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Jan 2, 2013

New Year Day Sea Sports in Singapore

Watching the New Year Day Sea Sports from the roof-top of Clifford Pier in 1953
The crowd watching the New Year Day Sea Sports events at the Esplanade on 1st January, 1951
There were very few public and community events in Singapore on New Year Day celebration in the early days.

The annual New Year Day Sea Sports were held at the Singapore waterfront as the main attraction for the entertainment of the public.

The events included men-of-war boats for open and half-decked boats of any rig with sail area of over 300 feet. There were also rowing races, an exhibition of water polo by picked Europe teams, swimming races, etc for natives and a model Malay koleh race.


The former Union Building in 1964
Sailing crafts getting under way at start of the races off Clifford Pier
Can we recognise a few of the older buildings in the background?  These archived photos curated from the courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore with thanks and acknowledgement to share on this blog.

"Greasy Beam" Event

The New Year Day "Greasy Beam" event in 1929

 Spectators yell "Yes, he's got it!" as 17-year-old schoolboy Mohamad Naim of Telok Kurau Malay School plunges into the sea after successfully getting hold of the little flag at the end of the greasy beam. New Year Day Sea Sports on 1 January, 1959.

"Tub Racing" Event

"Tub Racing" is great fun and challenging.  The competitors will get nowhere - just round and round and round in the same spot.  The lucky winner will need the skills to control the oar with the help of the wind to blow in the right direction to land the tub...


New Year Regatta

As a yacht club with 186 years of history, the Royal Singapore Yacht Club (RSYC) held the first regatta in Singapore in 1834.

One of the famous regattas organised in 1866 and reported in the Illustrated London News magazine was a 28-mile race among four well-known racing yachts. It was won by “Ganymede”, a 36-ton cutter owned by William Read, a former commodore of Singapore Yacht Club, beating J.L. Kirby’s 18-ton schooner, the “Picciola” after almost 4 hours.



 Postcards contributed by Blogger Friend Yeo Hong Eng to share the following photos.  With thanks and acknowledgement to Mr Yeo Hong Eng.

 Nostalgia friends are welcome to share your precious memories of New Year Day Sea Sports in Singapore stories and photos over the decades at Singapore Memory Portal for everyone to remember. Thank you.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Lam Chun See said...

As a kampong boy in those days, I did not know about this event. I only learnt about it a couple of years ago when I saw the documentary, Lost Images featuring photos and film clips by Ivan Polunin (hope I remember his name correctly).

January 2, 2013 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger dashing hongeng said...

I was too young to remember these events although I faintly heard about them. I remember I collected some postcards that are related to these regatta. I will post these postcards to you to include in your blog.

January 3, 2013 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you dashing hongeng for sharing the postcards related to this blog topic.

I am pleased to include the colorful photos on the blog as requested. Best regards. Thimbuktu.

January 4, 2013 at 4:41 AM  

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