This money was used during the Japanese
Occupation. By the time the war ended, the
"banana money" had no value and became
The Japanese wanted to curb anti-Japanese
activities, as well as to punish the Chinese who had
provided aid to the Chinese activists in the
On March 22, Chinese leaders from Malaya and
Singapore were penalised and asked to pay a sum of 50
million Straits dollars as "tributary
As most had already had their property and assets
destroyed during the war, it was a monumental task to
raise the money. They finally took a loan of $21.5
million from Yokohama Specie Bank at 6% interest.
The incident curtailed the circulation and caused
a shortage in Straits currency.
A large quantity of Japanese currency, also known
as "banana money", was issued.
The exact amount is unknown even to the Japanese,
as these currency did not bear any serial number;
only block letters.
were often the only way to get food. However,
the quality of food was not always good. Rice
had weevils and stones in them.
|One of the most serious
problems during the Occupation was food
The people of Singapore were
encouraged to grow their own vegetables.
In addition, the Japanese also issued
ration cards to control supplies of rice and
other essential items.
You could not get any provisions from
shops if you did not have this ration card.
Each adult was given a ration of 4.8kg of
rice per month and each child 2.4kg. This
amount was subsequently reduced to 3.6kg per
month for adults.
Even then, these ran out before long.
Click here to read
about the hungry years.
The scarcity of goods sent prices sky-rocketing.
The table below show how different prices were just
before - and after the war broke out.
|Rice - 1 picul (about
|Egg - 1 dozen
||5,000 - 6,000
||160,000 - 250,000
The "Chop" of
This means you
get to live.
|This must have been the most treasured
item during the Japanese Occupation. Without
it, you might have to die.
Troops of the
Japanese Imperial Army would conduct
spot-checks. The people had no way of knowing
whether they would be given security
clearance. If they were cleared, they would
get this rectangular mark.
If it had been a triangular mark, they
would be taken away and killed.
Some had the mark printed on their clothes. The
printed area would then be cut and carried around
wherever they went.
Others had their arms or legs marked.
Some people would go for months without bathing
for fear that the marks would be washed away.
The Japanese took over several newspapers.
These appeared under different names. The Straits
Times was renamed The Shonan Times and later, Syonan
The Shonan Times was the official newspaper in
Singapore during the Japanese Occupation.
The paper ran on Tokyo times, normally two hours
ahead of Singapore. Staff had to come to work in the
dark, working through to sundown.
The Shonan Times was run by Japanese officers from
the Propaganda Department, who threatened to behead
anyone who spelt the Emperor's name or title
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