Singapore in the 60s [Book Review]

How many of you remember your parents telling you stories of their childhood? The games they played, the food they are, how things used to be?I know I remember some of these ‘stories’ really vividly.

One of the stories that I remember to this day was the one about how they would lower a basket from the 2nd or 3rd floor of their low rise HDB flats to buy noodles from the noodle cart downstairs. This was how they collected their noodles and paid for it without having to go downstairs.

I was recently given a copy of the limited edition SG50 illustrated book, Singapore in the 60s by James Suresh (best selling author and co-creator one of Mr Kiasu). I was very excited to find that same story that my mum had retold countless times to us as kids, in the book.    The book is a recollection of James Suresh’s memories of his childhood days in 1960s Queenstown. The book is divided into 6 chapters covering topics such as the neighbourhood and the kampong spirit that prevailed, the travelling hawkers and tradesmen, recreation, significant events, public amenities or the lack of it and Iconic places past and present.

It was almost like opening a door into the past and taking a glimpse of how our parents had lived as kids in Singapore. 

In fact I was even able to identify some moments from my own childhood which I might have forgotten if not for reading about them again. Remember the kacang puteh man at the cinemas? The games like five stones, hop scotch and skipping (teddy bear teddy bear turn around!) 🙂    

 And how many of you remember water rationing? I remember having a big tub/ drum of water in our toilets when we were younger and I never questioned why we needed that since we had running water from taps. I now understand that it was probably a habit that our parents had developed as a result of having to go through countless water rationing exercises in their childhood days.
In case you are wondering how to get your hands on this book, it is currently not available to public but copies are gradually being made available to school libraries in Singapore. 50 copies will also be made available to the public through a social media contest to be announced at a later date. 

This book is an absolute gem that I hope will one day be able to give my kids a glimpse into history and Singapore in its early days. In fact, wouldn’t it be cool if our kids got to read about Singapore in the 80s or 90s as well. 🙂 Priceless Memories for the next generation!

JahBella’s Mummy

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