1942 Japanese Broadcasting Department moves in followed by Japanese Military Propaganda Department and Japanese Military Information Bureau.
Cathay Building was home to the British Malaya Broadcasting Corporation until the Japanese invaded Singapore in 1942 and the building was used as the Japanese Propaganda Department Headquarters. Look out for the World War Two Memorial Plaque facing Handy Road.
Cathay Building was home to the British Malaya Broadcasting Corporation before the Japanese occupied Singapore. It was the tallest building in Singapore then. Upon occupation, the Japanese used it as the office of their Propaganda Division, headed by Lieutenant Colonel Okubo.
People were only allowed to listen to Radio Syonan. Where radio seals were found broken, the listeners were punishable by death. Many people surrendered their radios, for fear of accidentally damaging the seals and inviting Kempeitai arrest.
"Suitable" programmes invariably publicised Japanese language and culture: lectures and anecdotes on the appreciation of the Japanese language, news in Japanese, Japanese songs, and weekly news commentaries. Languages used in the broadcasts included Mandarin, Malay and Hindi, although English was used occasionally to teach the Japanese language. However, the hunger for real news still gripped many, who risked their lives to tune in to the BBC on illegally-operated radios.
Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, supreme Commander, Southeast Asia Command used the building as his headquarters when he arrived in 1945 upon the return of the British.
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During the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese Broadcasting Department moved into the building, took over the existing broadcasting facilities and, in March 1942, began Radio Syonan's transmissions from here. Later, their Propaganda Department Headquarters and Military Information Bureau were stationed here too. The restaurant became the dining room for Japanese military officers stationed in the building. Occasional movie screenings were held for the public but these films were from existing stock in the storerooms. The fourth-floor preview theatre screened American movies exclusively for Japanese officers. Outside the building, there were human heads stuck on poles; these were beheaded looters and other victims of the Japanese military...
Cathay Building became the headquarters for Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander, South-east Asia from November 1945 to November 1946. It was also the headquarters of Governor General Malcolm MacDonald and Special Commissioner Lord Killearn. Other occupants included the Far Eastern Disposal Board and the British Malaya Broadcasting Corporation (which resumed broadcasts on the demise of Radio Syonan). Also here were the Navy Intelligence Branch and the American Club (1946-1953).