Friday, 29 January 2010
Here's a lovely film that was shot several years before we arrived in Singapore. It's all just how I remember it. There are clips of the airport and views of an old-style bus taking people from the plane to their hotel which, at the beginning of the film, is Raffles. Raffles looks very posh, we certainly never stayed there!
There are also shots of the local fishermen with their huge nets and footage of the beaches around the coast. The quay looks very busy with many boats and the many sampans on the Singapore River can also be seen.
Then, there are many views of Singapore including the shops, temples and markets. It's good also to see all the people and the many old cars and buses passing Sir Stamford Raffles' statue. The area has certainly changed a bit over the years.
It's interesting seeing the old film posters and 'Kismet' is showing at the Cathay Cinema. I think that I spotted a Chinese Cary Grant on one of the posters!
Next, there's a trip down to busy Chinatown which shows much washing hanging from windows on bamboo poles. The markets all look very busy and colourful with plenty of stalls selling fruit and other goods with many trishaws cycling up and down.
A Chinese funeral is also featured which shows many mourners carrying umbrellas while a man strikes a gong to frighten away evil spirits. It seems a lot more solemn than I remember.
Next is a place that everyone will recall - Tiger Balm Gardens! Suddenly, there seems to be a lot more Westerners around and the narrator tells us that these are the visitors from the airport who were seen earlier in the film. This is just how I remember the place before it was knocked around and torn down. It looks a lot better than the Tiger Balm Gardens I visited again in 1990.
The next scene takes us to the Botanic Gardens where people are seen feeding the many cheeky monkeys. The Aquarium is also featured but I can't remember if we ever visited it during our stay in the 1960s.
Lion dancers, Change Alley, night time entertainment, Chinese food, crazy Western dancing are also all featured. Did people really dance like that?
The film ends with the tourists leaving on a lovely old BOAC plane. This is just how I remember Singapore and I hope this film will bring back very many happy memories for many of you.
Thursday, 28 January 2010
We went to Sandycroft three times and I think I remember going on the railway several times although, perhaps, my memory is playing tricks with me and I just remember the journey up and then down again. I haven't been back to Penang since we came home in 1968. I would love to go there again one day and once again travel on the railway. Looking at YouTube, it looks much the same today as it did then.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
probably bring back memories for many people.
that they were used side by side with one dollar notes and the $1 coins weren't used much so weren't seen. I remember being on the plane returning home in 1968 and dad showing us all the money we'd be using when we arrived back in the UK - huge pennies, half crowns, two shilling coins and half pennies. The threepenny bits were an odd shape, which I loved! I think you're fascinated with coins when you're a kid especially back then. Again, I wish that I'd kept some of that old money. There was also another kind of money used in Singapore and Malaya - Hell notes. These were specially printed bank notes that were burnt so that the recently deceased person would have money in the next life! Other items such as paper cars and houses were also burnt to bring them good fortune in the afterlife. I've a few of those old coins and just holding one of them reminds
Friday, 22 January 2010
The second advert is for Pan Electric. Look at that very 1960s fridge. I can't quite remember if we had one like this or not. I like how the artist has made sure that the bottom shelf is taken up by Tiger Beer! The family look very much like the cartoons at the beginning of 'Bewitched' and that too reminds me of our time there. Talking of Tiger Beer, the next advert features that very popular drink that seemed to to be drank by service dads all over the Far East! There never seemed to be an establishment that was short of it!
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
This photo shows a party at my parents' friends house at Johore Bahru in 1967. At the time, many of my parents friends smoked and enjoyed a drink. Nowadays, there seems to be a lot of stories in the papers about people giving up smoking. Back in the 1960s, all our dads seemed to smoke and some of our mums did also. I think that it might have even been seen as cool and sophisticated by some Navy wives. It was just a done thing and I don't think that anyone then thought much about future health problems. I think a lot of forces personnel smoked at the time and I believe cigarettes were free in the Navy (or very cheap). No wonder all our dad's got hooked on them! I remember the long drive we took up to Penang. It was very hot and very smoky! At the time, I really didn't mind the smell of the smoke and it just seemed natural that all our dads and their friends smoked. Certainly all the bars, like the one at Sandycroft, were full of smoke and the smell of beer (another smell I still like and which instantly reminds me of Sandycroft!). Unfortunately, the habit probably killed off a lot of servicemen and their wives! My mum never smoked and luckily, my dad gave up about 25 years ago probably because we all nagged him so much about it! In Singapore at the time, most people seemed to smoke. I remember many of the Chinese market stall holders and fishermen smoking as well as the general population of Singapore and Malaya. There were many adverts on the television and in the newspapers and magazines for various brands of cigarettes. I think that there was even a huge billboard poster for Rothman's beside the Esso garage that we always went in to Put A Tiger in Our Tank! It seemed like a different world 40 years ago and it was probably thought unusual if you were in the forces and didn't smoke! No-one then would have imagined all the smoke free zones that are in place nowadays.
Monday, 18 January 2010
The next two photos show Alan and a friend on a lilo and then them all playing on the beach. I don't remember who the other kids were but I seem to remember that, after being out in the sun all day, even with us being covered up most of the time, that we both got sunburnt! Looking at the photos, it all looks a lot of fun now!
Friday, 15 January 2010
I wrote earlier about the Tiger in Your Tank campaign and how we all used to make sure our dad's filled up in an Esso garage when we needed petrol.
The other day, I found my 'Put A Tiger in Your Tank' badges and I thought that I would post them here. These must date from about 1966 and would be from one of our visits to an Esso garage in Singapore at the time. It's amazing that they've lasted so long and I'm glad that I kept them for all of these years. There were similar badges brought out later when they had a campaign to 'Save the Tiger'.
There were lots of other free gifts such as glasses, beakers, transfers, trays and plates but I think the favourite with all the kids that we knew had to be the Tiger Tails!
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
I loved visiting Sandycroft in Penang for our holidays in the 1960s and we used to have a great time touring around the island.
Many servicemen and their families were stationed there and their lives were very similar to ours in Johore Bahru.
David Yap kindly sent me some photos from Penang in the 1960s recently and I hope to include them in this blog over the next few weeks.
The first photo shows two girls queuing for a cone from the ice cream man. Although, this is a different contraption from the one in my dad's cine films, there was one of these bike-type trolleys that toured the estate where we lived at Johore Bahru.
It's funny there seemed to be someone supplying every service that you needed at the time, all from the back of a bike!
The third photo shows the local fruit seller who appears to be selling oranges, bananas, melons, rambutans, durians and all the other fruits you got in the Far East at the time. From this picture, I can imagine that smell of fruit on the market stalls that were so common in Singapore at the time.
There are many more of David's photos and I hope to include them soon.
Monday, 11 January 2010
mangled in the temperamental cine projectors of the day and was probably, unfortunately, thrown away. The second photo shows my brother, Alan, with our Kodak Brownie 127 camera that my grandad had bought my parents a few years before we left. We must have had two cameras at the time though I don't remember the other one. In the background can be seen families paddling in the nearby pools. The third photo shows me with the waterfalls in the background. I don't look too happy in this photo but I can't remember why! Maybe it was because Alan had the camera and was taking all the pictures!
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
This photo shows a 'concrete nanny' helping with building work in the 1960s. This photo was taken by David Papworth and features in my book, 'More Memories of Singapore and Malaya'.
A concrete nanny was a Chinese female manual worker who helped out on building sites to give their children, many who were adopted from poorer families, a better education. They usually wore red hats.
I mentioned earlier about Mr Lee's house which stood opposite us at Jalan Wijaya. When we first moved in, in 1965, the house was just being built and there were many concrete nannies, complete with red hats, working on the building site. My parents remember them being called 'cement amahs' at the time.
They were once a popular sight and there were even dolls made of them which were bought by tourists. Nowadays, they've long since disappeared from the streets and buildings of Singapore and Malaya.
I wonder how many other people remember them?
Saturday, 2 January 2010
Friday, 1 January 2010
Someone recently mentioned to me how all the Naval wives would meet up for a Beetle Drive. Now, this is a game I haven't heard of for a long time but if you were in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s, you've quite possibly played it because it was very popular at the time. Beetle Drive was a game where you added parts onto a plastic beetle but I can't quite remember the details of how it was played. A quick look around the internet shows that the game is still available though I suspect that most people nowadays wouldn't have a clue what it was.
We also played Scrabble and a lot of card games. Alan and me had our
When we weren't playing games, we were building dens, climbing trees, riding our bikes or doing a tightrope walk across the local drainpipe.To the computer generation, this probably all sounds mundane but we had great fun at the time and it seems like a lot of this fun of childhood has been lost over the years.