The Japanese Imperial Forces captured nearly all of South East Asia including Singapore during World War 2. At that time Singapore was known as the Gibratar of the East. But Singapore aka Gibratar of the East under the British colonial rule wasn’t as solid as a rock. The British did spend tremendous amount of efforts and money to build a fortress like naval base in Singapore or rather the entire Singapore was more like that of a naval base. It was supposed to act as a deterrent to the increasingly active and aggressive Imperial Japanese armies and was built at a cost of $500 million dollars, a considerable sum at that time. Naval Base Singapore boasted of the largest dry dock of the world then and the third largest floating dock. Well, impressive infrastructure but just an empty shell with two British warships, the Prince of Wales and the Republic which were easily sunk by the Japanese.


Singapore Defense

The British I feel was too complacent and made a strategic mistake. They assumed that the Malaya forests were too tight to enable Japanese invasion from there. Instead they focused their attention on the seas off Singapore. Five gigantic artilleries capable of firing 15 inch shells were deployed mostly facing the sea in anticipation of the Japanese invaders. But the Japanese Imperial army under the command of the notorious Tiger of Malaya General Yamashita conquered Malaya in a matter of days and proceeded to attack Singapore from Johor despite the Causeway linking Singapore and Malaya being blown apart by the retreating British forces.


Military Strength

At the Battle of Singapore, the British forces had about 90 000 troops under the command of Lieutenant General Arthur Percival which was roughly equal to the invasion forces of General Yamashita. There were three crucial factors in the defeat. Firstly the sinking of the two British battle ships meant that Japanese had control of the seas. Secondly the Zero fighters of the Japanese was far superior to that of the aging fighter deployed by the British, hence air supremacy was also the privy of the Japanese. Last but no least, the 90 000 troops of General Percival were not well trained, many had not gone through a war before, whereas the Japanese Imperial army led by the extremely capable General Yamashita had 90 000 troops that had participated in the invasion of China, the Kwantung troops. The British surrendered on the 15 February 1942 in what then Prime Minister of the British, Sir Winston Churchill described as “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history”. Unknown to the British was the fact that Yamashita was fast running out of ammunition.


Japanese Occupation

Under the Japanese brutal rule, tens of thousands of civilians were murdered. Japanese Secret Service routinely rounded up civilians to be massacred at the Changi beach. Even those whose hands were smooth were taken away and never came back again as the Japanese suspected that those with smooth hands should not be workers but intellectuals that are more likely to plot against them. Life under the Japanese rule was tough and hyperinflation resulted when the Japanese needed more and more resources on the war fronts where they were facing massive losses. Indiscriminate printing of the Japanese currency in Singapore caused the notes to be near worthless. The Japanese war time currency notes in Singapore were normally printed with tropical fruit trees images such as the Banana tree, hence the nickname Banana Notes which were meant to be a disparaging comparison. The Japanese surrendered on 12 September 1945 after two atomic bombs were dropped separately at (code name for the atomic bomb – Little Boy) Hiroshima and (code name for the atomic bomb – Fat Man) Nagasaki.


US Dollar

The famous greenback which is the currency in times of turmoil or war was that of the US Dollar. But the rapid devaluation of the US Dollar as well as the seemingly unlimited printing of the dollar to sustain QE1, QE2 and QE Unlimited made me think of the famous Japanese Banana notes. I remembered it was not long ago when the US Dollar was double the value it is now. That is how far the US Dollar had shrink in terms of monetary value. Despite the assurance of the Federal Reserve Banks that they will not allow the US Dollar to devalue, we have to think of the realistic scenario. The United States debt can be seen online here at . When I am writing this article it is standing at $16,742,813,573,514.05. Who are the USA largest creditors? China with $1.2 trillion, Japan with $1.1 trillion etc, a list can be found here .


If not for the fact that the US Dollar is the Reserve currency of the world, I guess USA would be bankrupt a long time ago. But USD is still the dominant and undisputed Reserve currency of the world. I cannot imagine how frustrated China and Japan are privately. They are not voicing out for fear that there would be financial panic and their loans will shrink further. But it is also common sense that with such a large debt, you will tend to try to reduce the magnitude of the debt. For the USA, this means reducing the real value of the dollar by printing more and more and causing more and more devaluation. This is the Common sense approach for anyone. Whether the US Dollar will become the equivalent Banana currency of Peace time remains to be seen. If the fiscal and monetary policies keep conflicting with each other, I fear the worse. The US government was cutting spending through a notorious measure known as sequestration. The randomness of the cuts is beginning to be felt about six months after the implementation. In the monetary funds, the Federal Reserve Banks keep a expansionary policy which is in direct contradiction to that taken by the government. The conflicting signals and the magnitude of the printing of US Dollar causes hot money to flow throughout the world inflating the prices of anything you can name. It is time that the USA as an United country rein in on the indiscriminate monetary expansion policy and start to cut their debts. Spending money to get out of bankruptcy will only cause one to become worse off. This common sense applies to the Man in the Street and also applies to the Government of the United States of America.


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