Days of Darkness, Days of Light is finally published by The Methodist Church in Singapore, after we announced last month that it was coming up. It will be launched on Saturday, 12 Sept 2015 – the 70th Anniversary of the official surrender of the Japanese forces in Singapore in 1945.
In perspective, the book’s stories are not meant to make us anti-Japanese; rather, they are to inform today’s generation of the pioneer generation’s experiences that helped strengthen the Methodist Church in Singapore.
What stands out is that its stories bear witness to the experiences of The Methodist Church in Singapore as its members went through the bitter war years. It is to remind us of human weaknesses and failings, and also the courage God provides during trials. It is not for us to glorify human heroes, but to lift up our hearts to our Almighty God whose power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
In Chapter 9, the Rev H. B. Amstutz, who later became a bishop in 1956, recounted his days as a PoW: “We had always the goal before us of the days when the war would be over and when, pray God, we might come back stronger men, ready to carry forward the great ideals and traditions back of us. The fulfilment of this solemn trust lay ever on us and to overcome the conditions found in our internment required fortitude born of great courage and lofty spiritual ideas.”
In Chapter 14, the late Bishop Emeritus (Dr) T. R. Doraisamy said, “One fear I always had was whether I would break under physical torture and squeal. Thank God that never happened. Physical torture must have a variable breaking point for each person.”
May the generations be blessed by what has been recorded in this book.
“Growing up, I heard stories from my parents and relatives of their generation recounting their experiences during the Japanese Occupation. A book such as this one serves to record similar experiences of those who lived through the Japanese Occupation, but with a major difference: here we read of the presence of God in the midst of the darkest period in the history of a people called Methodists in Singapore.”
The Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup
Bishop, The Methodist Church in Singapore
Forewords from Annual Conference Presidents of The Methodist Church in Singapore:
“This is a highly-recommended book to read as it details the experience of the Methodist Church under Japanese rule. This is also a good book to pass on to future generations as it bears testimonies of faith, hope and love resulting from the suffering of the Church.”
The Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung
President, Chinese Annual Conference
“Reading through this book gives us a clear picture of the difficult patch the Church had gone through. It was not smooth sailing all the time. There were challenges, crisis and struggles. The Methodist Church has survived all those tests with God’s grace. God was active in His church even in those moments of crises. Hence the title, Days of Darkness, Days of Light is a fitting one.”
The Rev R. Prabhu
President, Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference
“Thank God for those who have contributed their thoughts and those who have worked so hard to put this wonderful book together.”
The Rev Dr Gordon Wong
President, Trinity Annual Conference
Book cover graphic courtesy of Archives and History Library