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Feb 1, 2012

Ways Done in the Past - Home Delivery

The steps from Blk 7 to Blk 9 at Jalan Bukit Ho Swee, Singapore.

Surreal...this photo of Blk 7 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee brings back my memories to my young days of BHS. Thanks to Shirley Wong who posted this photo to "I grew up in Bukit Ho Swee" group on Facebook.

Shirley said: "I have only taken this picture on my way to my relative house that day. Happen to carry a camera and took this picture for memory before it was demolished. As you can see most of the people have shifted out from the building".

At the location at the corner below Blk 9, beside this staircase and every night from 7 pm to 11 pm, a Teochew fishball noodle mobile cart stall which was my favorite supper snack for many years until I moved out of Blk 9. My favorite "Tar kuay teow mee" with fishballs at 20 cents per bowl...

"Lau Chua", the Teochew uncle was assisted by his two young grandsons. In the ways of "home delivery" in the past, Lau Chua's grandsons went around the estate with a wooden "tok tok", took orders and then deliver to the customers.

Photo Credit with thanks: Lao Kok Kok, Times of My Life.

Guess what is the above?

Find the answer from Lao Kok Kok, Singapore Blog Awards - Best Individual Blog 2009 winner here .

Five-foot way noodle pedler in the 1950s.

Fishball stall at the coffee-shop in the 1980s.

Mee stall at the roadside at Siglap in 1970.

Roadside stall for the convenience of lorry-drivers in 1950.

Uncle Dick Yip, the Wise Old Owl once quipped to me that during our kampong days, we do not need clocks to know the time of the day or night...not "Time for a Tiger" (Slogan for Tiger Beer) though!

At other times, the home delivery by mobile pedlers at the kampong were known by the unique sound of the "tock tock", "ting ting" or the ringing sound of the bell by the ice-cream seller every generation, every where!

How do children enjoy their ice-cream the ways done in the past like the way the children enjoy them now?

Another veteran blogger Philip Chew reminds kampong folks at the sound of "lor arh, lor arh" for "home delivery cum casino" at our kampongs as we revive our Singapore memories.

What other ways were done in the past for home delivery and courier services?

Happy Memories! Come share with us!

Note: Photos with watermark are acknowledged photo credit and thanks to National Archives of Singapore.



Blogger Lam Chun See said...

Thanks James for this nostalgic trip down memory lane. I am amazed at your ability to find these photos. If only I have found them earlier, I would have used them for my book :(

February 3, 2012 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for your nice comments, Chun See.

Filtering through PICAS photos and keeping my eyes peeled to the loads of archive records was a mammoth task. Often time by coincidence to find the appropriate photos by accident to unrelated search words was of satisfaction and joy to share them on the blogs.

February 3, 2012 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Sim Hui Hwang sent via Facebook:

Hi James, I really like this post. When I was young, I lived at Lorong Limau and we were just next door neighbours to a family that sold the kuay teow mee tng. I remember seeing a little boy, like a runner and he would be having a lot of business at this family where gamblers and mahjong players congregated. As we were poor, we never got a chance to taste the kuay teow tng that they sold. In fact, my mom told me that they looked down on us who couldn't afford to eat a bowl of kuay teow tng from them. Another elderly lady would come by selling soon kueh and ku chye kueh. When we could afford, we would buy a few from this lady. I remember the elderly seller using a pair of scissors to cut the kueh into two, this way and that way and she would drizzle some tiam cheo (sweet sauce) on top of the kueh. How nice. She came a-calling every afternoon. There was also a mee-goreng seller. An Indian man, you could hear him frying the mee. Each time he threw in a handful of yellow noodles, you could clearly hear him clanging his frying slice around his iron wok. There would be cut green chilli to go with it. Again, one packet of this would be shared among my family of six. That could explain why I don't have the habit of eating supper - since those days when we could see food but couldn't afford to buy it. Thanks, James, for the memory!

February 4, 2012 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger FL said...

Hi, James, the photo of the 6-storey HDB flats at Blk 7 does bring back many happy memories of my younger days at BHS, My family stayed in one of those rented flats at Blk 19 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee from 1963 thro' 1975. It's a similar designed 6-storey block as shown by your photo. Mind you, there were no lifts at all and the common corridors were in the centres. The site of our former Blk 19 is now the site of the present
Tiong Bahru Plaza shopping mall ! I remember that some of the earlier HDB blocks in BHS had shared common toilets on every floors !
I also remember those days at BHS, some residents staying in upper floors would lower their baskets to buy foods from those itinerant hawkers because the earlier 6-storey blocks were without lifts at all !

February 4, 2012 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi James, it was great meeting you finally at yesterday's book launch. Your photos and posts bring back lots of memories for me, even though I may be relatively younger at 41 years of age than you guys. :)

I used to live in Serangoon Gardens, a beloved estate that is full of warm and wonderful places and people, peppered with its unique blend of post-colonial charm, sights and sounds.

Two home deliveries were of significance to me. The first was a regular skinny and shrivelled bread man who cycled from home to home selling warm and fragrant freshly baked loaves from a big box tottering dangerously on his bicycle. The second is an Indian milk seller who delivered fresh milk to our homes (albeit a limited time) - the aroma and taste of the wholesome beverage is something that can never be captured by any pasteurised variety in the supermarket shelves today.

February 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for the memories of Bukit Ho Swee, FL.

You are right. The upgraded 1½ room at Blk 19, Jalan Bukit Ho Swee were built about a year after the 5 blocks of 1-room "emergency flats" at Jalan Bukit Ho Swee allocated to the Bukit Ho Swee fire victims in 1961.

The 6-storey 'emergency flat' do not have lift as you mentioned and the communal toilet is located with the main staircase in the centre of the block.

This was described in the "Foodage" video clip here .

Thanks also reminding us the 'home delivery' system for lowering a basket and a rope from the upper floor of the block to order from the hawkers. My mother kept a basket tied to rope at home for convenience or when we were too lazy to walk down the stairs to buy things from the hawker ;)

February 5, 2012 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Yee Weng Hong said...

When I was staying at Block 7, one thing I remember my mum buying using the basket is 'tau kwa'. When the tau kwa seller came around, we put 20 cents into the basket and lower it from the 6th storey to him to buy tau kwa. can't remember what else we bought using this basket method.

February 5, 2012 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Nice meeting you for the first time in person at the book launch, Walter.

Thank you for your blog comments to share nostalgic memories. It doesn't matter whether the memories is for a longer or shorter period of time. The individual memories is unique and never the same for another person.

Same place, different times, different experiences and journey.

Growing up in Serangoon Gardens would be interesting Singapore memories for heritage stories for you to share with us.

February 6, 2012 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger lim said...

Itinerary hawkers were a very popular presence during my kampong days - Rojak, Laksa, ice-cream ball, and chwee kuey.

The sound of "chwee kuey lai buay" in Teochew would send us scurrying in excitement. At that time, we could still order two and a half pieces of chwee kuay.

The rojak man came to our kampong every Sunday, and he would be stuck there for at least an hour, because all the kampong folks would come out to order. That's how popular he was.

February 6, 2012 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you, Weng Hong.

The basket method was also used at Bukit Ho Swee at that time when "Lau Chua" grandsons would collect for delivery order after going around the estate on "tok tok" orders.

Yes, I would put 20 cents and a clean bowl into the basket.

After the fishball noodle was ready, the basket would then send down with rope to collect the order. The youngster had not heard about this delivery system now.

Great memories at Bukit Ho Swee, Weng Hong. Cheers!

February 7, 2012 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Mr Lim, you have good memories about home delivery done in the past.

Uncle Dick Yip mentioned only about the different times of day and night at the kampong for home delivery.

I now learn from you that different days of the week also have such a weekly schedule.

Wonder if they had a time-table among the itinerant hawkers for such an arrangement without avoid crowding for home delivery in those days ;)

February 7, 2012 at 5:02 PM  

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