Memorial Of The Second World War or known as Bank Kerapu
Two days ago we stopped by at the 'Memorial of the second World War' (War Museum) in Kota Bharu. My son who is very interested in anything to do with 'war' and 'the army' had always begged us to bring him to the war museum. For many years, we passed by the building but never really bother to stop and to see what's inside the historical building. When we finally made our first visit to the museum 2 days ago, my son was so happy and repeatedly thanking us for taking him to the museum. I have to admit that I myself was so glad that I visited the museum that day. It was an enjoyable visit and I had certainly gained some knowledge and insights on what actually happened during the Pacific War in Kelantan. It also makes me appreciate the peaceful life that we have now.
The memorial of the Second World War is also known as 'Bank Kerapu'. It was the first stone edifice in Kelantan (bangunan batu pertama). 'Kerapu' in local dialect refers to the rough and uneven surface of its walls. Bank Kerapu was built by the Mercantile Bank in 1912 on a piece of land that belonged to Nik Yusoff bin Nik Abdul Majid, a famous local chieftain.
The location map of the War Museum . It's at Jalan Sultan
Photo from Militaryforces.net
Japanese troops in Malaya
Photo from virtualmalaysia.com
The bicycle used by the Japanese soldier
Today, Bank Kerapu houses an interesting display of photos, articles and artefacts of the Second World War including a bicycle used by a Japanese soldier upon entering Kota Bharu . The bicycle reminds me of 'basikal tua' zaman dolu2.
Though history points to Pearl Harbour as the start of the Asia Pacific War, historians now say that Kelantan was where it all started. On the morning of Dec 8, 1941 at 12.25 a.m , Japanese troops landed on the beaches at Kuala Pak Amat, Sabak, near Kota Bharu, marking the beginning of the Pacific War (1941-1945). It was 90 minutes before the attack on Pearl Habour in Hawaii. At Kuala Pak Amat, Japanese soldiers swam ashore as well as used small landing boats despite the monsoon. Southeast Asia fell to Japanese invasion just two months later. In the memorial you can see some pictures during the landing assault and also pictures on the Japanese occupation of Kelantan during the war. I saw some of the photos which were snapped by one of the Japanese soldiers during the attack at the beaches. Really amazing! I was wondering, camera apa agaknya mereka bawa-Canon? Fuji?
Photo from Raykinzoku fotopage.
One of the pillboxes found at a beach in Kelantan. The pillbox was built by the British troop, to counter Japanese attack tapi tembus juga.. The British were caught by surprise as they had thought the Japanese would first attack Singapore and definitely not during the monsoon season.
During the Japanese occupation, Bank Kerapu was also used by the Japanese as their secret police station (Kempei Tai). Some of the rooms in the building were used as torture chambers for the war prisoners. The first floor of the building is quite dark and eerie. Rasa semacam je..tegak bulu roma. I didn't dare going into the dark rooms where all the old artefacts are displayed. I had to call my husband (who was on the ground floor) to accompany my children who were so eager to enter all the rooms while I quickly ran down and didn't look back. (Takut pandang belakang) I ni penakut sikit..bukan sikit actually tapi banyak.
There are more than 1,000 exhibits relating to the war, including photos, articles and artefacts. After the war, and following the return of British forces, the building continued to function as a bank until 1992 when it was turned into a war memorial by the Kelantan State Museum Corporation.
Cameras are not allowed inside the museum but I did snapped some photos outside the memorial. The Lanca exhibited outside the building had somehow caught my attention.