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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Jan 3, 2012

Ways Done in the Past - Soya Sauce

Modern packaging of soy sauce in the supermarket.

When I spoke to a group of young students recently about Singapore Memory Project and irememberSG on Facebook, I was asked: "How different were things done in the past in Singapore and those things done now?"

These Gen-X youngsters are full of energetic brain-power and innovative ideas. They are exposed to the world through the internet in this digital age. They look at things differently and do not accept everything as status quo. They have sensible questions to ask and proposed solutions to make things better, faster and if possible, cheaper. They are the thinking different, make a difference (an acronym for MAD)! "Think Different" was an advertising slogan created for Apple Computer in 1997. This is a new breed of young Singaporeans.

This group I met are from the polytechnic studying mass communication. Fun-loving, chatty and talented. Not the serious-looking, scholastic bookworm types.

Of course, people cannot be labelled or "classified" by appearance. That would be unfair.

These are the young guys who are equipped with IT skills and mindsets to seize new opportunities. They blog, emailing, wireless messaging (SMS), "facebooking", "twitter" and what have you with a global online connection. Thanks to this new generation parents, teachers and trainers to mould and develop our younger Singaporean today.

A guy asked me to share with him the ways which things were done in the past, why things which were done in those days have now become outdated and are the vanishing trade. Were those the impractical ways and methods which had changed because the lifestyles have changed, ways have become out-of-fashion, the products and equipments have been replaced by new inventions, computer-based products and modern science and technology.

Hmm...interesting! The new generation of babies who have grown up and fed with instant milk powder and fast food has apparently shown effective results on their physical growth...especially for the development of their brains and intelligence. This augurs well for our education system and the schools of the new generations of youth in Singapore.

I somehow felt intimidated by the bombardment of questions from these youngsters. But they were patient and kind to this old man with a slower brain ;)

Thinking and speaking to myself:

These guys were thinking faster, better...but not cheaper (in terms of money the parents have to spend) to bring them up with the milk powder, fast food (including instant noodles) which was better than my contemporaries and I have to grow up in the 1950s.

I grew up with "Lifeguard" condensed milk and "porridge water"...

Of course, every parents do their best to provide a better way of life and opportunities for their children in Singapore, just as our parents have also done their best to provide our opportunities and growth in our homeland.

To go haywire from my train of thoughts and cut off the off-topic conversation, I intend to start a new series of blog topics on "Ways Done in the Past" theme.

There were many ways generally done in the past, our ways of life, our food, our work styles affected by the work systems, the vanishing trade, our ways of travelling in Singapore now and then, etc.

My contemporaries are cordially invited to share their experiences and Singapore memories to be submitted to irememberSG on Facebook.

These are collective memories which fellow Memory Corps contributors and everyone with their vast experiences could "brainstorm" and share, including senior citizens with observations of ways done in the past.

The young fellow who questioned me was just like me when I was young, even younger than him now as a teenager.

I was an inquisitive boy at about 6 years old, asking lots of questions but not often to have answers from my father. He was a man of few words and refused to answer funny questions from a talkative and curious son.

About 60 years ago when my father brought me to a coffee-stall for breakfast, I aked him: "Why people must drink hot coffee from the cup and then pour it into a saucer before drinking?"

This photo shows the uncle drinking coffee from a saucer, not a cup.

My father was in good mood that day and answered: "Because the coffee is hot. Pour it into the saucer and it gets cooler quickly". Good answer.

But then people these days don't do it anymore. That's an outdated "obiang" style.

Another question. We had to sit in front of the coffee stall squatting on a stool placed on top of a bench to drink the coffee.

"Squat-fashioned" on a chair in a coffee-shop, not a wooden bench and stool at a stall.

Father answered: "Don't ask so many questions. The table-top is high and we sit comfortably this way". Again good answer.

Many things which were done in the past were out of habit or just the ways most people do. Find out why here .

But then, that was the way it was done in the past.

New ways for "Ideas@Work: Tapping Employee Ideas for higher Productivity" is now available.

Mr Lam Chun See, a management consultant and trainer with more than twenty years of consulting experience in Japanese productivity systems will help you to understand how to make the suggestion system work. Find out more here .

The "memory-aids" for this pictorial blog is acknowledged with thanks for the photos from National Archives of Singapore (NAS) on PICAS.

Soya Sauce Factory

Delivery of soya sauce

Delivery of bulk containers of soya sauce loaded on the lorry for delivery in 1986.

Bottled soy sauce of various brands displayed on the shelves of the shop in 1986.

The evolution of the processing stages of soy sauce in the factory in the 1950s until now may have modernised, mechanised and computerised to save manpower and skilled workers.

The ways done for the delivery of soy sauce in the past has also been changed. As the tricycle has been replaced by vans or lorries.



Blogger lim said...

Talking about milk powder, I remember being quite upset when people, particularly in the 60s and 70s, promote the use of milk powder as a better form of nutrition than breast milk. I think modern parents today combine the use of both to feed their babies.

January 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Yeoman said...

I grew up in a HDB flat in the 70's. I remember a friendly old man would come door to door to sell soya sauce.

We gave him our empty bottle and he would pour the sauce in through a funnel.

January 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM  

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