Friday, June 01, 2007

From My In-box: To all those who were born in the 40’s to 60’s and early 70’s.

I received this email from a 50-something relative. I was asked to forward to others of my age group and my kids as well. But, I think it's easier to just post it here:

First, we survived with mothers who had no maids. They cooked/cleaned while taking care of us at the same time.

They took aspirin, candies floss, fizzy drinks, shaved ice with syrups and diabetes were rare. Salt added to Pepsi or Coke was remedy for fever.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention.

As children, we would ride with our parents on bicycles/motorcycles for 2 or 3. Richer ones in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a private taxi was a special treat.

We drank water from the tap and NOT from a bottle.

We would spend hours on the fields under bright sunlight flying our kites, without worrying about the UV ray which never seem to affect us.

We go to jungle to catch spiders without worries of Aedes mosquitoes.

With mere 5 pebbles (stones) would be a endless game. With a ball (tennis ball best) we boys ran like crazy for hours.

We catch guppy in drains / canals and when it rain we swim there.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually worry about being unhygienic.

We ate salty, very sweet & oily food, candies, bread and real butter and drank very sweet soft sweet coffee, tea, ice kacang, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, till streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours repairing our old bicycles and wooden scooters out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, multiple channels on cable TV, DVD movies, no surround sound, no phones, no personal computers, no Internet. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and we still continued the stunts.

We were never at birthdays parties till we are 21,

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and just yelled for them!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

Yet this generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 40 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned


** He forgot to mention that we had to shit into ponds or buckets, and bathe from well water or public taps. :)
(Photos from: Singapore, An Illustrated History, 1941 ~ 1984, Information Division, Ministry of Culture)


Anonymous said...

I rather not crtitise the present generation. Each generation will find and discover what makes his generation unique. When this generation grow older, they will also talk like us!

If we saying all this because we would like to competitively challenge the present generation, I think we 50-something better believe our bodies are not that strong as compared to when we were young.

5-something are not old as what the corporate wants you to believe. All you need to do is to flash some cash, and you see whether the young private bankers will come flocking to you and praising you. I had been many times experienced this and all I do is to smile at them.

To me you do your thing I do mind. I am proud of where I came from and how I came about. It's your turn now to show us what you guys are capable of doing. Meanwhile I go an enjoy myself!!!! Like they say HAVE MONEY CAN TRAVEL. I don't owe you a living!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading that immensely, hardly a day goes by when I don't reflect on my old days - days spent wandering around south east London as a ten year old (even younger), out all day and free as a bird. And I have already written of some of my exploits in Singapore as a young teenager (and the worst is yet to come - Arrested for Espionage at 14 years old!). On the radio yesterday there was a news story about some fire-fighters who had been told they were not allowed to rest in their sleeping bags on the floor but had to use specially provided reclining chairs to rest. The reason - 'the sleeping bags have not been risk assessed'!!

Unknown said...

I guess its always an inter-generational thing to "outwit, outplay and outlast" each other! As somebody born in Gen X, I am kind of caught in between the Baby Boomers and Gen Y/Z. Our generation has had its share of creature comforts like nintendo game and watch and space invaders, but we also spent a lot of time outdoors playing in drains, catching fighting spiders and police and thief.

I wonder sometimes how my son Ethan will be like when he is older. His generation is so different as they begin to pick up technology at a very young age. I am already starting him on Youtube and he loves it!

Victor said...

Times have changed and we've got to accept that. Even nature seems to have changed. You used to fall out of trees and did not get seriously hurt. But lately, trees have been falling on people and killing them. Sigh.

Lam Chun See said...

I don't think older guys who write stuff like this are trying to run down the present generation as being soft etc. It's a different world; that's all. Nothing to do with toughness or softness. We are simply reminiscing about the old days.

Even today, I often see young men exchanging stories about their NS (national service) days. It's human nature to enjoying talking about the difficult times that one has gone thru.

fuzzoo said...

What I take out of this is that parents should remember that kids don't need expensive sophisticated toys and they don't need their free time to be structured around some "meaningful" activities. They are much better off left on their own to use their imagination and come up with their own games. Having said that, when left to their own devices, my kids often end up in front of the TV or computer and I have to yell at them to switch it off.

Anonymous said...

Years back, my mother-in-law witnessed an incident while touring in Thailand. A group of vilage kids were fighting for coins thrown into a river by tourists. After retrieving the coins, they would shove them into their mouths, continuing the act until their mouths becoming quite a 'mouthful'(bloated). Comparing these kids to their affluence counterparts in Singapore - who lead a better life?

My mother made a common-sense type of statement when she said: "when things are scarce, naturally they become valuable". So nowadays babies are scarce so they become valuable in an affluence society. Can they be blamed when they grow up being very protected by their parents?

Anonymous said...

Right, it's a different world. We are just born in different times, not that one generation is better than another.

But sometimes I do wish we can go back...hahaha.

Tom said...

Tom said...
Youger generation is defferent in some ways,they dont exercise enough
they will sit around alot with
friends,and dont play outside games
like we use to. but if you give them a bag of marbles or a board game they will play with them,ask
togo outside and run around and get rid or thier energy some of them wont do it.I some times blame the parents,or Iam wrong saying

Anonymous said...

Human beings are funny creatures. For them forbidden fruits always taste sweeter. Let say we love to experience the time of our ancestors, but after being there (through a time machine), experiencing its difficulties, would gladly jump back to time machine and head back to modern time. Of course this scenario is a figment of my imagination.

dilutedmagnetics said...

I was born in the early 70's and have lived in "satellite" towns built by the government all my life. My parents never let us (me and my younger brother) play in out in the sun alot because she didn't want us to become "dark". We spent most of our time at home studying or receiving tuition lessons. Apart from the "maid" thing, I think my life is not so much different from my girl's now (she's five) :)

I love reading your blog, by the way, because you have described how places once where before they were redeveloped. I used to live right across the street from NTU and we ate at the Yunnan Garden Restaurant quite often when it was a little cafeteria. I still eat at their restaurants all the time now, and it reminds me of my childhood...

Anonymous said...

your words make my childhood memory surface from my brain cell.

That's is awesome.