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Title: "We felt closer to nature" : an environmental history of Changi prisoner of war camp, 1942 - 1945
Authors: Teo, Andre Mun Hoe
Keywords: Humanities::History::Asia::Singapore
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Teo, A. M. H. (2021). "We felt closer to nature" : an environmental history of Changi prisoner of war camp, 1942 - 1945. Final Year Project (FYP), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: This paper employs an environmental perspective to the study of the incarceration of Allied prisoners of war (POWs) in Changi during World War II. Deviating from conventional studies of incarceration that emphasize captor-captive dynamics over ecology and geography, the paper examines the myriad ways in which the natural world functioned in the daily lives of the POWs. In doing so, it highlights a paradoxical human-nature relationship grounded in three key tensions. First, nature symbolized a pernicious poison that infected POWs with sickness, hunger, and death, yet also represented an escape mechanism for them to escape the barren indoors. Second, as camp life progressed, POWs increasingly viewed nature as something to be adapted to and controlled, given the latter’s simultaneously benevolent and deleterious roles. Third, knowledge of the environment sometimes informed the decisions of the POWs and their Japanese captors, but nature’s whimsical character occasionally brought unforeseen circumstances into the mix. Taken in their totality, these three tensions point to the workings of nature as an intrinsic feature of the Changi incarceration experience.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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