Saturday, February 18, 2012

Of Strange Games and Famous Names: 60s Again

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.


Lam Chun See said...

Wow ,, Andy. Thanks for the kind compliments and free commercial. Quite frankly, a few of my friends, who are from our generation said they enjoyed my book. One of them called me immediately after finishing the book and started to talk about kites; how he used to make his own kites with glass on the string and so on.

I said, if I put in all the games we used to play, that itself would take up a whole book. You agree?

Lam Chun See said...

Andy. I hope my book inspires you to embark of a similar project to document your memory and knowledge of pop heritage of Spore. As you know, quite a few of them have alr left us. Better not wait too long.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Definitely Chun See. All the games from Singapore 60s can easily be compiled into a book.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Chun See,
I don't plug books on my blog unless I have read them through and enjoy them. If I didn't like your book I would not have written anything at all.

Your book is a wholesome read especially for the youths of today who don't know what life was like years ago.

Thank you for your encouragement. I doubt I will ever write a book. Organisation, production and sponsorship are not easy hurdles to overcome.

Besides who would want to sponsor me writing a book about 60s music?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Comments have been deleted since subject has apologised to blogger.

Anonymous said...

About 2 or 3 months ago Keith Locke was interviewed by Brian Richmond on his radio show.I happened to tune in & was happy to hear his voice. He is healthy & is now in his 70s. Before this, there was no news at all about him. No one knew whether he was still alive or not until that day. Sadly, after the programme, there were no further news or followup by anyone anywhere.I think Vernon Cornelius had arranged for his visit here. Maybe you can get Brian or Vernon to provide more news about Keith. There are still many of his fans here who thirst for news about him.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I had wanted to meet him when a couple of friends decided to do so but missed the opportunity.

Perhaps if a reader knows of his whereabouts, he/she could write in to tell us. Meantime, I shall try my best...


Where are you? There are readers in Singapore who would love to meet you after such a long absence.