It seems strange shivering in cold, wet England that we once spent our Christmases in the warm, humid atmosphere of Singapore and Malaya. I've featured the photo, shown here, before in my blog but I think it really sums up the heat back then. It's hard to imagine walking around like that nowadays in December in England. Back then, that silver artificial tree seemed huge to me. You used to get some brilliant decorations back then and mum would spend the day decorating the front room. I think that I helped to decorate the tree but probably knocked off more decorations than I put on! We had many of these Christmas decorations until the 1980s but they've all long since disappeared now. This photo would have probably been taken in 1966 when I was about 5 years old. Alan would have been about 10. There was a lot to look forward to back then. Not only all of our super presents on Christmas morning including go-karts, tin robots and cars etc but also the Christmas party at the Naval Base where there would be a Santa, another present, rides, fireworks and a cinema show. There was also the Christmas tv which included Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, I love Lucy, the Three Stooges, Casper, the Flintstones etc. It's amazing that this photo was taken 44 years ago and looking at it today is almost like looking at a totally different person. Certainly a lot has changed since the sixties!
Friday, 19 November 2010
There was one show that we all loved to watch in Singapore and Malaya back in the 1960s and that was Star Trek. It's funny how your mind plays tricks on you because I always remember watching the show in colour but, of course, back then, we only had rented black and white sets. I think Star Trek was always on about 7 or 8pm. I remember it was dark anyway! People laugh about William Shatner's acting back then but it all looked great when I was a kid and the show was way ahead of its time. We never missed it. I remember the first episode I ever saw of Star Trek. It was the one where Kirk fights an odd looking dinosaur alien. It appears that there wasn't much money spent on this episode! I recognise the location because it's been featured in many films and tv shows over the years, including 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure'. That dinosaur gave me nightmares afterwards but he looks very harmless today. Of course, nowadays, we've all seen every episode of the original Star Trek at least 12 times and know it all off by heart but back in the 60s it all seemed amazing. Alan and me would re-enact episodes in the back garden at Jalan Wijaya the next day.
I've found a clip of that very first episode that I saw on YouTube. It's described as the 'worst fight scene ever'. See what you think. I never did watch any of the follow up Star Trek shows on the telly and, although millions of people enjoy them, I don't think I'm missing much!
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Friday, 15 October 2010
Saturday, 2 October 2010
Many of you reading this will have read my first book about my childhood in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s, 'Sampans, Banyans and Rambutans'. The good news is that it is to be republished by Amberley Publishing and will hopefully be out later this year. The book will feature colour photos and be glossy and the quality will be a lot better than the original. Also, it will receive better publicity and distribution.
I'm amazed at the many people who have read the book since it first came out in 2006 and I've had hundreds of letters and emails about it over the years. It's been very interesting to hear other people's stories and memories and to learn what everyone is up to nowadays. Previously, the book has only been available through myself, Amazon or ordered through bookshops but hopefully, it'll soon be available at your local branch of Waterstones or W H Smiths etc.
BBC 4 were interested in using memories from it in a new documentary about children's experiences in the Far East in the 1960s but, unfortunately, this seems to have fallen through. Hopefully, with renewed interest and publicity for the book, the documentary will one day get the go-ahead.
I get emails almost daily about people's lives in Singapore back then and I know there's still a great interest in those happy, idyllic times. I hope a lot more people will read the book and I hope that it will bring back many fond memories.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
I loved all the seashells and starfish we found on the beaches around Singapore and Malaya. I remember landing on an island off Penang somewhere, on a banyan trip, and the shores of the beach were covered in starfish. All the kids collected them up, there were thousands, but soon let them all go. I remember one kid took one back to his chalet at Sandycroft where it sat on the doorstep. There were many exotic shells on the beaches back then and most of us would have never seen anything like them. Nowadays, they can be bought at any seaside location in the UK for just a few pence! The photo shows a shell which I think is called a Tiger Cowrie. Dad's friend and colleague at KD Malaya, Poon, was on a trip to Borneo and picked up two of these and gave them to me and Alan when we were kids. I've still got them today, over 40 years later. I was amazed by all the brightly coloured shells back then and probably had quite a collection but I can't remember any of them. Most of them probably stayed at Jalan Wijaya when we returned home and some may still be in the garden there somewhere.
Incidentally, what reminded me of all this today was when I picked up a seashell in the house and put it to my ear so that I could hear the noise of the seaside - something I've been doing since I was about three!
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
I loved the sound of all the crickets in the evening at Jalan Wijaya when we were tucked up in bed. They probably helped me get to sleep. It would get dark at 7pm and they would start making a noise about the same time, although they must have chirped through the day too. It's a noise that I never heard when we returned back to England and it wasn't until I went to Australia in 1990 that I heard them again. Nowadays, you seem to hear them more in the Summer in England but I'm sure this is more of a recent thing.
Other noises that could be heard in the night, in Johore back then, were frogs and toads croaking in the monsoon drains. There were also chit-chats running about and the odd bombay runner. Mosquitoes would sometimes buzz near your ear just before they decided to bite you. Apart from that, I remember it being very quiet, I don't remember any noises from any other wild animals. We weren't too far away from the jungle so I suppose anything could have wandered into the street in the night although I don't remember seeing or hearing anything. There must have been barking dogs as there were plenty of them about but I must have slept through it all. Some people were burgled by people with long bamboo poles with fishing hooks on the end which they would stick through any open window to see what they could grab. Luckily, although it was very hot and our windows were always open at night, it never happened to us!
Nowadays, I love the sound of crickets and grasshoppers chirping and the noise always takes me straight back to those humid nights as a boy living in Jalan Wijaya.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Here's a few more photos from our stay at the Sandycroft Leave Centre in Penang in 1965.
The first one shows my mum and Alan sitting on the railings opposite the cafe and the arcade that Alan and me spent so much time playing in. Below can be seen the beach which features in our cine films from that time. I can still remember everyone running out of the sea nearby after a school of dolphins was spotted. I've mentioned before that everyone thought that they were sharks!
The second photo shows the Butterworth car ferry that took travellers from the mainland over to the island of Penang. I'm sure that many people will remember the bright yellow ferry which was in use for many years after we returned home to England. I was fascinated by it at the time, none of us had ever been on a car ferry before and it was very exciting for a kid.
The third photo shows Alan, mum and me paddling in the children's pool again at Sandycroft. I think the building in the background housed the arcade with its many slot machines and shoot-em-up games. I think there were some chalets on this level but we were on the next level up. I wonder if this photo was taken early in the morning because the pool is empty and would be full up with kids later in the day playing with their inflatable toys and lilos.
Friday, 6 August 2010
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Many of the shops in Singapore and Malaya sold tiger rugs. As a boy, I was fascinated by them and wanted one for our bedroom at Jalan Wijaya. Of course, tigers would have roamed wild not too far from where we lived and were probably easy prey to hunters. At the time, it was something exciting but nowadays, of course, the thought of someone shooting anything as beautiful as a tiger disgusts me. We were all putting Tigers in Our Tanks and tying fake tails to our bikes and car aerials while hunters were out shooting and trapping real ones close by. Tiger rugs seemed to be everywhere back then, in hotels, offices, banks as well as for sale in places like Tangs. Their snarling heads made you think that they could leap up and bite you at any moment. A tiger is certainly a beautiful animal which is why, perhaps, that someone would have wanted one as a rug back then. I think that I've written about the three legged tiger that was on display at the zoo at Johore Bahru (it lost its other leg when it was trapped). Looking back to those days, I would have thought that people there cared little about animals but then I found this newspaper clipping from a Singapore newspaper dated 14th October 1966:
Spider fight : $500 fine
'Get caught staging a spider or fish fight and you might have to pay a $500 fine, 6 months in jail or both.' This was the message from a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals official to Tiong Bahru Secondary School students as part of a kindness to animals campaign.
It's funny that they were so concerned about insects such as spiders but not too concerned about tigers, apes, dogs and other animals. I'm sure that much has changed over the years. Of course, nowadays, I would never want or have anything in my house like a tiger rug but to a small boy, it was something incredible and fascinating.
Thursday, 8 July 2010
This photo was taken on our trip up to Penang in 1966. I've mentioned before that we travelled all the way up to Penang from Johore in a tiny Toyota.
There were lots of rubber plantations in Malaya but this one made us laugh because it was called the 'Gooi Rubber Company' which looked a lot like 'Gooey Rubber' to us and that's what we called it ever after. I think this photo was taken by my mum and we must have stopped on the way to take it. Although we were warned of bandits and wild animals such as tigers, I don't think we ever saw any, just the few working elephants that crossed our path further into the journey. I don't even remember seeing any monkeys on the long journey although there were plenty of dead snakes on the road.
The rubber trees used to have grooves cut in them which led down to a metal cup or half a coconut to collect the rubber. This seemed a long drawn out process even back then and I'm still not sure how they collected it all and put it to use. Some of it will have turned up in our tyres and the many flip-flops we wore over the years. There was a rubber factory near our home in Jalan Wijaya and I recall the smell. Alan remembers opening one of the bins and finding a sheet of rubber with all the shapes for flip-flops pressed out of it. It all burnt down one night while we slept. There must have been a huge black cloud and an awful smell but we missed it all because we were fast asleep.
I wonder if the Gooi Rubber Company is still in business?
Saturday, 26 June 2010
I have been putting this blog together for quite a while now but many people who were in Singapore and Malaya don't get to read it because they have no access to the internet. Because of this, I've compiled all the tales featured here into a new book, 'Monsoon Memories'. If you have relatives or friends who would like a copy, or if you would rather have a book version for yourself, then there are more details about the book on the right hand side of this page.
The more I write about our times in Singapore and Malaya, the more I seem to remember. I enjoy sharing all these memories with everyone and there are still lots more to come. I hope that the book will bring back many happy memories.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Here's a lovely photo of my mum and me in Tiger Balm Gardens in about 1966. My mum had just been rubbing the Buddha's belly and many people did this because it was meant to bring them good luck! When I went back in 1990, the Buddha was still there and people were still rubbing his belly for luck!
At the time, I saw this statue as being quite high up but when I saw it again in 1990, it wasn't really much off the ground.
Most of our photos of Tiger Balm Gardens seem to have been taken on the same day as we're wearing the same clothes. This must have been the day also when my dad took his cine camera.
It's funny, I remember going to Tiger Balm Gardens on many occasions but, wouldn't it be funny if my memory has played tricks on me all these years and we only went a couple of times? I'll have a look through my old photos and see if this is the case.
I remember that we had a lovely time on that day. Of course my favourite statue will always be that fierce gorilla at the beginning of the park!
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Saturday, 5 June 2010
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Thursday, 20 May 2010
I wonder how many people ended up in hospital while they were living in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s? I've heard of many kids who ended up down the monsoon drains after coming off their bikes and there were stories of hookworms which, on a leaflet issued then, said that they could be contracted by walking around in bare feet. If that was the case then we should have all got them! I don't think I ever heard of anyone having any though.
I recently banged my head and when the concussion wore off, I started to think about the times I've banged my head before. If someone had asked me how many times it had happened in Singapore, I would have said just one but now I think about it, there were at least three times that I can remember. The first was just after we got there and I was three and, as I remember, I was standing up on the back of a pushchair. I would have been too old for a pushchair so maybe it was an ordinary chair. Anyhow, as I leaned on the back, it came crashing forward and I smashed my face on the front doorstep at Jalan Wijaya. I was taken to hospital where they put me under a huge x ray machine. My dad got the message at work that it was worse than it was and came rushing home and picked us up at the hospital. My face was a bit squashed and I didn't want to talk but my dad asked me if it hurt and after a while I replied, 'Of torse it hurts!' That's not a spelling mistake - I just couldn't talk properly! I can't remember how long it took me to get over it.
The second bang came when I was about a year older and I was pretending to be a kangaroo at Debbie Sharpe's birthday party. Debbie lived close to us at Jalan Dato Sulaiman. As I jumped, I cracked my head on the window and walked home, crying with blood pouring down my head. I've still got the scar!
The third time was when I was on my bike, it had stabilizers, and I went a bit too quick and fell off and hit the front gate. I'm sure I must have had other accidents like this but I can't remember them. I wonder how many other kids, who were there when I was, also ended up in hospital?
Nowadays, I just bang my head badly about every 10 years so this must mean that as I get older, I'm getting less clumsy. It certainly doesn't feel like it!
The photo shows me when I was very little and there's the doorstep in the background! I'm not sure if this was before or after the accident but I look very happy anyway.
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
I used to love going to the bank but the only real reason was because they always gave the kids something free. I remember that my free gift was a yellow toy plastic safe which, when you wound it up, would play a tune. It had one of those barrel things with pins inside that hit different notes as the drum turned. It was also a money box. Back then, I was fascinated by it. I remember that we used to travel into Singapore and the bank was somewhere down by the harbour. I think that my dad has told me before that it was the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank but I don't really remember. I do remember, however, that it was very plush and was cooled by huge fans. The staff were always very friendly especially to the children.
When I went back to Singapore in 1990, I went into the main post office there, which has to be the nicest looking post office I've ever been in. Straightaway, I was reminded of our visits to the bank and I wondered if the building housing the post office had once housed our old bank. Does anyone know?
Your memory works in strange ways and there's one other reason why I remember our visits to the bank. Often, when we were queueing up, there would be a man, with one arm, in the next queue. I even remember that he wore a white short sleeved shirt. Isn't that strange that I should remember that because I would have only have been about 5 years old at the time. It sounds terrible now but, because he had one arm, I imagined him being some sort of villain or a spy. Up until then, or since, I'd never seen anyone with one arm and I think my reasons for thinking he was a crook was just because of one thing - the television! Before we left for Singapore in 1965, my parents had been watching the Fugitive which starred David Janssen. Of course, the real criminal that committed the crime only had one arm. I still don't understand how the police failed to catch him from that description! Anyhow, because of our move to Singapore, my parents missed the last episode, and it must have been either me seeing the programme (though I don't remember us having a telly), or my parents talking about it, that I associated men with one arm as being baddies. That's how you think when you're 5 years old! There was another thing that I think I remember about the bank and that was that it had a lift and self-opening doors which, as I mentioned before, as a kid, fascinated me!
Incidentally, my parents never did get to see that final episode of the Fugitive! Did they ever catch him?
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Being Forces kids, we all had quite short hair but with it being the 1960s, many people decided that they wanted to grow their hair. However, this was frowned upon by the Singapore government. The picture shows a sign that was displayed at many public buildings until at least the 1970s. It states that, 'Males with long hair will be attended to last' and by long hair, they meant hair falling across the forehead and touching the eyebrows, hair covering the ears or hair reaching below an ordinary shirt collar. I don't remember seeing any men with long hair when we were there and everyone all looked pretty tidy. Perhaps the attraction for long hair took place after we left in 1968.
An article in a Singapore newspaper on the 8th December, 1969 read:
No to 'Beatle' haircuts for civil servants.
The Government warned its employees that it would not tolerate unkempt Beatles mop-top haircuts or 'flashy' clothing during office hours.
A circular sent out to all government servants said : 'Disciplinary action will be taken against those who fail to comply with the order'. The new rule was necessary in keeping with Singapore's efforts to improve its standards of 'cleanliness, hygene and appearance'.
The rule never affected me and I must have been behind the times because I didn't grow my hair until at least 1972!
It's funny how these things stay in your mind though and when I visited Singapore in 1990, after backpacking around Australia for 6 months, I made sure that I had a haircut before we got there. Of course, times had changed and things had moved on and I don't think they were bothered if I'd had a haircut or not!
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Singapore and Malaya had a smell all of its own back in the 1960s. With the open monsoon drains and the cluttered up Singapore River, the pong was something that I've never smelled since! With the river being full of sampans and bumboats bringing in food and other produce for the markets, everything just seemed to go overboard. This included any plastic waste, cardboard, rotting vegetables and fish, boat fuel, animal waste and all kinds of other waste. At the end of the day, when the markets had shut up shop, any rubbish lying around was either left where it fell or swept into the river. Of course, the rats loved it and there were many of them running about. There must have been tens of thousands of them back then because when I went back in 1990, even though the river had been cleaned up and was practically empty of boats, there were still thousands of rats running about, especially down by the Merlion statue.
I remember the monsoon drains in front of our house at Jalan Wijaya but I don't remember seeing any rats there ever, which is strange. Maybe I've just forgotten them, there must have been a lot of them about.
I remember the smell of Singapore more than the smell of Malaya (apart from Jason's Bay which sometimes stunk of Oxen muck!) and it's a smell that's hard to describe. I'm sure that anyone reading this blog who was there at the time has never forgotten the pong. It's surprising, even with all the injections, that none of us ever got anything more deadly than mumps and German measles, especially when we were walking around in bare feet or flip flops.
Now that Singapore has been cleaned up the smell has gone forever. However, if you're feeling nostalgic, I've discovered that it can still be found in places like Egypt and India!
Saturday, 24 April 2010
I love hearing the sound of the rain hitting the roof and often it reminds me of sitting indoors at Jalan Wijaya, when I was about 4 years old, in 1965, watching the dirty, muddy water slowly rising towards our front door during the Monsoon season. It never did come in the house and sometimes we would float small boats made out of paper in the huge puddle outside our door. I think that I've mentioned before that when we first arrived in Malaya and there was the first heavy downpour of the Monsoon season, we all ran outside to stand in it to cool down. Our Amah, Azizah, found this all very funny but we were so unused to the humidity that the first chance we had to cool down, we took it. Even after all this time, I still remember that the rain was warm as it fell. Sometimes during the heavy rains, there would be loud thunderstorms that would shake the house. They were far more violent than the ones you got in England at the time. Luckily, the monsoon drains took away most of the water but sometimes the road would be completely flooded especially further down the road where it dipped. Dad was once driving home in his Triumph Herald and the water came up over the bonnet.
Once the rains had stopped and the sun came out again, all the smells were suddenly heightened. The smell of the heated road, rotting vegetables and just about everything else you could think of, were suddenly a lot stronger. It probably sounds strange now but I loved that smell and when I've been abroad since and it's just stopped raining and the sun's come out, that smell takes me straight back to the streets of Malaya. The only other smell that does that is the odour of Frangipani which always reminds me of our holidays at Sandycroft in Penang. Maybe that's why I enjoy a good thunderstorm so much as it reminds me of those happy days that we spent in Singapore and Malaya during the 1960s.
By the way, you'll have to read my book to find out why I don't look too happy in the photo!
Saturday, 17 April 2010
At KD Malaya, where Dad worked with Poon, the bar was run by a Chinese man called Lingha, along with his brother, Pow. Lingha hurtled around on an old scooter, with a carrier on the back, which was usually full of curry puffs which he sold up at the Officers Mess. Apparently, they were delicious. My parents would sit outside on a picture night, eating curry puffs and having a drink. Whenever Dad was on duty at night, Lingha would bring him curry prawns and rice, wrapped in a banana leaf. The prawns were huge, unlike the ones you got here. One day, Dad's friend, Tom Bagwell, got a call from Pow to say that Lingha had died and asked if he would go with him to collect the body. What Tom didn't realise was that they were just to be given the body as it was and had to drive back with Lingha sat up in the back seat! Tom kept checking in his rear view mirror to see if Lingha was sitting upright! Just as well they weren't stopped by the police on the way back although they would have probably just been use to it anyway!
There seemed to be a different approach to death over there. Life seemed to be cheap and if anyone was knocked over, the shop keepers would come out and just place cardboard over the body until someone came to collect it. There were probably quite a few road accidents at the time. Funerals involved the mourners burning paper money (Hell notes) and other items (such as paper houses, paper cars etc) so that the deceased would be well off in the afterlife.
I'm not sure what happened to Lingha after he was collected but it must have been quite an eerie experience driving him back!
Monday, 12 April 2010
I can only remember having a snake in the house once. When we first moved to Jalan Wijaya, we had a new Amah but things started to go missing so she was given the sack. She left a leaving present for us though - a snake!
I remember being about 4 years old. We had a tablecloth on the table and I was up and dressed and I think it might have been before I started going to school. I noticed something under the cloth and shouted to mum who said that it was just the television cable. As I watched, it started to move until its head popped out and it started slowly coiling itself down the table leg. I shouted louder and so did my mum when she saw it! Our neighbour, Gordon Webster, came running in with a broom and hit the snake on the head which killed it. He then lifted it carefully with the end of the broom and lowered it slowly into the outside bin where it stayed until dad came home later in the day. There was quite some excitement. The next day, dad took it to work and showed it to his friend, Poon, who said that its bite probably wouldn't harm you unless you already had something wrong with you.
The whole time we were there, I can't remember seeing another single snake. I recall that Alan once bought a rubber snake from the nearby shop and put it on the road and photographed it and told everyone that it was real when he got the photo back. He probably put it in my bed too!
After the snake incident, we got a new Amah, Azizah, who was lovely and we never had another snake in the house although there were plenty of ants and cockroaches which Azizah happily squashed with her bare feet!
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Monday, 5 April 2010
Sunday, 4 April 2010
I don't remember much about Easter in Singapore and Malaya. It probably wouldn't have been celebrated by the locals but it seemed that all schools in the 1960s had religion taught in some form or other. I loved listening to the Bible stories in the infants although to me, at the time, they would have been no different from any other storybook tale. Kebun teh Royal Naval School would have definitely been the first place I heard about Jesus and Easter, not that I was religious then and I'm still not now. Easter probably was celebrated at school in some way or other but I can't remember how. Harvest Festival was definitely celebrated, I think in September, and we were all asked to bring in food. I can't remember where it all ended up going though! Nativity and Christmas, of course, were celebrated but it's funny that I remember nothing about Easter at school. To me then, aged 5, it probably just meant a good story and then a spell off for holidays!Although there probably wasn't any Easter Eggs in Singapore (was there?), my gran used to send them over to us from Seaham in England. Of course, they would always come broken but I think that we probably thought that that was how they were meant to be and they all tasted the same anyway. I remember my gran sending over sherbet but I'd totally forgotten about the Easter Eggs until Alan reminded me recently.So, there you are, that's what Easter meant to a 5 year old - a good story, a holiday and a broken Easter Egg!
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Here's a few more adverts from Singapore and Malaya from the 1960s. The first one advertises all the goods you could get back then, tax free. We had a tape recorder, a transistor radio and my dad had a Philishave but I can't remember us ever having a record player until we came back to England. Of course, everything was a lot cheaper in Singapore than it was in Malaya but when you crossed the causeway, you were meant to pay duty on anything that you'd bought. I'm sure that this would have been avoided a lot of the time though!
The next advert features a very 1960s traveller advertising Travel and Transportation Ltd who organised air and steamship travel. The man in the picture certainly has bought a lot for his money and looks happy to cart it all back home.
I hope that these ones bring back a few memories.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Many people reading this blog will have read my three books about life in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s. However, for those of you who haven't read the books, I thought that I would write a bit about them here in case you wanted to seek them out.
The first book, 'Sampans, Banyans and Rambutans : A Childhood in Singapore and Malaya' features our life living there between 1965 and 1968. There are many family photos and chapters include our homes, amahs, Navy life, chit-chats, Bombay runners and mosquitoes, Tiger Balm Gardens, shopping and CK Tang's, toys, school, Naval Base parties, television, wildlife, the Sandycroft Leave Centre in Penang, banyans, Christmas and coming home.
The book was very popular and many people sent me their own memories and photos which seemed too interesting to discard
Both books sold worldwide and soon I found that I was receiving letters and emails from people every day, who all had the same memories as myself. After a couple of years, I decided to compile all these new memories and photos into another book, 'More Memories of Singapore and Malaya'.
All of the books can be bought online bookstores such as Amazon. In the UK, they can be ordered through all major bookstores and in Singapore, they're available through Select Books.
I hope that you'll enjoy reading them and I hope that they'll bring back many happy memories.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Saturday, 13 March 2010
Reading James Seah's latest blog post on supermarket shopping (and the cold store) in the 1960s, reminded me of the cold store we used to visit in Singapore. Although we went there for our shopping, I think one of the main reasons for going inside was just to cool down from the heat and humidity outside! The cold stores were air conditioned and seemed at the time like the only place where you could cool down in those days. I don't remember any houses having air conditioning, ours certainly didn't.Another thing that Alan and me found fascinating about the cold store was that when you approached it (I think that the store was Fitzpatricks) the doors flew open to let you in. I'd only ever seen anything like this in Star Trek and usually, you'd have to open the doors yourself. Of course, nowadays, all supermarkets and stores have self-opening doors but, at the time, it seemed very space age!
Somewhere near the coldstore, was a shop that had the first escalator in Singapore. I can't remember what the shop was called but I remember going on it just before we came back to England in 1968. All these things are taken for granted now but were fascinating to small boys back in the 1960s. I remember we stayed in a hotel on the way back and the thing we enjoyed about it the most was going up and down in the lift! We were easily pleased.
Anyway, I don't really remember what we bought in the cold store, all I remember is the Star Trek technology and being able to get away from the heat of the sun (and the smell) of the Singapore streets!