Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thank you for the photos (1)

Recently, I received two wonderful gifts in the mail.

The first is Derek Tait’s latest book; More Memories of Singapore and Malaysia. Readers would probably know that this is Derek’s third book about Singapore. I have not read it yet, but flipping through the pages and seeing all those wonderful photos of the old Singapore is already a great fun. I gather that much of what is written in this book is a compilation of stories sent to him by friends; British folks like Tom O’Brien, John Harper and Brian Mitchell who spent a few years of their childhood here when their parents were stationed in Singapore as military personnel in the sixties.

I am much inspired by Derek’s books and have decided that I too would like to compile stories from this blog into a book. I take this opportunity to thank guest bloggers and readers for their stories.

The second gift was in the form of an old photo album sent to me by Russ Wickson who earlier sent me this email.

"Dear Lam Chum See

I have had much enjoyment reading through 'Good Morning Yesterday'. I was stationed with the Royal Air Force firstly at Tengah and later at Changi between May 1965 and November 1967 when I was returned to the UK. Like so many of your readers and subscribers I have a plethora of fond memories and I have never given up the hope of returning one day to root around old haunts, although I suspect many have disappeared as your site suggests.

Anyway, the purpose of this email is to say some years back now I was given a small photograph album by an RAF chap who served in Singapore 1946 to 1948. The album contains small black & white prints and I'm wondering if it might be of use to you.

I'm sure with all the modern technology available these days those prints considered suitable could be reproduced and may give pleasure to others, but of course that would be up to you to decide.

I am quite happy for you to have the album, assuming you would like it, if so can you give me an address where to send it.”

And thus this mouldy but precious old album arrived in the letter box together with a small book entitled, History of Changi - original 1960's print. Russ explained in his cover letter that this photo album was actually given to him about 10 years ago by an elderly gentleman by the name of George Shaw. George loved his time in Singapore but was sad that his own children had no interest in his past and thus “would love someone like yourself to have the remains of the album and to do what you will with it”. (He said ‘remains of the album’ because some photos were missing from it.

Besides Russ Wickson, I have also received photos from people I have not met before like Robin Brewster who emailed me those photos of the elephants exercising at Seraya Crescent, Gordon Carle who emailed me several photos of Chestnut Drive, Bukit Gombak and Bukit Panjang. And then there is Michael Frost. I tell you more the next time.

I have said many times in this blog that I wished I had more photos of the old Singapore to illustrate the topics I blog about. Thanks to these generous and thoughtful friends from the UK, I will have plenty of things to blog about and can take on lots of “2nd Shot” (Then and Now) projects in the future.

On behalf of friends of Good Morning Yesterday, Thank you very much, 谢谢, terimah kasih.

Have a blessed Lunar New Year everyone.


Unk Dicko said...

It's indeed very heartening to hear all this good news Chun See. Old and original photos are very hard to come by. Those captured by the media and archived are under strict control. The pics are often unclear as in the digitalised papers and only for viewing...not reproduction.
Can't wait to see them!
I add my thanks to all your generous friends from UK and elsewhere.

derek tait said...

Hi Chun See,
Thanks for mentioning my book,it's much appreciated. I hope you enjoy reading it. I think your blogs gathered together will make a great book and would be very popular. I think an ideal publisher would be Monsoon Books in Singapore. I think I read somewhere that Select Books publish also.
If you ever want any photos to illustrate you blogs or book, I have plenty and you're welcome to use them. I've just started a 'Sampans, Banyans and Rambutans' Facebook page where I hope people will leave their photos and memories. It's at:!/group.php?gid=318117058080&ref=mf
if anyone wants to check it out.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Thanks and best wishes,

Zen said...

Keeping photo albums around proved to be very useful especially for family gatherings or even for friends who visit us. All we need to do is to show them those old photos and a lively conversation would ensue. For chun see if his blog loses steam, he should throw in a few old photos, followed by a descriptive narration, and his blog would spring into life.

Lam Chun See said...

Thank you very much Derek for your kind offer to use your photographs. There's one on pg 110 of a man removing the cocnut husk. I would certainly like to use that one to illustrate a prcess that took place in front of our house about 2, 3 times a year. We had many coconut trees and we sold the coconuts to some contractors who sent their workers to do this husk removal.

Now that I've got to know so many like-minded friends, I think I would not have much difficulty to get help from people like Unk Dicko and Philip Chew who have a wealth of high quality black and white photos. I might be able to get some support from NHB (National Heritage Board) as well.

Redstorm said...

Hi Chun See,

It is heartening to know that even foreigners, who had been in Singapore for an extended period of time, either working here or on holidays, are still keeping old photographs for remembrance. I am sure there are also many Singaporeans who have many old pictures of our country decades ago but not many people are so generous as our British friend who is willing to give up his precious collection for the benefits of Singaporeans. Perhaps, you may want to organise a small gathering, limited to a number of people, for viewing of these precious pictures.

Brian and Tess said...

Chun See, what good news and you must be creating a resource to rival that of the National Archive! I cannot wait to see some examples of photos from this album - I trust you will be keeping it in environmentally controlled circumstances!


Thimbuktu said...

Thanks to Chun See for the memorable treasure entrusted as a custodian to GMY. This is the best place on GMY for Chun See as the valued heritage Singaporeans will be the beneficial collection to all and well-deserved by Chun See.