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.

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