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


Children of Heaven – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #2a

February 3, 2010 at 10:37 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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One of the places Itchyfingers must go whenever we visit Bangkok must be the Chatuchak Weekend Market. No doubt it is cramp and crowded; hot and stuffy, but look carefully there is always some treasure waiting to be discovered. Being such a big market, it is quite a challenge to navigate especially if you are looking for a particular shop. The advice commonly given on many guidebook and website is this: if you see something you like, better grab it, cos you may have problem looking for the shop again. This is particularly so for first-timer. :p

We were wandering around when we found ourselves walking into this lane full of nice and cute clothes…

Oooo..cute clothes for girls…so sweet…look at the little Santa Claus costumes!

More girls’ clothes

There were boys’ clothes too!

Little army clothing and denims…er… that pink little singlet looked a bit
strange at the bottom…??

Well, you would be pardoned to think that Itchyfingers had just walked into the lane with shops selling children’s clothes. Actually it would be half correct to say these were children’s clothes, but the children here referred to the four-legged furry ones! Hahahah!!! That’s right! These cute little outfits were meant for pet doggies! I supposed pet meow meows could also fit into those tinier ones too…Hahaha…so cute right?

Doggy’s snacks

Pet Society! Itchyfingers like to play this pet game on Facebook…hahaha….

Cute to doll up your furry children like little princes and princesses, though
I am seriously not sure how many doggies really enjoy dressing up, especially
in tropical weather… :p

Also see related posts:
> Have a Break…and Take a Nap – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #1a
> Working out with a Pussy Cat – Useless Invention #2
> Respect for Life Begins with Concern for Animals

Talking Behind the Bag – Carrier Bags in Singapore From the 1950s to the 1980s

January 14, 2010 at 10:47 am | Posted in itchy mouth | 7 Comments
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Once upon a time, when you buy something from the shop, chances are you would be expected to bring along your own woven rattan basket to contain your purchase. Sometimes, the shop owner may wrap them with these…

Old newspapers for wrapping foodstuff. They also used pages from old
telephone books and even leaves to wrap…People back then seemed to be
more eco-friendly…hahah…

Prior to visiting this exhibition at the National Museum, Itchyfingers have always been wondering who invented the paper and plastic bags. But a search online didn’t provide any concrete evidence of who the real inventor was. 😦 This exhibtion did not solve the mystery for Itchyfingers, rather it traced back the history of the bag from its humble beginning as a form of simple packaging to become markers of the development of Singapore’s retail history and consumers’ culture. It was rather fun looking at the over 60 paper and plastic bags, as many of them might bring back some fond memories for those who had seen or used them before.

The Bag…

The explanatory sign said, “The making of paper bags started in Singapore as a cottage industry as early as in the 1940s…The paper bags in the earlier days that were recycled from layers of kraft papers from cement bags obtained from construction sites came without handles, and were used in provision shops to hold rice, canned food or charcoal. Bags were also made from new kraft paper bought from paper suppliers. This imported paper was printed with graphics before it was cut and folded into bags.” Many of these graphics carried advertisements either from shops or the paper bag manufacturers themselves.

An example of a paper bag unfolded to reveal its printed graphics.
This self-promotional bag belonged to a paper bag manufacturer in the 80s,
apparently used during the Chinese New Year period. But…why fruits har? Hahah….

Interesting to see this display of letterpress metal plates for the bag.

“The earliest printing of graphics on paper bags was with letterpress printing in the 1950s. Coloured ink was applied to raised designs on the metal template, then it was pressed onto the paper. However, only one colour could be printed at a time and when the bag was printed with two colours, the inks tended to overlap on certain parts of the design. By the 1980s, the more efficient offset printing method was used, which allowed for larger print runs, with multiple colours.”

The same bag used during normal time. Notice the chinese characters used
were the traditional types, read from right to left…

What’s this? Red and white cotton twine…These were used as the handles
of old paper bags…

Combat! Nothing to do with army or war…Maybe this paper bag
manufacturer of the 70s was trying to say their bags were very strong and sturdy? :p

This bag reflected our multi-racial society…It had Chinese, English, Malay,
Arabic and even Burmese words on it… 😀 This was for the “Nine Sisters
Goles Kidneying Tablets”… hahah

This is so nostalgic…Bags for holding mooncakes were made with
a broad square base. This one was for Empress Restaurant in the 60s.
I think the 大中囯 mooncake still uses this kinda bags…Actually I really
like brown bags…

Some bags carried the design of the products, which many still survive today…

The look of this product may have changed, but I’m sure many of you can
recall the ad with the woman’s voice-over saying, “双塔标 志成牌麻油”
Double Pagoda, Chee Seng Seasame Oil) on tv…hahah

Condensed milk advertisements…I am sure many of you used to dig your
itchy fingers into the cans to saviour the sweet milk when young, regardless
of the brands…hahah…

If not,  many of you would be guilty of this: scooped out a spoonful of chocolate powder from the tin and put it straight into your mouth! Hahaha…! 8) Itchyfingers have done both many times, that was why I was a fat young Tisu! 😀

The good old chocolate drink…Milo! 😀 Notice this bag spotted a different
handle…The handle was cut out together with the bag but reinforced with
thicker board like those used on the base. This bag also showed how advertisement
on carrier bags had evolved. These full-coloured, offset printed bags acted
like mobile advertisements, with the sporting indivduals conveying the message
that the Milo is an energy drink

When there’s Milo, there will be Ovaltine! Itchyfingers like this bag a lot,
so striking although it was more hard sell than the Milo bag…Can you
taste the difference between Milo and Ovaltine? Maybe I should be a blind
test one of these days…hahah

I think not many people would have thought of taking the back of this bag.. :p

Another bag from Nestle, spotting the same format as the Milo bag…

So retro..

From the 60s, air-conditioned indoor departmental stores, fashion boutiques and supermarkets were constructed. With that, naturally we had more bags featuring advertisements from these stores…

Bata…Buy And Throw Away…hahaha!!

Another bag with reinforced handle area. The traditional chinese characters
were to be read from right to left…

One man’s thrash is another man’s treasure. This bag must had been
recovered from the bin cos it is so crumpled! Must had gone through the
iron numerous time to get slightly presentable like this…hahah

Another crumpled bag from Cold Storage…Older folks call it “Cold Story”..

This looked like the guy was carrying the bag…hahah…It even had the
SCS Butter logo on it. Notice the telephone number and postal code at
that time was much shorter… :p

A 1967 Robsinson bag…

Some bags reminded you of places no longer there…

Remember Yaohan? It closed down in the mid or late 90s…

How about the Katong Red House Bakery? Today, the landmark is still
boarded up the last time we visited the area, seems like the plan to turn it
into a multi-tenant food court has not materialised…I had only eaten once
there in the mid 90s… This polyethylene bag was from the 80s

Most bags had same design on both sides, with two languages

Others, like this one, spot a different look…

The reverse side…

Another kind of plastic handle..

One of the most interesting bags must be these series…

Bags made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in the 70s…these were very
sturdy and durable and were recycled as document carriers..

Another PVC bag with a different handle. Silkscreening should be the
method of printing for these bags…

Another PVC bag from Carlsberg. This one should be quite cool to carry
around today…so retro…hahah!

Plastics are made from non-renewable energy sources like crude oil, gas and coal. Most are non-biodegradable so it is really not very environmental-friendly. Hence, we should really try to cut down the use of plastic bags, if not, always recycle them. Better still, bring your own bag when doing your shopping! 🙂 Reduce. Reuse. Recycle!

The Bag – Carrier Bags in Singapore from the 1960s to the 1980s is on-going until 18 April 2010. Admission is FREE! 🙂

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