / by Mashizan Masjum, Guo Fangfang and Eva Petryshen
Published New York, NY : Filmakers Library, 2002
Online access available from:
World History in Video    View Resource Record  
Filmakers Library    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (streaming video file) (45 min.)
Series World history in video
World history in video.
Summary This film tells the harrowing story of the Japanese occupation of Singapore from 1941-45. Archival film as well as fascinating interviews with two historians, Professors A. Jayathurai and Brian Farrell, relate the tragedy of this important theater of war. But it is the story of Alexander Colburn a young Scotsman who had recently signed on for a four-year stint as a pharmacist in the bustling colonial city that gives the dramatic history a personal dimension. Instead of enjoying a brilliant career in Singapore, Colburn witnessed its swift and violent end, as well as the symbolic end of the British Empire. In the 1930s it was widely believed that Singapore was an impregnable fortress. When the well-trained and equipped Japanese invaded Northern Malaya in 1941 shortly after Pearl Harbor, they easily defeated the under-prepared Indian, New Zealand and Australian troops who had joined the British there. When British officials realized Singapore would fall they evacuated the colonials, leaving the Chinese, Indian and Malay populations to fend for themselves. Throughout this Colburn worked as a medical volunteer, cleaning up the bodies left from Japanese bombing. Two British battleships were sunk with nine hundred British sailors lost and the British surrendered after six weeks. Under the Japanese occupation, one hundred thousand prisoners of war were arrested and imprisoned or executed in six weeks. Colburn was taken prisoner by the Japanese and spent four years in horrendous conditions, with almost no food or medicine available. He used his experience as a pharmacist to help his fellow inmates as much as he could. It is estimated that twenty to thirty thousand people perished in captivity. As Prof. Jayathurai says, "Churchill gave up Malaya for the defense of Europe. This was the end of the British Empire; everything after that was borrowed time."
Notes Previously released on DVD
Title from resource description page (viewed Sept. 1, 2011)
Subject Choy, Elizabeth Su-Moi, 1910-2006.
World War, 1939-1945.
Singapore -- History -- Japanese occupation, 1942-1945.
Singapore -- History -- Siege, 1942.
Genre/Form Documentary
Video recordings.
Form Streaming video
Author Fangfang, Guo
Petryshen, Eva