My father recalls the many bugs and beasties which could be found in Singapore and Malaya at the time:
There were ants of all shapes and sizes and some of them could give you a nasty nip. The thing that all ants seem to have in common is their sheer industry. Any crumbs or other tit-bits which were dropped were immediately carried off. If the object was too big, they joined forces and carried it together. If there were obstacles in their way, they went around them or over them or, if it was lying on one of their main thoroughfares, they carried it out of their way. One small boy, I recall, delighted in squashing a column of ants climbing up a wall with the heel of his hand. Then, before his mother could stop him, he licked them off.
As soon as it got dark, the crickets would start their chirping making a continuous noise all night. These were accompanied by deep, resounding croaks from the frogs and toads who resided in the monsoon drains. Chit-chats, small lizards, ran up and down the walls eating moths, ants or any other insect that they could get hold of.
Cockroaches thrived in abundance but we seldom saw one indoors - perhaps this was thanks to the Amah who quickly dispatched them with her bare feet. We had a reel to reel tape recorder which we brought back home. When it eventually broke down, I took it to bits to try and fix it. Inside was a huge Bombay runner, quite dead.
Hornets were common. We had a huge nest of them in our workshop in the Naval Base. We didn't bother them and they didn't bother us. However, one day an Australian engineering officer was driving along Woodlands Road. As he passed our dockyard area, a hornet flew straight up the leg of his shorts. He swerved off the road and knocked down a street sign. Fortunately, he was unhurt and not even stung.
There were also other creatures in our Naval Base. A huge monitor lizard lived under the jetty. I never saw this lizard clearly because as soon as he heard a noise, or felt the ground vibrate, he would crash away into the undergrowth. It must have been three feet long at least. They are carnivorous but are no problem to people.
We had a snake indoors one day when I was at work. It was killed by the chap next door after my wife ran for help. I took it into work to try and get it identified with no real success. My colleague Poon said that it wouldn't harm you unless you were ill or had a heart condition. I wasn't much the wiser. Tales abounded about pythons coming ashore from merchant ships and being found after swallowing a dog.
(These excerpts come from my book 'More Memories of Singapore and Malaya')