A Rattan Business

Wicker furniture can be seen in any stylish furniture label’s outdoor collection, but there was a time when it was known by the humble name of ‘rattan’ in Singapore. The ubiquitous chairs were seen on almost every balcony and patio, thanks to its affordable price (compared to imported upholstered...

March 1961: Playing with fire

Where there’s smoke, there’s fireworks? Not since the 1970s, when the government introduced the Dangerous Fireworks Act due to an unfortunate accident during some Chinese New Year celebrations which caused six deaths.

Hard Cash

February 1961

Floating The Issue

Before people took to social media to sound off about the perceived injustices around them, there was one sure way to get attention: make a float about it. Which is what students at the University of Malaya (Singapore) did as part of their annual Welfare Week.

Stately Palace

The first Government House was built in 1819 shortly after Sir Stamford Raffles set up a trading post in Singapore and was made of wood and had a thatched roof. Less than 50 years later, it was demolished to make way for a new building - the Istana.

Studying The Past

IT TOOK Tan Lark Sye more than six years and two official proposals before the powers that be allowed him to set up Nanyang University, fondly known as Nantah, in Singapore.
April 1960

Singapore-Style Speakers' Corner

Now better known as a venue for complainants and the aggrieved, Hong Lim Park actually has a long-standing history of hosting varied activities.
FEBRUARY 1960

Don't Bank On It

In 1947, after World War II, philanthropist and millionaire Aw Boon Haw, of Tiger Balm fame, decided to open a different sort of bank. Chung Khiaw Bank dedicated itself to serving the 'small man', instead of catering to only the top tier of society...

Geylang Serai

Named for the fragrant herbs that flavour many a local dish, Geylang Serai (lemongrass or citronella), was a small settlement on the banks of the Geylang River that dated back to the 19th Century.

Ice Ice Baby

There's really nothing more consistent in Singapore than the heat. But our little island also comes equipped with a great way to beat that heat - ice-cream vendors. One of the few survivors of the great modernisation wave that swept Singapore, mobile ice-cream hawkers can still be found in...

A Cut Above

Forget your favourite salon with the 20-minute massage or just the right amount of bounce with your blowout.

Girl Power

Many of us struggle just to get our groceries to the car without a trolley. It's safe to say Samsui women wouldn't be able to relate to that. Also known as hong tou jin, named for their trademark red headgear, these hardy women came to Singapore from the Sanshui district of Canton...

A cultural affair

AS A MULTI-CULTURAL and racial community, Singapore has long worked hard to foster mutual understanding and respect. Back in 1959, the then-Ministry of Culture - now the Ministry of Communications and Information - organised initiatives such as the Aneka Ragam Ra'ayat, which roughly translated...

Betting on batik

NOT ALL CLOTHS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Prolific in Asia but underrated in the West, the batik style of clothing saw its heyday in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s. An Indonesian-Malay word, batik has come to be understood as a term for dyeing clothes using a "resist" technique. By covering...
June 1959

Dear John

While we're communicating by emoji these days, there was a time when we wrote actual letters to friends and relatives living far away. ...

Dancing Queen

SURE, SINGAPORE'S MOST FAMOUS DANCE might be that with the lion, where the costume forms the "mane" attraction. But there was one person responsible for the interest in the classical dance form here Rose Eberwein, who single-handedly put Singapore on the global dancing map...
DECEMBER 1960

Mail Order

AS CHRISTMAS DAY APPROACHES, the average Singaporean can be found struggling through the crowd of shoppers on Orchard Road, or thanking their lucky stars that online shopping exists. Some might even be using e-cards to deliver their season's greetings, But back in 1960, the Singapore post...