Publication Details

Kwok, J. 2009, ''The legendary overseas Chinese anti-Japanese Army in the defence of Singapore during the Japanese invasion of February 1942'', in M. Crotty (eds), When the Soldiers Return: November 2007 Conference Proceedings, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and classics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 63-72.


Known as the Overseas Anti-Japanese Army by the Chinese in Singapore but officially as Dalforce by the British, this was a Chinese militia unit formed to defend Singapore Island during the Japanese invasion in 1942. Its unit history written by its deputy commander Major Hu Tie Jun suggests that the Overseas Anti-Japanese Army was a heroic and patriotic army. The legendary exploits of the Overseas Chinese Anti-Japanese Army has since been picked up by Singaporean journalist writer Foong Choon Hon and made into a popular wartime narrative in Singapore in his best seller war narrative The Price of Peace. Since its publication in 1995, Singaporeans have regarded Foong's work as an authority on Singapore's war history. However, popular war narratives like the ones found in The Price of Peace are not necessarily history; Foong's re-interpretation of Dalforce contains many errors, inconsistencies and embellishments. At best Foong's The Price of Peace can only qualify as popular war literature. The many problems found in Foong's work on Singapore Overseas Anti-Japanese Army, however, points to larger issues on writing war history in Singapore. What The Price of Peace represents is a way of writing and presenting history that is both accommodating and comfortable to Singaporeans. It is a fine example of a nation's search for identity separate from its colonial past.

Link to publisher version (URL)

University of Queensland Press