Thursday, January 27, 2011

Great World...recapturing the fun of childhood !

At the opening night of the recreated Great World Amusement park at Sengkang, I made it a point that my 3 older grandkids will get some exposure of the heady excitement of those days, 50 odd years ago.
I am referring to the tikam stalls and the stalls offering games that required some " skill " to carry out the challenge. Yes, it's actually a challenge of sorts but always tilted heavily in favour of the stall operator nevertheless.
Despite the not so obvious disadvantages known or unknown to the potential participants, many simply could not resist the " it looks so easy, mum...I want to try it! " attraction.
So, many doting dads and mums and grandmums like my wifey queued up flashing shiny $ 50 notes to buy more than the required number of tokens. Each token cost $3 which is the minimum for any game or tikam stall.

One of the popular 'skill' stall is the shooting gallery. There are 3 air-pop guns that shoot the bottlecork out of the muzzle. The targets are any of the 3 pingpong balls placed on a bottle each.
It look pretty easy and straight forward before trying. The distance is slighty 2.5 metres only.
This white-haired gentleman was the first to have a go. He looked every inch an ex-SAF trained commando. Taking proper careful aim...remembering all the shooting cues, he readied, steadied, aimed and fired. Three times...pop, pop and pop. He missed all 3 times !
The ping pong balls never shifted an inch.

The guy looked at the gun examining it closely and decided to change for another. His earlier failures goaded him.
He tried taking even better aim but I was sorry to see him miss all 3 shots again.

Meanwhile, my grandsons were watching all this and one of them was hooked.
He wanted very much to have a go probably encouraged by all his playing with the recent fad of
"nerf" guns.
We encouraged him.
Though Unk Dicko was once a classified sharpshooter, I left him alone preferring for him to enjoy the experience on his own.

Unk Dicko carrying the younger grandkid who seemed mesmerised by everything there...the sights, the sounds and the ambience of wonderland.
Probably the most popular attraction in the park is the Bumper Car rides.
Queues started forming as soon as it was opened. Even adults got into the act!
Each car seats 2 persons and cost $ 6 each person. They are controlled electronically. As soon as it starts, an old-time song will be played like "papa loves mambo, mama loves mambo" over the system. The duration of the ride lasts as long as the song lasts.

The fun and thrill in Bumper car rides is to move your car in ways to bump into other cars.
That's why they are called bumper cars.
Much enjoyment, laughter and yells result.
Be prepared that your kids will ask for several repeats like mine did!

This is definitely one activity that reminded me so much of the fun we used to have in those bygone worlds of old.
Now the kids and also older adults get a chance to live or relive those days.

Unk Ringo had come out with this interesting water attraction...a self-powered boat ride.
This is only for kids and is very safe.
Very shallow inflated pool that provides another super dimension of fun for kids.
There are many other attractions in the park. Those who have not been there should make it a point to visit and relive your golden past again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Great World Amusement Revival at Sengkang

It has been decades since all the 3 famous 'Worlds' in Singapore had totally disappeared from our landscape leaving only nostalgic memories of an age and time that have altogether vanished. Even then, only the oldtimers among our people would have better recollections of those wonderful times they had spent in any of the 3 separate 'Worlds'....Happy World, New World and Great World.
After their eventual closure, there was no attempt made by any businessman or anyone for that matter to rebuild and resurrect any of the previous Amusement parks. Not until the latest movie
"The Great Great Great World ", a locally produced movie by MediaCorp set for public screening on 27 January in our cinemas...did someone come up with the brave idea of remaking part of that iconic Park.
That someone is a local maverick for fairs and carnivals....Unk Ringo. He has been in this business for 3 decades.
For the filming of the movie they had to recreate "Great World" with all infrastructure as we knew from the past. Unk Ringo had a big hand in this as he had all those big items for thrills and rides plus all kinds of "tikam" and Game stalls paraphernalia.
After the movie was completed, he was encouraged to recreate on a smaller scale the "fun" part of Great World in the heartlands.
He chose to set it up at Sengkang as there was a ready-made hardcourt and with good location to attract many visitors.

[DPM Teo Chee Hean being greeted by the cast of the movie ]

Great World Amusement Park at Sengkang was opened at 7.30 pm sharp on Saturday 22 January 2011. The Guest of Honour was DPM Teo Chee Hean accompanied by the other MPs of the GRC.
I was there with my grandkids and wifey to lend moral, heritage and blogger support for this laudable effort. Some of the members of my Performing group...the Minstrels were present too.
No we were not there to entertain anyone...just being there to see if the past can be reconnected in some ways.

[He and his party was were welcomed by Lion Dancers ]

[The official Ribbon -cutting ceremony ]

[ Balloons were released into the night sky ]

[ The movie cast took turns to speak to the crowd ]

[ Some of those in the movie..elaborating ]

[ The VIPs at the 'tikam' stall - Horse Racing ]

[ They tried their or not I don't know ]

[ Joget Tanjong...DPM can certainly "joget"! ]

The LATEST soccer goals on my Blogsite!

Many of us can only catch some of the "Live" Soccer games that are played daily all over the world.
For many Singaporeans and others hooked on the main soccer leagues of Europe and South America like the English Premier League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A...whatever action that they can catch will depend very much on what Singtel or Starhub show and at certain times only.
There are some free websites that provide the latest updated scores as well as video highlights of all the goals scored. I have been using one such free website with no strings attached. This has enabled me to see all the fantastic goals scored in all the major leagues everyday without fail.
Many of the videos are in high definition.

I have just included a link at the top right of my blog page that allows you to see all the super action leading to the goals being scored or sometimes missed.

Just click on the GOALSTUBE Com widget or box and you'll be spoilt for choice of what to watch.
Try it.
The "live" widget also provides the latest scores and updates for soccer matches.

Hope my soccer loving visitors will enjoy this !

Unk Dicko

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Great World.... tikam and games skill stalls

In the actual Great World of the past one of the things that we remember most were the "tikam" stalls. No, they are not gambling stalls but more games of chance usually found in carnivals and fairs. Below are some of these kind of stalls available to visitors.
Some of the stalls offer games of skills like throwing a porcelain hoop/band onto bottle necks.
Others use darts to burst balloons attached to a board.
Or shooting a pop-gun at a ping pong ball balanced on a tiny bottle...etc.

This is an example of a "tikam" game of chance which uses 9
crafted horses controlled electronically. You roll the ball into the
slots which is numbered 1 to 9. And if " your" horse wins, no you
won't collect thousands of $ but will come away with a prize.

Games of chance and tikam plus the other games of 'skills' add to the flavour
of the recreated Park.

Great World...thrills and rides like old times!

These are some of the kind of rides and thrills available to visitors at the Amusement Park.
I went there to see for myself what the "recreated" Great World offered before the Opening.
Workers were still testing out the facilities and putting in the finishing touches.
These were the same kind of rides that captivated many of us when we were kids over 50 years ago. They should prove to be the same to our modern kids today.

Most of the rides will cost a token ( $ 3 ) per kid or adult.

Some will require 2 tokens ( $6 ) per person.

This Carrousel should be very popular with the younger children.

Similarly this boat ride would attract many kids as they can't resist water.

Those who have had a full dinner better not try this rocking Viking ship!

Your stomach goes upwards and then downwards...imagine the effect.

All little kids love trains !
So this should prove an attraction too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Great World Amusement Park Opening tonight!

The iconic world of " Tai Say Kai " or more popularly known as the Great World which existed more than half a century ago will see a small revival tonight when it opens its doors to one and all at 6 pm.
The Great World Amusement Park is an attempt, at least, to recreate some of the allure and attractions of the past. Though it may be limited in scope as it is practically a one-man self funded business project, still it should attract a large pool of visitors with all the interesting rides available, the " Tikam" stalls, food stalls, music and dance halls, beer garden etc..
Unk Ringo, the owner of the project, is well known for staging outdoor carnivals locally.

[Unk Ringo and Unk Dicko at the famous gateway ]

The Amusement Park is located opposite Compass Point and next to
Seng Kang Community Hub.

It is timed in conjunction with the release of the movie with the
same title....on Jan 27 2011.

Entry to the Park is FREE.
Buy tokens for the games etc..

The Main Performing Stage...still not set up yet fully.

Unk Dicko has been invited to the Opening shortly and will have more to report later.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Auld Lang Syne 2010...Welcome 2011 !

As the night and the big Swing party wore on and with a sweltering crowd of more than 20,000 residents and friends of Kampong Serangoon eagerly awaiting the Countdown, the emcees invited the VIPs up to the main stage. It was probably about 11.50 pm when they were all gathered there.
In the background were the performers and entertainers and the dancers.
The Mic was handed to PM Lee who was in a joyous and infectious mood. He pronounced his Best Wishes for the people and for Singapore. Likewise the other 5 MPs bestowed their Good Wishes for the Best that 2011 will bring to one and all in Singapore and the world.
It was indeed heartwarming to hear each of them in such a short and sweet fashion rather than long parliamentary speeches.

[ Courtesy : Passion Photographers ]

[ Courtesy: Passion Photographers ]
The crowd just moments before the final countdown....

[ Courtesy: Passion Photographers ]
All eyes looking up at the night sky anticipating the fireworks...about to come.
[ Courtesy: Passion Photographers ]
The actual, precise moment when the New Year began just past midnight 1st January 2011.
With fireworks shooting up all around, PM Lee Hsien Loong turned to his right to warmly
congratulate Minister of Finance and MP Mrs Lim Hwee Hua. There were handshakes and hugs everywhere. Some loving couples kissed. Unk Dicko...? I was at the Command Center with uniformed police personnel and they warmly ...( no lah did not kiss me ! Luckily. Otherwise I would have fainted! ) shook my hands and we wished one another the very Best for the New Year.

There were several minutes of fireworks that lit up the dark sky overhead.

You could hear the oohs and the aarghs among the appreciative crowd of people.

These snapshots from my simple digital camera did not do justice to the actual scene
of exuberance, noise , glow and smoke resulting from all the explosions.
The crowd loved every bit of it.

Suddenly there was an extremely bright and sustained burst of exploding lights and sparks
and we knew from experience that was the final scene.
31 December 2010 will be a day and night all of us involved in the Serangoon SWING will long remember.
Will my Minstrels and myself be on the main stage again for the next Countdown in 10 years' time ( Year 2020 ) ?
By then some of us will be in our mid 70's and 80's !!!
No one can really say. I cannot predict the future so far ahead.
But ever the optimist that I am.... Unk Dicko says don't bet against it happening either !
Wishing everyone the Best for 2011 .