Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Siang Lim Park - 1950's to 1970's part 3.

22. The house of a leading Malay musician. He had 3 sons. The youngest Ahmad, was a close childhood friend of mine. The 2nd son was Dahlan.

23. This corner terrace was the home of an Indian Muslim family. The two sons Salim and Mat were family friends. Salim was one of the naughtiest kids living there. He often got into all sorts of trouble and
disappeared from the scene. His older brother Mat was just like “baba” Ref#15 and we treated him almost like a family member. Baba and Mat ( nicknamed Tikus) used to play mahjong with my parents and other family members, myself included. They learnt how to
play really well from the two old masters. As they played, they spoke in either Pasar Malay or in Cantonese! That’s how to learn a language…through a game situation or commom pastime.

24. This house facing Guillemard Road was the home of my dear friend and one of the most colourful characters that lived in Siang Lim Park. His name Charlie Tan Boon Seng..the late. I have blogged a little about him in my post titled” One day when we were younger”. Read the post HERE. This larger than life figure deserves a major blogpost dedicated to his memory. He led an exciting life. Whenever our kampong people saw him approaching they would whisper..." Tua kow lai liao ! Tua kow lai liao! " Why did they refer to him as "Tua kow" ( big dog - hokkien connotation for someone holding an important, senior post or a person with powerful authority )? Was it his 2 meter height and size or was there more than meets the eye? Find out in my special post about this special man. He had a younger brother Ben who was also a teacher like him. I knew Ben too.

25. The house where some supposedly “ bapoks” lived. One was called " Jeffrey ". 

26. House of another kampong friend Milan Loh. Milan, in modern times, rose to be President of the S'pore Tae Kwon Do Federation. The Adviser for the TKD federation is my good friend Dr Lau Teik Soon, former S’goon Gardens MP.
27. Have you heard of a politician named Mak Pak Shee in the 50’s and early 60's? This was where he used to live. In the 1955 General Elections, he won the Geylang seat under the Labour Front (LF) led by David Marshal. The PAP only contested 4 seats winning 3. LF went on to form the Government with David Marshal becoming the 1st Chief Minister of Singapore. Mak Pak Shee was appointed Asst Minister for Labour and Social Welfare. I was aquainted with his sons Kok Weng and Kok Kay.

28. In our kampong, many of the families knew my mother well. Perhaps, because of our strategic location, housewives and grandmas on their daily walk to the nearby makeshift “market” ( Ref “M” ), would stop by to chat or gossip with my mum. She had many friends. One of them lived here…the house of a genuine Bibik who spoke Cantonese and Baba Malay. Bibik’s son was Kok Poh, a studious boy who was not allowed to mix with other kampong kids. There were other kids in similar straits too. Bibik was a very good “See-sek” and mahjong player and she, as well as a few others, were regular visitors to our home. I will remember her fondly as she always had good words and a soft spot for unk Dicko…from when I was a kiddo!
29. This is the “Big “ one! See the red star on the map? It was along this row of houses that the biggest Gunfight in Siang Lim Park history erupted on Thursday, 5 August 1965. Did you notice the date?
It was only 4 days after this major incident that Singapore separated from Malaysia ...on Monday, 9th August 1965! What a momentous and unforgettable week that was.
Anyway, what really happened on that fateful day of August 5 1965?
The full report was in the Straits Times papers the day after ie..6 August. I have been searching among my original archives but have not found the clips yet. Certainly some of my files could have been misplaced or lost over the years or even inadvertently sold to karang guni men by family members or by my previous maids. My home has undergone major renovation several times. I can't blame any of them if they had done that as the old papers were not labelled or organised properly at that time. 1965 to today 2009 is a 45 year timespan and most people would have thrown out such "junk" anyway! Fortunately...not me ! Otherwise readers will not be able to enjoy the ' tons' of interesting and captivating articles and pictures I have lovingly saved. Another resource I have are my personal diaries from those early years.For a personal eye-witness account of that day...check out my next post tomorrow.

2 comments:

PChew said...

unk dicko, if you still want the Straits Times report of the fateful day of Aug 5 1965, go to the Lee Kong Chiang Reference Library, level 11 and browse through the Straits Times micro films and you are sure to find it.

unk Dicko said...

Thanks for the tip Philip. I may still have it somewhere in my storeroom which have old boxes and other stuff accumulated through the years...and which I have not checked in umpteenth years.