Young people ask how life can be interesting in the 60s when there were, "no Internet sites, computer games, mobile phones" and television sets. A Singaporean writer who has been blogging about the Singapore of his childhood has an answer. "Well," he assures, "life was not boring at all, and we had lots of fun and games..." In the 60s? Let's see.
To the uninitiated and the young, these are strange games with strange names (image 2) in a land where boys collect fighting spiders in small Elastoplast boxes and keep them for duels, where fighting fish are caught from a longkang using a punki, where broken cement is used to play a game called Kledek and where discarded food containers are collected to play Longlong. Similarly, girls have their games too. Heard of Masak Masak and Five Stones?
If you are fascinated by these games and names then it's time to take a peek at how they are played as described by the writer in Chapter 5 of his fascinating book. But what really made me choose this particular chapter is his take on pop music where some of the Chinese singers he recalls and admires include famous names like Carrie Ku Mei (image 3), Ke Lan, Chui Ping, Yao Su Rong, and Qing San.
On the English pop list he admires Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Elvis and the Beatles and an interesting anecdote when his brother engaged their cousins "in silly debate about which was better, Elvis - their favourite, or ours, the Beatles." How true.
The writer remembers British groups, and according to him had "unforgettable names" like The Animals, Freddie and the Dreamers and Herman's Hermits. He mentions our own local singers too. So there's Keith Locke, Susan Lim, Crescendos (image 4), Naomi and bands like The Quests and The Boys. With so many games to play and so much great music to listen to how can life be boring?
I have been quoting from a book written by management consultant Lam Chun See who documents his experience about his kampong (village) days in *Good Morning Yesterday (image 1). The book is a smorgasbord of life "in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s." These appetising chapters, written within 187 pages, come in delicious morsels as he writes about his childhood, family, neighbours, schools, and other goodies that only Chun See could cook into palatable dishes.
Images: Lam Chun See and Google.
Original article: Andy Lim.
*Good Morning Yesterday. Publisher: Hoshin Consulting, 23 Lily Avenue, Singapore 277770. 2012 Copyright Lam Chun See.