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Jun 30, 2011

A New Generation Funworld

In 1920s and 1930s, amusement parks were introduced to Malaya, offering a mix of eastern and western entertainment to the masses. Singapore had three amusement parks - New World , Great World , and Happy World (later renamed Gay World).

After the demise of the "Three World" Amusement Parks which were blogged at "Blog to Express" a new generation of children who grew up in Singapore, what new generation of "funworlds" to be developed by enterprising businessmen cater to the needs of these children and to fill up the vacuum created by the loss of the "three worlds of amusement parks" to entertain and amuse our young children in the 1980s.

The children today could not imagine the amusement parks visited by their parents and grandparents. How to describe these amusement parks in the 1920s and 1930s, what types of kiddie rides, carousals, the "Ghost Trains", the experience of their childhood playthings during their era.

Children who grew up in different eras at different places are the same recreational needs to enjoy with their toys, children games to play and their enjoyment and to give them emotional space to grow and develop. With friends and children of their same age group for sharing happiness of laughter, games to be excited at their funland to play.

Lets share with our children how we enjoyed our childhood days catching spiders and watching fireworks, the "vanishing games" kids play during my bygone days. Simple stuff compared to the high-tech virtual computer games they play today.

The joyful moments of a child is not time-specific.

Today, virtual games have gone mobile anytime, anywhere...iPhone, smartphone, PSP, iPad and what you have on the road, in the train and even in the loos, mesmerised in their own game world on their hands.

Is there any difference in the joyful glints of the child's eyes now when he gets an ice-cream and a child, say, who was 50 years ago.

In the world of the child, the first taste of ice-cream or candy for that moment is a heavenly experience, an indescribable heavenly joy.

I cannot assume that all the children love the same things everywhere in the world, but we make a general assumption that ice-cream and candy love all children.

I would like to borrow the lyrics of the song "My Favorite Things" , from the movie "The Sound of Music" on this blog.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

[Repeat all verses]

From a personal parenting experience, I discovered that the best growing up years when my children were very young, their joy is our joy.

In the mid-1980s, my elder daughter and younger son had a family outing ("kai kai" in children lingo) almost every Sundays.

The "new generation funland" wasn't "New World, Great World or Happy World" amusement parks in my young days.

The photos above were taken at the "Uncle Kenny Funland" at Ken-Air Funworld Pte Ltd
80 Marine Parade Road, #03-26 Parkway Parade, Parkway Parade, Singapore.

I did not realise that these candid photos were taken 20 years ago could be retrived as my "memory aids" of my kids at the new generation amusement parks on this blog.

It was an innovative amusement park for kids in an air-conditioned and safe, children-friendly environment with the latest kiddie machines for exciting games and rides. The kids loved spending the whole day there and reluctant when it was time to go home. There were too many games and kiddie rides at Uncle Kenny Funworld for them to play until they got tired, for them to enjoy this favorite place.

The new generation funworld are very different from my childhood three "worlds" of amusement parks...but memories of our child enjoyment and experience are the same. A different form and void; same growing up years until they found different hobbies in school activities and events with school friends and the community centres.

Uncle Kenny was created by Ken-Air Travel Agency and the first indoor amusement park concept.

Ken-Air Funworld Pte Ltd located at 80 Marine Parade Road, #03-26 Parkway Parade, Singapore.

Parkway Parade at Marine Parade Road. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Below is an excerpt of "Children pack new indoor fun centre", The Straits Times, 22 April, 1984 on Page 4. Courtesy of the National Library Board NewspaperSG:
An indoor amusement centre opened on 21 April, 1984 at Parkway Parade and was deluged with excited children.

Its owner, Mr Kenny Goh, 35, who also runs Ken-Air Travel Agency, looked pleased at the turnout, which consisted mostly of invited guests.

He hoped the 2,800-sq-metre Funworld, which cost $2 million to decorate and equip, would attract customers willing to pay 40 cents to $1 for rides on the merry-go-rounds and bumper cars.

Mr Goh was confident he would succeed where many other amusement centres have failed. He said his centre provides entertainment for both adults and children.

"With smaller families," he said, "the parents have more time and money for their children."
At Uncle Kenny Funworld, the children were running everywhere shouting happily. The best sound (or noisiness) anywhere in the world is the children's natural, pure sound of laughter and love.

Once while watching my children enjoying themselves at Uncle Kenny many years ago, I smiled to myself the flashback of my childhood memories to my childhood days at the Great World Amusement Park.

Uncle Dick Yip's recollection of "Great World...recapturing the fun of childhood!" here . These photos from this blog with kind coutesy of Uncle Dick Yip to share his grandchildren at the kiddie rides. Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma to help them recapture the fun of childhood.

Another "new generation funworld" for the favorite of the kids was the Wonderland Amusement Park at Kallang Park.

These photos of Wonderland are posted here with the courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) here:

Unfortunately, I could not dig up the family album of these photos or may have lost them.

However, Jerome Lim's "Wonderland Without Glasses" blog at The Asia Mag is linked here

Parents, grandparents and the family are encouraged to create their blogs to post photos of fond memories where the children have visited any new generation funwold and amusement parks to save them for posterity. Unforgettable happy moments of our times!

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3 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

I was probably too young to remember much during those heydays of amusement parks. I do remember my dad bringing me to one, and sitting in one of those saucer cups going round and round. Haha :)

July 3, 2011 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Lam Chun See said...

Thanks for sharing the images of the Wonderland. They do bring back some memories. However by that time, I was already an adult and thus the memories of such things was not strong.

But I do recall being rather disappointed with the roller coaster ride. It was expensive, too short and too tame,

Anyway, by that time, we were attracted by a new type of craze ..... the craze of the Malaysia Cup and the Kallang Roar!

July 3, 2011 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for the memories, Andrew and Chun See.

Wonderland Amusement Park at Kallang will have a deeper impression to our children than to us. We were there just as chaperons to bring the kids and those of their age to enjoy their first time experience.

The children will have a deeper impression, memories and to remember. Different times, different experiences at different stages of our live.

July 4, 2011 at 7:43 AM  

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