Thursday, October 29, 2009

Siang Lim Park - 1950's to 1970's, part 4

30 At the junction of Lorong 40 and Geylang Road were 2 coffee shops, one on the left and on the right. Ref # 30 was one of the most famous coffeeshops
in the whole of Geylang.
Why? What was the main attraction back then?
Probably the best “hor fun” or “ yi mee” or “chow fun” on our island.Thaaat…GOOD? Ask any old-timer about this famous cook nick-named “ malai kai “....whose hor fun would be the standard used as a measure against
all other similar fare down through the years.
In all my years of eating this dish everywhere, no one has come close to the original “malai kai” version.
I will do a separate post about him and his food. His customers come from all over, many in big cars of old.

31 The other coffeeshop on the left. It had a few stalls but could not pull in the crowds without a magnet like “malai kai”. But during the night, there was a tricycle stall that was a permanent feature parked by the side of this coffeeshop. Gentle apek and his equally gentle son, sold all sorts of cut fruits and their most popular drink...a homemade "buah lai" mixture turned into a drink. It was unlike any of today's canned drinks...which I would not rate highly. D2 and I would give apek's buah lai drink a 9/10 rating. No one knew his secret concoction, saved himself.

32 This was the coffeeshop along Lor 44 and Geylang Road, in front of Queen’s
Theatre. It was quite famous in Geylang for 2 stalls…the Indian prata and
nasi briyani and the more well-known “Mee Rebus”. On Sundays, there were
queues and the place was packed. You can see part of this coffeeshop in the 1956 photo below

on the left of the picture.

33 The site of Queen’s Theatre. When a popular movie was showing, the "black market"syndicate got into action. They would get their members to queue for tickets.These boys and young men were recruited to re-sell the cinema tickets to a higher price than listed. It was easy money for these black marketeers as we used to call them. The situation was quite fluid with not one but a few syndicates muscling in on this lucrative but illegal business.

But genuine cinema goers were livid and always at their mercy, pricewise!
Most times they made money. Some days they lost when they held many tickets that were unsold.

34 Right portion of Siang Lim Park had a quandrangular field that was never maintained
at all. So weeds and at times lallang grew. But there were some concrete
benches for folks to relax in. For football, our kampong folks played it daily
at Ref# 35, the Lor 40 field.

35 This was the field bounded by Lor 40, Lor 38 ( dead end towards the River ) and the river itself. It was the home territory of all living around there. On most evenings, our
kampong boys and youths will be playing their favourite game….soccer. Once in a while, the ball sailed over and into the smelly river and whoever kicked it had to go retrieve the ball. Most times, the bulrushes and lallang helped to trap the runaway ball. There were swings and see-saws for the younger children. As kids, many of us made our own camps and hideouts among the thick bushes and wild trees that adorned the sides of that gentle-flowing river. Smelly or not, it was “our” river…a favourite place for catching fishes, ( guppies, tiger barbs, ikan sepat ) tortoises, monitor lizards.

36 Home of Henry, another of my childhood friends. He was a true blue
Peranakan who spoke Hokkien, English and pasar malay.

37 Home of Mr Neo Yam Koon, my Primary 4 form teacher from GES.

The photos below were sent to me by Peter my online blogger kawan.

Thanks Peter!
This is the Queens Theatre as it was in 1956 and today, 2009.
There was a Muslim cemetery behind the theatre stretching along the river past Lor 42. As kids, after watching a malay movie like Pontianak, Orang Minyak or Hantu Jelangkong together with my kampong friends, we would deliberately walk home by the cemetery way (the backlane behind the shophouses ) knowing full well it gave us the creeps...especially after such haunted movies. Then we promised ourselves no one was to run. When someone shouted "HANTU!" ...everyone ran for dear life, promise or no promise! Haha!

What fun we had in our childhood.
Sometimes, I do wonder where all my childhood kampong friends are today.

It would be wonderful if I could track them down and relive
our childhood days again over some good music, food and drinks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gunfight at Siang Lim Park...August 1965

The famous gunfight at Siang Lim Park took place on Thurday 5 August 1965. Those interested in the full details of that unforgettable episode can access the Straits Times report of 6 August 1965 under the heading, " The Bravest Act of all in Siang Lim Park " and an accompanying article titled " Inspector and thug die and 4 houses gutted ". The archived reports are only available at certain libraries including the National Library. They are not accessible online.
For Unk Dicko's story, join me as I try to recall what I saw and experienced that fateful day in Siang Lim Park's history.

Eyewitness account...Unk Dicko
In mid July 1965, I went to work for the first time in my life as a Public Health Inspector. Training for the exciting and challenging job began immediately after I reported to the Ministry of Health Hqrs in Palmer Road. Some days we had a few hours of lectures at No: 2 College Road Training Centre, followed by attachment training at Havelock Road Cleansing Depot. Much, much later, I went through the whole gamut of attachments at various Govt agencies.
On 4 August 1965, in the pre-dawn hours I was on an observation field attachment. I had left home in the middle of night. Those days, I had 4 means of transport to and from work. If it was nearby, I could use my old Raleigh bicycle. If in the city or further away, I took the bus or taxi.
Sometimes I got a lift from one or two senior Health Inspectors living in Geylang.

That morning of 5 August, my training was over for the day. As I crossed Geylang Road over to Lorong 40 side, the junction was guarded by fully armed policeman and Gurkhas. They stopped me from going into my own Lorong without saying why. It was still dark. The sun wasn't up yet.
It was between 6 and 6.30 am. I told the officers I live at 94 Siang Lim Park and produced my
NRIC as proof. After a short while and some consultation, they let me through telling me to go straight home and not wander about. I asked what was all the fuss about as there was a sizeable number of policemen present. I had the right to ask as my family was living there. That was first time I learnt they were conducting a dangerous operation. I had no idea against whom or the number of criminals involved. But I knew roughly where as they told me to avoid the left side as I walked slowly home.
On reaching home, I found some of my family members were already awake. I asked my late mother if she was aware of the situation "outside". She told me that "something is happening at
Bibik's side but wasn't sure what". I decided to check things out for myself.
Changing into some comfortable home clothes, I went out through our backdoor which led to our backlane. There were no policemen around. They were mostly scattered and positioned at the other side ( Today the Waterina side ). The furthest I could proceed was near the house along our same row with the huge Jambu Ayer tree. That junction was blocked off by officers.

A number of my fellow kampongers were just like me eager and dying to find out what was developing. I went to a friend's house opposite the corner house and there watched the proceedings. Unknown to me earlier, the police had received a tip-off that the most wanted gunman Morgan Teo aka Morgan the Kidnapper was holed up in a house near Ref#29 on map,
together with some of his henchmen. They responded quickly by surrounding the identified unit while quietly informing nearby affected houses to evacuate. It was fortunate they did that as the subsequent firefight showed.
When the area was secured, the police ambush party identified themselves and asked the occupants within to surrender and come outside. No response after repeated calls. Orders were issued to fire tear gas canisters inside. Sounds of explosions could be heard, followed by smoke.
At least 2 of his henchmen, overcomed by the choking gas, ran out to surrender. But there was still no sign of Morgan the terror.
Inspector Allan Lim Kim Sai, from the CID, then acted. Drawing his gun, he approached the front door. Just as he was stepping forward, a single shot rang out from within. Morgan Teo had fired and the bullet hit the Inspector on his head. All the other officers backed off when 2 grenades were thrown by the elusive gunman. Two policemen were injured by the blasts.
Amidst the confusion and mayhem of the fatal shooting of Insp Allan Lim, Morgan Teo managed to elude capture by climbing through the roofs of the neighbouring houses....and escaped!
It took some time before it was ascertained that there were no other gunmen left in the by then burning house ( fire was put out later).
The whole area was swarming with police and CID people. An ambulance took the injured to hospital but the brave Inspector could not be saved. He was only 28 when he died.
Days later, we took a closer look at the scene of the famous gunfight. The roof of that house was damaged and part of the interior gutted.

What happened to Morgan Teo the most wanted gunman and kidnapper?
Did he elude capture totally?
Find out in the next post.

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.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Siang Lim Park - 1950's to 1970's, part 2.

11 House facing Guillemard Road where Agnes lived. She was a family friend and was a regular at our home.

12 Albert Liew, another old family friend and regular visitor, lived here. In his compound he had some very good guava trees of the red variety and a most tempting “buah kedong-dong” tree with lovely fruits. His kampong nickname, which still sticks till this day ( we remain in touch ), is “buah long long ". Yes..that's what we all fondly called him.

13 This was the home of a well-known Malay film actor Aziz Jaafar.He starred in many Malay films from the 50’s, 60's onward. When he wasn’t acting, he was just like anyone of us ordinary folks in the kampong.
We kampong folks were very proud that we had him in our midst. His home was just a minute walk from ours. This legendary actor passed away in 2005, aged 73. I will do a separate post about him.

14 An Indian family lived here. Yaswant and Yanti the two sons were our childhood kampong friends. Their home had a very fragrant jambu mawar tree.

15 Another Indian family lived here. The son, Terun Kumar, whom we fondly call “baba” till today ( we are still in touch) is about my younger brother’s age. Of all the kampong kids, he was the closest to us and was treated almost like an adopted son of our family. My late parents, and that included all of us, were very fond of him. So, a major blogpost huh?

16 A very loving chinese couple lived here with their two young kids. He was a driver of a private school bus and she a good homemaker.Tragedy struck one day when they went to a picnic at Pasir Ris.He got into difficulty in the sea and drowned. The devastated poor wife took it
upon herself to bring up the family after that heart-rending event. She learnt driving and took over the role of the late husband. Not many women could pass driving in those days.

17 The house of Mr Seow Cheng Fong who lived with his wife and a pretty daughter. Later, he lived all alone when mum and daughter moved out. Mr Seow or “old man Seow” was one of the most respected figures of our kampong. He was an educationist, lecturer in Literature, theatre and drama and a Shakespearean expert. One of his very dear comrade in politics and close friend was none other than C V DEVAN NAIR, our late former President. Seow Cheng Fong was a founder-member of the Malayan Democratic Union ( MDU) around 1946. Unk Dicko was close to him. He will be covered in some upcoming major posts.

18 This was the corner house at the other end of our same row. My fellow residents of our kampong will remember they had the largest red Jambu Ayer tree which covered the whole compound and outside. Many of us used to climb the tree to pluck the plentiful fruits.. without permission. The family members would sometimes yell weakly and all would descend. But they allowed us to pluck with bamboo poles tied with hooks.

19 Home of my childhood friend William, about a year or two younger than me. He was a gentle giant, good-natured and mild mannered. I received shocking news that he passed away ( sudden illness ) when I was away at OBS in 1969. We were still living there then. Next to his home lived some women of whom my late mother and others referred to in Cantonese as ”tah pow por”. Know what that is? Don't know? Time to learn some Cantonese...haha.

20 There were only two shops in the whole of Siang Lim Park. This was the Indian “mamak” provision shop. The owner and boss was very close to us as we were just opposite him.

21 This was the other provision shop owned by a Chinese family. They were not as popular as “mamak” because of two reasons:- their prices were slightly higher and they were not as friendly.

[ Don't miss part post ]

Friday, October 23, 2009

Siang Lim Park - My Early Kampong Days ( 50's -70's )

INDEX TO PLACES IN SIANG LIM PARK ( circa 1950’s-1970’s)
This is based on Dick Yip’s recollections as of 24 Oct 2009 on the amended
location map drawn by hand. It shows the layout as it roughly was in the 1950’s

Y = Corner house # 94. That was the home of our Yippie family from long before W W 2. It was strategically located. Everyone seemed to know us, especially my dear mother whom they respectfully called “ ah Yee ”.

1.  This is not not the number of the house. It’s my own simple code to identify certain interesting spots. This was the home of our long-time opposite neighbour who dealt in watches.

2. Home of a rich retired towkay who was the Godfather of my younger
Sister, Flo. We called him “ Kai Yeh”. He had a son named Steven.
When his old wife passed away, he lived on with his 3rd wife .
She had an adopted daughter named Rose who studied at Tg Katong Girls School.
She requested me to tutor her in English for $10 a month ( 1965-66 ).
Rose was my first ever pupil in tuition and I wasn't a teacher yet. Only qualification....

Unk Dicko had scored an A1 for English in Cambridge O level Exams, one of only two
who achieved that in my year, out of a few hundred who sat. It was rare in those days.


3. Diagonally opposite was this corner unit located next to the Malay
. Ownership changed hands many times. This was reputedly
the most haunted house in Siang Lim Park…and I personally saw
some of the most eerie and scariest things to justify that label.
( Will require a full blogpost to tell the story ).

4. The Malay keramat behind and next to the haunted unit. This
keramat was related to the other one at Reference # 10. Both the
keramats had a very long, early history and pre-dated the pre-war
houses in our kampong.

5. This was also the house next to the keramat but suffered no spirit
or ghostly problem.

6. Home of my former Primary school classmate Tang Yew Kay. By sheer
coincidence or whatever, we both won the GES PTA Scholarship
Award for Best all round student …only 2 top Awards, in 1960
. Both
his older brothers were teachers while a sister was a nurse.

7. On this corner unit lived a beautiful Eurasian lady named Jeannete.
She was one of the best dressed and best looking ladies in our kampong,
with birdnest hairdo, nice outfit and makeup. 
I remember saying "Hi Janet !" when we kids were playing near her unit and
she would  always "Hi -----" back to me and us. She was very friendly
and had a sweet disposition.

8. This was the house of my elder brother’s good friend and school mate,
Sum Peng Kong. He was a very good athlete and footballer in GES.
He later became a traffic cop, looking resplendent as he rode his
Police Norton bike into our kampong lane ( sand, earth, broken stones ).

9 Here lived Eddie, my childhood kampong friend. We used to play
marbles, used homemade catapults to shoot birds, fly kites etc.
He recently retired as a primary school principal. He is a true-blue Peranakan.

10. This was the other keramat linked to Ref # 4. It will take a major
blogpost to talk about these two historical Malay tombs and some
of the strange happenings connected with them.

[ Much more to come..... ]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Siang Lim Park today

Below is a blogpost by my daughter D3 in February 2007 in our Yippie Bogsite. I took the liberty to lift it from our private Yippie Blogsite as it has a map of Lorong 40. However, look closely and you cannot find "Siang Lim Park" anywhere on the map. Upto 1995 or thereabouts, it was still there as I had captured a couple of snapshots before my parents and other homes were demolished..for redevelopment.
Siang Lim Park were actually two portions, one on the left of Lor 40 ( now the Sunny Spring ) and the other on the right ( now the Waterina ). The pre-war terraced houses were built by wealthy Arab merchants who owned the land. The rent for our corner unit was $34.10 cents per month. You may think this is peanuts today. But it was still quite a sum of money in pre-war days! After the war, the Rent Control Act was in place and the rent was frozen at that sum if you were still the original tenant. My parents were original tenants until the very end. On several occasions, I personally went down to Arab Street to pay the rent on their behalf.
Don't miss my next post which comes with a hand-drawn map, accompanied by unk Dicko's vivid recollections of Siang Lim Park.

Friday, February 2, 2007
Siang Lim Park Today
I've been wanting to share this story for some time and this blog has given me the perfect place to do it.Last year, I was invited to a birthday party for a friend's kid. When I received the invitation, I was so surprised to see that the address was Siang Lim Park! The party was at a condo called The Waterina.Before the party, we looked it up in the map to make sure we could find our way. Here is what we found.Driving down Geylang Road to the party, I remember thinking how familiar everything looked, how as a child our family had driven down this road so many times to go to YeYe and Mama's house.And then we turned into Lorong 40, and the feelings of familiarity disappeared. There were no more old houses, zinc roofs, metal fencing. Just shiny tall buildings.The Waterina was a nice place, it was a nice party, but I couldn't help feeling something had been lost....
Posted by pilgrimparent at
11:58 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Digging into the Singapore.

What can you find if you started to dig into the ground?
Well, that depends very much on where you are digging ( the location ) and how far down you are prepared to dig. Perhaps, the size and expanse of the dig will play an important part too.
If given a chance Unk Dicko would have loved to be an archaeologist or something close to that.
Whatever is above land we can see. But what lies buried deeper under the earth beneath us, even as we walk over it, will always remain a mystery.
It is this desire to uncover the unknown or hidden secrets that is quite a compelling attraction of archaeology.
In 1964, racial riots erupted over Singapore. To curb the racial clashes, the government acted swiftly. Police were patrolling the streets and a curfew was imposed. The curfew was only lifted for a short period those initial days for people to buy necessities.
It was boring as we were all prevented from going out.
We had a small garden in our home in Geylang. I decided to do a little digging with just a kill time.
What did I find precisely ?
Three different things...the complete skeletal remains of our early family cat,
some Straits Settlements coins and the most interesting discovery of all..the headstones or tombstones found in Muslim graves. They were very old, not new. As soon as I discovered that there were a couple of such stones..I stopped digging, showed my father and other family members the artifacts, and replaced them before closing the dig. My father had also uncovered such headstones in earlier years when he was doing some work there.
I think Siang Lim Park where we used to lived, was in some parts, a very early Muslim burial ground. No human remains were found, only tombstones.
The younger generation may not really know that Bishan housing estate was a huge Chinese burial ground not that long ago.
Some of my relatives were buried there...including my dearest younger little toddler brother ( I loved him most deeply) who passed away 50 years ago.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Actress found for ROSE CHAN part!


Sun, Oct 18, 2009The Daily Chilli/Asia News Network
Busty Malaysian actress to play Queen of Striptease
[top photo: Christy Yow aims to go big with her role as Rose Chan (right, in picture)]
By Beh Yuen Hui

BUSTY Malaysian actress Christy Yow is set to earn her wings for her acting talent rather than her physical assets when she takes on the role of Rose Chan in her new movie.Yow is well known for her pair of 36C breasts and has even been nicknamed Malaysian Giant Breast.
That will soon change when she plays the role of "The Queen of Striptease" Rose Chan in her new movie.
The 22-year-old lass from Ipoh, Perak beat several hundred candidates for the role in the movie Mei Gui Xiang (The Charming Rose).
Yow is currently acting in Singapore Chinese drama.
Singapore's Lianhe Wanbao reported that Yow's manager had confirmed the news of her role in the movie by French producers.

He said Yow had been going to the nightclubs to learn from the mama san (a woman who leads the GROs) and to find out the real life of women in the night entertainment industry.
"The world of Rose Chan was very complicated.
Yow must work hard for the role," said the manager.

Yow was overwhelmed by the news on Thursday and told her parents about it.
She said her mother did not object, but was worried if she could do it carry the part. Her father did not say anything.
He asked if Yow had to strip in the movie and remained silent after she answered "Hmm...".
The director and producers of the movie searched for two years before they agreed on Yow.
Mei Xiang Xiang is expected to start filming in Shanghai, China next year.

The movie tells the story of the legendary striptease Rose Chan (1925-1987).
Rose Chan was a cabaret dancer turned striptease. She was known for her daring performances on stage such as her famous python-wrestling act and having motorcycles ride over her.
She also performed unusual stunts that required her to use her "lower body" strength and flexibility.
These popular performances have since been adopted by the "tiger show" performers in Thailand.
Rose Chan had performed in Germany, France, Britain, Australia, Indonesia and others.
She died of breast cancer at her home in Butterworth, Penang in 1987.

The Daily Chilli/Asia News Network

Read my original blogpost about Rose Chan here and also here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dollah Kassim..the unforgettable Gelek King !

Straits Times online Breaking news
Oct 4, 2009
Dollah Kassim collapses
By Terrence Voon

FORMER Singapore football icon Dollah Kassim collapsed at half-time during the Veterans' match at the Sultan of Selangor Cup on Sunday.
The 60-year-old, known as the Gelek King for his Malaysia Cup exploits in the 1970s, reportedly suffered a heart attack and was taken to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he underwent surgery.
He was reported to be in stable condition in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit.
This is the second time a former Singapore international has suffered a heart attack during the Cup - a friendly between ex-internationals from Malaysia and Singapore - in the last three years.
S. Rajagopal, another household name from the 1970s, also had a heart attack while on the pitch in 2006. He was the coach of the veterans' team on Sunday night.

In 1977, there was a huge crowd at Paya Lebar Airport to welcome back our Malaysia Cup winning heroes. And one of those eagerly mobbed and hoisted by the most appreciative crowd was none other than the "Gelek King"....DOLLAH KASSIM. He was always one of the Singapore's crowd favourite...not just because of his superb dribbling skills which left many opponents for dead when he oozed past them easily but I think it was also his most likeable personality. He was easy-going and unassuming, a gentleman to the core on and off the field.
Unk Dicko did not know him personally but I knew his brother and niece in the 80's.
The latest update is that he is stable but still in a coma.
I join the thousands out there in praying for his recovery.

I was there at the airport when the team returned to a glorious welcome from grateful fans.

Active Agers Awards Night 2009...Reunion of past Winners

In the photo are 5 of last year's Active Ager Award winners...Madam K of the Golden Gals,
Mr Goh, Mr Chua, Mr Tang and Unk Dicko.
It has been a year since we were honoured with the Awards, last October.
Not in the photo are 2 more Award winners...Mona and Daniel.

This piece of artwork was sculpted from a block of solid ice.

Despite it being quite a hot night...the ice did not melt away when
the event ended.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More on Malaysia Cup Final 1977

This came from the New Nation newspaper of Monday 30 May 1977...the centrespread of page 10 and page 11.

Tears of Joy!
Robert Sim hugging Winning-goal hero Kim Song at the end of the match which we won 3-2. Coach Unk Choo Seng Quee...the greatest unsung hero of the day!

[ Click on photo to read ]

I was at Merdeka Stadium on Cup-Final Night 1977

For unk Dicko and many of my generation who had the good fortune of watching our national footballers since the early 60's , I think the large majority would agree that the 1977 Malaysia Cup-winning team was the BEST Singapore Football team to date.
Everyone in that team, including those on the bench, was a household name and led by the legendary coach Choo Seng Quee, brought the whole of Singapore to fever pitch...the night of the Cup Final in Merdeka Stadium, KL in May 1977.

I was seated among the 38,000 crowd watching the Final. That was the only Cup Final across the causeway that I ever attended. As I said, many of us had caught the "fever" as our boys in blue progressed through the competition from the Q-finals, then S-finals and the actual Dream Final. I can't really explain it but I felt like this ( never felt it the same way before ) ...if I did not bother to go all the way to KL to support OUR team, then somehow, I didn't think they could win. We all knew what an intimidating atmosphere it would be in the Merdeka stadium for our team, our officials and our loyal supporters. In reality, it was a hundred times more than just intimidating!
They really hated us....Singapore that is!
Scores of Singaporeans were hauled away by their police just for shouting very vehemently ," Referee KAYU! Referee KAYU! " Some of them were detained overnight and only released the next day.
The referee for the match was Selangor Referee Koh Guan Kiat who, in the dying minutes
of extra time, when our boys were holding on to their 3-2 lead...for unknown, strange and inexplicable reasons, awarded a freekick to Penang at the top of the penalty box. The crowd was stunned. Even my very good and close friends from KL, whom I was seating with, were stunned as well! No rhyme or reason to award one and Ref Koh...awards! That happened very often in many of our gut -wrenching Malaysia Cup matches over the decades and years. Thus the shouts of "Referee Kayu!" which was actually very mild compared to some of those shouted by Ah Bengs, Alis and Samys which went...."**2-**#!#!!! u! @@#!!U!!! "
In the end Shukor Salleh, Penang's midfield general, took the freekick tamely which posed no problem for goalie Edmund Wee.

When the final whistle was blown.....not only did the players cry tears of joy, unk Choo cried, our supporters inside Merdeka stadium cried and jumped, then jumped and cried...back home, I dare say many would have cried in sheer happiness too.

And me...using my hanky, I had to wipe away the corner of my eyes which welled up.
I had never felt happier shedding such tears!

The SUNDAY NATION front page of May 29 1977 ( above) is part of my extensive collection of archives.

Many of those papers have been kept as they were...uncut in their original condition.
To scan parts and portions of such a large page for uploading onto my blog here is quite a challenging task. I have to ensure that I do not damage the fragile page as I fold it into a more manageable size for scanning. I do not want to cut it into smaller portions, preferring to keep it whole.
So I do apologise if the photos have creases and folds here and there.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Active Agers Awards 2009...Renewing Friendships.

Photo: As Sam Liu, the newly crowned Active Ager with the IDA Champion trophy walked towards his seat, I stood up to warmly congratulate him.
The 2 Ds.

2008 winner Mr Chua and his family, Tang Wing Kee, myself and Mr Lingam.

S'pore's 1st Airshow 1911 !., Clifford Pier opening 1933.

Here are two very old photos of early Singapore. They are from the Straits Times edition of 16 December 1988..kept in my home archives.
The first photo captured the very first air show in Singapore back in March 1911. The plane in the picture was a Bristol Box-Kite biplane piloted by Mr Joseph Christiaens. You can see the profile of the pilot against the sky. He took off from the Race Course ( Farrer Park today ).
Anyone remembers the building in the background.? The roof and that bell-shaped tower looks rather familiar to me. I am quite familiar with the Farrer Park of the 60's onwards. It is no longer there today, of course.
The seniors and oldies of my generation would surely be familiar with Clifford Pier. That was the main pier from which you board the boats from. There were other boarding places for the smaller crafts and tongkangs like Telok Ayer Basin. But Clifford Pier would be like today's WTC.
This rare photo showed the day it was declared open on June 3 a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry. The pier was named after Sir Hugh Clifford, Governor of Singapore from 1927 - 1929.
It was built to replace Johnston Pier, also located there.
My first ever visit there was as a small kid in the 50's. I remember my father brought me there and I was totally mesmerised by all that I heard and saw. Such a pity that my poor father never owned a camera in his life..otherwise I would love to recapture the days of my childhood through pictures. I cannot now recall clearly why we were there. But I can remember the places he had brought me I treasure those precious memories in the absence of photos.

Honouring the Stars...2009

All the 6 Awardees in a group picture with the three VIPs.

Brian urging the guests to give all of them the loudest applause for the each one of these six Active Agers were chosen from more than 465 nominees.

Let's salute these Active Agers...said Brian. They make very good role models for the many seniors and retirees in our society.

All the Award winners with the big chief himself....Gerard Ee, Chairman Council for Third Age.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The 6 Active Agers Award Winners 2009

Rajam Sadanandan receiving her Award.


Ruby R Ng-Ong receiving her Award.
To the left of the picture holding his trophy is Chhua Bak Siang another winner.


Sabapathy Gopalakrishnan being congratulated by Minister Gan.


Zaibun Siraj couldn't contain her laughter on being congratulated.


Sam Liu receiving the Active Agers Infocomm CHAMPION AWARD 2009.
He becomes the 2nd person in Singapore to be so this award was only first given out last year.
Unk Dicko is the 1st person to win this award in 2008. As a matter of fact, Sam was 1st runner-up last year in this same category. He had visited my blogs and heard of all the things I was doing previously and was very sincere and warm in his praises and congrats. He is a deserving winner this time round! I am particularly glad that he is the IDA Champion for Active Agers in the I T category.

Active Agers Awards 2009..Superb entertainment.

As soon as all present were seated comfortably, the programme proper got underway with Brian Richmond warming things up with his wisecracks and jokes.
Jokes are never stale even if you have heard them before.
The Golden Gals, an Indian dance group nurtered by my fellow 2008 Award winner Madam K, entertained us with an exquisite and rhythmic dance item.

Speeches were made by Mr Gerard Ee ( Chairman, Council of Third Age ) and RADM (NS) Ronnie Tay ( CEO, Infocomm Development Authority of )Singapore).

At 8 pm, the Guest-of-Honour Mr Gan Kim Yong ( Minister for Manpower) arrived and went up to the stage to deliver the main address.
The important points made in all the speeches have been reported in the press. I shall put them here later.

Perhaps, the best news for the evening or in any event such as this was when emcee Brian Richmond announced..."ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served!"
But there was further good news! We were to be entertained by Mr Ernesto...a truly gifted and most versatile singer/guitarist.
This man is a huge talent with a capital "T". No joke! As a performer and entertainer myself, I like his style....confident, always in sync with the crowd, plays by ear, adapts well, has variety in his singing, playing style
and unafraid of requests.
He is also humourous...when he ad-libs and make light banter of VIPs.
Those of you reading this do note this:
Mr Ernesto is available for company or private functions. I have no idea what it will cost you but I can assure he is a classy act!
He did several songs from the 50's and 60's so well that judging from our collective response, he was asked to

"play and sing on" beyond the allocated 20 minutes. The guests applauded heartily.

Photo: Table number 8
D2 and I were at this table together with some of my fellow Active Ager Award winners of 2008.
In the picture is also Mr Lingam seated next to D2. He is a runner-up in this year's AAA category.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Active Agers Awards Night 2009..

The 2009 Active Agers Awards Presentation an event with the theme " Honouring the Stars" was held at the Marina Barrage, a location that is not easily accessible unless you travel by car or

transport has been pre-arranged. Last year the venue was at the Cavenagh Bridge, across the Singapore River.

Nevertheless, the ambience and surroundings at Marina Barrage contributed to the nice atmosphere under the moonlight and sea breeze.
There were lots of other people there from kite flyers, cyclists, tourists and others merely taking in the sights.

D2 and I arrived at about 6.45 pm. The organisers/officials recognised me and directed me to the special carparking lots reserved for us.
We were met by Henry Quake, CEO of C3A and other C3A and IDA staff. At the registration counter, we were informed our table number was 8.
I went to look for the "new" faces amongst the tables and discovered an old friend from my working days.

Tang Wing Kee, Unk Dicko, my old friend from NYGH and Sabapathy Gopal.
Gopal is an Active Ager Award winner this year while my friend is the runner -up. They too are recognised and acknowledged...that is certainly a step in the right direction.

I managed to have a chat with emcee of the night ....Brian Richmond.
Last year we had much fun and laughter comparing our ages until we both discovered we were that close at birth. Born in the same year, Brian is older than me slightly by 3 weeks!
So I was very glad to reunite with my "elder " brother again and he felt likewise.
Another thing we seem to feel strongly about is that we did not feel older by one year. We both felt younger!

No, we're not doing the cha-cha or tango.
We just felt grateful and happy to meet up again.

Gerard Ee, the Chairman of the C3A having a chat with us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Active Agers Awards 2009..Winners!

Straits Times online breaking news
Oct 11, 2009
6 active seniors win award
By Lim Wei Chean

Mr Sabapathy Gopalakrishnan, one of the recipents, organised the thrice weekly exercise sessions for residents of Tai Keng Gardens. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
WHO said once you get older, you get less active and slower?
Six senior citizens who won the Active Agers Award, a prize to recognise those who embody active ageing, proved otherwise.
Mr Chua Bak Siang, 61, Mrs Ruby Ng-Ong, 72, Madam Rajam Sadanandan, 62, Madam Zaibun Siraj, 62 and Mr Sabapathy Gopalakrishnan, 73, took home the Active Agers Award. Their accomplishments ranged from helping out in the community and going back to school.
Mr Sam Liu, 73, was given the Active Agers Infocomm Champion Award for being at home with technology and efforts to help seniors breach the technological divide.
The awards, in its third year, is organised by Council for the Third Age. The six received their awards from Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong.
Mr Gerard Ee, chairman of the council, said: 'This is a group of remarkable seniors - active agers who truly live with zest and passion. We need people like them to convince others that you're not over the hill just because you've hit 50, or 60, or 70.'

Unk Dicko's Comment
I was invited together with my wifey D2. Had a reunion with last year's winners at the event held last night at the MARINA BARRAGE. Also met up with others from the C3A, Ogilvy, IDA and some key persons. Mr 90.5 ...Brian Richmond was the emcee again. Wonderful that we both had a chat and both felt we didn't look or feel a day older than last year! Haha!
Do check out my next several posts soon...with lots of photos and other interesting tidbits about this event.
My Heartiest Congratulations to all the 6 winners and to all the finalists ( runners-up).

My invitation card...and we were seated at a " prosperous" table, the table # 8 !

Early photo of Stamford Raffles statue in 1919

Photosource: Wikipedia
This old newspaper clip is from my original full page of the Straits Times of 16 December 1988.

This old photo covered the day that the statue of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles was relocated to Empress Place in an official ceremony that was was also part of the Centenary Celebrations ...on 6 February 1919 ( one hundred years after Singapore's founding ).
The statue of Raffles was first unveiled on 27 June 1887 at the Padang, front of City Hall.
This was to coincide with Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations throughout the British Empire. Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837 when she was only 18 years old.
Until the day she died on 22 January 1901, she has reigned for nearly 64 years long!
She was the longest reigning monarch in British history and also the longest of any female monarch in all history.
ps: The statue cost a whopping $20,446 back then...a huge sum of money in those days!

Below is an article from Infopedia
Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles
By Tan, Bonny written on 2003-01-29National Library Board Singapore
Comments on article:

Sir Stamford Raffles' Statue, sculpted by Thomas Woolner, is a popular icon of Singapore. The statue depicts Raffles, standing tall, arms folded, with an aura of quiet assurance. It was installed on Jubilee Day on 27 June 1887 at the Padang and relocated to the Empress Place during the Centenary Celebrations on 6 February 1919. Sir Stamford Raffles' Statue, sculpted by Thomas Woolner, is a popular icon of Singapore. The statue depicts Raffles, standing tall, arms folded, with an aura of quiet assurance. It was installed on Jubilee Day on 27 June 1887 at the Padang and relocated to the Empress Place during the Centenary Celebrations on 6 February 1919, Jubilee Day.
The statue was the work of the famed sculptor-cum-poet Thomas Woolner. The blackened 8 ft figure in bronze was nicknamed orang besi or "iron man". The statue was unveiled by Sir Frederick Weld, then Governor of the Straits Settlements, on Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Day on 27 June 1887. A little known detail was added by Woolner at the base of the statue. Here he had traced a map depicting the area around the Straits of Malacca and Raffles having his foot over British Malaya.
The statue originally stood at the Padang, facing the sea, between St Andrew's Road and Connaught Drive. However, it was often struck by flying footballs or used as a seat for a vantage view of a field game at the Padang, so the authorities felt a more respectable location was required.
ry Celebrations
Thus, for Singapore's Centenary Celebrations, the statue was moved to the front of the Victoria Memorial Hall on 6 February 1919. A semi-circular colonnade of the Italian Doric order framed the statue and in front of it was laid a marble-lined pool with fountain jets. Two rows of flower vases around the pool added colour to the classical setting. The statue was placed such that it looked toward the assumed place of Raffles' original landing at the mouth of the Singapore River. It was also carefully positioned axially with the centre of the clock tower of the Victoria Hall. During this move, the base of the statue was found to be supported by a rod which went through one leg of the statue. The corrosion which occurred around it was duly repaired before the move. A tablet was placed at its plinth, recognising the special importance of Raffles in Singapore for the Centenary Celebrations.
Raffles' Arms and the Knight's motto were engraved on a bronze shield placed at the base of the granite pedestal. A cast of the statue's head was also made for a bust to be located at the Raffles Museum and Library. This bust is not the same as the plastercast replica of Chantrey's bust of Raffles, which was also located at the Raffles Museum and Library.
World War II and mid-September 1943, the statue was removed to the Syonan Museum (Raffles Museum). Some later suggested the Japanese had intentions to melt it for the war effort. Although report showed that the colonnade and flower vases remained intact during the Japanese Occupation, they were not to be found after liberation. However, the statue remained unmolested and was reinstalled at the Empress Place in 1946.
DevelopmentsIn June 1953, during Queen Elizabeth's coronation celebrations, the fountains were started again for just this one time. However, the colonnades and the flower vases have never been replaced.
Albert Winsemius, an economic advisor to Singapore in the 1960s, was credited for seeing that the statue stayed as a symbol of developed Singapore. According to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the statue would stand as a "symbol of public acceptance of the legacy of the British and could have a positive effect" in Singapore's future development.
A plaster cast of the original was used to recast a polymarble copy which now stands at the side of Empress Place, marking what is believed to be Raffles' landing site. It was erected on the 150th anniversary of Singapore's founding. There is also another statue of Raffles at the Westminister Abbey, posed seated in a thoughtful stance.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The first Car race in Singapore..1907 !

Recently Singapore held the F1 Formula One Grand Prix for the second year running at the Marina Bay Circuit. It was also the second time that the race was held at night...last year being the inaugural night event.
In the 60's and early 70's the Singapore Grand Prix was held at the Old Thomson Road circuit.
Many people of my generation, including myself, used to enjoy the very exciting races held there.
However, not many of us are aware that the very first Automobile or car race was held about a 100 years ago!
Look at my original news clipping above. It came from the Straits Times edition of Friday, 16 December 1988, page 7...where they featured several old photos of early days of Singapore.
In the next few days, I shall post all the pics here.
That historic 1st motorcar race took place in June 1907. The venue was Tyersall Road which is where Botanic Gardens is today.
Apparently, that was also the year that the Singapore Automobile Club was formed.
Looking closely at the photo, I think it must have been around noon when the picture was taken.
It probably was a very hot day too as a few umbrellas can be seen. Most of those taking part were likely British.