Mar 18, 2014

My 10 Memories for Keeps

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(Daddy reminisces)

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

Back then, remote-controlled planes were extremely costly and these Styrofoam fliers were the next best thing after paper aeroplanes. There were so many to collect just from each series that I remember spending a lot of time at the mamak shop trying to pick the one that I thought could fly the furthest.

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?

Share your most cherished memory that you wish to capture in the comments of this post, and stand to win the Instax Memory Kit worth $100! And I have TWO to give away!

You have until 2 April 2014, 2359 hours to submit your meaningful memory, and the 2 winners will be contacted by 4 April 2014. Do note that all content submitted will be subjected to SMP's Terms & Conditions. Please visit HERE for more details.

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) 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.

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Charlene said...

Playing with Polly Pocket when I was young!

- Charlene

Rachel Tan said...

One of my cherished moments was the use of the Milo tin as my savings box when I was little. All because I wanted to open my own provision shop when I grew up! Haha!

Ryan's Mummy said...

My cherised moments is living in old HOlland Estate with my dad as well as my stamps collection and First Stamp COvers...

Carol Mei Mei said...

My most cherished moments were the journeys to and fro my piano class with my late father during the six years that I was taking piano lessons at the community centre nearby when I was a child. We would either take long, slow walks through a leafy, old post-war walk-up public flats estate, past an old kampong by the railway where sometimes we would drop by his old friends. Or I would ride pillon on my father's blue Vespa scooter and he would always throw in a treat of either riding up to the top of Mount Faber (where we would then play a game of who would spot our block of flats first), or we would stop by the nearby Kim Tian market to watch fighting fish competitions. Perhaps these moments seemed very routine and mundane to my late father at that point in time, but I will always remember them fondly. Sadly, I will never get the chance to retrace those steps and revisit those experiences with my father and my own children.

Kum Yuen said...

Playing Super Mario and Zelda on my Nintendo! That really brings back lots of memories for me!

preciouz said...

My most cherished memories was my pencil case to school.The kind will lots of compartments and pop up and to fill it up , I have flag erasers , cute mechanical pencils with leads, sharpeners, rulers all put in the different compartments of the pencil case.And i will keep lots of rubber bands in it also so that can i play the rubber band "dancing and jumping" games with my classmate after school!

Unknown said...

Playing one-leg catching during recess in primary school and police and thief hide and seek... so carefree and fun then. Gulping down cold ten cents syrup drink at the school canteen after.

Valerie Leong said...

My most cherished moments are:
- playing Popeye game watch
- eating ka ka, xiao ding dang
- playing zero point and five stones

Laughingcow said...

Centrepoint used to be our go-to mall when we were younger, it is a far cry now from its heyday, compared to all the new, swanky malls that have popped up since. They used to hold frequent competitions or shows for children then, and I once went on stage to take part in a balloon-blowing competition: to win, one had to be the first to blow up a balloon to the point that it burst. My sister insists that I cheated because I dug my fingernails into the balloon while blowing it; I argue that no one else had the guts to. I won a pack of coloured erasers, which sparked off my eraser collection, much to my parents' dismay (or their wallets', rather).

They also had this giant maze thingy for a while, that occupied the entire forum. My sister, brother, and I, spent many hours, many weeks, weaving in and out of the maze. At the end of each successful attempt, we received a spiral notepad with a giant maze on the cover and said something like "I completed the Centrepoint Maze!" You have no idea how long it took us to use up the piles of notepads that we accumulated. Miss those days so much, and receiving a mailer this week that even Robinsons is moving out, I wonder how long more Centrepoint will be left standing as we know it!

Rena said...

My most cherished memories are days of mty late dad.. He passed away without much photos.. It was my greatest regrets.. Therefore.. I want to capture the happy moments of my mom and my kids ...

Unknown said...

My most cherished moment is playing hopscotch with my friends and always vying to be the best player.223222

Unknown said...

I'm an only child and are usually quite lonely. The most cherished memory I had was a kid was Carebear. I had a stuffed toy and sticker book collection that I grew very fond off.

A more social and physical activity that I would remember best is playing Zero Point in school, and TenTeng (Hopscotch) with my cousins at Grandma's! Oh how much fun we had last time.. such fond memories.m

Robert Sim said...

My most treasured memory is of walking home from primary school on my own, against my mother's instructions. It was a 45-minute walk, usually lengthened by me getting distracted to buy 'xing bao' (ice lollies) or 'ding ding tang' (a hard and sweet candy), go 'pa go li' (play marbles) or go 'longkang fishing' with friends along the way, and in later times go to the LAN shop on enroute home. It was so much fun walking home, than taking the bus, not to say i also got to save up some the bus fare money to buy flag erasers and soccer of animal collectible cards!

Robert Sim

Vallous said...

My two most cherished moments was one where I was a little 5 yrs old girl and my mum will sew me little dresses for my Barbie dolls, she will use left over scraps of cloths from old clothes as clothes for Barbie dolls in departmental stalls were expensive.
Second moment was where my grandfather will plucked ripe rambutans off the tree from his gardens for me to snack on each time I visited his house. He would quickly ran away because the tree was filled with big red ants.

Anonymous said...

My first most cherish moment was my aunt brought me from Malaysia to Singapore when I was only 10 years old. It was about 200 km away from our home town. We were travelling via private car, due to long travel journey which I was not felt well along the way and vomited many times. Although the journey was not smooth but I managed to crossed over Singapore the first time in my life and saw so many tall HDB flats that made me felt so excited.

During the stay in Singapore, my aunt brought happy meal from Macdonald almost every day, I still collect the figurine till now. My aunt treated me very well and always bought me new clothes and meals. I had made a wish that when I grow up, I will bring her for a short holiday trip.
Sadly that my promise unable to fulfill as she had passed away suddenly last year due to illness. Although she might not mind and I feel lack of something.

In the past, we could not afford to buy a camera, we had missed out a lot of good memory in print. Now whenever I free, I will bring my parents out for meals and accompany them. I hope I can win this prize to allow me to make many wonderful memory with my families & children.


Sharon Lee said...

My most cherished moments is going to my cousin place to play computer games esp lode runner, pacman. My cousin stay in a masionsette and we like to pull a mattress down the flop of steps to create a bumper ride effect. Lastly, its playing zero-point w my classmate in school. But instead of the usual jumping across, we play in the way w calling "king, queen, prince etc" memories!!

Cheekiemonkies said...

The 2 winners have been picked by Singapore Memory Project.

They are Carol Mei Mei and LaughingCow!

Congratulations!!! Please email me at kelvin(at) to claim your prize. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I remember reading the magazine Young Generation and Book worm club! It used to sooo popular! I think I saw YG is still around!

Cheekiemonkies said...


YES YES! I remember them too! :)

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