Nostalgic things and habits that make Singaporeans miss the good ol’ days
Ahh, the days of yore. Back when everything seemed so simple, so slow. The days when life seemed more fun and exciting albeit the absence of fast cars, fast internet and fast food. Back in the day, only a few of us drive our own vehicle and yellow-top black taxis are but a commonplace in our streets. Running around sand-based playgrounds, challenging spiders in matchboxes and playing hide and seek with your childhood friends are your key itineraries for the day and it couldn’t be better than that. They say habits die hard. And if there are habits that are truly worth keeping, these are the ones that allow us to visit our past and live through the wonderful experience they’ve been – like the ones below.
Buying local knick knacks at your favourite Mama Shop
Before there were gleaming supermarkets and oversized malls packed with local and imported items from all over the world, there was your good old mama shop. Usually owned by Indian men called mamaks (hence, mama shop), these shops are kids’ most favorite after-school hang out. Care for a snack of Twisties and ice lollies? Look no further as your mama shop will have those – and more! Nowadays, these mama shops are a rare find but they still do exist. You might find one in the void decks of older housing estates such as Redhill. Do not be surprised if you find the owner ditching the bar code scanner for an ever reliable calculator. It just makes the experience all the more authentic.
Sweating it out with the Great Singapore Workout
The Great Singapore Workout is a fitness routine launched by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1993. At its launch, a crowd of more than 26,000 participated in the 15-minute workout at Padang, which entered the Guinness Book of Records for the largest mass aerobic session held at one location. Raise your arms over your head, then pump, pump, pump, pump!
Reliving childhood memories through biscuits and ‘country erasers’
Do you still remember your childhood days snacking on UFO crackers, haw flakes and jam-filled biscuits? How about battling for ‘country erasers’ with your classmates during school breaks? To top it off, how about munching a bag full of Khong Guan Fancy Gems Biscuits and White Rabbit candy and quenching your thirst with an ice cold A & W Root Beer Float? Some of these things are still very much around these days and it would be a fun trip down memory lane reliving those precious moments.
Playing fun games – you know, the ones that don’t involve gadgets and internet
Kids these days could probably not imagine a game that doesn’t involve their smartphone or tablet. But back in the day, games as simple as Hide and Seek or Police and Thief (the leader of the group would appoint the “policemen” and “thieves” by going “ki ki ki peng peng kua ti tiang ho nang ker zho peng… ki ki ki zhak zhak kua ti tiang pai nang ker zho zhak”) bring so much fun. There’s also Hopscotch, Chapteh and Goli (Marbles) if you really want to spend your whole day playing.
Living in Kampong and loving it for its simplicity and authenticity
Believe it or not, there is still an actual kampong that exists off Yio Chu Kang Road. If you’re interested, it’s called Kampong Lorong Buangkok – it is the last surviving kampong (village) located in mainland Singapore in the 21st century. But back in the day, they are aplenty and living in them is probably one of the best experiences one could ever have. The spirit of community, of warmth, of being one with your neighbors and helping each other out sincerely without expecting anything in return. Nowadays, an actual kampong is a rare find but the kampong spirit lives on.
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