Monday, 16 July 2012

A Ride to Remember

Alicia Tan from Ink On Paper Communications Pte Ltd very kindly sent me a copy of the book, 'A Ride to Remember' which chronicles the story of the Mount Faber and Singapore Cable Car. There are some wonderful photos within its pages including many historical pictures. I sent them a couple of the photos used in the book including one of the long-vanished snake charmers who used to ply their trade on Mount Faber. The book makes great reading and there's plenty of history included as well as lots of information about the cable car today. It makes me want to travel back to Singapore to have a go on it! I've searched for the book online but have been unable to find it but, perhaps, if you're in Singapore, it may be available from the shops etc around the cable car or from Ink On Paper Communications Pte Ltd at 57 Ubi Ave 1, #06-03 Ubi Center, Singapore 408936.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Singapore in 1990

My fellow blogger and friend, James Seah, recently featured a video of Singapore on his blog that I shot in 1990. It's funny, at the time, I thought that Singapore had changed beyond all recognition but watching the film again today, I can see that a lot of the old buildings and sites were still there. The greatest change has been since 1990 to today. Looking at recent photos of Singapore, it looks like nearly all that I remember has either gone or changed. There were still some lovely buildings and a few fishermen in the river back in 1990 but today much of Singapore seems to consist of high-rise offices and apartments, fast roads and an extensive MRT. Much of what I remember from the 1960s as a boy has now long gone. Take a look at the video again and see if you agree.

The hotel we're staying in at the beginning of the film is the New 7th Storey Hotel which is also now long gone. You'll notice the bamboo scaffolding on the outside. It's worth watching to the end just for the underwater shots of the swimming polar bear at Singapore Zoo!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Davy Jones

 It was very sad to hear that Davy Jones had died yesterday. Like most kids in the 1960s, I loved the Monkees. It's funny, I don't remember the show being on tv when we lived in Singapore and Malaya between 1965 and 1968 but I do remember the songs being played on the radio.
'I'm a Believer' particularly reminds me of playing in the arcade at Sandycroft in Penang, it was always on in the background.
There are many songs that remind me of our three years spent there but this one does  the most!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Good Morning Yesterday

Fellow blogger and good friend, Lam Chun See, kindly sent me a copy of his latest book which I've been enjoying reading very much. It's a lovely book and I'm sure it will prove very popular.
Chun See has gathered together his memories of growing up in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s and, with Singapore changing so much, it makes fascinating reading. Chun See's incredibly popular blog, 'Good Morning Yesterday' has received over one million page views and the book combines the many interesting stories and photos featured within its pages. It includes chapters about kampong life, family, friends and neighbours, festive occasions, family outings and much, much more.
I think that it makes excellent reading and made me feel like I was actually there. I think that it should feature on the school curriculum in Singapore to show children of today what life was once like in their beautiful city. So much has changed over the years, even since I was last there in 1990.
It was also good to see a piece in the book from another good friend and fellow blogger, James Seah.
Last year, we all appeared in 'Foodage' together and I can't help thinking that all the material featured within the pages of the book would make an excellent educational tv series in Singapore.
I'd certainly recommend the book to anyone who has an interest in the Far East and I hope it sells many copies.
There's more information on Chun See's blog at:

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Napoleon Solo

It seemed odd seeing Robert Vaughn appearing in Coronation Street this week and it reminded me when The Man From Uncle was the coolest show on tv. Alan and me would run around the garden at Jalan Wijaya in the 1960s pretending to be Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. I always seemed to come out the worst if anyone got shot or was tied up! We had all the toys that came with the show including Man from Uncle badges, guns and annuals. The best toy you could buy at the time  was a Corgi Man From Uncle car which I remember our parents buying us at Sandycroft in Penang.

 I've still got it but it's seen better days. It would have been pushed over all the floors in Jalan Wijaya and crashed into walls and propelled up the garden. It got the same treatment when we got back home!
I wonder what other stars of 60s shows still pop up on tv? I can't think of many apart from William Shatner.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Little Black Sambo

The Little Black Sambo was the first book that I ever read while attending the Royal Naval infant school at Kebunteh in Johore Bahru in 1965. I loved the book, especially its very colourful illustrations. It told the story of a small boy whose colourful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella are taken by four tigers in exchange for them not eating him. The tigers get jealous of one another and chase each other around a tree until they turn into butter. The boy collects his clothes and takes the butter home to his mother who then makes pancakes out of it. As a small boy, I believed that this could happen and there were quite possibly tigers in the jungle further up the street!
I would love to have a copy of this book but haven't seen one since the 1960s although I know it's regularly sold on ebay. The story was written by Helen Bannerman and published in 1899.
Over the years, the book and its title have been seen to have been racist and it has been rewritten and released with such titles as 'The Boy and the Tigers', 'The Story of Little Babaji', 'Sam and the Tigers' and 'Little Kim'. However, it has been republished many times with its original title and seems to be sold all over the internet and is still available on Amazon and other bookshops.
Of course, when I was a boy, I didn't realise it could be taken as being racist. I didn't even know what racism was. We were surrounded by people of all nationalities and we all got on pretty well. To me, it was just a lovely colourful book with characters I could imagine living not too far away from where I lived.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Our local postman

Liz Garcia kindly sent me a photo of her postman who delivered to her home at Jalan Chendera at Serene Park, Johor Bahru in the late 1960s.
We weren't too far away in Jalan Wijaya and it would be funny if this was our postman too!
There are a few things that I remember the postman delivering. One was sweets and sherbet from my gran in Seaham Harbour in England. My brother also rembers her sending us Easter Eggs but they were all broken by the time they reached us. I also remember the 'Letters Home' reel-to-reel tapes that would go back and forwards between us and our gran. I wish that we still had them all now. I think that maybe we recorded over the same one over and over again. The only tape that still survives has me pretending to be my toy talking tin robot, singing songs from school and letting gran know what we'd been up to that day. It's certainly a lot different to the technology of today!
Liz remembers a lot of things that I remember and writes;
'I remember the 'gardeners' with their scythes and also the man who cycled around the estate selling bread and cakes and a van in the evening from which I had my first taste of nasi goreng. I'm attaching a photo of the postman - or as we used to call him "the pejabat pos man". He was always a welcome sight bringing letters from my husband when he was away (which was most of the time) and from the UK.'
We took many photos while we lived at Jalan Wijaya but never thought to take photos of the postman, the nasi goreng man or other unusual sights. Film was quite expensive back then to get developed but, even so, we still have many wonderful photos to look back on.