Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Neighbours from Jalan Wijaya

When I first started writing this blog, I never thought that I would ever hear from anyone who lived in our old street in Jalan Wijaya, Johore Bahru. In the last couple of months though, I've heard from quite a few people who would have been near neighbours when we were there. An older post tells of a very close neighbour, Tracey Jamieson (then Lattimer), who lived at 97 Jalan Wijaya. This morning, I heard from Steven Rayment who lived at number 78 (we lived at 103) so we must have lived quite close to each other. We were both there at the same time in the 1960s.
I also recently heard from Eric Williams who lived at 99 Jalan Wijaya which was just two doors away from us! Strangely, we didn't remember each other but we must have passed regularly. Eric kindly sent me some photos of a visit in 2003. Finally, Keith Galway wrote to me from Perth. Keith lived at 20 Jalan Wijaya much later and sent me some photos of the area as it was recently. He also made a little film which can be seen below.



Here are a couple of the photos that Keith kindly sent me with the film. The first shows the view from our front door. I walked along this road many times to get to the shops which were just in the next street. On the left is Mr Lee's house. I'm sure that he must be long gone now. The house has been extended but the original slate-type wall was there when I was a kid. In the distance, where the red roofs are, can be seen Dato Jalan Sulaiman. The skyscraper certainly wasn't there back in the 1960s! Around the corner on the right was a grocery shop, an insurance salesman (who had his own monkey), a photographers and a cafe.

The second photo shows the view walking down into Jalan Wijaya. I walked that way many times and it reminds me of the time I came off my bike as well as the time I cracked my head open and walked all the way home and a large dog stood up on my shoulders and licked me! I ran after that!

Eric's first photo shows where the shops at Dato Jalan Sulaiman once stood. Today, there's some sort of car dealership there. This photo really brings back memories for me because we were always at the shops there. I remember the box of cornflakes that we bought which was full of ants! We'd catch the bus just a little further down which would always head up 'Flipflop Hill' before heading off to Johore.
Eric's second photo shows his house at 99 Jalan Wijaya in 2003. The gate is exactly the same as it was in the 1960s!
Anyone who reads my blog regularly would have seen the 1960s home movies of Jalan Wijaya posted here, as well as the home movie I made in 1990.
Seeing everyone else's photos makes me want to make the trip back and walk along the streets of Jalan Wijaya once more!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

New edition of Sampans, Banyans and Rambutans


The new edition of Sampans, Banyans and Rambutans should be available from Amberley Publishing very shortly. In the meantime, here's a sneak preview of the cover.
It should go to print sometime this week so will be in the shops very soon.
The original version has sold very well, selling all over the world, and I'm hoping the new version will appear in many more shops and get a lot more coverage. It's already available on Amazon and Waterstones on the net to pre-order if anyone wants to check it out.
I love the front cover with all those sampans covering the Singapore river!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Wanchai Burberrys


This photo shows me and my dad outside our home in Jalan Wijaya, Johore Bahru, in about 1965. It's the only personal photo that I have that shows a Wanchai Burberry. Have you spotted it yet? It's standing in the corner behind me against the wall. Wanchai Burberrys are what everyone called the paper umbrellas you got back then. I think they cost $1 and were very handy if there was a sudden downpour. All I remember about them is the strong smell of fish glue which was used to hold them together. The smell got far worse when it rained. Perhaps that's why our Wanchai Burberry is outside the house! The paper umbrellas got their name because many were made in Wan Chai in Hong Kong and 'burberry' was the name that Naval personnel called their raincoats.
They still sell them, even in England, but I wonder if the girl who runs the nearby shop selling Chinese produce would know what I wanted if I asked for a Wanchi Burberry today?