Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Report on the YOG

The above article appeared in the 4 September 2010 edition of the Luxemburger Wort, one of the major dailies of Luxemberg. It was written by a lovely young lady by the name of Lynn Welter. Do you know who she is?

Below is an abridged translation of the article which was originally written in German.

The first Youth Olympic Games took place in Singapore from 14. - 26. August
A new generation is conquering Olympia
20,000 volunteers: a report by Y&S-contributor Lynn Welter


Anyone who travelled to Singapore in the middle of August could hardly miss the fact that the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) took place there. The mascots of the YOG, Merly and Lyo, already greeted visitors when they entered the country. On the way from the airport to the center of the city state several signs and flags referred to the event and car drivers were even requested to yield their right of way to the YOG buses, so they would not be stuck in too much traffic while transporting the 14-18 year old athletes.

In all the hype of such a mega event you would not only meet talented athletes, coaches and members of the several national Olympic committees, but also many people in violet and beige coloured clothes. This outfit was the distinctive feature of all the volunteers who assisted in the smooth organization of the games. 20,000 volunteers worked for two weeks in Singapore, lending a hand in the build-up, translations, announcements or the distribution of medals as well as in taking care of the athletes.

To become one of these volunteers, you had to register on the webpage of the games and to advise the areas of work you wanted to work in. Although most of the volunteers came from Singapore, many volunteers from foreign countries worked as translators. They had to pay for their trip to Singapore out of their own pockets, but were offered free accommodation and breakfast in the Olympic village. Furthermore the 20,000 volunteers did not receive any payments, but free transportation, a small allowance and an invitation to a party at the “Universal Studios Singapore”.

The YOG enabled me to gather experiences related to my studies and to visit my relatives in Singapore. So I quickly made the decision to participate in this event. I was assigned the work of a “Youth Interpreter“, meaning a translator for French and German. Most of the time I had to start work at 07:30 a.m. in Bishan, the place of the athletics competitions. Since many French athletes participated in this type of sport, all announcements in the stadium had to be made in French. As a result, I was responsible to call the athletes to each competition and to make sure that they were on time for their competitions in the arena.

Not only the athletes, but also the volunteers attached utmost importance to the three Olympic values of friendship, top performances and respect. These Youth Olympic Games enabled all participants to meet people from all over the world, to discover different cultures and to make new friends. The YOG were a unique experience for me. And on my last day in Singapore I realized that the contact to my colleagues would not end after the games: since I had never participated in a night safari – despite several earlier visits to Singapore – my friends organized such an activity as a farewell. An eventful ending of two unforgettable weeks!

Lynn Welter is the daughter of my BRS friend, Aii Chan; aka Kim Welter. This is her certificate of appreciation. The whole family was here during the YOG. That was also when we took the opportunity to meet up at Sembawang Hills Estate and reminisce about our beloved Braddell Rise School.


49 comments:

Zen said...

Kim love of Singapore, brs classmates, and her emotional ties to her siblings residing here, must have been pretty strong. Obviously her daughter is deeply influenced by her and hence volunteered to work for our yog spending much of her time, effort and money while making the trip here. As a former school-mate, I only chanced to meet kim (after all these years) during our recent get-together at the jln leban food centre (on the puppet show occasion). I wish kim and her family the best for the future when they return back to their home country (luxembourg)

Kim said...

Chun See,

Firstly thank you for putting Lynn's article in your blog. She grew up with Singapore being like her 2nd homeland - frequent visits and regular contacts with her cousins via electronic means. When young, she was singing "Count on me Singapore" and it made me proud that she was working for YOG doing her best for my motherland.

Anonymous said...

It is heartening to know that although Kim and her family lives in Luxembourg, she keeps her roots in Singapore firm and well nourished by yearly visits and frequent communication. Her family gets to enjoy the 'green, green grass of home' of both countries.

jadelee said...

Congratulations to Lynn Welter on a job well done!
Singapore is indeed lucky to have you volunteering for such an important event.Thank you!

jean said...

congratulations to Lynn!Any parent would be proud to have a daughhter at the YOGs!Bravo!
Btw I heard the catering was below standards.Hope Lynn & al the contestantswas adequetly fed.

Kim said...

Thanks to S.I.F.I am glad to receive regular copies of SINGAPORE which updated me of Singapore and the latest events. I feel lucky to have the best of both worlds : the lovely green countryside and 4 seasons of Luxembourg and yet the warm hospitality and kindness of my own family and Singaporean friends during visit. On the subject of YOG food for volunteers, there were no complaints from Lynn at all, and she was not starving when she came back from her work. So no problem at all.

Edward said...

Lynn would be a good Youth Ambassador for Singapore (assuming she has duo citizenship). Her multilingual skills are a great asset for this role. She has certainly embraced the Olympic spirit and is a shining example of someone who can promote cross cultural awareness and understanding. Good luck to your studies, Lynn!

Isabel said...

The saying “The apple never falls far from the tree” cannot be more true when talking about Kim Welter(Aii Chan to many of you) and her daughter Lynn. The fact that Lynn loves Singapore, is a very caring and responsible person does not surprise me at all and I have never met Lynn. You might be wondering who I am and how have I found your blog. My name is Isabel, I live in The Netherlands and I consider Kim a very dear friend. We met for the first time over three years ago and I was immediately taken with her warmth, humour and sense of responsibility. She has been living, as you all know for many years in Luxembourg, married a wonderful man but her heart has never really left Singapore. Two Christmas ago, for example, she gave me the recipe for pineapple cakes. She gave me a detailed account of how she used to make them with her family and her eyes and smile reflected her warm memories. When she discovered this blog she could not have been happier, suddenly she was again in touch with school friends. Kim’s heart is divided between Singapore and Luxembourg but in a happy way because in both countries she has family and dear friends. Lynn grew up in Luxembourg and up to now when she went to Singapore on holidays she only met her family but now she has experienced the real Singapore through a wonderful occasion and I am sure that like her mother she will start counting the days for her next visit and looking forward to telling all about it to her friends in Luxembourg.

Edward said...

Isabel, Kim is also fortunate to have a good friend like you. And Chun See is likewise fortunate to have a friend like Kim. See what a little ray of sunshine does to everybody around! And if you’re looking for the “old Singapore” Good Morning Yesterday is an excellent place to start with.

Lam Chun See said...

Isabel. Thanks for sharing about your friendship with Kim. If you read Edward's stories of his childhood in Sembawang, you will see exactly that same strong attachement to one's birthplace especially when you are far away. The coincidence is that both of them hail from the Thomson-Sembawang area.

Even for me, living all my life in tiny Singapore; whenever I drive past what used to be my kampong, my mind automatically goes back to those care-free kampong days of catching spiders, fighting fish etc.

Anyway, I am so happy to have played a small part to reconnect former students of a school that no long exists in Spore.

Also thanks to Kim's amazing memory, I learnt something about myself when I was a kid; apparently I like to talk to girls!

Ian Hutchinson said...

Nice post

Isabel said...

I was greatly surprised when I found two warm and very friendly reactions to my comments on Kim and her daughter Lynn. Thank you Edward and Lam Chun See ! This summer I went to Shanghai and Hong Kong on holidays. In Hong Kong I spent a couple of evenings with my friend Rosana. We met 25 years ago when we shared a university house in England.and hadn’t seen each other since. We were so happy to see each other again that we both agreed that next year we will go together on holidays to…. Singapore ! Whenever I go on holidays my best friend is my travel guide. I read about all what there is to see, how to go from A to B, what not to miss, etc. For next year “Good morning Yesterday” will be the perfect supplement. Thanks to everybody that sends articles on the “old Singapore” and to Lam Chun See for starting this blog.

Kim said...

Hi Edward, Tks for all your nice words. I must say that your contribution of Sembawang Hills was fantastic. Brought back memories of the childhood days spent in that area. Chun See - yes your behaviour at BRS of talking to the girls imprinted in my mind because in the early 60's not many boys would dare talk to us and vice versa, but you did very naturally and without any shyness. Try asking the girls in our class of those years: I am sure they will remember you!
Isabel, Tks so much for your warm friendship and your kind comments. You should defnitely make Singapore your next holiday destination. Ian - Tks for your comments too. Chun See, now your blog is read not only by Isabel in Rotterdam but also Ian in Brussels.

Edward said...

Thanks Kim. Yes, I do enjoy reminiscing about the old Singapore. My memories have not been good after such a long absence (more than 3 decades) but GMY has refreshed many forgotten places and other experiences. You are one of the few GMY readers who are familiar with Sembawang Hills Estate. It’s heartening to know that some of us can remember the estate of the 50’s – it has changed so much since. I visited many of the streets in Google Maps and was shocked to see the changes there. No matter where we are – Luxembourg or Melbourne – let’s keep dreaming of the old Singapore!

Kim said...

In fact for this year's trip, Chun See kindly brought us to Sembawang Hills Estate and some of the streets' names brought back memories. I recalled also a very good friend/classmate who used to stay at Jalan Leban (Pauline) but we lost touch over the years. I also remember clearly at there was always a BATA shoes shop at the end of the row of shops. We used to buy our shoes there when young.

Kim said...

In fact for this year's trip, Chun See kindly brought us to Sembawang Hills Estate and some of the streets' names brought back memories. I recalled also a very good friend/classmate who used to stay at Jalan Leban (Pauline) but we lost touch over the years. I also remember clearly at there was always a BATA shoes shop at the end of the row of shops. We used to buy our shoes there when young.

Edward said...

Kim, I remember the Bata shoe shop at the end of the shopping strip in Jalan Leban. I think it was part of Radiant Store, the shop owned by the Chia family. Radiant Store also sold magazines and comics. That was where I bought my Dandy and Beano comics in the early 60s. Chun See would have brought you to the food centre opposite Jalan Leban. I don’t think Ah Seng (noodles) and Ah Tiam (coffee) are there any more – they’d be in their 70s today! I really miss Ah Seng’s chilli noodles. There is a restaurant in Melbourne called “Singapore Chom Chom”. You can get chilli noodles there but it’s not as good as Ah Seng’s.

Kim said...

Edward, those Dandy & Beano comics were our "dream" magazines as a kid. In fact Chun See brought us to the food centre but the stalls were rather quiet and defnitely no chilli noodles available, I think. At least you can get chilli noodles in Melbourne, because in Luxembourg there is no way you can get anything like that here!! All versions are adapted to suit European tastes, so not so original and not nice at all.

Edward said...

Kim, when Singaporeans get together their conversations invariably turn to food. This is one thing we all miss so much. There are many Asian food stalls in Melbourne – HK Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, Indian, Singaporean etc. Most are pretty average (not authentic, too westernised), some are quite good (as close as you can get to the “original”) and others just plain lousy (greasy, sweet, salty, msg). They look disgusting to me but many of the westerners here think they’re great. And edible. The very good restaurants are quite expensive – way too pricey for me. Mostly I go for hawker-style food (affordable and tasty). As for Luxembourg, I guess you have to rely on your home cooked meals, unless you’re in the mood for some European cuisines.

No chilli noodles in the Sembawang Hills Estate food centre? That means Ah Seng has already retired. In the early 70’s his son was helping out. At that time Ah Seng was grooming him to take over his business, because he had some health problems. I frequented his stall for over 15 years; my noodles were always extra hot. That’s the privilege of being a regular!

Kim said...

Edward, what a coindence! I just send a msg to Chun See and his brother Zen and BRS ex-classmate Jade - with a link to hear a Hokkien song about local food in Kuching. I enjoyed hearing the song and watching the different food offered there. Yes, the truth is when in Singapore, this subject of "what/where to eat" seems v. important and the choices are GREAT. I think not many places in the world can offer like Singapore.
I am surprised that you can get hawker-style food in Melbourne. Not in Luxembourg - we just get MacDonald or sandwich stalls.
Yes, sorry it looks like your Ah Seng and his son have both retired, and maybe the grandson decided enough of noodles... to do something else. For 15 years regular customer, it was normal that you received a VIP card with extra hot chilli!!

Dog beds said...

These is one of the great article which you can share over here is really very great. All versions are adapted to suit European tastes, so not so original and not nice at all.

Edward said...

Kim, there is an old silly Hokkien song that I remember. It’s not really a song, more like a 5 line funny tune for those with a weird sense of humour. In this song a guy lamented his wasted upbringing by his mother as he ended up selling bak chang (the pyramid-shape rice cake wrapped in bamboo leaves). That made him very angry. It goes like this:
“Abu chee wah tua
Boh chye kan
Chee wah tua lai buay bak chang
Kee ah kee see lang ah
Kee ah kee see lang ah”

A literal translation is:
“Mother feed me big
Waste of time
Feed me big to sell bak chang
Make me angry
Make me angry”

I am not sure when I first heard this song. It was probably on one of the Wong Sar and Yah Fong sitcom during the 60’s. I wonder how many old folks remember this song.

Lam Chun See said...

I think I have heard that 'old silly Hokkien song' before. But I can only recall the tune for the last 2 lines.

Kim said...

Edward, yes, I know this Hokkien song. I can recall it blaring in the "Rediffusion" loud speaker of our kampong neighbour.
Chun See, I think I can recall the tune of the whole song.
Coming to the subject of Hokkien song, here is one to listen... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r5AEyGsy74
It is all about food and I think Edward might miss more food (not just the chilli noodles) after listening to this song.

Edward said...

Kim, this video has caused me so much suffering! How could you do this … all those yummy foods that I’ve had so long ago and now beyond my reach! What am I going to do now? It made my mouth water and I feel hungry all the time. Looks like Kuching is the place to be, for those who crave all these hawker style dishes.

By the way the music sounds like the theme song from “Shanghai Beach”, played by Carl Chang with an erhu. My daughter and I saw him busking in Bourke Street (Melbourne) 2 years ago and we were quite captivated by his music. I bought a cd from him that sunny afternoon.

Kim said...

Edward, so very sorry to cause you suffering, I actually thought you would enjoy the video seeing the food we used to know at home, then start to dream that we are actually facing those lovely food. Be thankful that you can still get your chilli noodles in Melbourne although not as hot as those of Sembawang Hills Estate.
I had the impression that this tune seemed to be a cantonese song but not too sure (will try to ask my Chinese friends here). I do not know Carl Chang but we once had a Sven Wang playing erhu here some years back in a main street of Luxembourg and like you, I bought a cd from this Sven Wang because I like the music from erhu too

Edward said...

Kim, one day if I ever meet Chun See I will pass Carl Chang’s cd to him and he can pass it to you. I am sure you’ll enjoy his erhu music. Hey, I thought I saw Ah Seng in the video! No, I was just kidding. Wishful thinking. Some of the dishes mentioned in the video are available in Melbourne, but their quality is not as good as those of Singapore. For example, you can get Char Kway Teow (no chee hums though), Hainanese Chicken Rice, Hay Mee, Choot Bee Pun etc. At Kopi Tiam, Kaya toast costs A$4 each and satay costs A$8 for 6. I remember satay used to be 10 cents each when I was a kid in Singapore. Many years ago I had satay in a Malaysian restaurant in the city and it nearly broke my denture. Imagine how tough it was. I had a hard time getting the meat out of the stick. I complained to the waiter (told him I had a stiff jaw from trying to eat the satay) and his excuse was that they just took it out of the freezer. I haven’t given up on satays!

Kim said...

Edward, so kind of you to think of passing Carl Chang's cd to me even after tempting you with the hawkers delights using the Hokkien song : can see and hear but cannot taste or eat - I think this was real torture for you! Tks in advance and if you would like the one from Sven Wang, I would glad let you have it too - although I am sure if this goes on, Chun See will bound to start charging us for "postman" fees!! Now you make me so envious of you in Melbourne with your alternative versions of hawkers food... I won't mind even paying DOUBLE if I can find some nice hawkers food here. By the way, don't start comparing the prices of today with those good old days, because you should think of the difference: we were so tiny in our t-shirts and shorts and now we are not only grown adults, but parents too. So it is normal that prices have grown UP like us too.

Anonymous said...

Edward, I must correct you on the name of the ingredient in 'Char Kway Teow' i.e. 'chee hums'. I think it should be 'see-hums'. As a woman, I do protest......

Edward said...

Kim, I’m surprised that there are no Asian restaurants in Luxembourg. Asians are supposed to be very enterprising in the food business. In Melbourne we have so many choices, some of which are quite mediocre. We have franchises like China Bar in the city and around the outskirts of the city. I’ve tried several and found that the standard of the meals vary considerably from one café to another. Once I ordered something and when the dish was placed in front of me I couldn’t recognise it. It can be that bad. In Singapore all our hawkers are expert in their dishes. I still remember our late night supper at the food centre at Sembawang Hills Estate; it’s very much a part of our social life. Hey, why don’t you start a restaurant or café at your city?

Ms Anonymous, have I got it wrong with “chee hums”? That was how we say it at home. Mind you, I haven’t spoken any dialect for many years, so I could be wrong. My mother spoke teochew at home, so maybe that’s teochew. “See hum” is Hokkien. I never thought “chee hum” was a gender-specific term. I am sure there are male and female "chee hums" or “see hums” around, like star fishes.

jadelee said...

Hi Edward and Kim,
Maybe Chinese food in Australia and Europe cannot taste the same as in Singapore because the cook cannot get the right kind of ingredients for the dishes. Can you find things like Chai Poh(preserved turnip), Jiu Her(dried cuttlefish), Kuan Chiang( preserved sausages),Hay Bee( dried prawns), dried ikan billis, etc....in your supermarket? And if you do, is it still fresh?
I have eaten 'wantan mee' in the Chinatowns of London, Sydney and San Francisco and I must say something seems to be missing even in this simple dish.
But all is not lost, you can try making your own Choot Bee Pun, Soon Kueh, Or Nee, Wan Tan, Chwee kuey, Ang Ku kueh etc......
I have some old and tried recipes for a couple of favourites and I will be happy to share. Just drop me a line via Chun See who has my email.( sorry Chun See, you have to play postman, hope you don't mind, thanks).

jadelee said...

Oh, I forgot to add that you should try getting the necessary ingredients when you next visit SE Asia. Come with empty suitcases and stock up!!

Edward said...

I think Kim, Jadelee and I should start a hawker stall somewhere. Jadelee can be the chef, Kim the cashier and I will be the waiter. Yes Jadelee, you can get almost all the local ingredients here. So it’s not that they are missing or scarce. The real issue is that many of the cooks can’t cook. They must’ve done some crash course somewhere before they took up the franchise like China Bar. I really shouldn’t complain … at least I’m in a better position than Kim in Luxembourg, in regards to the availability of Asian food.

There are two other places in Singapore noted for its chilli noodles. One is Eng Koh’s stall in Katong (can’t remember the street). He starts at about 11 pm at night, pushing his cart to the same spot, with his mother. Even before he arrives, you can see many cars parked in the nearby street … all his customers waiting patiently. So people do come from other parts of the island during the night for Eng Koh’s noodles. His mother’s specialty was her home-made chilli sauce. I’ve had his chilli noodles several times and I can say they’re really good.

The other noodle place I like is in Koek Lane (or is that spelt Cook Lane?). It’s not far from Tanglin. I vaguely remember that the stall is in a coffee shop or restaurant. The old lady who ran the stall made the hottest chilli I’ve ever had. Even hotter than Ah Seng’s. So, for the best chilli noodles, come to Singapore!

Hey I think we should be posting our food comments somewhere, rather than on this YOG story. Let’s look for the food stories in Chun See’s earlier blogs.

Lam Chun See said...

Edward. Since you miss Spore so much, I shall increase your agony by recommending you this blog. I think it is written by a Sporean living in Australia. He likes to blog about how to cook Spore dishes. Maybe you can pick up a trick or two to lessen your suffering. As for me, I don't have much interest in talking about food; unless it is about the food stalls of old; and even less about how to cook them. I just like to eat them.

Lam Chun See said...

Edward. Since I am in the mood to torture you; let me recommend you this article I wrote some time ago about the wonderful dishes that my neighbour often cook for us. Hers is Hakka dishes. Really yummy.

Edward said...

Chun See, how fortunate you are to have neighbours who share their meals with your family. My mother occasionally does that too, although I don’t recall any of our neighbours reciprocating. Whenever she cooked curry she’d bring some to our Indian neighbour. She was rather pleased with the positive feedback from them … if an Indian says your curry is good, it must be good. Mom was not a great cook but her dishes were simple and quite tasty. In Singapore, if you can’t cook, you can always rely on the hawkers to provide you with a good feed.

Thanks for Uncle Phil’s website. He is obviously a very good cook. I will try out his recipe for oyster omelette (Orr Luah or Orh Chien). That’s my favourite dish at Car Park (Orchard Road). Car Park is another place where I enjoyed many good meals.

There is another place in Singapore I remember visiting when I was a kid, which only served steam boats. I’m not sure if it is a permanent building with a proper roof overhead or simply a canvas top cover. But it covered a large area with many tables. I can recall walking past roadside satay stalls to get there. Perhaps this is close to the NAAFI swimming pool. This steam boat centre was always packed with a huge crowd. During the night a man will visit your table and write some Chinese characters on a piece of red paper with a brush dipped in golden ink. My dad would give him some money for the paper. It’s supposed to bring you good luck. In the old days only charcoal steam boats were used. I have very fond memories of this steam boat centre, during the late 50’s to early 60’s. Can anyone remember where this centre was situated? I wonder if there are any old photos of this place.

Icemoon said...

I think I can answer Edward's question after participating in the tour in WNR. Somewhere near the junction of Beach Road and Seah St, the guide told us this was the place to eat steamboat last time. Diagonally opposite the road was the original Satay Club.

Hmm, that means that steamboat place was opposite the SVC Camp and Satay Club was sandwitched between the camp and Alhambra/Marborough cinemas?

Kim said...

Hello to all,
I have not been looking at Chun See's blog for only 2 evenings and guess what happened?? All talking about FOOD at a YOG blog! hahaha, this is really typical Singaporean. Thoroughly enjoyed all your comments and made me so homesick for singapore hawker food.
Edward - we do have a lot of Chinese restaurants here but the dishes are "European-oriented" so you can imagine the results. Jade, you are a good cook and for us overseas, with the lack of the correct ingredients, how to do magic? Luckily I am one who would not say I miss Singapore food v. badly - I would rather say I miss the sunshine and the friendly society more. Edward, you will get summer soon whereas poor me, we are coming into winter. Come to think of it, a nice bowl of Chilli noodles would be ideal for the cold weather, agreed?

jadelee said...

Welcome back, Kim. In your absence, we nearly set up restaurant somewhere in the vicinity of Luxembourg, Melbourne and Singapore..hehe!
Thanks ChunSee, for Uncle Phil's blog. I too will be trying some of his recommendations....his snowskin mooncake looks so good.
But, have to watch it..the waistline, I mean.
The open-air Orchard Carpark food centre was such a popular place for us in the 70s. It did try a comeback a few years ago before new and fanciful buildings started springing up in Orchard Rd, but it was not the same feeling anymore eating there.
I do miss Tivoli, old CK Tang, Silverstar Restaurant( opp.Orchard cinema), among others.

Edward said...

Icemoon, I’m so glad you heard of the steam boat centre. It means I wasn’t hallucinating. I know that place once existed. What’s this WNR tour? Can we do it online? Silly question. There must be some old photos of the steam boat centre somewhere. I’m not familiar with Seah Street, SVC camp or the cinemas. But Beach Road does ring a bell. I think that was where the Tay Koh Yat bus terminal used to be. I remember catching the No. 3 bus home from there.

Kim, it’s spring in Melbourne. The weather here is pretty mild, compare with Europe and Canada where extremes are fairly common. I can have chilli noodles at any temperature but for winter a pot of hot soup is highly recommended. Some people like vegetable soup but I prefer lamb shank soup. Not as good as the soup kambing in Singapore but close enough. You can’t get mutton here, only lamb. But there are some restaurants that serve mutton dishes. I had mutton curry in a Napalese restaurant in Carlton. I don’t know where they got the mutton from. Hopefully it’s mutton and not kangaroo meat that’s passed for mutton.

Jadelee, about this waistline that’s bothering you … we call it the “middle age spread”. Yeah, there are a lot of fatties around here (and in the US too). Maybe they don’t eat enough chilli noodles. Luckily you don’t have to worry about balding. Or have I spoken too soon? Just kidding.

Lam Chun See said...

Actually it is not true that I don't blog about food. So Edward; if you are in the mood for more torture, click on the label Ipoh/Malaysia on the side bar and then you can drool over some of my photos of the famous Ipoh dishes.

Icemoon said...

Edward, the tour is over. The SVC camp is in same compound with your NAAFI pool which I understand as Britannia Club. I think the tour guide pointed us to this back alley so I'm confused - how do you fit the steam boat centre in there?

Kim said...

Edward: Firstly my Chinese friend confirmed that tune of the Hokkien song is indeed Shanghai shore (cantonese original). Yes, I remember Beach Road well, it was the end of the Tay Koh Yat bus Nos. 2, 3 and 6 and I remember the beach nearby (with satay stores?)
Jade: It would be SO NICE to have your cooking nearby... yummy yummy. I hv to disappoint you, Edward was right, the correct Teochew words were: CHEE Hum. I checked with a Teochew lady here and she confirmed clearly Edward's version being correct. The word chee = Fresh. Talking about mutton soup, this year I found a good one: Chin Chin restaurant in Seah Street - excellent!

Edward said...

Icemoon, I can assure you that the steam boat centre covered a large area with many tables. It was always crowded when we were there. I dare say there were at least 20 to 30 tables; could even be more. You should ask your tour guide if he has any old photos of the place.

Kim, thanks for confirming that “chee hum” is teochew. It means that I haven’t entirely forgotten my teochew, so we can summarily dismiss Ms Anonymous’ protest. That song from “Shanghai Beach” is in one of Carl Chang’s cd. The beach near the Tay Koh Yat bus terminal is the esplanade. That was where the satay club used to be. You can also get “boh boh cha cha” there.

Many years ago my colleague had lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Carlton (I won’t mention its name but it’s quite similar to the Seah Street restaurant you mentioned). She was merrily munching away and after a while she felt that the piece of meat is somewhat chewy. She spat it out and found that it was a band aid (or Elastoplast). She called the waitress for an explanation and was told that the band aid must have slipped out off the cook’s finger. The waitress said she could have that meat dish for free but she has to pay for the rest! That’s not much consolation for her really. The moral behind this true story is: when a meat is too chewy, don’t swallow it. This has nothing to do with “chee hum” but your reference to Chin Chin restaurant brought back memories of this incident.

jadelee said...

Dear Kim and Edward, I must 'protest' against the use of the word 'chee' as it sounds vulgar in certain circles. I think the correct word should be 'qi' as in 'fresh' in Teochew.

Icemoon, I am glad someone, somewhere, improved on the old version of the steamboat that used charcoal as fuel. I still have visions of the very hot and very hard to control steamboat pot sitting in the middle of table, surrounded by a party of 10/12 people trying to have the Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner in the 60s. In the Teochew tradition, this is call 'wee low' meaning 'surround the stove/pot'. And, you can imagine the scenario.....hot soup, hot bodies, and no aircon!! Most of us will be wiping away sweat vigorously, ruining our makeup. The older folks suffers most, wiping away at their red faces and BALD heads. Nowadays, Steamboat parties can be held at aircon places and it is powered by ELECTRICITY with several functions to control the cooking, what a relief!!
But the old method was good memories as it was boisterous, relaxed and noisy.
Hey, the weekend is here again. If you are in Singapore, I recommend the lambshank at cafe Secret Recipe. It is braised, tender and not too heavy with herbs seasoning, and priced very reasonably. Cheers!!

Kim said...

Jade, I must admit I did tried to get my 2 teochew ladies here to check if I could help you out but no way, they both insisted on the same word. Then I tried to use another spelling for that same word pronunciation (e.g. chi?)but decided to let Edward have the satisfaction of being right. Whatever, I think we can accept the spelling as "qi" although this would remind me of Tai qi more, ok no harm done except I cannot think of how fresh shell - tai qi can be related? Yes Jade - the steamboat was hot and it would be really ideal in cold Europe weather. Years ago, I bought back one using charcoal - I used it a few times but stopped in consideration of my nice wood panel ceiling.

Redstorm said...

On the subject of whether cockles are called see hum or chee hum in Teochew, I can confirm that we Teochews simply called it just "hum". Although, it is commonly referred to as see hum, I have never heard of it being called chee hum in Teochews. I am a typical Teochew and speak the dialect fluently and always converse in it with my siblings and make it a point to do the same with others if I know they share the same dialect.

Kim said...

Redstorm, oh dear, now it gets more complicated... Since you are typical Teochew and Jade too, both of you being in Singapore : it may be that you both are right! Esp. in view that Edward being overseas in Melbourne and my 2 Teochew ladies in Luxembourg. As for me I am not certainly qualified because I am not a typical Teochew, I picked this dialect by playing with the Teochew neighbours kids and am now trying to keep it fluent and alive by speaking with the 2 Teochew ladies here. Anyway let's just admit that we all know WHAT subject we are talking about, so that's what blog communcation is all about, right?

jadelee said...

Redstorm, 'Kum Seah!' for your view on the subject of cockles.
My siblings and I, too , try to speak Teochew whenever we get together as we enjoy bantering in Teochew. Hopefully, this dialect can be kept alive but it is sadly being disabled with the increased use of Mandarin as a staple language for all Chinese.
There is an unique way among Teochews of asking for the origin of one's ancestry. For me, it will be 'swatow, anpo, koi-tau lee'. It simply means:- my ancestors are from the province of Swatow, the city of Anpo and the village at the source of the river where the surname 'Lee' is prominent. This classic way of declaring one's ancestry will be lost with the present generation who are simply "Singaporeans"
I wonder if other dialect groups has similar 'declaration' format about their ancestry.