Remember rushing home after school to catch He-Man or Transformers on TV, or waking up early on Sunday mornings to watch Care Bears or Smurfs? Or how about Vinny the Little Vampire and Constable Acai from Young Generation magazines? And who can forget brushing one's teeth with a mug after recess time in primary school?
If you have memories of all these, then congratulations - you are as old as I am! But whether you grew up in the seventies, eighties or nineties, chances are you will have certain memories that will remain close to your heart for the rest of your life.
And rather than letting these memories slip away, we can choose to preserve them and let them continue to live on for our future generations. Heard of the Singapore Memory Project, or SMP for short? It is a nationwide movement which aims to capture and document precious moments and memories related to Singapore.
And to take things a step further, SMP has launched a campaign to invite all Singaporeans to come forward kick-start their own Memory Project titled 10 For Keeps. Anyone can submit their 10 most cherished Singapore moments either via its website or by means of a specially-commissioned Instax Memory Kit (we have 2 sets to give away but more on that later).
The Instax Memory Kit consists of a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera (with 20 pieces of film), a Memory Collection Pamphlet to submit one's memories and SMP Memory Kit booklet. The latter is especially interesting as it is an illustrated step-by-step guide to documenting meaningful memories of and conversations on Singapore. Certainly an ideal tool for first-time memory makers who would like to try their hands at capturing their own memories and that of others including family, friends and people they know.
Since I had one such Polaroid Camera in my hands, I decided to compile my own 10 cherished childhood memories as well. And why 10 you ask? Because when 10 is all we can document, we will make it count.
Here are my 10 memories for keeps:
1. Country Erasers
Seriously, who can forget these cute flag erasers that made students of my time collect them ever so fervently? I still remember that the Singapore Flag one was one the most popular eraser to collect of all, simply because it was a symbol of national pride. These erasers were also used in the game of kuti-kuti where two players will try to flip their erasers to land on top of each other. Whoever managed to do so, that person will claim the defeated piece.
Surprisingly enough, these erasers have withstood the test of time as Ash has been playing the exact same game using these erasers in school too! In fact, these erasers in the photo are but a small portion of his proud collection.
2. Super Elastic Bubble Plastic
What is cooler than soap bubbles? Each tube came packaged with a small straw. Simply squeeze a little dab of the gel-like substance from the toothpaste-like tube, insert the straw, and just blow. With a little training, one could blow up a large plastic ball! Toys were so much simpler back then, no?
3. Styrofoam Airplanes & Bird Gliders
Now, there are only a handful of shops that still sell them so I make it a point to pick up some for the boys whenever I stumble upon one. Yes, I say for the boys but you should know who it is for in reality.
4. Fancy Gems Biscuits
I think these little biscuits with sweet star-shaped coating on top need no introduction. Almost every single of us must have come across these cute tidbits, and bitten off the sugary top first before consuming the biscuit or vice versa. Either way, I would always find excuses to have more... simply by exclaiming that I have not eaten all the colours yet! And from the looks of it, Ale must have learnt that trick from me too.
5. HDB Flat
This is the HDB flat at Block 35 Dover Road that I grew up in, and it was certainly a neighbourhood that I have many fond memories of. Playing catching or hop-scotch with neighbours and spending the evenings down at the Pelican Playground beneath my flat - life was indeed carefree then.
6. Primary School Report Book
Ahhh, my report book. How nice it is to be finally reunited with you. The final page bore the fruits of my six years of primary school life but it was actually the other pages with my previous teachers' comments that made for an entertaining read. Or at least that was what both Ash and Ayd said.
Oh, and who can forget that our Hanyu Pinyin names were used in the name roster instead of dialect names back then?
7. Phone Card
The first time I fished the phone card out in the presence of the boys, they were left scratching their heads as to how a card allowed one to make phone calls. In today's age of smartphones, the notion of queuing in order to make a call at the public phone booth is definitely alien to them. But it is these phone cards that were the must-haves of every NS boy back then, and waiting in line for one hour just to have a 5-minute conversation... yes, enough time to break-up even.
8. Kiddy Rides
These retro kiddy rides were the best! Littered almost everywhere back in the eighties - I remember fondly at Yaohan and Emporium - I would always bug my parents to let me get on one and then refuse to get off, even after the music ended. Nowadays, these rides are replaced by the more popular cartoon characters like Barney, Batman or Elmo but for me, I will gladly take these mechanical 20-cent rides anytime. If my butt can still fit inside them.
9. Merry-go-round at Playgrounds
Used to be a common sight at playgrounds, I believe there are only 2 such classic old-style merry-go-rounds left in Singapore. The one pictured above is at Tiong Bahru’s train playground while the other can be found at the sleepy estate beside Begonia Road. And it will be a real pity should the day come when these merry-go-rounds disappear in Singapore because I have many fond memories of having to push it round after round, hoping to get some momentum going before jumping onboard to enjoy the ride.
10. Soft Toys
Okay, so for the last memory of the list I decided to pass the Polaroid camera to Ash and Ayd. I told them that they each could take a photo which they think represented their childhood up to this present day. And this was what they came up with.
Everyone, say hello to Whiskey (Yes, it was me who came up with the name) the Dog and Gingy the erm, Gingerbread Man. Whiskey belongs to Ash, while Gingy is Ayd's precious. Granted that both these soft toys bear no relation to Singapore, but they have been spending almost every night with the boys even when we are overseas. As they put it, they will keep these soft toys "for life". So it will most certainly be a memory (and keepsake) that they will never ever forget.
And this is something that is true to the heart of the 10 For Keeps campaign, no? Memories that anchor our lives, and for us to cherish in a way that other people may never understand. But that is what make them so special... and treasured.
So, what are your most cherished moments?
Remember - you can share your most cherished memory that you wish to capture in the comments of THIS post OR in the corresponding Facebook post HERE.
Giveaway has CLOSED, and the 2 winners have been picked by Singapore Memory Project. They are Carol Mei Mei and LaughingCow! Congratulations!!! Please email me at kelvin(at)cheekiemonkie.net to claim your prize. Thanks!
Oh, and did I mention that your submitted memories could be also featured at a Memory Showcase from 11 to 21 April 2014 at National Library Building too? So better jog that memory of yours and start sharing away!
For more information, visit SMP’s WEBSITE, BLOG or FACEBOOK PAGE.