Globalisation, commercialisation, rapid growth and expansion in Singapore, many changes to our landscape, surroundings, many new tall skyscrapers and malls, replacing many old places. The fast pace of modernisation and expansion is not just kept to Singapore only, it’s happening around the world too! We are expanding that fast until have we asked ourselves to slow down, take a look behind and reflect on our history, cultures and practices, how many of them are still retained today ? How many are already lost in history ?
I went back to my email folders and dug out an email that I saved in 2001, yes, that’s 10 years ago, and it’s something very meaningful, heart warming and it’s a very special that really touched my heart and soul because it’s my childhood … It’s those little things in life, for me, it’s my childhood, for some, it could be their teenager days.
Before you read this, this was not written by me, if you happen to know the author who composed this, drop me a comment and I will acknowledge this wonderful person !
50 things, Singaporeans aged 20 something would identify with.
1. You grew up watching He-man, Transformers, Silverhawk, Ultraman, SuperFriends 4, Woody WoodPecker, Tom & Jerry, Smurf and Mickey Mouse. Not to forget, maybe Ninja turtles too.
2. You grew up brushing your teeth with a mug in Primary school during recess time. You will squat by a drain with all your classmates beside you, and brush your teeth with a coloured mug. The teachers said you must brush each side 10 times too.
3.You know what SBC stands for.
4. You know what it means by the Centrepoint Kids, breakdance etc.
5. You were there when the first Chinese serial, the Awakening was shown on TV.
6. Internet? What the hell is that? So you thought a decade or more ago.
7. You find your friends with pagers and handphone cool in Secondary school.
8. SBS buses used to be non-airconditioned. The bus seats were made of wood and the cushion was red. The big red bell gave a loud BEEEP! when pressed. There were colourful tickets for CSS buses. The conductor will check for tickets by using a machine which punches a hole on the ticket. All SBS buses used to be manually operated, with a huge gigantic gearstick to the left of the driver.
9. Your favourite actor and actress were Huang Wenyong and Xiangyun. Next were Lee Nanxing and Zoe Tay and the Aiyoyo woman (Chen Liping).
10. You’ve probably read Young Generation magazine. You know who’s Vinny the little vampire and Acai the constable.
11. You were there when they first introduced MRT here (Yio Chu Kang to Toa Payoh). You went for the first ride with your parents and you would kneel on the seat to see the scenery.
12. Movie tickets used to cost only $3.50. Tickets were scrawled across using big red pencils. Ushers brought you into the cinemas using big metallic torchlights.
13. Gals were fascinated by Strawberry Short Cake and Barbie Dolls. You also collected Care Bears stickers, trying to complete the impossible task of filling up the sticker book.
14. You remember some taxis were green in colour. Taxis had gearsticks behind the steering wheel, with a transparent knob and little colourful flowers inside the knobs.
15. You longed to buy tibits called Kaka(20 cents per pack), and Ding Dang(50 cents per box), that had a toy in it and it changes every week not forgetting the 15 cents animal crackers and the ringpop, where the lollipop is the diamond on the ring.
16. You watched TV2(also known as Channel 10) cartoons because Channel 5 never had enough cartoons for you.
17. All that you know about Cantonese is from the Hong Kong serials you watched on TV2. In ?Man in the Net?, you watched Ah Chan eat 30 hamburgers.
18. You grew up reading ladybird books? READ IT YOURSELF? Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Three investigators, Famous Five and Secret Seven were probably the thickest story books you ever thought you had. Even SweetValley High and Malory Towers. You also love Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood, Magic Faraway tree…
19. Civics and Moral Education was ?Hao(3) Gong(1) Min(2)?.
20. KFC used to be a high class place and let you use metal forks and knives.
21. The most vulgar thing you said was asshole and idiot and… you just couldn’t bring yourself to say the hokkien relative.
22. Catching was the IN thing (a.k.a. Police and Thief) and twist or “choap choap” was the magic word.
23. Your English workbooks was made of some damn poor quality paper that was smooth and yellow.
24. Some part of your school was ALWAYS haunted, like the toilet or clock tower or a certain block. You walk fast to avoid them.
25. The only computer lessons in school involved funny pixellised characters in 16 colours walking about trying to teach you maths. You printed with noisy dot matrix printers and use computer papers with two rows of holes at the sides. ?Mouse?? What’s that?
26. Waterbottles, with your favourite cartoon character on it, were slinged around your neck and a must everywhere you go.
27. Boys loved to play soccer with small tennis balls in the basketball court.
28. Hopskotch, five stones,chateh and zero point were all the rage with the girls and boys too… Remember 5 times, highest, one-inch…
29. Science was fun with the balsam and the angsana being the most important plants of our lives.
30. Who could forget Ahmad, Bala, Gopal, Sumei, Peihua and John, eternalised in the textbooks. Even Mr Wolly, Mr Yakki.
31. You did stupid exercises like seal crawl and frog jumps.
32. Every children’s day and national day you either get pencils or pens with ‘Happy Children’s Day 1983′ or dumb files with Happy National Day 1984’.
33. In Primary six you had to play buddy for the younger kids like big sister and brother.
34. Chinese teachers were always old, boring and damn fiercelooking. Your form teacher taught you maths, science and english.
35. The Scouts used to wear shorts, and the NCC uniform was a plain green colour without camouflage.
36. The worksheets were made of brown rough paper of poor quality.
37. You went to school in slippers and a raincoat when it rained,and you find a dry spot in the school to sit and wipe yourself dry. Then you wear your dry and warm socks and shoes.
38. You listened to Xin(1) Yao(2). Remember Eric Moo’s Kopi ‘O’, ‘Sunglass’etc?
39. After exams, you brought game and watch to school, and play card games like ‘snap’ and ‘donkey’, and you also play pick up sticks and snakes & ladder and the aeroplane board game. Either this or you would play those cards comparing aeroplanes, warships, or tanks; who would have more firepower or speed or weight, etc.
40. You remember you uncles, big brothers and father screaming and shouting in front of the TV when the S’pore soccer team (always in blue jerseys) play against the Malaysians.
41. Your friends considered you lucky and rich if your parents gave you $3 or more for pocket money everyday.
42. During class gatherings, parents always tag along in case someone gets lost at Orchard Road.
43. You freak out when the teacher tells you to line up according to height and hold hands with the corresponding boy or girl.
44. Handkerchieves were a must for both genders.
45. Collecting notebooks, erasers and all kinds of stationery was a popular thing.
46. Autograph books were loaded with ?Best Wishes?, ?Forget Me Not?,and small poems like ?Bird fly high, hard to catch. Friend like you, hard to forget?.
47. Class monitors and prefects loved to say ?You talksomemore,I write your name ah!?
48. You remember songs sung by a huge group of people, like the Chinese Ming(2) Tian(1) Hui(4) Gen(4) Hao(3), and the English ?We Are The World?….In Sec Sch, you listen to Bananarama, Jason Donavan, Kylie Manogue, New Kids on the Block, ABBA, and Tommy Page (Remember ‘A Shoulder to Cry On’?…
49. Large, colourful schoolbags were carried. And fanciful pencil cases with lots of small tiny drawers, trays, sharpener or thermometer, that pop out at the push of a button were the ‘in’ thing.
50. You brought every single book to school, even though there was one thing called the timetable, written on the inside cover of your little blue notebook.
Spread this heart warming message around, you don’t get something like very often. Remember, you come from a generation worth remembering.
I had kept this for 10 years in my mailbox folders, never deleting it and I sincerely thank the author/composer who wrote the above 50 points for you had summarised my childhood days. I hope to be able to acknowledge this wonderful author/composer! The pace of life in Singapore has gone so fast and it’s not that we are caught in the past and not looking forward to the future.
It’s that while we embraced changes, growth and expansion, we do not want to forget our roots, cultures, heritage and history, the fun and laughter, peace and joy. Let this be a kickstart for me to start capturing back my childhood memories and if I can still find them, I would showcase them and share it with the world and for the future generations of Singapore, something to learn and remember!