chapter  7
18 Pages

Divided histories of the Pacific War

Revisiting ‘Changi’s’ (post)colonial heritage
WithAnoma Pieris

This chapter explores how, during the Pacific War, when Singapore was occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army, the colonial model of the racially divided city was inverted and reproduced through a new carceral geography of internment and prisoner-of-war camps. In these camp environments, which were distributed throughout the island, former colonisers became captives. Racial segregation and imprisonment were instrumentalised in a new territorial conflict between European and Asian imperialists. These camps and their histories have not been included in national representations of wartime heritage. Although their material traces are embedded in place names and associations, very little is known of these segregated environments. The chapter examines the postcolonial significance of these affective materialities for understanding the contested heritage of imperialism through the politics of the divided city.