Singapore 1960

August 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | 2 Comments
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Itchyfingers was attracted to this exhibition at the National Museum by its poster showing the former Singapore National Theatre, which was built in 1963 and demolished in mid 1986 due to a design defect. I always wonder if, with improved technology, whether it is possible to somehow correct the fault and rebuild this iconic building. I thought the design was unique, certainly very retro-looking from modern days’ view.

The exhibition brochure

So it was with a bit of anticipation to see and learn more about the National Theatre that Itchyfingers paid the exhibition a visit. But after viewing the whole exhibition, we were really disappointed to find not even a photo of it. It was only later that we found out that there was a public talk on architecture in the 60s, which we missed. 😦

So why an exhibition on Singapore in the 1960s? Well, 1960 was a special year because “it was a time of cultural awakening and fervency driven by a fast evolving socio-political climate. It was time when many social and cultural policies made set the foundation of how Singapore was to become…”

The first gallery showcased Singapore’s political history. Can you recognise
anyone here?

The most familiar faces must be that of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew
and the late Dr Goh Keng Swee

Forgot what historical moment this diorama was depicting…The one
standing should be MM Lee

Old map of Singapore. Notice Sentosa was still called Pulau Blakang Mati?

On display were huge excerpts from old newspapers in the 60s.

Singapore’s first Silver Olympics Medal by Tan Howe Liang!

Scary ad of weight gain supplement with bad photo cropping of woman
without hand…Eat at your risk…hahha…!

There were galleries showcasing literatures, news, fashion and culture

Peranakan tradition costumes
.Wow! See-through top! So sexy! :p

An old cover of Her World Magazine

A photo of Malayan Airline stewardess

Itchyfingers were particularly intrigued by the collection of record albums by local singers in that era….

Just look at the hairstyle! This is what we called the ‘galy pok’ (curry puff)

And look at the side burn! Hahaha….so retro…

One more…I think this local singer is still pretty active in his line now

They seemed to prefer the side profile poses in those days…hahah…Oooo
look at the glasses… :p

Er…actually he looked a bit scary…hahah…ooops, no offence to fans! :p

Very old school graphic design! Notice they gave mention to the band

Actually he reminded me of one of the channel 8’s reporter!

A rare outdoor shoot for cover!

This was produced by the then RTS (today’s MediaCorp). She was signed
as their artiste. Her hairstyle didn’t seem to change much

This hairstyle still looks quite common today… :p

But definitely not this one! Really typical 1960s ‘beehive’ hairstyle! haha…

Curly side burn!

Another ‘beehive’ hairstyle…hahah

On display at another gallery were things found in daily lives, like in a coffeeshop…

A Tiger Beer coaster! The tiger looked so comical! :p

A metal tray

An updated design. The tiger under the coconut tree design
hasn’t change
much since the early days

And while you are there, go ahead and sit down at one of the round tables and have a cuppa kopi...

“Hello, hello…anyone home?” 8)

And remember to pick up this interactive and informative activity booklet –
best suited for students age 13 and above…

At those times, amusement parks provided affordable entertainment and leisure activities for everyone. Neon lights were a common sight too. Hence it was so appropriate to have such a bright and welcoming sign at the entrance of the exhibition.

It reminded Itchyfingers of Saturday Night Fever! Hahaha! Remember one
of our earliest masthead for the New Year

Overall, Itchyfingers feel that the galleries were too small and there could be more interesting items on display. But maybe some of these would replicate those already in the permanent galleries on the second level. But it is still worth a visit if you are interested to know more about the old Singapore. Do visit Singapore 1960 at the National Museum of Singapore from now till 22 August! Only about one week to go, so hurry! Admission is FREE! 😀

Also see related posts:
> Wolves in Sheeps’ Skins – Head On by Cai Guo-Qiang
> A Retrospective of 100 Singapore Icons
> Talking Behind the Bags – Carrier Bags in Singapore from the 1950s to the 1980s
> Selamat Datang to the Peranakan Museum



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  1. luckily u posted… i could only do a 5-10 mins tour on this and thus only picked a few key stuff to take photos only. But yes I agree the exhibit is quite small but at least it kept to the theme, 1960s. I like the neon light stage too! Sigh too bad I cannot do a re-visit before it ended.

    • not too late. one more wk before it ends!

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