Lim Bo Seng Memorial

Robert Ng Keng Seng

First placed in Singapore: 1954

Esplanade Park, the Padang


Patron: The Lim Bo Seng Memorial Committee

Said by a source at the time to be modelled on the Victory Monument in Nanking, built by the Nationalist government. Clearly this monument was part of the effort to bolster counterclaims of non-Communist forces in the fight against the Japanese occupiers, in China and Malaya. The monument was first proposed in 1946, but several plans were rejected by the colonial government (see Straits Times, 23 October 1951). Ng's successful plan of late 1951 was apparently the sixth proposal.

The foundation stone was laid on 23 November, 1953 by Malcolm McDonald, but work on the monument took longer than planned. The solid bronze roof, and four bronze lions, are all imported from Hong Kong. Raoul Bigazzi sourced the marble used. There's a wonderful photo of the roof being lifted in place in the Straits Times of 26 January 1954.

The Memorial was unveiled on the 10th anniversary of Lim Bo Seng's death, 29 June 1954.

Interestingly enough, the memorial was the focus of the age-old discussion of how the public “abuses” the monuments created for them. In 1956 one of the brass plaques was stolen, and the organizing committee complained of people sitting on the flowers, throwing rubbish in the flower boxes, ridden on the lions and paddled in the pool at its base. By 1964 apparently all the bronze plaques had been stolen, and one of the lions wrenched from its mounting. (See “Case of the missing memorial lion”, The Straits Times, 22 November 1964, Page 14 (

Text of the Label:

There are four plaques on the monument, in English, Jawi, Tamil and Chinese. Text of the english version: Major-General Lim Bo Seng 1909-1944 Major-General Lim Bo Seng was born on 27th April, 1909 in Nan-an, Fukien, China. He came to Singapore at the age of 16. After studying at Raffles Institution and Hongkong University, he inherited his father's business in Malaya. Since 1937 he became prominent in anti-Japanese activities. When Singapore fell in 1942, he went to Chungking and on instructions from the Chinese government, he joined the underground resistance section of 136 Force under the Supreme Allied Command, South-East Asia, on 2nd November 1943 as Commanding Officer of the Malayan Chinese section. He landed from a submarine at Bagan Bator in Perak to join the British and Chinese officers already working in Malaya, with anti-Japanese forces. Later he left the jungle to work in Ipoh, but he was discovered and arrested by the Japanese Military Police on 27th March, 1944. He manfully endured repeated tortures to which he ultimately succumbed on 29th June, 1944, at the age of 35. He died in the Batu Gajah prison, a martyr to the cause of a liberated Malaya and to his loyalty to his comrades. On 13th January, 1946, he was buried with full military honours in Singapore. Erected by The Lim Bo Seng Memorial Committee 29th June 1954 ---There is also a small brass plaque with the name of the designer of the memorial:Ng Keng Siang, F.R.I.B.A Architect[same in Chinese]

Last updated: Dec-5-2020

Lim Bo Seng Memorial

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