Like many English-educated Singaporeans of my generation, I loved to read books by Enid Blyton when I was in primary school. I think I borrowed these books from our school library. At that time, I was in Braddell Rise School. I remember four series; The Secret Seven, The Famous Five, the ‘Mystery’ series and the ‘Adventure’ series. My favourites were books from the ‘Adventure’ series. I found them so exciting. I can recall only three titles; The Island of Adventure, The Mountain of Adventure and The Castle of Adventure. How about you? Do you have any favourite Enid Blyton stories?
As far as I remember, our National Library did not keep any books by Enid Blyton. Can anyone remember the reason for this?
Besides the Enid Blyton books, I remember reading one other book from our library. The title was, The Book of Parables. Of course, at that time, I did not know that these were actually stories from the New Testament Gospels. I remember seeing a picture of shepherd with a lamb.
Another series of books that I enjoyed reading at that age were simplified versions of English classics like Lorna Doone, The Black Tulip and The Count of Monti Cristo. My father borrowed these books from a place called Lembaga. I believe it was the Adult Education Department of the Ministry of Education.
My friend from BRS, Lee Sock Geck, used to love Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories. In fact she and her girl friends formed a group called The Special Fives, just like in the books. Let me quote her account as recorded in my book, Good Morning Yesterday.
For me, we had our "Special Fives". The leader of our gang was Jane Ittogi. We met every Friday at her house which was in Thomson Ridge, two bus-stops from where I lived. We had meticulously set up an ‘organisation chart’ showing the group leader (Jane), Deputy (me) and members (three other girls from Braddell Rise School). And we even composed this song:
“We are, we are the Special Fives,
You know me and I know you,
When you're in trouble, I'll help you,
We are, we are the Special Fives.”
Our favourite activity was to walk to the Friday Night Pasar Malam near Jalan Isnin, eat sweets and tidbits, talk about boys (of course) and then lie in Jane's garden looking at the stars, and wondering what the future held for us.”
PS - I wonder what have become of Sock Geck's "special five" members. Where are they today? Perhaps I can persuade her to write another piece for us, about what her buddies at Thomson Road have become today.
I was at a neighbourhood clinic and saw these 3 old Enid Blyton books. At times like this, we appreciate the handphone camera. I think I have read no. 3.
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