Sport in Syonan: Triumph Over Despair - Chapter 6 | 1943 - First Anniversary of Occupation and Hockey Cup
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Group photograph of the winning Harlequins Hockey Team. 1943. Source: Margaret Clarke Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore (Media – Image No: 19980005816 – 0022)
Harlequins Hockey Team and Lazy Lads
At the beginning of the second year of occupation, there was a flurry of activity as proposals were put forward for competitions, including track and field, tennis and football.The cricket fraternity proposed the creation of a competitive league and the hockey players prepared for their own competition. The condition was that the playing fields and pitches were to be repaired and reconditioned.
The cricket fraternity proposed the creation of a competitive league and the hockey players prepared for their own competition. The condition was that the playing fields and pitches were to be repaired and reconditioned.
A Knock-Out Hockey Cup competition was initiated with a strong Eurasian representation. The Harlequins Hockey Team beat the Lazy Lads to receive the Alkaff Challenge Cup. The first hockey league was intended to showcase teams, rather than communities. Entries closed in November 1942 and the games extended until February 1943.
There were seven participating teams that still retained some racial identity.
- Harlequins (Eurasian) – ultimate winners
- Lazy Lads (Jewish, Ceylonese and Indian)
- Hornets (Eurasian)
- Rangers (Eurasian)
- Taha’s XI
- International XI
Programme and Propaganda
All of these events were in response to the central administration’s desire to celebrate the Fall of Singapore. The propaganda message was forcefully reiterated:
“The SSA formed with official blessing, has received generous assistance, and the sports meets held on the occasion of important festivals and anniversaries point undeniably to the desire of the authorities to encourage healthy sport in all its branches, so that the youth of the country may develop healthy bodies in which healthy minds can flourish.”
The anniversary programme included an international-style game in hockey. Visitors from Selangor were entertained on the Padang. The newest addition to the sporting calendar included a rugby match.
In March 1943, the cricket season opened with games being played at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the Padang and the Straits Chinese Recreation Club ground at Hong Lim Green.
With a wide variety of sports on display, demand for SSA membership grew rapidly. By 18 April 1943 there were 1,434 members of the SSA.
Pre-war: Group Photograph of Singapore Hockey Team with Selangor State Team at Kuala Lumpur Padang. 1940. Source: Singapore Sports Council (Media – Image No: 19980005602 – 0058)