Fiona Hodgkins, a History graduate whose professional life has revolved around history and education, has lived in Singapore with her family since 2008. Her Eurasian roots can be traced back via her mother’s family to Portuguese traders settling in the port of Malacca in Malaya from the mid-18th Century.
With a British father, but born and raised in Asia, she grew up and lived in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia until her late teens, developing an empathy with the region. Returning to Asia with her family in 2008, her love of history and her personal quest to find out about her background drew her into the story of the settlement in Bahau, where her grandparents, mother, aunts and further extended family were interned. Harnessing her passion for social history and living in Singapore gave her the unparalleled ability to research the story first hand which she has done in a thorough, professional and yet sympathetic way, resulting in the publication of From Syonan to Fuji-Go.
In tandem with this book, the author has written an illustrated book, Voices under the Rising Sun, telling the story of Bahau in a more accessible and novel way for children aged 10 and above. A book chronicling the social history of her family in the region is in the pipeline.
From Syonan to Fuji-Go and Voices under the Rising Sun were published with the support of National Heritage Board of Singapore.
In addition to writing the above books Fiona has published a number of related articles for various magazines across Singapore. Links to the published articles may be found at the end of this page.
During the Japanese Occupation in World War II, some 3,000 men, women and children left Singapore to form a Catholic settlement in the jungles of Malaya, near the town of Bahau.
Based on extensive interviews and access to private manuscripts, this book provides a vivid account of life in Bahau, and presents new insights into those who were there, why they went, and the
lasting legacy of Bahau on their lives. It is also a moving account of the author’s journey of discovery about her mother, who was interned at Bahau.
Fitting memory to those who died, honourable recognition of those who survived, and an important resource for future generations, this is essential reading for those who seek an understanding of an important part of Singapore’s history.
“This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of this period in Singapore’s history.” – Paul Madden, British High Commissioner to Singapore, 2007-11
“Fiona Hodgkins’s excellent encyclopaedic chronicle of Fuji-Go is one of great value and significance – historical, informative ... beautifully written, enjoyable and absorbing.” – F.A.C. “Jock” Oehlers, Author of That’s How It Goes: The Way of the 90-Year Life Journey of a Singapore Eurasian
Parents, looking for a different kind of book to engage your child? Written in the form of both primary and secondary sources such as diaries, letters and discursive texts, this book will enable your child to develop their skills of historical deduction. And, as well as being an interesting and informative historical story, this book also serves as an educational resource for English writing.
"This book was fantastic! I’ve not read something like this before. Loved the layout - great way to tell a story based on true facts.” - Rhyen, age 10
“I love all the characters - one of my favourite books.” - Flo, age 11
“A wonderful easy-to-read book that trasnports you the jungles of Malaya during WW2. The diaries, newspaper reports and letters make you feel like you know all the characters personally. The illustrations are very well done, and help us visualise all the destinations of the journey.” - Jonathan, age 12
For direct purchase of the above books from Ellipsis Learning please use the contact form on this site. ALL PRICES IN SINGAPORE DOLLARS.
From Syonan to Fuji-Go. Singapore address $25 + p&p
From Syonan to Fuji-Go Rest of the World $25 + p&p
Voices under the Rising Sun Singapore address $15 + p&p
Voices under the Rising Sun Rest of the World $15 + p&p
Books are also available for sale at good bookshops in Singapore and the following:
- The Museum Label (at National Museum and Asian Civilisations Museum) - Singapore
- The Eurasian Association - Singapore
- and via Select Books - www.selectbooks.com.sg
The following historical articles have been also published by Fiona Hodgkins in various publications.
The Bahau Settlers list
From Syonan to Fuji-go contains a list of around 500 names that have been compiled of people who were in Bahau. It is neither complete nor necessarily completely accurate. Some names are corroborated, some are hearsay, but it is included here in the hope that it will jog memories and lead people to come forward to correct and add to the list. So, apologies for any errors in the spelling of names, or in repetition, or incorrect listing of people - think of it as a work in progress.
Please use the contact form in the link to send me any updates or corrections. It would be very helpful for corroboration if you can include as much background confirmation as possible in any suggestions made.
The Bahau Settlers list will be updated as changes are corroborated and consolidated.
3 May 2015
LINK: The Bahau Settlers
The following link provides access to a number of the photographs and documents contained in the published edition of From Syonan to Fuji-Go plus additional material.
LINK: Photo Gallery
LINK: Documents Gallery