Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thank you John Harper

A big Thank You, Terima Kaseh, 谢谢, to John Harper for his articles.

I am sure many of you are touched by this man’s love for our little country and awed by his amazing memory. The only reason, I think, that anyone can remember such details from nearly half a century ago, is because he thinks and talks frequently about them.

I have also found his articles to be very educational. The last one about Schools for example, has given us some interesting insights into the British Educational System on which ours is based.

His description of the Orchard Road section has taught us something that many Singaporeans, including myself, probably did not know, or remember – that the stretch of Orchard Road in front of the Lido Theatre and Hilton Hotel used to be a two-way street.

Also, how many young Singaporeans know that the Anchorage at Alexandra Road used to be a brewery (Anchor Brewery) and was formerly known as Archipelago Brewery; or that the Alexandra Hospital used to be called the British Military Hospital (BMH) “with a distinctive cross of St George painted on the roof”>

And prior to reading his articles, I did not even know that places like Lloyd Leas or Wittering Road or Meteor Road existed.

Indeed, if I were a teacher, I certainly would ask my students to read these articles to gain some knowledge of our past.

So once again, Thank you John Harper. We hope to welcome you back to Singapore not once, but many times.


Anonymous said...

Many people do have past experiences and interesting adventures but too shy to share them. On one occasion, in AMK library (Galilee Cafe) I saw a elderly old man aged about seventy plus relating his colourful life story to a young couple. It involved his youthful days during Japanese occupation, British administration, racial troubles, communist terrorists, and so on. My opinion is that the older people should relate their life-time experiences to the younger ones, not by telling them just to read a few books of yester years.

Anonymous said...

I wonder whetehr your younger readers see a big difference in the way school lessons were conducted.

If I compare my time with my children, we seem to have plenty of "free hours" after school to do other things.

Francis Ho said...

A BIG BIG thank you indeed!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, John Harper, for sharing your memories with us. I enjoy reading your posts because I used to spend my school holidays at my uncle's shoe shop in Jalan Kayu, which was frequented by British servicemen from RAF Seletar. In those days, we had little contact with the "ang mohs" (literally translated "red hair", refers to the Caucasians). We mostly saw them in the movies or tv shows (TV broadcasting just started in the 60's in Singapore). So for a young child of 10-11 years, the "ang mohs" in real life were very interesting. When they came into the shop, I would practise my English on them. But when the British pulled out in the late 60's/early 70's, many of the shops in Jalan Kayu had to close because British servicemen were their main customers. My uncle must have felt quite lost then and I am sure many businesses in those days were similarly affected. Then there was the issue of building up our own defence and my eldest brother was the among first batches of Singaporean young men drafted into the SAF.

Anyway, thanks for sharing with us the other side of the story and giving us a different perspective of Singapore. Hope you will visit us again!