12 May 2007

The Ruins of the Shinto Shrine III (Syonan Jinja)

We ventured deeper into what we had deemed to be the perimeter of the ruins and found the foundations of another structure. An inner sanctum of sorts. There were worn, stone steps leading to a dais that would had been the foundation for another structure.


There were many concrete or stone-lined holes in the ground. These were about a metre or so deep and they were sometimes linked by drains.


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11 May 2007

The View from the Top of the Rampart

From the heights, the expanse of the rainforest was revealed.


On the centre right side of the image, there appeared to be a monkey on a branch. There was apparently a monkey observing us when we were at the font area at the ruins of the Shinto shrine. I had captured its image without knowing.
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The Ruins of the Shinto Shrine II (Syonan Jinja)

According to the National Library Board webite:

"The Syonan (Shonan) Shinto Shrine or Syonan Jinja, was built by British prisoners-of-war and the Japanese Army off Adam Road inside the MacRitchie Reservoir area. It was officially unveiled on 10 September 1942. However, the Shrine was demolished immediately after the Japanese surrender with the return of the British forces in 1945. Only remnants of a font and foundation remain. In September 2002, the National Heritage Board marked the shrine's location as a historic site. The Syonan (Shonan) Shinto Shrine or Syonan Jinja, was built by British prisoners-of-war and the Japanese Army off Adam Road inside the MacRitchie Reservoir area. It was officially unveiled on 10 September 1942. However, the Shrine was demolished immediately after the Japanese surrender with the return of the British forces in 1945. Only remnants of a font and foundation remain. In September 2002, the National Heritage Board marked the shrine's location as a historic site."

There were stone or concrete slabs scattered throughout the undergrowth of the rainforest. On the left of the stone font, there were ramparts measuring about four metres in height. There were also similar ramparts on the right.


The ramparts or parapet also extended to the front of the font. Ramparts of these sort appeared superficially to be somewhat similar to that used in Japanese fortications and castles during a far earlier period.


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The Ruins of the Shinto Shrine (Syonan Jinja)


At the summit, I saw the dimly remembered stone cistern which I saw seen twenty-six years ago at night.




Around the cistern, there were some moss-covered circular stone slabs with squarish pegholes. We had figured that these were originally for wooden pillars for an enclosure of some sort.



There were about six of these circular slabs.

Another quote from the National Library Board website:

"At the base of the pylon, in a small shed-like shrine were the remains of the fallen Japanese. In front of the monument was a font which visitors would take a sip from using a long-handled ladle. Shinto meaning "the way of the gods" is the native faith of the Japanese and is primarily pantheistic. It is necessary to cleanse oneself before approaching a Shinto Shrine for prayers, thus the provision of the font."

This would be the shed-like shrine where the font was located.


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Oh dear, it's bedtime. I had uploaded over thirty photos last night but I haven't had the time to write a detailed narrative.

Oh well. Hopefully, there will be more tomorrow.

You would have to wait to see what is at the summit. Be patient. I have over a hundred more photos.

10 May 2007

The View from the Top

Before long, we had reached the summit. This was the view from the top. The majesty of the rainforest. The sheer beauty of the rainforest. The canopy.


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The only way is up!


The flight of stairs were embedded within a densely covered slope. It was just after 1:00 pm when we found it.



We climbed at least four flights as we ascended.



Here, Kelvin captured a vide of the scene.

According to the National Library Board website:

"The shrine's design was based on the famed Yasukuni Shrine in Japan."

Famed? Should that not be infamous?


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Stairway to a Forgotten Past

As a child, I had not known what these ruins were. However, some years ago, the Straits Times did run an article about it and I finally knew that the brutal Japanese occupiers of Singapore had constructed a Shinto shrine, the Syonan Jinja, here and they had tore it down when the war was lost in 1945 after the American drive to Japan.


Here, Tony struck a pose.


And Kelvin ascended.


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The Flight of Stairs

We penetrated deeper into the rainforest and an hour later, we had spotted something unusual. It was a flight of stone stairs leading up. It had brought back memories of 1981 when I visited this place as a thirteen year old kid. I was with a boy scout troop then and we had done an all night circumnavigation of the entire circumference of the MacRitchie Reservoir. We were elated! Here we were at the objective! Kelvin and Jon posed for this particular shot.


The flight of stairs extended quite a distance.


We took numerous photos of it while we ascended. Kelvin had made a video of the ascend.


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The Waters' Edge

We had penetrated rather deep in the rainforest and we had no real indication of a Japanese Shinto temple or shrine.

Then, we spotted the waters' edge. And a PUB sign. A rather new one at that. We could see MacRitchie Reservoir and the Bukit Golf Course across. There was a cool breeze here and it was the first real clearing we had seen in a few hours. It was almost noon then. So, we brought out our packed food. Tony and Jon had each got a manged hamburger from McDonald's. Ewww... Kelvin and I bought sandwiches. Kelvin also had a Camelbak packed with ice! We had chocolate bars too. Heavenly!


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Stone Columns amidst the Wilderness

As we trudged in the dense vegetatation, Tony who was leading the way suddenly shouted. He had spotted two old, worn, stone pillars. We examined the pillars but could not find markings or indication of its origins.


Nearby, I saw two stone blocks in a moss-covered concrete drain. Across the stream, I saw another pillar. Tony had also spotted yet another. I thought there were at least four pillars here.


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The Concrete Structure in the Wilds

An hour or two later, we stumbled upon an old, worn, concrete structure.


It was buried by the side of a gentle slope.


There were concrete enclosures near that structure. Inside the structure, we could see that it extended about two metres in depth and it was covered with water. There were some long pieces of steel, apparently from some fixture of sorts. There were also two circular concrete structures measuring about a metre in diameter. I suspected this building to once house pumping equipment from the Public Utilities Board or colonial public works department. After all, MacRitchie Reservoir was completed in 1868 by the colonial authorities.


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Meandering Path

We were first on a south-easterly direction before the path meandered south, then west.

For several hours, we followed the twisty trail of sorts, sometimes seemingly losing it and only re-discovering it a dozen paces later. We were forcing our way at a rather relentless pace.


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