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Images provide glimpse of war-time life

An exhibition of photographs at the University of Hong Kong's art museum offers a fascinating glimpse of the territory's recent history.

On December 7 and 8, 1941, Japanese forces carried out a series of attacks on Pearl Harbour, the Philippines, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

They were aiming to seize the Southeast Asian colonies while crippling the United States Pacific fleet.

The battle for Hong Kong was part of Japan's plan to conquer East and Southeast Asia and become a colonial power as strong as the dominant countries in the west.

Hong Kong fell into Japanese hands after 18 days of brave resistance.

The occupation lasted until the Japanese surrendered at the end of the second world war in August 1945.

This period is the subject of the Hong Kong During the Japanese Occupation exhibition, which runs until May 28.

The exhibition mainly consists of about 70 historical photographs provided by Cheng Po-hung.

The pictures give a sense of everyday life in Hong Kong under Japanese rule.

Life was difficult during this period. There were severe food shortages as the Japanese soldiers took control of Hong Kong's resources. Prices sky-rocketed and people were unable to afford even the basic necessities.

People lived in fear of the Japanese military police as well as Allied air raids while captured foreigners suffered in internment camps.

The catalogue to accompany the exhibition was written by Cheng. It gives more information about life in Hong Kong at the time.

Cheng also highlights the resilience shown by Hongkongers who found a way to get on with their lives as battles raged around Europe and Asia.

The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 6pm, and Sundays, 1.30pm to 5.30pm.

It is closed on public holidays. Admission is free. For more information, call 2241 5500.