On December 7, 1941 the Japanese landed on the North Eastern coast of Kota Bahru, Malaysia. Within two months, Peninsular Malaysia fell. On February 8, 1942, they crossed the causeway and seven days later, Singapore surrendered.
Bicycles played a critical role in the Japanese advance down the Malayan Peninsula. Japanese Army planners adopted the bicycle as their main mode of transport. Most Japanese soldiers were issued bicycles. Strapped to the bicycle would be the soldier’s personal equipment and food rations.
On bicycles, the Japanese troops moved rapidly down the main roads of the Malay Peninsula and outflanked the Allied Forces defending the main roads by riding through rubber estate roads and tracks to surprise them from the rear. On their bicycles the Japanese were also able to move faster than the withdrawing Allied Forces. (http://www.s1942.org.sg/s1942/bukit_chandu/directory_bicycles.htm)
Mr Rajoo recalls bicycles being widely used as mode of transport during the Japanese reign. So much so that even after the Japanese surrender, Rajoo and the other villagers working in the Sembawang Shipyard used bicycles as means of transport to travel to work. (Title of essay : Reminiscences of the Japanese Occupation ). Today, the humble bicycle is still the preferred mode of transport for shipyard workers at Sembawang.
70 years on, it is again the humble bicycle that comes back to haunt us! Never has so much being achieved (in terms of publicity) by 26 bicycles. To read more, click http://hometruly.blogspot.com