Monday, November 27, 2006

Traditional Food Packaging

I was at the Ayer Rajah Food Centre yesterday afternoon when I spotted a Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodle stall selling their noodle wrapped in opeh leaves. I have not seen this for ages and so I promptly bought a packet even though I wasn't hungry.

In our kampong days, most food were packaged in leaves. The most popular were the banana leaf, the simpoh air leaf and opeh leaf. Others included the coconut and pandan leaf. Whilst banana leaf is still quite commonly used today for foods like nasi lemak and otah the other two are quite rare. In the old days, banana leaves were often used to hold slabs of tofu in the market. But they seemed to have stopped this practice.

The Simpoh air (also spelt ayer) leaf was also known as the te-bak-heok or 'pork leaf' in Hokkien, according to my friend Chuck. In the old days, so he claims, pork was often sold in the markets wrapped in this leaf. Frankly, this fact is new to me. I only remember it being used to pack rojak and chee cheong fun. They would fold the leaf into a conical cup shape and hold the edges together with a tooth pick. In my kampong, there used to be a rojak stall at the coffee shop opposite our house. As a kid, I enjoyed watching the hawker prepare the rojak. As for chee cheong fun, every time I eat this snack, I think of our kampong days. Sometimes, we would tell the hawker; "si yao suk yao" in Cantonese, meaning we do not want the sweet sauce; just plain light sauce and oil will do. Of course, we wanted lots of sesame seeds sprinkled on it.

I do not know why this leave is no longer used nowadays. There are so many such plants all over our island. Chuck thinks that it is because of cost. I suspect it is due to hygiene reasons. I hope somebody can enlighten us.

As for the Opeh leaf, it is often used to wrap takeaway fried foods like kuey teow, carrot cake and also chui kueh. I really miss this particular style of packing. Nowadays they use waxed paper like the one below. Somehow, fried kuey teow seems to taste better when wrapped in opeh leaf. I read here that the leaf infuses its contents with a subtle, woody fragrance that enhances its taste. No wonder the hawker who sold me the hokkien noodle told me to wait about 15 to 20 minutes before eating it. In any case, because our sense of smell is associated with memory, the smell of the opeh leave brings back fond memories of our kampong days and adds to the eating experience. The hawker also told me that he got his supplies from Indonesia. He complained that it was quite expensive, each piece costing 40 to 45 cents.

As for the fire for frying, of course nowadays, they use gas cookers. But I have been told that kuey teow fried with wood fire tastes better. I wonder if there is any truth or merely psychological.

In the picture above, the hawker had used a rubber band to bind the packet of noodles. In the old days, they used a kind of reed or straw to tie the packet. No plastic bags were issued. You just hook your finger around the loop and carried the packet. I remember those happy evenings when my father bought back packets of fried hor fun dangling from his fingers this way. I believe this same type of reed/straw was used to tie bak changs (rice dumplings) but of course these days, it is replaced by a raffia string.

In addition to the use of leaves for packaging, paper was often used to wrap food. The most common of course was newspaper, which wasn't very healthy I suppose. The other one that comes to mind is the exercise book pages which was used to pack kacang puteh.

These dead leaves from the row of palm tree outside my office block certainly look like the opeh; but I don't suppose they are they same, are they?

Why Seniors Should Blog

Yesterday, myself and Ivan, another Friend of, gave a talk about blogging to a group of more than 100 senior citizens at the Queenstown Community Library. We want to thank the participants for their warm response and we do apologise for any shortcomings in our presentations.

As Ivan and two other 'Friends of', Victor and Walter have already blogged about this event (
here, here and here) I will not go into the details again. What I would like to do instead, is to report on what I covered in my presentation.


The aim of our talk was basically to encourage the seniors to take up blogging as a means of sharing their stories of Singapore's past. My part was to share my own experience, as one of the oldest bloggers in Singapore in starting Good Morning Yesterday, whilst Ivan gave a demonstration on the basics of blogging.

Essentially I touched on four points.

1) Why I started Good Morning Yesterday
2) The Stuff I blog about
3) The challenges I faced in blogging
4) The satisfaction I derived from blogging.

These 2 senior gentlemen arrived half an hour before the commencement time and sat in the front row.

I also spoke about why seniors should blog.

1) We have more stories to tell.

In his 2006 National Rally Speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong exhorted senior members of our society to share their stories with the young. "Keep alive the Singapore story", he said, "Celebrate our heroes and remember the good times and hard times we’ve been through together ... Our young generation need to know the heart of the Singapore story and understand how we got here ... Parents and grandparents play an important role. You provide the links to our past. Pass down the stories, emotions, and values to your children and grandchildren."

I say, what better way to do this than through blogging. As Kenneth Pinto, another Friend of, put it so succintly in his blog, "The personal is powerful. The personal is as valid a history as any textbook, perhaps even more so."

2) We, at least some of us, have more time.

3) We can write better. Most of us have decades of experience in expressing ourselves in English. Many have gone through the old fashioned but tested rigours of learning English, and are more disciplined in its proper usage.

4) Blogging is good for our brains. Health experts have found that exercise is the best way to keep our brains healthy and beat back the effects of ageing. Blogging involves the exercise of the brain in 3 ways. Firstly, writing is a strenuous mental exercise. So is digging up all those memories of long ago events. And it involves learning many new things with the computer and internet.

5) Bloggin is "cool". It helps us to connect with the younger generation. It helps to bridge the so called 'digital divide'.

6) Everyone's doing it. So why not we seniors.

7) It's Fun. After more than a year of doing it, I can testify to that.

8) It can even be profitable. It is not unkown for bloggers to make some money through advertisement and sponsorships on their blogs ... well maybe not much in a small country like Singapore, but who can tell.



I concluded my section by asking the participant to do at least one of the following 3 things. If possible, start your own blog and post your stories there. If that is too much of a hassle, then send your articles to or Good Morning Yesterday and we will gladly publish it for you on our blogs, as what I have been doing for some of my friends. At the very minimum, visit our blogs and share your short stories and annecdotes in the comments section.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Story Our Mother Told Us

I heard some discussion on radio 938Live this morning about family values and filial piety and that sort of thing. I am reminded of a story my brother, Chun Chew posted in the comments section of one of my earlier posts about Cheng Meng. In case some of you missed it, I reproduce it here.

Tomorrow I am giving a talk to the senior citizens at Queenstown Library about blogging. I intend to tell them that one of the aims of this blog is to educate the young about Singapore of yesteryears. I guess no harm in sneaking in a bit of moral education.

Once upon a time, there was this unfilial farmer who often beat up his aged mother at his whim and fancy, especially when she brought his lunch (food) to him late.

One day the farmer saw a mother goat suckling her kid. The baby kid had to kneel down in order to suckle the milk from her. This incident made him reflect on his atrocious behavior towards his mother. So when his mother came to serve him lunch the next day, he rushed forward, this time thinking of assisting her. The mother on seeing her son running towards her, mistakenly thought that the son was again going to beat her up for being late, panicked and fell into a pond, and drowned. The farmer was so remorseful over his misdeed that he mourned over his mother's grave for three years.

The moral of the lesson is that we should be filial while our parents are alive and not to regret after their passing. Here's our mother's favourite quote:



- Confucius

"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be prolonged upon the land ... " - The 5th Commandment, Exodus 20:12

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Places I Remember (4) – Lorong Chuan

Last week, I was rummaging through my old things, searching in vain for my father’s birth certificate and citizen certificate to donate to the National Heritage Board. But to my delight, I found 2 long-lost photographs of Lorong Chuan where I grew up in. These photos are especially valuable as they are amongst the few that do not have people posing for the camera. As I have explained before, in the old days, it was considered a waste of film to take pictures of places and things.
And so I take this opportunity to tell you a little about what Lorong Chuan was like in the 1960’s. I hope some of the residents living in the many HDB apartments and private condominiums along Lorong Chuan, as well as the children at the St Gabriel’s Primary School are reading this blog. The younger ones would be surprised to see what Lorong Chuan was like in the 1960's

Did you know that Lorong Chuan was quite picturesque in those kampong days? Of course it was surrounded by mainly farmland then. There was one particular stretch close to where the present St Gabriel’s Primary School stands, where there were some ponds. At the edge of the ponds were rows of trellises covered with climbers like cucumbers and gourds. In Cantonese, we called them ‘chit kua pang’. It was quite beautiful really. There was a certain rustic charm alike to those you sometimes see in old Taiwanese romantic movies. And so, when we bought our first camera, a Kodak Brownie camera, we headed down to this place to take some photos which I will share with you here.

Left – My sister Pat, aged around 17 or 18. Can you see the rows of trellises and some palm trees in the background. Right – Siew Tin, her best friend from Cedar Girls School. Would you believe after more than 4 decades, they are still in contact with each other. Indeed, blessed are the ties that bind.

On the left is the same bus stop where our dog Napie was knocked down and killed by a car. Directly facing this bus stop was one of two dirt tracks that led to our kampong, Lorong Kinchir. As you can see from this photo taken last month, there is some construction going on. No doubt another condo project ….. sigh.

Another notable landmark along Lorong Chuan was the crocodile farm where they slaughtered crocodiles for their skin. The stench from the farm was quite strong and well-known to the nearby residents and passers-by. In fact, when I was interviewed on the 938 FM Breakfast Show earlier this year, the host, Mr Keith De Souza asked me if I could remember this place when he heard that I used to stay at Lorong Chuan. Apparently, he used to live at Serangoon Garden.

Further down, on the opposite of the road was another dirt track called Plantation Avenue. We only got to know this place when my eldest brother, Chun Chew got to know a pretty lass from this kampong ….. who later became my sister-in-law. I don’t think I am permitted to reveal more details. I was surprised to learn that a short stretch of Plantation Avenue is still exists today.

The land on which we stayed was acquired by the government and we moved out of the area in 1974. But some of our neighbours were more fortunate. They sold their land to private developers at a much higher price. One of the new buildings that emerged was the Timex Factory. I believe it was later renamed Newton Factory. Today, it is occupied by a spanking industrial complex called New Tech Park.

Related Posts:

Places I Remember: Serangoon Garden
My Kampong Best Friends
Our Kampong

Friday, November 10, 2006

Horses, Camels and Other Animals – Chuck Hio


Mention Crazy Horse and the younger generation will think of the topless cabaret show at Clarke Quay. But mention Crazy Horse to the 'laodies' (‘lao’ as in 老, meaning Old, a term coined by Chun See’s naughty daughter) like Adrian, Chun See, Peter or Chun Chew, and immediately they think of the Malaysia Cup soccer matches at the National Stadium in the 1970's.

Yes, those days were the prime of Singapore’s soccer craze and every match had the stadium filled to capacity. The most well-treasured match was the one between Singapore and Penang in 1977 which attracted a capacity crowd of 70,000, and which we won by the score line of 3-2 in extra time.

During that time, tickets were sold on match day and I went with my brother and another friend. We paid for tickets at the entrance. But it was really shocking to see so many people all pushing one another to get in. In the end, we entered the stadium without paying as it was complete mayhem. I will always remember the sight of the pile of slippers, sandals and shoes near the entrance. Many supporters actually took off their footwear and climbed into the stadium via the pillars!!! After that incident, the stadium authorities put up barbed wires around those pillars.

Anyway, I do not intend to try and describe the experience of watching one of these games live. But I just want to share with you some of the famous and funny names of those days; Let's see now ... there was;

  1. Nasir Jalil better known as The Crazy Horse, or Siow Bay in Hokkien; and also known as the Super Sub. He was famous for running about for nothing but scored a crucial goal in a final.
  2. Rajagopal, our defender who was famous for his banana (corner) kicks and galloped confidently down the flanks. He was known as The Camel.
  3. Dollah Kassim was known as the Gelek King because of his feints with which he was able to shake of his defenders before scoring.

  4. Quah Kim Song was known for his bursts of speed.

  5. Mohd Nor was the handsome one and known for his style and grace. He married the gorgeous singer Rahimah Rahim.

  6. Seak Poh Leong, the captain was notorious at penalty kicks; some called him “Sack” Poh Leong.

  7. Leong Kok Fann, another speedster, was effective coming in at half time.

  8. Goal keepers: Lee Bee Seng had good anticipation & catching shots at high crosses. Edmund Wee was short but good at saving penalties, especially grounders.

  9. And many other well-loved names like Robert Sim (The Tank), Hasli Ibrahim (hard tackler), Samad Alapichay (uncompromising) chest-out, and Malek Awab, short midfielder, speedy, good turning, a team player.

  10. Dollah Kassim

On the Malaysian side (These guys seemed to perform extra well whenever they do battle with Singapore.), we had:

  1. Arumugam, The Spider, the goalie of Selangor – he had the reputation of having arms that reached below his knees; all eight of them.

  2. Soh Chin Aun the captain of Malacca was known as The Towkay.

The most memorable goal was Ashad Khamis’ 35 meter goal that caught the goal keeper sleeping. Can't remember which match.

But the man we loved most in any match was the referee. The poor guy got booed every time he made a decision against Singapore and everyone loved to chant Referee Kayu, Referee Kayu (for foreign readers .. kayu is Malay for wood). The other guy we loved to hate was the linesman - Linesman Bodoh, Linesman Bodoh (Bodoh is stupid in Malay) was our favourite chant.

But any trip down the Malaysia Cup memory lane is incomplete without mentioning our most beloved commentator, Brian Richmond. His collection of unique and colourful expressions include:

  • “It was raining cats and dogs”.

  • “The defence was in sixes and sevens”,

  • “He put his big boot to the ball”, and my all-time favourite,

  • “He plucked the ball out of the air like a bunch of ripe rambutans”.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the misleading title of this article. The owner Chun See responsible for that one.

Forgotten Blogo-Generation

Blog Survey

Victor, aged 50 and I, aged 54 are officially part of the forgotten blogo-generation. No wonder the Zaaboa article referred to us a Ah Gong (阿公).

In the newspapers today, you can read of a survey by the Media Development Authority about blogging in Singapore. The survey found that 49% of those aged between 20 and 24 years, and 18% of those aged 39 to 49 years blog.

The survey was carried out on a sample of 1,000 Singaporeans aged 15 to 49 years. But what about those above 50? MDA probably thinks that people of that dinosaur group do not even know what is a blog, so what is the point of asking them.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Selfish and Inconsiderate Lovers

Torn Pages of Library Book (4)

I doubt my regulars readers like Victor, Zen and Chris, who know of my fondness of employing misleading titles for my blog articles, will be tricked into believing that this one is about love and sex. Actually, I am referring to people like myself - lovers of old photos of Singapore.

The other day, I borrowed a nice book from the National Library entitled Singapore Changing Landscapes, which had lots of lovely old photos. I discovered that there are other Singaporeans who have a strong love for old photos; to the extent that they would not hesitate to desecrate these lovely public properties by cutting out the objects of their love.

A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.
There were 3 or 4 such missing pictures.

Torn Pages of Library Book (3)

Torn Pages of Library Book (2)

Torn Pages of Library Book (1)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Grandfather Stories

Last Tuesday, this blog was featured, together with others, in an article in the Chinese daily, Lianhe Zaobao. The article was titled 阿公讲古也 e了or Even Grandfather Stories Are Told the ‘e’ Way.

Thanks to my friend Victor who has painstakingly put up all the relevant links, those of you who missed the article by the reporter who called himself ‘Wei’, can read it here. Victor’s blog was also featured in the article.

Actually, this is not the first time that I have been interviewed by a Zaobao reporter. In December last year, a female reporter spoke to me over the phone. Unlike Wei, who is Singaporean, and spoke excellent English, she spoke only Mandarin and sounded like a Chinese national. I offered to put down in writing the reasons why I started Good Morning Yesterday and email it to her. However, after reading my essay, she said she did not want to use it at that point in time. In order not to waste the essay, I posted it on this blog on New Year’s Eve under the title Why I Started Good Morning Yesterday (see links section on right).

Thanks to this blog, I have been interviewed or reported on more times by reporters over the past year than I have in the previous 54 years (which was zero times). First there was TODAY reporter, Juliana June Rasul who has written twice about this blog. I was also interviewed live on the Morning Breakfast Show on News Radio 938. As for the Straits Times, I have been interviewed twice by them. The first time was by Sandra Leong. But in her article which appeared in the Straits Times Life Section on July 30, there was only 1 line about me and my blog, which was not a bad thing because her article was highly critical of bloggers. Then in September, I was again interviewed by Serene Luo of Digital Life, who wanted my views of how IT has affected our way of life over the past 25 years. I have yet to see the article. I guess she must have decided not to use my inputs.

On the whole, I think I liked most to work with Ms Juliana of Today. Not only does she email me in advance to let me know when the article would be appearing, she even took the trouble to send me the PDF copy of the article.

But the article that made me feel the proudest was the famous Mr Miyagi’s article of November, 30, 2005 in TODAY, when he recommended this blog to readers of his weekly column Chip of the Old Blog. You can read his article here.

Incidentally, I will be collaborating with Ivan Chew, the Rambling Librarian, to give a talk to senior citizens at the Queenstown Library on 25th of this month. This is part of NLB’s activities for Senior Citizens’ Week. If you know any senior who is not familiar with blogging, please ask him to come for our talk.

Blogging for Senior Citizens
Date/Time : 25 November 2006 , 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm
Venue : Queenstown Community Library - Programme Zone
Admission : Free admission

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Places I Remember (3): Beauty World

I too have some memories of this place called Beauty World that Tom wrote about in the previous article. I used to drive my mother to see a Dr Chang at a clinic in the same row of shops where Tom bought his comics. That was in the mid-seventies to mid-eighties. At that time, we were staying at the HDB estate in Farrer Road. While waiting for her, I used to loitre around the many shops and stalls and did a bit of shopping. I remember this cassette stall just outside Chang’s Clinic that played loud music. One particular song I remember was John Denver’s Annie’s Song and another was called Fly Robin Fly.


This photo shows the vacant plot of land and carpark that used be the Beauty World. It is flanked by 4 roads (see sketch below). My apologies for the poor picture quality. It was a hazy day and sky was overcast.

Around 1980, the shops and stalls at Beauty World were demolished. If I am not mistaken, there was a fire. Subsequently, most of the shops were relocated to 4 new shopping centres at Bukit Timah Plaza, Beauty World Plaza, Beauty World Centre and Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. For example, Dr Chang’s Clinic was relocated to Bt Timah Plaza and my mum continued to see him there. .

Beauty World Sketch

My other memories of Beauty World, which I have described before in my blogs on National Service were about the Sunday evenings when I took the pirate (unlicensed) taxis from Jalan Jurong Kechil to return to Safti in Pasir Laba Camp. In the mid-70's, there was only 1 bus service, Green Bus service number 175 going to Tuas. It simply wasn’t enough to cater to the many NS boys going back to the army camps in Safti and Tanjong Gul Camp (6 SIR). As such, many soldiers resorted to desperate measures like going all the way to Queen Street, next to the Rochore Centre, to take the 175. So by the time the bus reached Bukit Timah, it was usually packed. As for me, I would take a bus from Farrer Road to Bt Timah 7th Mile to catch the pirate taxis.

We were really thankful for the pirate taxis. They were illegal of course, and charged a standard fee of, I don’t know, a dollar maybe. They waited for us at the Jalan Jurong Kechil entrance to Beauty World. Like its counterpart in Queen Street, this area was very busy (热闹) on Sunday nights, with lots of stalls selling sundries, music cassettes, food, snacks and fruits. Each taxi would fetch 4 passengers, each clutching his baggage and packets of snacks and fruits. Like all third world taxis, they were fast and had blaring music.

I remember there was a cinema in Beauty World, but I never patronized it and cannot remember the name. If I am not mistaken, there was also a temple and a wayang stage along Jalan Seh Chuan where the present Tua Pek Kong Temple is. Besides this, I don’t remember much about the old Beauty World.

As you can see, my memory of the details of this place is rather sketchy, and so I consulted my friends Chuck and Peter who happened to live nearby and this is what I learned.

CHUCK says:

I used to live at the Princess Elizabeth Estate at Hill View area near Bt Timah nine-and-a-half mile. I often took the no. 173 bus to Beauty World to watch movies. There were 2 cinemas. The first one was the Nanyang Theatre which was actually not situated within Beauty World but across Chun Tin Road, at the junction with Yuk Tong Avenue, where the present Chun Tin Court stands. Tickets were priced at 50 cents for the front rows and $1.00 for back rows. The seats were wooden type with fans above and the sides. Facing the cinema was an Indian sup kambing (mutton soup) stall. The soup cost 50 cents and was served with bread which cost 10 cents. This was the best sup kambing I have ever tasted.


This photo shows Chun Tin Road and the junction with Yuk Tong Avenue. Nanyang Theatre would be on the left.

The other theatre which was located within Beauty World was the Tiong Hwa Theatre. Tickets cost 50 cents for front rows, 80 cents for middle rows, and $1.00 for back rows. Outside Tiong Hwa Theatre, there are several stalls selling drinks and tidbits like kacang puteh (nuts), kwa chi (melon seeds), sng buay (What’s that in English?) and jiu her (cuttle fish).

PETER says:

I lived in the Chestnut Drive area between 1954 and 1979 until I got married when moved out. Chestnut Drive is about 2 miles from Beauty World opposite Bukit Gombak. As a child, I often went along with my mother to the wet market in Beauty World.

Old Beauty World (9) - market

The wet market had many stalls fronting Jalan Jurong Kechil and there was a concrete building (if I can recall with the words 1921 inscribed) which was the older section of the wet market. The wet market sold veggies, pork and fish. In-between were the makan stalls. The electrical shops were facing Chun Tin Road and the clothing/toys stalls faced Bukit Timah Road. Actually the market had a gradient that sloped downhill from Chun Tin Road towards Jalan Jurong Kechil and Bukit Timah Road.

The fire started at the shop area (facing Bukit Timah Road and Chun Tin Road) but it must have been in the 1980s. But it was not the fire that saw the end of Beauty World. I think in 1971, the present hawker center cum wet market was built (facing the old post office). The government relocated the hawkers and wet market operators to the new place. I used to take midnight supper in 1972 on the second level so the hawker center was opened by 1971.

This is the recently renovated Bukit Timah Market cum Food Centre.


Jalan Jurong Kechil in the direction of Bukit Timah Road. Here's where we boarded the pirate taxis. On the left is the Old Beauty World. Across the road was a row of shops. Today, there's a petrol station.



Like Tom O'Brien, I too could not find much information on the internet about the old Beauty World. Even the recently published Singapore Encyclopaedia makes no mention of Beauty World. I thank my friends Chuck, Peter and Tom for their contribution. I hope these 2 articles have helped to fill that gap. I do hope that some of my readers can contribute more information.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tom O’Brien Remembers Beauty World

Have you read the TODAY article titled To Singapore With Love written by reporter Juliana June Rasul where she interviewed my friends, Tom O’Brien and John Harper? Tom and John were children of British military forces personnel stationed in Singapore in the 1950’s and 60’s. In the article, Tom, who lived in Hua Guan Avenue, off Dunearn Road, spoke about how he used to go to the old Beauty World at Bukit Timah 7th Mile to buy his comics.

As I too have some memories of the old Beauty World and wanted to blog about it, I emailed him for more details of his memories of Beauty World of the 1960’s and this is what he wrote:


I used to live at the top of Hua Guan Avenue at No. 70. At the bottom of the Avenue was an estate, I think called Hock Sen Gardens, where there were a lot of RAF Servicemen and their families. The RAF men were mainly based at Tengah. There were some shops there and a cafe, which I used to go to for a coke or soft drink. I was told that these shops are now selling antique furniture etc.

I used to go to Beauty World a lot, often walking through the Kilburn Estate, crossing over the railway line and onto Bukit Timah. In those days, 1967, we had quite a bit of spending power as the exchange rate was just over $14 to the £1 although this was drastically cut in Nov 1967 when the Pound was devalued. I remember that there was so much happening around Beauty World itself, with all manner of stalls and hawkers. It was like an Ali Baba’s Cave, you could buy anything.

Beauty World Sketch

I used to get my haircut at an Indian Barbers around the back of Beauty World (Shops in above sketch). I remember his magazines where all written in Tamil, so all I could do was look at the pictures while I waited my turn. Facing Beauty World from the main road on the right hand side is where I used to exchange the comic books, and there was also a place were I used to get my shirts and trousers made. I used to get some outrageous brightly coloured shirts made up, bearing in mind that it was the Hippies era and I was 14. We use to choose the material and then have it made up.

The stall with the comic books was nearby. It sold second hand books. These were small A5 size comic war books. I think that 'Commando' might have been one of the titles. He had a huge selection and we'd spend ages looking through them. Then if, say you bought 4, after you read them you'd take them back and exchange them 2 for 1. You usually ended up buying another couple as well.

On the corner was a cafe. I remember that it was partitioned by a wall of drink crates full of empty bottles. I think he might have sub-let part of his premises. Quite often we would call in there for a coke or 7-Up.

On my Mementoes page at
Memories of Singapore, there is a receipt for a reel-to-reel tape recorder purchased at Beauty World. I remember badgering my mother for the $100 that it was going to cost. I'd never had a tape recorder before and so I asked if it could be my birthday present (15). I remember my Chinese friend Donald Foo telling me off, because if I had asked him to get it, he could have purchased it a lot cheaper. I guess I couldn't wait to get this tape recorder. It lasted me along time.

I also remember my mother taking the family to the cinema in Bukit Timah to see 'The Jungle Book'. I can't remember where the cinema was or what it looked like.


The area I wrote about above is now a public car park. On the right is Chun Tin Road. Just inside the fence is where there was a row of covered stalls and shops where I would have exchanged the magazines, and had my shirts made. Opposite the stalls (to the left) was the main building with various shop fronts facing the stalls, this is where I would have bought my tape recorder. At the bottom right corner was the cafe type stall. They sold bottled beer as well. This is where we used to call for a coke or other soft drink. As you walked down aisle between the shops, at the back near the steps turn left and further along on the right hand side, would have been the Barbers.

Old Beauty World (2) - Bus Stop

Above: A 60’s photo of Bukit Timah 7th Mile (Chit Ko Chio in Hokkien) from Memories of Singapore. Beauty World was to the left of this photo.

Below: 2 photos of the same area in October 2006.



........ to be continued.