Saturday, 20 August 2011
When I was a little boy, lying in my bed in Jalan Wijaya at night, listening to the chirping crickets and the croaking toads in the monsoon drain, I couldn't have imagined the future - returning home to England and living a totally different life back there. I couldn't have imagined future inventions such as colour televisions, cassette players or walkmans. Now, there's mobile phones, ipods, ipads and, of course, the internet. All this weird modern stuff would have seemed like something from one of the many tv shows, that I loved watching as a kid in Singapore and Malaya, like Star Trek or Lost in Space. I certainly wouldn't have imagined that one day I'd be on the telly myself talking about our life back then.
So, it was a strange experience when Sitting In Pictures asked me to record a bit for their show 'Foodage'. Sohkiak Chang had already sent me the first episode via the internet and I was pleased to see all the people that I'd made friends with in Singapore appearing on the show. To me, they seemed natural speakers and I enjoyed every minute of it.
My bit was recorded and put together with photos and cine film of my idyllic childhood and appeared on the show last Thursday. Sitting In Pictures did a very good job of making me look not as bad as I was (like a startled rabbit in the headlights of a car!) and I think that it all turned out okay.
Watching everyone else's memories and experiences of Singapore past just makes me want to return even more!
Hopefully, people in the UK will one day be able to see the show (you can close your eyes when my bit comes on!).
Sunday, 14 August 2011
It features many of my friends and bloggers from Singapore reminiscing about food sellers, markets and the many changes over the years.
The show really captures how Singapore was in days gone by. The country has changed vastly and there are many clips of old buildings, kampongs, Tiger Balm Gardens and all the other places that we remember from our childhood.
If all goes well, I'll be in the episode shown on the 18th August (the day before my 50th birthday!). I've seen the first episode but I'm not sure I'll be as good as my other bloggers have been!
Here's a clip from episode 2 showing The Wise Old Owl - Unk Dicko. Dick Yip sings and plays the ukelele. Excellent!
Here's another clip, this time showing my good friends, James Seah and Dick Yip.
If you're in Singapore try to catch it and, if you're not in Singapore, let's hope that it will all pop up on YouTube eventually.
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
To stop rabies etc (Singapore has been free from rabies since 1953) policemen would travel around on trucks and shoot the dogs with rifles. I never saw it happen but I remember Alan telling me that he'd seen it. The only contact that I had with dogs was being barked at when we were walking around the estate (the dogs were probably pets but looked ferocious to me!) and the time when I cracked my head open and was walking home and one stood up on my shoulders and licked my face! The dogs in Singapore and Malaya (well most of them) didn't look much like the dogs you got in Britain at the time. Most looked something like a dingo! I think I remember someone further down the street having a couple of poodles but they seem odd dogs for Singapore so maybe I'm remembering it wrong!
The photo shown is the only one I have of Alan and me with a dog. It was taken at Sandycroft in Penang in about 1966. The dog belonged to the cafe owner and it would play with all the kids. I loved it. I'd have been about 5 at the time but I still remember his name - 'Pepper'!
I suppose he was some sort of Labrador, he certainly looked friendlier than the dogs that lived near us!
Monday, 1 August 2011
I remember the photo shown here being taken in December 1967. I can only remember the names of a couple of the kids though who included Ian Bagwell, Nigel Barton. I'm third from the right in the front row, by the way.
It's funny how little I remember of my school days but I remember so much about everything else!
Saturday, 2 July 2011
Friday, 6 May 2011
However, I realise that things have changed a great deal since I was a kid living in Singapore and Malaya and one of the things that seems to be the future is the ebook. I realise that many more people around the world would read my books if they were easily available and didn't always have to be ordered from England. For that reason, I've published 'Monsoon Memories' as an ebook and it's available at
I hope that it will prove popular and I hope to list many other titles this way in the near future.
Don't worry, if you haven't got a Kindle player (I haven't!) - all titles are still available as good, old fashioned, normal books!
Friday, 29 April 2011
Here's the first photo that I ever took when I was about six years old in 1967. It's of my mum at our house in Jalan Wijaya, Johore Bahru. It's amazing how well all of our photos came out in those days. This was taken with an old Bakelite Kodak 127 camera. It seems funny now that you had to buy rolls of film which you had to find somewhere dark, not always easy in Singapore and Malaya, to load the film. It was a long time before digital photography would be invented. In the background is the road leading away from our house towards the shops where the films would be developed. Every Naval family seemed to have seats like these at the time, my parents brought them home with us when we returned in 1968. We're lucky to have so many photos of our time there, especially colour ones, and every one brings back a memory. I think that this one was taken after school had finished at 1pm. Dad was still at work and Alan had disappeared out somewhere, probably to go fishing or to make a den, perhaps.
The TV set was nearby where I'd watch Samurai which always seemed to be on even in the afternoons. I remember when we first got a telly and all the Chinese kids sat on our front gate to watch it.
Seems a very long time ago now...