Photo Credit: Derek Tait
Derek Tait left his heart in Singapore since four decades ago when he returned to the United Kingdom with his father, a British Navy officer here in the 1960s.
The treasure chest of old Singapore photos which Derek brought home are alive today and he had shared these precious photos everywhere on the Internet. Just do a Google or other search engines on the Internet for "old Singapore photos" and we can be sure that many old photos of Derek are found. He doesn't care whether his photo credit are acknowledged or just found anonymously in the public domain without names untraced.
How many more saved by Derek, while the hundreds and thousands of memorable photos were lost one way or another, accidentally or otherwise, to save storage spaces, thrown during annual "spring cleaning" or fed to the silverfishes in the personal photo albums of private individuals.
The memories of Derek's "Singapore's 1960s" photos are inspired by many bloggers in Singapore and enriched their own personal memories of Singapore "nong nong ago" for reminiscence and posterity.
Derek's "To Singapore, With Love" as appeared in TODAY.
With his penchant for anamnesis precision to recollect the memories of his childhood days in Singapore, Derek is the fervent writer of "Memories of Singapore and Malaya", "Sampans, Banyams and Rambutans", "More Memories of Singapore and Malaya" and more published books soon.
At a time when Singapore was mostly kampongs and slums, toys were make-do improvisations for childhood days in Singapore. Nowadays, young children could explore for themselves Fun with Nature and Pasir Ris Kids Kampong about "longkang" fishing.
Following a previous blog about the "memories aid" for old photos, blogs and written articles, diaries to remember nostalgic memories, there are many art forms and multimedia channels expressed in painting, music, poems, dance, cartoon and caricacture. These are oral or written heritage and history which every individual experience and express; including those with visualisation to express.
The gifted talent of painting could preserve the memories if a camera as a common "memory aid" is not available. The human brain has the dexterity and artistic skills compared to the functions of a camera and artificial intelligence.
The Singaporean artists with paintings as "memory aid" are featured below:
Marcus Lim (林国安), an award-winning historian painter with his statement at The Art of Marcus Lim website.
[While the rest of the world advances with time, my work on Singapore heritage takes me otherwise. With every crumble and erosion of a pre-war building, landscape or item that once belonged to Singapore's illustrious past, we lose a big part of our identity.
My quest is not only to preserve these images in my paintings, but also to immortalize the essence of that part of history, its lessons and messages that we can impart to the future generations of Singaporeans].
"Unveiling the Golden River" painted by Marcus Lim
"Chinatown Backlane" painted by Marcus Lim
"New Year at Eng Hoon Street" painted by Marcus Lim
"Kwan Im Temple, Waterloo Street" painted by Marcus Lim
"Old McCallum" painted by Marcus Lim
"Sultan Alley Barber" painted by Marcus Lim
International well-known artist Ong Kim Seng 's "Heartlands: Home and Nation in the Art of Ong Kim Seng" and awarded the 1990 Cultural Medallion, presented by the Ministry of Information and the Arts, Singapore and presented the "PONNADAI" (Golden Shawl) by the Singapore Kairalee Kala Nilayam (Singapore Kairalee Arts Centre) in recognition of the artistic achievements given to Singapore.
"Backlane Barber" painted by Ong Kim Seng
"Kampung Radin Mas, Now and Then" painted by Ong Kim Seng
"Magazine Road, Now and Then" painted by Ong Kim Seng
"Changi Point Jetty" painted by Ong Kim Seng
"Singapore River" painted by Ong Kim Seng
Here's a quiz:
Who is the well-known Singaporean who described below his childhood days in Singapore?
"I didn't do any work. I was too keen on running around, catching fighting fish in the drains along Changi Road, Joo Chiat Road. They were all rubber estates and they had these open drains. At the open drains...you can catch good fighting fish and you keep them in bottles and you buy them in the earth and then you feed them with worms and you put a bit of green plants to oxygenate the water. There was great fun also flying kites and putting the thread on two poles, pounding the glues and the glass, fixing the line so you can cut the other fellow's line.
And then playing tops: you armour your top, you get a top and you put thumb-tacks, polish it up and then you hit the other fellow's and make a scar on his. It was a more do-it-yourself, amuse yourself childhood than what children now have, where toys are just given to them to be amused. But here, you've got to amuse yourself, which I think in retrospect was a better way."
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in the book "Lee Kuan Yew - The Man and His Ideas" by Han Fook Kwang, Warren Fernandez and Sumiko Tan.