Did you catch the debut of the tv programme, Mementos of Singapore, on the Okto Channel last week? In this programme, they mentioned several items from our childhood days, such as the Labour soap bar, wooden washing boards, paper bags and the Milo beverage. This last segment of the show seemed to give the impression that Milo was the only chocolate beverage that has been around since our childhood days. This simply is not true.
During our childhood days in the 1950s and 60s, there were two equally popular brands of chocolate beverages, Ovaltine and Milo. Competition between these two very similar beverages was fierce; just like that between Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola. It was only during the last couple of decades that Milo gained dominance in Singapore.
When my children were growing up in the 1990s, we used to buy both brands. But gradually, my children developed a preference for Milo. I asked them why, and they said they liked its creamier taste; which was the very same reason why I preferred Ovaltine. At that time, I frequently drove to peninsular Malaysia for my consultancy work. Often, I would do some shopping in the supermarkets before I returned, because household items were cheaper there. Invariably, my purchases would include a family-size tin of Milo.