Many young Singaporeans today have lost touch with the nation’s recent past. Singapore Memory Project hope to bring back these treasured memories with My Home, My Library Exhibition. This #sgmemory project seek to bring visitors on a trip down memory lane by documenting and presenting precious collection of memories that Singaporeans have of their neighbourhoods, libraries and homes.
Selected bloggers were invited to join Jerome, the blogger behind The Long And Winding Road on a Nostalgia #sgmemory Lifestyle Tour around our tiny island. We began our tour at 10am on a Saturday morning at the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) – Raffles Place. Little did we expect that the open area just outside the MRT Station entrance had already been transported in time.
Raffles Place Playsets of Yesteryears brought us back to the good old days where kids in the neighbourhood play hide & seek, see-saw and build sandcastles at iconic Dragon or Pelican Playgrounds. Unlike the kids of today who are obsessed with smartphone, console or tablet games, playgrounds were where kids experience social interaction with other children and create fond memories of their childhood. If your office is nearby, take a break on the swings and reminisce your growing up days.
Next, we moved on to Albert Centre Wet Market. Albert Centre was one of the residential cum commercial complexes put up by the HDB around the 1980s to house residents and traders in the city who were displaced by urban redevelopment in the 1970s and 1980s. Interesting to catch the sight of an old shopkeeper doing his sums.
Wet markets not only provided an important source of fresh food in days when the refrigerator was a luxury, it also served as important social spaces for the community. This was where many people often speaking different languages would interact.
In the past, sound of cha – kiak (wooden clogs) were commonly heard on these wet floors. There were also noisy conversations between sellers and buyers on the freshness of their harvest and sounds of bargaining.
Do you still remember the sight of live chickens in markets? They can be chosen, weighed, slaughtered and de-feathered at the stall or purchased home in a brown paper bag. Today, wet markets have evolved to adapt to changing times and consumer preferences. Cherish the remains of what we can still see before it disappears into history.
Before we leave, we had a quick glance at the high traffic pedestrian street around Waterloo Street and Albert Mall. Many patronised the area because of the very popular Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. It’s not hard to imagine that the area used to be crowded with medicine men, fortune tellers, food vendors and flower sellers.
We soon found ourselves at Bras Basah Complex – a residential cum commercial complex that was completed in 1980s. In the past, many Singaporeans came here to shop for textbooks, ten-years series and stationery for school.
This is also where many brought their first watch from the many watch shops in the complex.
Of course, items such as harmonicas, badminton racquets, shuttlecocks, table-tennis bats and balls could hardly sustain these traditional business.
Our next stop, Esplanade Park was an important social space from the early days. It served as a popular destination for a family outings from 1950s up to the 1980s to catch the sea breeze in days when air-conditioned shopping malls were a rare sight. Besides those selling food and snacks such as the ice cream man and the kacang putih seller, there were also snake charmers, balloon sellers, toy sellers etc.
The very ornate Victorian Tan Kim Seng Fountain was moved to its current location from Fullerton Square, Battery Road. It had been erected to commemorate the donation of funds by Tan Kim Seng for a water works. The fountain would be familiar to Satay Club patrons as it was close to where the Satay Club (1971 – 1995) was.
We passed by at Tan Quee Lan Street where DHL Balloon (World’s 2nd largest tethered balloon then) was anchored between 2006 – 2008. The balloon used to go up to 150 to 180 metres above ground, making it a prominent sight in the area. Our guide brought us next to a shophouse in Bussorrah Street.
The many 80’s childhood toys sold at the entrance was clue to something bigger.
There’s a Little Children Museum that’s only accessible after a small fee.
Get ready to be transported back into the retro 80’s!
Ring the school bell and
Get ready for lesson!
This is where you will be sent to if you are caught with hair of unacceptable length.
National Library At Esplanade Mall was our final stop before lunch.
My Home My Library features cherished memories by Singaporeans on their growing up years. Singaporeans will be able to view old everyday items and
learn interesting stories of yesteryears about their neighbourhoods, libraries and homes. These contributions were collected as part of a collection drive held at the public libraries last year where members of public were invited to share their recollections of their neighbourhoods and homes, and favourite memories of libraries.
Children can have fun stamping and sharing their thoughts on paper or
While you are the libraries, make sure you snap lots of photos and hashtag #sgmemory for attractive prizes! The #sgmemory hashtag can be used on Instagram and Twitter to upload and access interesting photographs shared by residents of Singapore
Members of the public can submit their memories and view memories contributed by others, via:
– Through the free SG Memory iOS application from the iTunes app store.
We ended our journey at Seow Choon Hua Restaurant 33/35 Sultan Gate for its famed Fuzhou Fish Balls. This eatery has been here for more than 75 years. Besides Fuzhou Fish Ball Noodles, it also serves specialities like Red Wine Chicken Mee & Foo Chow Lor Mee.
Four types of fish, Ikan parang, grouper, red fish and yellow eel goes into making this famous Fuzhou Fish Balls. Each fish ball is deliberately and unevenly shaped- a sign that each one is handmade.
I enjoy the bouncy texture of the fish balls but they are not enough to make me go out of my way just to taste them again.
If you are interested to reminisce the past and show your children what you have experienced during your childhood, the exhibition My Home, My Library is held from 25 March to 29 April 2013 at the libraries listed below. Admission is free.
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here