Blog To Express

A blogosphere learning experience to express with blog

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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Sep 29, 2011

Rex Cinema Then and Now

Then: Rex Theatre at MacKenzie Road c 1948. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Walking down memory lane in Selegie Road today, I took this opportunity to blog on "Rex Cinema Then and Now".

Both "Rex Theatre" and "Rex Cinema" mentioned in the old and new photos refers to the same place. From the latest photo on the blog, it is shown as "Rex Cinemas".

It doesn't matter. Its the same building 60 years ago then and now is the same "Rex" for screening movies at this place.

Now: Rex Cinemas on 29 Sep 2011

Now: Rex Cinemas on 29 Sep 2011

Then: The coffee shop and restaurant opposite Rex Theatre in 1971. Source: National Archives of Singapore

Then: The queue at Rex Theatre c 1975. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Then: The queue at Rex Theatre c 1975. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Here's a "Spot the Difference" quiz on this blog:

1. The film-goers to queue for cinema tickets.

2. What is "New Sensurround"?

3. Why you will "FEEL" the "Earthquake"?

4. What is "70MM" as advertised on the banner?

5. What is "black market" for the sales of cinema tickets?

Then: The queue at Rex Theatre c 1975. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Then: The queue at Rex Theatre c 1975. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Then: The queue at Rex Theatre c 1975. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Then: The "roti prata" stall at backlane beside Rex Theatre c 1971. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

"On a little street in Singapore" Group on Facebook created by Jerome Lim, I posted here on 25 Mar, 2011.

The Indian stall at the corner of this coffee shop was one of the best "chapati" stall in Singapore, not forgetting the "chendoh" push-cart stall with undiluted coconut milk and concentrated "gula Melaka" at the backlane of Rex Cinema.

Now: The backlane beside Rex Cinemas (Mackenzie Road) on 29 Sep 2011. The hawker push-carts for chendol, mee goreng, satay, Indian rojak, roti prata and other food stalls have disappeared.

Now: The backlane beside Rex Cinemas (Rochor Canal Road) on 29 Sep 2011. Another view of an empty and unblocked backlane now.

Now: The Rex Cinemas facing Rochor Canal Road on 29 Sep 2011.

Now: The Rex Cinemas carpark facing Rochor Canal Road on 29 Sep 2011.

I hope nostalgia bloggers and readers enjoy this blog of Singapore memories as much as I posted it.

Thanks to National Archives of Singapore and the many contributors for the old photos to share here, without which our "memory aids" are not made possible.

As the "Singapore Memory Ambassador", I used to lament about the lack of old photographs of my childhood days to help the stories of Singapore memories. Simply I did not own a simple camera until I earned my first pay cheque in my 1970s.

Everyone has a brain but not everyone has a camera in those early days. Thank God I own one too, albeit shrinking a smaller brain now as my age grows older; and memories no longer as sharp as I was younger. Just at 63 years old yesterday.

On the "memory aids" of Internet, Google, so many like-minded bloggers and special interest groups of Facebook and social media channels, there are many helpful friends I have learnt.

Every person's memomories in one's lifetime is priceless. Memories and various "memory-aids" of individuals are not for sale, loan or lease.

There are many people who lock their private memories and stored in their functioning brains throughout their lives and not a world uttered publicly to tell the world. When they die, their memories die with them. Me too!

Obviously, I share only selective memories as blog to express only of interest and worthwhile and if not else, for myself.

During my young days in Bukit Ho Swee, I spent most evenings at the community centre.

I was a few years older than most teenagers then and had many young friends. I was kinda a "gin na tau" (childish leader) at the community centre to tell stories I had learnt in school. We are teachers and learners all at the same time, to and from other people at the same time; to acquire knowledge from my teachers.

Children like stories, just like me. I guess I was a story-teller in my past life, like those days my father told me about story-tellers along the Singapore River in the 1950s to the workers in the evening.

Then: Story teller at the Singapore River in the 1950s.

If I were to be a story-teller today, its a vanished trade and I would be out of business at Singapore Memory Project , where you can read so many interesting Singapore memories which the Memory Corps contributors to share with us. Please join me to tell "grandfather" or "great grandfather" stories or those to be told through the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Its a fun family-bonding activities for everyone.

I understand that there were no lady story-tellers in public in the olden days.  However, nowadays, great grandmother and grandmother story-tellers have very good and captivating stories to share with us.


Sep 28, 2011

Lee Kuan Yew Gets a Caning

Raffles Institution c 1940. Photo source: National Archives of Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew inspecting the Guard of Honour formed by the Raffles Institution's National Cadet Corps at the school's Founder's Day Ceremony on 6 Jun 1969. Photo source: National Archives of Singapore.

This blog topic "Lee Kuan Yew Gets a Caning" is not intended to be mischievous. Please read on beyond the headline...

It is a chapter from the book "Tales of Old Singapore" by Iain Manley, assembling vignettes of a time past, a Singapore of yesterday as excerpted below:

Lee Kuan Yew Gets a Caning

From The Singapore Story by Lee Kuan Yew, 1994
In my final year, 1935, I came first in [junior] school and won a place in Raffles Institution, which took in only the top students...I enjoyed my years in Raffles Institution. I coped with the work comfortably, was active in the Scout movement, played cricket and some tennis, swam and took part in many debates. But I never became a prefect, let alone head prefect. There was a mischievous, playful streak in me. Too often, I was caught not paying attention in class, scribbling notes to fellow students or mimicking some teacher's strange mannerisms. In the case of a rather ponderous Indian science teacher, I was caught in the laboratory drawing the back of his head with its bald patch.

Once I was caned by the principal. D.W. McLeod was a fair but strict disciplinarian who enforced rules impartially, and one rule was that a boy who was late for school three times during one term would get three strokes of the cane. I was always a late riser, an owl more than a lark, and when I was late for school the third time in a term in 1938, the form master sent me to see McLeod. The principal knew me from the number of prizes I had been collecting on prize-giving days and the scholarships I had won. But I was not let off with an admonition. I bent over a chair and was given three of the best with my trousers on. I did not think he lightened his strokes. I have never understood why Western educationists are so much against corporal punishment. It did my fellow students and me no harm.
This article as written by former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in his book.

Raffles Institution c 1941. Photo source: National Archives of Singapore.

Raffles Institution c 1950. Photo source: National Archives of Singapore.

A bird's eye view of Raffle Institution c 1971. Photo source: National Archives of Singapore.

Sep 24, 2011

The Happy Wanderers

"The Happy Wanderers" (Photo from left to right): Victor Koo, Philip Chew, Dr Tan Wee Kiat, Thimbuktu, Peter Chan, Anthony (Honey Ant), Andy Young, Lam Chun See, Dick Yip.

A small group of "Happy Wanderers" "Friends of Yesterday" (FOYers)get together informally today (Saturday, September 24, 2011) at an undisclosed venue.

We were not meeting to chat about yesterday. It was to capture this happy moments our fellow bloggers, the "Bloggers of the Same Feather" blog to express about today, the present.

Thanks to Wee Kiat to recce an uncrowded cozy corner in a place few people know, on a little street in Singapore.

Although we tried to jealously guard the secret of our meeting place, those who are familiar to eastern area of Singapore from the photos on this blog have been given the clues of the location. Wee Kiat studies his topography of Singapore very well. He even research on the best time for us to be left alone, far away from the madding crowd.

Not to be missed was a complimentary copy of "Singapore Stamps & Money: One for the Birds" new book autographed by Wee Kiat and personally presented to Philip Chew.

Chun See mesmerised with the music notes for the ukulele practice.

Unk Dicko offering Anthony (Honey Ant) some extra one-to-one student's practice and tips on his ukulee.

Wee Kiat watching Unk Dicko conducting his ukulele lessons.

Wee Kiat on his harmonica with feelings to partner with Unk Dicko on his ukulele.

Travelling "Ukulele Music Man" Unk Dicko and Wee Kiat, the "Harmonica Music Man". Official photographer Peter Chan with his professional SLR camera.

"Have Ukulele Will Travel"...everywhere Unk Dicko brings joy and happiness with our happy wanderers. With his over 50 years old song books, photostated notes for distribution to everyone to join in the happy "evergreen" songs even the young ones can just sing along. Andy Young's "Singapore 60s Andy's Pop Music Influence" keeps our favorite songs alive. Thanks Andy.

We are the "oldies and goodies", singers and the songs, having a good time together!

A great Saturday afternoon of fellowship and friendship of yesterday, today, and everyday.

Thimbuktu had the chance to croak while Unk Dicko strummed his ukulele to his favorite song, "Crying in the Chapel" by Elvis Presley on Youtube.

Who says we need to have a "live" band or an enclosed karaoke soundproofing acoustic room for group of happy wanderers to enjoy our "live" music with harmonica and the ukuleles?

Philip Chew with his romantic number with his dreamy eyes closed and imagined with arms in the air waltzing "Changing Partners" .

Wee Kiat making music with his harmonica and clapping to the tempo of the happy songs, while Unk Dicko in harmony on his ukelele.

Did you notice something on the floor? Scroll to the next photo below.

Anthony's hat was used as "unlicensed buskers" performance in public. A great fun and laughters from the audience. Wee Kiat and Unk Dicko are sporting and the jolly good fellows!

Please watch Philip Chew's "Bloggers Turn Buskers" video clip. Who's the generous guy who threw in $50 in that hat?

Another one from Peter here .

An appreciative young lady reader who was presented an autographed copy by Wee Kiat to present to her father.

Wee Kiat congratulates Andy Young on the birth of his third grandson this morning. Cheers!

Unk Dicko with Anthony (Honey Ant) to fine-tune their next number.

Andy Young blogs "When Seniors Meet In Camaraderie And In Music in poetic prose "ukelele and harmonica sounds charm the surrounds beneath the tree-lined meadows of Siglap Hill" at Singapore 60s Andy's Pop Music Influence .


Sep 12, 2011

Small Town Stories - 小城故事

This is a lovely, meaningful song "小城故事" simply translated as "Small Town Stories" by Teresa Teng to share you on YouTube here.

The translated lyric of this song from Mandarin to English, about the small town stories to invite visitors to her small town, or small cities like Singapore.

Singapore is no longer a simple, small town.

It is a global city, a cosmopolitan city linked to the world.

Enjoy this song, this invitation to our visitors to Singapore!

Please remember and share your fond nostalgic memories of Singapore to contribute to the Singapore Memory portal for posterity of all Singaporeans.

作曲:汤尼(翁清溪) 作词:庄奴 编曲:翁清溪/顾嘉辉







"Small Town Stories" by Deng Lijun (in Mandarin)

Small town with many stories
Filled with happiness and joy
If you come to small town
Hear especially many more

Look like a painting
Listen like a song
A world of life, the good and beautiful are found here

To talk about and chat
The small town is really good
Friends, you please come together
Come to small town as a visitor


To talk about and chat
The small town is really good
Friends, you please come together
Come to small town as a visitor


Sep 11, 2011

Mid-Autumn Festival 2011

This bigger than human-sized figurine of Chang 'E made of papier-mâché and stood above the heads of the spectators at the "Mid-Autumn Festival" exhibition. This was the crowd-pleasers and the main attraction at the Albert Mall to provide educational information for communities to learn and understand the multi-cultures of one another in Singapore.

“中秋节快乐“! Greetings to everyone "Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.

The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节), also called "The Mooncake Festival" or "The Lantern Festival" and is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar. According to the Gregarian calendar, it falls on 12 September, 2011.

Last month, Jerome Lim blog "A walk around Geylang Serai during Ramadan" and then posted the "Fly Me to the Moon" blog. Being "Uniquely Singapore" with event calendar almost every month one after another for the festivals or celebrations of the multi-ethnic community all the year round.

Whilst Chinatown celebrates "Mid-Autumn Festival 2011 here , this is the traditional annual festival "happening street" in Chinatown.

Since I cannot be present at so many places at one time due to time constraints, I decided to visit the Albert Mall to soak in the atmosphere of the Mid-Autumn Festival and shopping at the roadside stalls near Kuan Imm Temple at Waterloo Street this year. This is the open-air public space where cultural events all-year round located across the road of Bugis Junction. There are activities and road-side stalls and buskers which attracted crowds of locals and popular among tourists.

With a throng of the crowd just a week from the Mid-Autumn Day, there were many tourists from various countries, such as Americans, Australians, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Malaysians and also a couple of curious Africans who found the celebration interesting and never seen before in their home country.

On a walk to the Albert Mall at Waterloo Street, I met a friendly middle-aged Australian couple from Sydney and told me that they were last here in Singapore 40 years ago. They were excited to visit the many places of interest in Singapore for sightseeing. Many new places for tourists and travellers to bring home happy memories.

Mooncakes to accompany with Chinese tea.

Without mooncakes, mid-autumn festival is a heritage traditional food to be missing.

Over a century or more, the ingredients of the mooncake has evolved. The shape of the mooncake does not changed...that is round in the shape of the moon. The original ingredient from "tau sah" (white or black bean paste) to the absurd. The latest flavored ones has durian, chocolate, lotus seed paste filling, green tea snowskin and beyond the imagination of the most creative bakeries.

Do you remember the first taste of mooncake?

A young girl who was old enough to speak and tasted the first mooncake asked her mother: "Mum, why is there no moon in the mooncake?"

The stunned mother then mumbled to herself, "Oh dear! How could I find an answer to my daughter when she is eaten "sun biscuit" (太阳饼) and then ask me where is the sun in the "sun biscuit"? Kids say the darndest things to surprise us adults.

The pomeloes imported from Thailand are in season.

Another "must-have" item for the Mid-Autumn Festival are the lanterns for the kids to join a procession in the evening with their friends in the neighborhood.

Many years ago, I had guest-blogged at "Good Morning Yesterday" to reminisce Mid-autumn Festival (中秋节)in Bukit Ho Swee Kampung about my treasured rooster lantern, a gift from my late mother.

The following photos of the paper-made lanterns of various cartoon designs and colors.

Outdated lanterns will eventually become obsolete. Children want new toys every year when they grow older for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Usually they would stop carrying lanterns when they are older than 10 years old as I observed.

I am amazed by the creative ideas of the lantern makers over the years. The lantern designs keep up with the times according to the cartoon characters which appear on TV or video games.

The modern lanterns these days are made of colored transparent plastic material, lighted with tiny bulbs and battery-operated. Gone are the days when lanterns were made of paper and lighted with small candles inside.

Did you recognise the popular video game character "Angry Bird"?

Lanterns will have a hard choice to decide the favorite lantern.

The new musical lantern toy just released in 2011.

Please turn on the speakers and click on the video clip. Above: This is the latest plastic musical lantern which is battery operated for sound and action.

Below is the musical "Bubble Lantern" video clip. Cool...

This is the "newest" "Bubble Lantern", another creative toy invention the kids are attracted.

Artificial colorful flowers to cheer up the home for Mid-Autumn festival.

Since the olden days in China, the brightest moon shining in the sky inspired the Chinese poets to create and composed during the mid-autumn day before the moon disappears behind the clouds again.

The famous Chinese poet 李白 composed the most well-known Chinese poem "静夜思". It captured the beauty of moonlight and memories of the homeland:


The display of some of the poem poster at the public exhibition at Albert Mall are:

The Legend of Chang ‘E

According to legend once upon a time, ten suns appeared in the sky. Smoke was seen arising from the surface of Earth from the immense heat. The seas dried up and people gave up hopes about living.

As soon as the bad news got to a hero named Hou Yi, he climbed to the peak of Kun Lun Mountains and from there shot down the nine additional suns.

As Hou Yi possesses great martial art skills, he was respected and loved by people. Many patriots came forward wanting to be his apprentice to learn some skills from him. One of them called Lian Meng entered with evil intentions.

Not long after, Hou Yi married a beautiful and kind-hearted wife, named Chang ‘E. Other than passing on his skills, Hou Yi makes it a point to spend quality time with his wife. This brought about envy from some people of this happy and loving couple.

One day, Hou Yi went to the Kun Lun Mountains to visit his friend. On his way up, he met the Queen Mother from whom he pleaded for the elixir of immortality. According to heasy, anyone who takes this elixir can instantly become an immortal in heaven.

However, Hou Yi could not bear to leave his wife, so he had Chang ‘E temporarily safe-keep the elixir. Unfortunately, Lian Meng was secretly watching when Chang ‘E was hiding the elixir in the drawer of her dressing table.

Three days later, when Hou Yi brought all his apprentices out for hunting, Lian Meng maliciously faked illness so that he could stay behind. Shortly after they left, Lian Meng sneaked into the inner chamber. He coerced Chang ‘E to hand over the elixir. Chang ‘E knew that she wasn’t Lian Meng’s match. Being very decisive, she hurriedly opened the drawer, retrieved the elixir and swallowed it.

After taking the elixir, Chang ‘E started to float into the sky out of the window. As Chang ‘E very badly misses her husband, Hou Yi, she decided to set foot on the planet closest to Earth - the Moon.

In the evening when Hou Yi returned home with his apprentices, the maid recounted what had happened. Astonished and furious Hou Yi drew his sword and wanted to kill Lian Meng, but Lian Meng had already fled.

Deeply saddened, Hou Yi could only look up into the sky and shout out his wife’s name. While looking up, he realized that the moon was exceptionally bright and clear that night. There was a swaying figure which resembled his wife. He quickly sent his men and set up an incense table in the backyard which Chang ‘E loved and which usually displayed her favourite fruits. Since then, Hou Yi would look at the moon and start to think of his beloved wife.
In multi-culture and multi-ethnic groups in Singapore, regardless of race, language or religion, the peoples have the liberty to celebrate their every community to keep their traditions to celebrate their own festivals and heritage as a harmonious society.

The Mid-Autumn Festival (Part 1): Dwellers of the moon 中秋~月亮的传说(上) at 188 Hugh Low Street , Ipoh blog by "Childhood memories of the scissors grinder's daughter".

Mr Lim Lian Hai , the well-known Singaporean fine art photographer, commented this melodious Mandarin song 但願人長久 famous amongst lovers of Chinese songs by Theresa Teng (鄧麗君). Another Chinese classical song, 《水调歌頭》宋·苏轼·词 张鷹·曲 姜嘉锵 唱 linked to his comment on the blog.