River Run

Way before Stamford Raffles was even born, much less a 'sir', there was Sang Nila Utama, who chanced upon the Singapore River and saw a 'strange beast with a red body, black head, and a white breast' at its mouth. It was later assumed to be a lion, hence the name Singapura. ...
AUGUST 1957

Boys to men

When the scouts in Singapore realized they didn't have enough funds to send their first overseas contingent to Sydney in 1952, they set out to raise money the old-fashioned way - by working for it. They spent a week doing odd jobs and from then on, Job Week became an annual affair for these...
April 1957

Telling Tales

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived among us, storytellers. Setting up shop in various locations such as Chinatown or Boat Quay, these gentlemen recounted myths, folk tales, and classic Chinese literature pieces in dialects like Hokkien, Teochew, and Cantonese.

Wedding belles

FORGET a simple white gown - for the traditional Peranakan bride, the more vibrant the colours and heavy the jewellery, the better. Pictured below are Yeo Chye Luan and Goh Chwee Kee at their traditional Baba wedding ceremony in Beach Road in 1950, as well as another unnamed couple in their...
JULY 1955

Some Like It Hot

EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE. Just take it from Yeo Hiap Seng Ltd, the food and beverage manufacturer and distributor which began as a family-owned business in 1938 under Yeo Thian In who had moved to Singapore to escape the Sino-Japanese war in Zhangzhou.

Empress-ive

The oldest performing arts venue in Singapore, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall at Empress Place, was gazetted as a national monument in February 1992.

Going om

Mindfulness and meditation might be all the rage now, but some people were way ahead of the curve: Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple, for one, was founded in Singapore in the 1920s by Venerable Luang Phor Hong Dhammaratano.

August 1966 - Parade of parties

If you always felt that you should get more than one day off for National Day, then go back in time to the 1960s. Singapore's first National Day, celebrated on Aug 9, 1966, was a week-long affair involving a massive parade, fireworks, floats, cultural shows, and dinner parties...

Fishy Tales

In 1955, Singaporeans got to see fish in tanks other than in their favourite seafood restaurants, when the country's first public aquarium was opened to the public...

Flying High

BEFORE there was the HDB, the first taste Singaporeans got of public housing was courtesy of the Singapore Improvement Trust, which built what's better known as SIT flats. Now the last vestiges of that era are immortalised in the form of the gentrified heritage neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru...

You've Got Mail

Back when e-mail wasn't killing our ability to write freehand, and there were still a lot of trees to cut down to make paper, postmen played a much bigger role in society. But they were so poorly paid that they decided to go on strike in 1952, when the British were still in power...

Tipping the Scales

You've heard of Japan's tuna auction in Tsukiji, but back in the 1950s, the fish auction at Ellenborough market was something to behold. ...

Power Play

Next time your Wi-Fi router breaks down, remember this.

Hawkers' Centre

Back when packets of tissue paper were used to clean hands rather than reserve a table, hawkers were footloose and fancy free.

Strong As Steel

The literally street-stopping Indian festival of Thaipusam has a long and rich history in Singapore that goes back generations, as in the case of this devotee making his way to the Chettiar temple in Tank Road in the early 1950s.

Star Power

April 1951

Doggone!

The earliest reports of The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) operating in Singapore date as far back as 1878, when 84 cases of animal ill-treatment were reported, mainly of oxen, birds and ponies.

Remember Amber?

If you were rich in the 1950s and lived in Katong, you probably had a house in Amber Road, where many a rich Chinese towkay built beachfront tropical homes.

Fuss-free Duty-free

Gone are the days when travelling was a straightforward experience. Instead, the modern traveller is plagued by worries about securing the right type of visa, having enough luggage to see them through the trip (but not so much that they have to pay overweight fees) and of course, keeping their...

Hatched, Batched and Dispatched

BRUNCH just wouldn’t be the same without eggs. Scrambled, fried, poached, hard-boiled – no matter how they’re prepared, the debate nowadays is centred on free-range versus caged.

Classic Movie

Feb 1950

Route Awakening

BEFORE the MRT became our primary mode of public transportation, there was a humbler player in town - the trolley bus.

Cracking Pace

Oct 1952

Wear & Tear

OPENING a new clothing boutique in the alreadyteeming Orchard Road is not for the faint-hearted, but Surrender at 268 Orchard (''SRD 268'') is up to the task. The 2,400 sq ft space aims to deliver a fresh retail experience through the interaction of space, music, fashion and art...

Birth of a Station

Way, way before we had Netflix, there was, yes, good old television. It was Feb 15, 1963 and making his first ever television appearance was the late S Rajaratnam, who was Minister for Culture at the time. He was onscreen to launch the country's first TV station Television Singapura - the...