I was devastated because I was eyeing the world atlas book. What was the man thinking then? Since then I have kept this pristine collection in some dark corner for the last 40 years.
Photo 1: Postcards of two well-known hotels in New York at that time. Only the Vanderbilt Hotel remains but as a posh apartment (c1925)
When I now closely scrutinized the postcards several questions came to my mind, some I had answers but many we don’t.
Photo 2: The reverse of a post card (c 1925). The Yokohama-Specie Bank has a place in Singapore’s history. It was the Japanese bank which arranged the S$50 million Chinese community contribution to Japan’s WW2 efforts. After Japan lost the war in 1945, Japanese assets were seized. Today HSBC occupies the same spot where this Japanese bank once stood. Yokohama Specie Bank is now Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
For example, how did my grandfather see the world 85 years ago? How did he find so many Caucasian pen-pals willing to correspond with a Chinese man from Singapore? I discovered he used a moniker “Chan Kim Kwong” and the corresponding address of his office (Yokohama Specie Bank) and the family home (12 Pasar Lane in Jalan Besar). What is even stranger if you examine the hand-writing of postcards received from Europe and the Americas? I am certain it was my grandfather’s hand-writing but how did he get franked postcards of so many countries? Later my grandfather turned to a typewriter instead of handwriting. He gave up collecting postcards and found a new direction; covers.
Photo 3: Cover of a special occasion (c1936)
My grandfather’s collection of postcards and covers has become a fascinating subject for me, though I beg to differ that I am a stamp collector. There is so much interesting information I can gather because he has left me with so many written commentaries. Come think of what a stupid thing I could have done if I had decided to offer it to the “Kalang Guni Man”.