Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Singapore in 1938...Youtube video!

If you were born in 1938 you would be 70 years old today. Many people born way before that year are still around today. They could be in their 80's or 90's now. If you were born after 1938, during the war years or post-war period, that is from 1945 onwards, you would have lived through a most interesting period of Singapore's history.

Singapore was a British Colony and governed by the British. The British Empire was at its zenith before the advent of WW2. After the war, they still held sway for some time as emerging nationalistic cries for freedom and independence sprouted across Asia, India and Africa.

In quiet Singapore, life slowly got back to normal amidst much hardships caused by the death, destruction, turmoil and upheavals that resulted from WW2. Unk Dicko went to school for the first time in his life...missed 2 years due to family hardships, so only enrolled in Primary One at 8 years old. My parents sent me to GES...Geylang English School. As a kid in school, I remember many things still. One of those things was learning to sing that majestic-sounding song or hymn,.. " LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY ".

It was such a stirring piece when the full music was played and we sang it fervently, with great show and spirit. I can still recall the words of the song today.

Land of hope and glory, mother of the free

How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?

Wider still and wider, shall our bounds be set

God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet ( x 2 ) .

The video above vividly recaptures the mood and ambience of the Singapore I once knew...images of rickshaws, amahs, barbers, the "kweilos" enjoying themselves, old Ford cars, S'pore River, tongkangs and sampans, the Padang and so many other nostalgic sights and scenes.

Watch it, only 11 minutes and with music set in those times too ! Then tell me how you feel.


stanley said...


Thanks for posting the video. The viewing of the images of rickshaws and scenes of old Chinatown has invoked in me a nostalgic feeling of my childhood days. I remember as a young boy, my grandmother and I took a rickshaw ride from Tiong Bahru to Chinatown, a distance of about 5 kilometers. As you can see from the video, it's no easy task to make a living as a rickshaw puller. He had to pull the richshaw together with one or two passengers all the way to the destination using his leg power. Sometimes, along the way he would stop and with his face towel wipe off his perspiration from his face and neck. The Chinatown scene where the tower showing 555 cigarette advertisement was where I used to meet my friends. Wow, what a memory!!

unk Dicko said...

Yes Stanley, I know how nostalgic it is to see these scenes again. I always like this often used term to describe those days..."old world charm!" An entirely far different and hard to imagine world that our young today can never understand.