Today, we’re going to visit the War Memorial of Korea!
I meant that metaphorically. As in, I’m going to show you pictures I took and you’re going to see them. =P
I can imagine some of you going yawwwwwn, so I promise not to post all 250 photos I have.
Some of the stuff are quite cool, really.
Like all these military vehicles that had once seen actual wars, although they’ve been repaired and repainted since, which I think makes them look less authentic, therefore less exciting.
This is so cute, right? I didn’t believe they would actually make cutesy paintings on war vehicles, but apparently they did, although it wasn’t a common sight.
Landing Vehicle Tracked-P7 (USA)
I thought this was also cute, so tiny and ancient looking. The name of the aircraft, Buwhalho, means Restoration, which is what the Chinese words on the body say.
This is big guns!
M110 8-inch Self-Propelled Howitzer (USA)
More big guns!
SU-100 Self-Propelled Gun (Soviet)
It was really cold that day. I didn’t take many photos myself because it was too cold to take my hands out of my pocket (hadn’t bought gloves yet that day) so Kay had to take most of the photos for me.
He has thicker skin so his hand can tahan the cold better. Haha.
K-1 Tank (ROK)
After a while, I got really tired of taking photos cos it settled into a routine of: Stand in front of vehicle. Snap. Stand in front of another vehicle. Snap. Yet Another Vehicle. Snap.
There were, like, endless rows of them.
So I had to do something a bit different.
F-51 Fighter (USA)
This is my favourite vehicle in the whole collection because it’s all black and looks fierce.
Okay it doesn’t look all that fierce from this angle. Nor all that black.
AH-1J Cobra Helicopter
More big guns!
20mm Vulcan Anti-Aircraft Gun M167 A1 (ROK)
Can you imagine manning one of these big boys at war, your task being to shoot down fighter planes? And it’s not like playing a game. You’re shooting down real people with real lives.
Maybe you will quickly get desensitized to the barbarity of it when you’re thrown into the thick of the fighting.
20mm Anti-Aircraft Cannon (USA)
Last of the guns for now! Although this isn’t technically a gun but a plane.
F-4C Fighter-Bomber (USA)
The museum-cum-memorial commemorates and documents all the wars that Korea has fought in, not just in Korea itself but all over the world, although most of it is concentrated on the Korean War in the 1950s.
At the museum, I was more interested in civilian life than military activity during the war. Looking at the dioramas and videos depicting people’s sufferings was very heartbreaking.
Well, okay, the military activity stuff was also very heartbreaking.
Did you watch 71 Into The Fire, a Korean movie that was shown in Singapore cinemas in October 2010?
It’s very sad. These 71 student volunteers were tasked to defend a crucial South Korean border, with scant supplies, because there was no one left. Their “tower of defence” was a small school. They were basically massacred by the North Korean forces.
The tragedy known as the Battle of Pohang Girl’s Middle School
Only two survived to tell the tale.
Visiting the museum after watching the movie made it all the more poignant for me.
There’s one room in the museum dedicated to civillians. It’s a whole gallery of life-size dioramas showing how people lived during those times. I feel really bad for all those people, even if many of them have passed on by now.
The Korean War brought misery to all Koreans without exception even to the old, women and children. Against the harsh wind, rain and cold, refugees contrived shelters with pieces of planks, cans, straw bags, C-ration boxes, or straw, sustained by rice porridge with dried cabbage leaves, or just a mixture of whatever food (was) available, or even tree bark.
A large number of refugees had to be satisfied with only a spoonful of food.
I love looking at artifacts from the past to understand how people lived. Like, what they used, what they ate, where they lived. I like imagining myself in their shoes. In a way, I feel like I’ve been transported in time to experience a different era.
(I love our Sentosa Wax Museum, even if it’s pretty small.)
Here are some artifacts I found interesting at this museum, which is incidentally the largest war museum in the world.
Okay, that’s enough photos for today!
We visited the war memorial twice (about 3-4 hours each time) but didn’t finish seeing everything.
We didn’t get a chance to check out the Combat Experience Room, which uses multi-sensual effects to simulate a battlefield so that visitors can have an idea what soldiers had to go through during the Korean War.
Need a third visit!