Friday, June 4, 2010

My Personal Diaries...

Do people still faithfully record and keep personal dairies of their day to day life anymore in this age of the internet? Do teachers in school encourage their pupils to do the same today despite the presence of modern technology like personal blogs, weblogs and other such facilities?
I do not really have the answers to those questions but can venture a pretty good guess if I were asked.
The answer should be a " No".

Keeping of dairies was not a fashion in the past of yesteryears. It was the only logical thing to do if one wanted to record and keep whatever information, details, tidbits, such a way that they can be easily retrievable anytime. So there was nothing really fashionable about keeping a diary although today the dairies on sale at the malls are very attractive to look at. Many are bound in leather and come with all kinds of sub-sections within the high quality pages. The ordinary ones cost around $ 10...and much, much higher for the "professional" -looking ones.
For myself, I must apologise to the book printing industry. Unk Dicko has never bought a single diary in my life! All the copies of my diaries that I have used had been given to me by either kampong friends( in the 60's), by fellow colleagues and other friends. They cost me nothing, not a cent.
However, when I first started keeping a very simple was only on pieces of leftover exercise book pages which I then kept folded in another exercise book cover. That was my first attempt at diary recording back when I was in Primary 6 in 1960.

How did it all started? Did anyone influence me to start one?
As far as I can recall one influenced me. But it was something within me that prompted me to jot down even briefly, a recollection of the day's or the week's happenings, and even certain highlights or momentous events. Nothing fanciful...just recording the end of a day, the ups and downs, the movements, the emotions and with that the essence of the times that we live in were somehow also captured in the pages.

Over the years, since that starting point, this extremely fortunate habit of mine kept going right to the 80's. From about that time until the arrival of computers, I had a minor switch. Instead of keeping personal diaries, I used my work diary for the same purpose as well...since my 2 daughters were no longer kids and would be able to record things for themselves in their own diaries.

What are inside my diaries?
Do they contain any historical or social significance?
What is their condition today?
Who has seen or read them?

This pile of My diaries stretching back more than 10 years.
The 2 at the top of the pile are among the oldest...1963 and 1964.
The pages have come unstuck and are falling off.

Unk Dicko's dairies contain personal, family, school, working
and social life, and snippets of history.
Much can be gleaned about Singapore in the 60's
and 70's.


These are some of the surviving dairies which I have faithfully kept.
A few may be tattered and torn but the entries within are 1st hand accounts
of some of the most important happenings in Singapore, Malaysia and the World
like the 1964 Racial Riots. I lived through that period.
Like the the day I felt completely devastated when news of President John F Kennedy's assasination reached us...on the morning of November 23 1963 ( It was still 22 November in USA ).

It made such a HUGE impact on my 16 year old mind back then. I remembered shedding some private tears quietly as I assimilated the meaning of that terrible tragedy.


President John F Kennedy, 35th US president was assasinated on
November 22 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

Showing 3 of my diaries. At top is my 1965 diary. In the centre is my
1964 diary partly hidden but with the very 1st entries for January 1964.
Then at the bottom is my 1963 diary open to the page dated 22 November 1963 where
I had forever memoralised that tragic day in my own style, my own way.
No one had read any of my diaries other than my dear wifey.
Last week, I allowed a writer/researcher who was interviewing me for an upcoming article
to have a very close peek into some of these pages. He is the only outside person ever to see the inside pages of my diaries. In good time, I will state who he is. ( No, I've not met him before the interview ).
Now, I am putting them up here so that you and others may get a chance to see and read too.


Thimbuktu said...

Awesome...unk Dicko! No wonder you have loads of memories stuff from a whole pile of yesteryears diaries for you to blog them. No wonder I don't have diaries as 'memory aid' to help me remembrance for my blogs. Cheers!

unk Dicko said...

You are absolutely correct James. Without my dairies, almost all the big to small details of those important years would be lost joke.
As I gently turned the pages of my 1963 and 1964 dairies...I was completely ASTOUNDED that SO MUCH HAD HAPPENED and can be ACCOMPLISHED in the course of a single day! And I was just a 15 year old teenager. I simply cannot imagine it happening today ( and we have MRT,taxis,buses,parents' cars etc..}. IT was like I was superhuman. I was moving about so much I spent more than half my life outside my home, mostly in Victoria School and all over Singapore...mostly on a bicycle. Not one day, every other day!
I will scan some pages to show these activities...will astound today's naturally rugged we were back then.

Thimbuktu said...

Hi Unk Dicko,

Great! Thank you for your diaries "memory aid" to share with us these interesting and memorable stuff on your blog. Hopefully some blog topics posted by you and fellow bloggers will help to jolt my memories to blog my personal experiences, cos I do not keep these diaries myself. Happy blogging!

unk Dicko said...

To get a better glimpse of what I'd said..take a closer look at my 1963 diary open pages. See the entry for Sunday 24 November:
" Went to den( scout den of 6th Arrow Group,Victoria Sch) to give Singh( Nashitar senior, we are still in close touch) the groundsheets. Then to ODEON KATONG (cinema) with Ah Loy and Ming Chong (scout buddies. Picture" The Longest Day"...[ many of you will remember this famous was nearly 3 hours long!!!]. See 3/4 way then back to home, since.....etc. "

With ref to above entry, if I had not jotted it down...I may not be able ever to recall a few facts and details.
1. I know I had seen the film.
The rest about when, with whom, what happened, why I left 3/4 way through,how we travelled, where were we before going to the movie etc..
all these would forever be lost IF NOT FOR MY FAITHFUL DIARY !

Lam Chun See said...

Wow Unck Dicko. Once again I salute you. In fact you have inspired my to blog about my diary. Yes I do keep a diary ... but pls note it's singular. So actually it's technically not a diary, just a log book of major events and dates. And I only started after I when I was in the army.

unk Dicko said...

Great you still have a singular diary...something is better than nothing, Chun See!
How I wished my parents and great-grandparents had kept some some written records of their life and family. It would be a treasure to read them and understand how they had struggled and coped in those long, bygone days. But one kept any records or diary!
For most of us, I presume we are completely in the dark about our forefathers detailed past.
We are all in the same boat.
But this generation is luckier.
Blogging is a great help in documenting the past for the future.