The era of the eighties is a favourite for many, including me. Life seemed to be a little slower, a little less stressful and perhaps also a little boring since there were no internet, iPhone, Facebook and cable TV.
Catching guppies at the longkangs, playing hide and seeks, challenging spiders in matchboxes… What were your favourite memories of childhood?
This extensive list of items that I have compiled can be representative of a Singapore lifestyle in the eighties. There are certainly many more things which remind us of the past, but I shall keep it to a hundred items. The list is not in any order, and may be slightly biased due to the memories of my childhood and student times. 😀
Snacks & Soft Drinks
Most, if not all, children love snacks and soft drinks. Back in the eighties, the varieties of chips and chocolate might not be as many as there are today, but it was enough for students to save up some of their allowances to buy their favourite snacks at the small provision shops or mama stalls in the neighbourhood.
1. Kinos Snacks
We all love the simple snacks and titbits from Kinos, a Malaysian snack manufacturing company established way back in 1982. Kaka, Tora and Ding Dang were the most popular choices, not to mention the jelly cups with various flavours too. Oh yes, these Kinos snacks can still be found in the supermarkets today.
2. 10c Snacks
In the eighties, what could be bought with 10c at a mama shop?
Answer: One sng bao (ice pop), or one satay stick, or one bubblegum. Able to be snapped into two sections, the sng bao was ideal after a game of football. The satay stick did not look too appealing in today’s standard, while the sugary bubblegum was available before the islandwide ban in 1992. They came with cartoon designs in the wrappings too.
3. Hiro Chocolate Cake
Soft, puffy and chocolaty, this is definitely one of the favourite snacks of the students in the eighties. They have another flavour in strawberry too. Kinos was the Malaysia supplier for Hiro Chocolate Cake.
4. Khong Guan Fancy Gems Biscuits
A product from Singapore’s old branded Khong Guan Biscuit Company, these little biscuits with sweet star-shaped coating at the top were joyful titbits for children. And they came with different types of colours too.
Khong Guan Biscuit Company was founded by Chew Choo Keng in 1947. Producing a large variety of biscuits in different flavours packed in their symbolic rectangular tin boxes, it recorded high sales in Singapore and Malaysia from the sixties to eighties. In 1993, after decades of expansion, it was sold to a Malaysian businessman called Lim Geok Chan.
5. White Rabbit Creamy Candy
Developed in Shanghai as early as 1943, each white, chewy candy is wrapped in a thin edible film made of sticky rice. Its popularity here declined after the nineties, and was almost banned after being hit by the melamine contamination scandal in China in 2008.
6. Bottled Soft Drinks
F&N, Fanta, Green Spot, Miranda, Kickapoo, Sinalco… all in glass bottles! Never mind the sugar content, they were perfect for the hot weather. The various colourful bottle caps were neat collectibles, while the orange juice was a must-have item in Chinese weddings.
7. A&W Root Beer Float
Root beer float in iconic frosty mugs, delicious curly fries, coney dogs… Will we miss A&W (Alan & Wright) that much if it is still in operation in Singapore like McDonald’s and KFC? A&W started its business in Singapore in 1966 and withdrew in 2003.
These are sweets made from the Chinese hawthorns, the fruits that are also used to make traditional Chinese snack bing tang hu lu 冰糖葫芦. Available in Singapore and Malaysia since the seventies, the design and taste have changed very little till today.
“long chiam pass!” “or wah peh ya som!”
With no iPhone, computer or internet, children were satisfied with simple games in the eighties. Zero Point and Hantam Bola were played using rubber bands and tennis balls.
And you just need a few friends to play Hide and Seek, Catching or Police and Thief. The leader of the group would appoint the “policemen” and “thieves” by going “ki ki ki peng peng kua ti tiang ho nang ker zho peng… ki ki ki zhak zhak kua ti tiang pai nang ker zho zhak” among the players. 😀
A traditional Malay game made popular since 1940s, two players ply their skills and accuracy by trying to flip their pieces to land on top of each other. When that happens, the winner will claim the defeated piece.
Bottle caps and rubber bands could be used, but little transparent plastic in the shapes of elephants, camels, birds and other animals were the favourites among children. Popular snack Kaka used to give away these colourful pieces packed in each packet.
10. Classic Board Games
While Chinese chess and International chess are more for serious players, children of the eighties loved to play board games that were deemed more challenging and exciting. Aeroplane chess, animal chess and Chinese war chess were some of the examples.
For aeroplane chess, each player (blue, red, green and yellow) begins with four seeds. With dices thrown at each round, the aim is to get all four seeds to land on the finishing point at the center of the board game. The Chinese war chess is a strategic board game where the player can place his soldiers, bombs, mines, commanders of different ranks and the military flag in his setup. The game is over once the military flag is captured by either side.
My personal favourite is the animal chess, which I remember some of its interesting rules: such as the Rat is the only one which can swim in the river, it can also eat the Elephant, the Lion, Tiger and Leopard can jump across the river and the game is over when one of the caves is conquered.
A game that is said to be originated from either the Romans or the Chinese, hopscotch is played around the world, including Singapore. Popular to be played in the parks or playgrounds, the outlines are usually drawn with a chalk and a stone or a bean bag is used as a marker during the game. Each player must skip through the course, with one leg, without touching the lines or the marker.
12. Five Stones
Five Stones (五粒米) is an ancient game from Greece or Egypt, but extremely popular in Southeast Asia, especially among the girls, from the fifties to eighties. In local context, five little triangular bags, filled with sand or rice, are used. Each player has to throw a bag into the air, and then quickly grab another bag on the ground before catching the first one on its way down. The game continues as the player repeats the action by grabbing two bags on the ground, and so on.
Originated from China in the 5th century BC, this traditional game is called jianzi (毽子) in China, shuttlecock in the West and chapteh in Southeast Asia. Made of a rubber disc fixed with colourful feathers, the player has to keep the chapteh in the air during a game without using his hands. It is also similar to Malay sport sepak takraw, which used a rattan ball instead.
14. Goli (Marbles)
Easily one of the most popular games for the male students in the eighties, goli was a game involving skills and accuracy. Typically played on sand, the marbles were placed in a drawn circle as the players stood behind a straight line drawn several meters away. Every marble that was knocked out of the circle was a victorious claim.
As if that was not exciting enough, goli became associated with gambling as Panini stickers, coins and even $1 dollar notes were used as bets. The goli used also “progressed” from small glass types to those white opaque marbles. Some even resorted to use metal marbles (ti ji) to smash the opponents’ marbles into pieces.
15. Sand-Based Playgrounds
Discard the concerns of unhygienic conditions or dangerous plays, many adult Singaporeans now would have fond childhood memories of these locally-designed sand-based playgrounds. While the dragon and pelican playgrounds were the more common types, others were designed with slides, swings, monkey bars, merry-go-rounds and see-saws. Many of these playgrounds were torn down since the late nineties.
Oh yes, once in a while a cat would be spotted burrowing its faeces in the sand of these playgrounds. Yucks 😀
16. Panini Stickers
Italian hobbyist company Panini Group, founded in 1961, is famous for their stickers associated with football. They later diversified to make stickers associated with wildlife, history, cartoons, warfare and others. The earliest Panini sticker books to be launched in Singapore were The World of Survival and The Age of Dinosaurs in the mid-eighties, and they proved to be extremely popular here. Dozen of other varieties soon followed, including Mexico ’86, Italian ’90, Mask, Carebears, Smurfs, Ghostbusters, and even one book about the Singapore Armed Forces.
Stamp collection was and is always a traditional and gentlemanly hobby. In the past, stamps pasted on envelopes were soaked in the water and carefully peeled off after their adhesive softened.
Today, with local stamps issued in the form of stickers and the convenience of emailing, the hobby of stamp collection is no longer be attractive to the younger generations.
18. Old Dollar Notes
For Singapore currency, there are four series launched since 1967: namely the Orchid (1967-1976), the Bird (1976-1984), the Ship (1984-1999) and the Portrait (1999-Present) series (but of course the Portrait series did not exist yet in the eighties). The $25 brown note of the Orchid series has exceptional value as Singapore did not issue another note of $25 denomination again (except for a commemorate one in 1996).
Beside the usual notes, commemorative dollar notes such as the 25th anniversary of Singapore’s independence (1990) and the $20 note celebrating the 40th year of currency agreement with Brunei are highly sought after.
Other than local currency, dollar notes of other countries, old or new, are great collectibles for hobbyists.. that is, if you are rich enough. 😛
19. Old Coins
I used to collect the commemorative Chinese New Year coins, issued by Singapore Mint, every year religiously, until I have all twelve animals in the Chinese horoscope.
Some of the old coins are also my favourite, especially the huge $1 coin with a Singapore lion on it. The nickel coin was issued in 1967 and lasted for twenty years until 1987, when they switched to the aluminum-bronze bagua-designed one. After independence, Singapore has issued only two set of coins so far.
20. Phone Cards
Phone cards were not exactly products of the eighties, but they made good collectibles, so I will include them here. Introduced in early nineties, the early plain designs used colours to differentiate the values of the cards, such as a $20 phone card was in silver whereas the $50 one was gold.
Soon, many designs were launched. There were the designs portraying Singapore landscapes, food, culture and traditions; there were special editions for Chinese New Year festivals; there were also advertisements from companies. All these provided good opportunities for hobbyists to add to their collections.
21. Pop Pop Fire Crackers
Firecrackers had been banned in Singapore long ago, but these little white crackers made good substitutes during Chinese New Years.
Made in China, they gave loud “pop” sounds when hit something hard at fast speeds. Kids loved to throw a few at the corridors or downstairs during the countdowns. The naughty ones would grab a bunch and throw all at once, scaring the passers-by. These crackers were later banned by the authority too.
22. Multi-Purpose Japanese Pencil Box
Like a robotic pencil box, it had many functions, springy buttons and “secret” compartments that many kids, with affection for gadgets, would love. Shaped like an aircraft carrier and performed like a Swiss army knife, the all-powerful multi-purpose pencil box could hold many pens, pencils, erasers and rulers on both sides. It even had a built-in sharpener and thermometer. Great design!
23. Flag Erasers
A clever marketing gimmick by whoever the manufacturer of these cute flag erasers as they proved to be very popular among the students. Many attempted to collect all the flags; more than a hundred of them, including some nations which do not exist anymore, such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
These erasers were also popularly used in the game of kuti-kuti.
24. Book-Spinning and Pen-Spinning
Book spinning and pen spinning seemed to be popular pastimes for bored students of yesteryears. Some even went to the extent of competing each other to see who can spin for the longest time. It is said that pen spinning was invented by a Japanese student in the 1940s. The trick became popular in the United States and other parts of Asia, including Singapore, in the eighties and nineties.
I could do a simple “ThumbAround” but had lesser success in more difficult tricks involving other fingers. 😉
Apparel, Accessories & Fashion
25. White School Shoes
In the eighties, students did not have many choices in all-white canvas school shoes. The most common ones were the Bata, US Masters, BM2000 and not forgetting the good old Panda brand.
I used to take chalks from the blackboard to whiten my shoes after a game of football, so to avoid disciplinary actions from the teacher for having dirty shoes. Actually there were those bottled white starch which were used to be applied on school shoes, but I found that chalks were easier alternative. 😉
26. Alien Workshop Baggy Jeans
Alien Workshop baggy jeans, No Fear t-shirt, Converse sneakers, center-parting hairstyle… It might be “cool” for a teenager in 1990 but definitely looks hilarious now. Where are the fashion police when you need them?
27. Orange Pointed Comb & Hairstyles
Orange combs with long pointed ends were must-have for old school boys. They stuck out in the back pocket, creating cool “ah beng” impressions. The boys loved to use them to carefully arrange their hairstyles for more than 10 minutes in the toilets. Not to be used as a weapon though.
As for the most “in” hairstyles for boys… The “bengish” ones went for center parting, “stepped” or inner cut, while the conservative ones preferred “slope” or an armani.
28. [ixi.z] Wallet
Back then, this was the “in” wallet to own. Not exactly cheap for a student, it also produced pens and casings. The designs of the wallets were velcro-based, brightly-coloured and had multiple compartments for cash and cards.
And the brand name itself was quite unique.. I still can’t pronounce it today.
29. Casio Watches
The first Casio G-Shock DW-5000C was launched in 1983, gaining immerse popularity among the youngsters. It had a water resistant depth of 200m and its battery life could last seven years.
Another popular model Casio F-91W was released in 1991.
From Rediffusion to Mediacorp Radio, from free-to-air broadcasting to internet music, from portable radios to iPods, music has always been part of our life. Singapore has a mixed culture, heavily influence by Asia and the West. It is no surprise that the local youngsters, no matter what generations, have the freedom to follow their preferences in music.
Blues, jazz, rock, dance, hip hop, techno, rap… Which genre is music to your ears?
30. English Pop
The eighties and early nineties saw the rise of Michael Jackson as he released three successful albums in Thriller (1982), Bad (1987) and Dangerous (1991). His music videos of Beat It and Billie Jean sparked the MTV (Music Television) industry, which further cemented his King of Pop status.
Madonna debuted in 1982 and released many hits in Like A Virgin, Material Girl and La Isla Bonita from 1984 to 1987. Other popular artistes included the likes of Rick Astley, Bananarama, Belinda Carlisle, Pet Shop Boys, George Michael and Roxette.
Who could forget the hit ballad Within You’ll Remain by our own local band Tokyo Square in 1985? My personal favourites were Together In Electric Dreams, It Must Have Been Love, Take My Breath Away, Circle In The Sand, Careless Whisper and many more…
The music of the eighties were so influential that Zouk’s retro-themed nights Mambo Jambo continues to be extremely popular among the local clubbing crowds.
Initially started as a competition of local song-writing in 1981 by a group of students, xinyao flourished and arguably hit its peak by the end of the eighties. Clear acoustics usually accompanied by a guitar, xinyao represented the purity and innocence of the local youngsters’ dreams during that era. However, it did not manage to avoid the commercialisation of music a decade later.
32. Mandarin & Canto Pop
Mandarin Pop or Mandopop in the early eighties was represented by Taiwanese singers in Teresa Tang (邓丽君), Liu Wen Zheng (刘文正), Fei Yu-Ching (费玉清) and Feng Fei-Fei (凤飞飞). It was a period heavily influenced by the craze over Chiung Yao’s (琼瑶) love novels and melodramatic movies. Towards the end of the eighties, fans’ taste changed as they turned their sights on rising talented stars such as Dave Wong (王杰), Sky Wu (伍思凯), Pan Mei Chen (潘美辰), Song Bai Twins (小松小柏) and The Little Tigers (小虎队).
However, the Mandarin music market would soon be filled with young idols that emphasised on their appearances rather than their vocals. Music companies would go to the extent to spend a great deal on packaging and marketing.
The eighties were the golden era for Canto Pop, with outstanding Hong Kong artistes in Leslie Cheung (张国荣), Alan Tam (谭咏麟), Anita Mui (梅艳芳), Danny Chan (陈百强) and Sally Yeh (叶蒨文). Their rose to prominence in the Chinese communities around the world coincided with the golden era of Hong Kong movies in the same period. Canto Pop would reach another peak during the early nineties with the emergence of the “Four Heavenly Kings”.
33. Cassette Tapes and the Walkman
Each media represents an era: mp3 represents the 2000s, CDs (Compact Discs) represent the nineties, cassette tapes represent the eighties, and vinyl records represent the days prior to the 1970s.
The music media has to go with a specialised player, and we have the iPod, Discman and gramophone that plays mp3, CDs and vinyl records respectively. For cassette tapes, it is the Walkman. Walkman was actually Sony’s tradename for its iconic cassette tape player built in 1978, but with 220 million units sold worldwide, it was so popular that the name represented the player itself.
34. Yamaha Soprano Recorder
The Yamaha recorder was a simple introduction to music for primary school students of the eighties. I do not really have the talent for music, so this recorder, along with the small harmonica, are the only musical instruments I have in my whole life.
TV Shows and Movies
Ever since Television Singapura was founded in 1963, watching TV programs evolved from being a luxury to that of a necessity. With the birth of Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) in 1980, many Singaporeans became diehard fans of local and foreign dramas, sitcoms and variety shows.
35. SBC Dramas
A series of SBC dramas were produced in the eighties, their plots mostly revolved around the Singapore society. The picture qualities might look bad compared to now, but generally the dramas received good reviews from the audience. A few representative works include The Awakening 雾锁南洋 (1984), Son of Pulau Tekong 亚答籽 (1985), The Coffee Shop 咖啡乌 (1986), Five Foot Way 五脚基 (1987) and Good Morning Sir! 早安老师 (1988).
36. Hong Kong/China/Japanese Dramas
Hong Kong TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited) dramas have always been the darlings of Singaporeans. Martial arts dramas adopted from Gu Long novels were popular, ranging from Damian Lau’s Lok Siew Fung 陆小凤 (1976) to Adam Cheng’s Chor Lau Heung 楚留香 (1979). Chow Yun-Fat rose to stardom with his participation in The Good, The Bad And The Ugly 网中人 (1979) and The Bund 上海滩 (1980). After its establishment in 1980, SBC imported many of these quality dramas to be shown on Channel 8.
Classic China dramas such as Journey to the West 西游记 (1988, cast by the famous Liu Xiao Ling Tong 六小龄童) and Jigong 济公 (1985) had their fair share of fans too.
Japanese dramas were rare in the eighties, but Oshin 阿信 (1983) managed to stand out as it moved many local housewives to tears. The marriage of on-screen lovers Yamaguchi Momoe (山口百惠) and Miura Tomokazu (三浦友和), arguably the biggest names in the Japanese showbiz of the eighties, was a fairytale came true for their fans.
37. Jin Yong Martial Arts Dramas
The successes of Babara Yung’s (翁美玲) The Legend of the Condor Heroes 射雕英雄传 (1983), Andy Lau’s Return of the Condor Heroes 神雕侠侣 (1983) and Tony Leung’s The Duke of Mount Deer 鹿鼎记 (1984) and The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre 倚天屠龙记 (1986) pushed Hong Kong martial arts novel author Jin Yong (金庸) and TVB dramas to greater heights.
Years later, fans were still reminiscing on these classics, even though the same storylines have been reused and remade several times.
38. Taiwan/Hong Kong Movies
Melodramatic love movies adopted from Chiung Yao 琼瑶 novels were made popular from the seventies to early eighties by the success of two pairs of on-screen lovers 二林二秦. Joan Lin (林凤娇) married Jacky Chan in 1982 and retired from showbiz, effectively ending the glamorous co-operation of the four Taiwanese idols, who had taken Asia by storm and created their legacy for a decade.
Hong Kong movies soon took over as the popularity of Taiwanese movies declined. Until the end of the nineties, Hong Kong movies had enjoyed its 20 years of golden period. From zombies (林正英僵尸电影系列) to horror/comedy (黄百鸣开心鬼电影系列) to gambling (王晶赌片系列), Hong Kong movies had huge following in Singapore.
Bastard Swordman 天蚕变 (1983), Police Story 警察故事 (1985), A Better Tomorrow 英雄本色 (1986), A Chinese Ghost Story 倩女幽魂 (1987), Prison On Fire 监狱风云 (1987), Casino Raiders 至尊无上 (1989), God of Gamblers 赌神 (1989) and Days of Being Wild 阿飞正传 (1990) were some of the classics in the eighties, while Stephen Chow dominated the nineties with his nonsensical types of comedies.
39. Hollywood Movies
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1983), Ghostbusters (1984), Indiana Jones series (Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, Temple of Doom in 1984, Last Crusade in 1989), The Terminator (1984), Back to the Future (1985), Top Gun (1986), Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989) were the top box-office movies in Singapore in the eighties. Not forgetting that horrible doll Chucky in Child’s Play (1988) who gave many kids nightmares.
Unlike Hong Kong movies, Hollywood productions were already more advanced in their special effects and computer graphics.
40. Sesame Street
An American children series, first shown on TV in the United States way back in 1969, Sesame Street has found its way to many countries in the world, including Singapore. Many of its muppets, created by Jim Henson, were children’s favourite TV characters. The popular muppets include Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Ernie and Bert, Big Bird, and so many more…
41. Video Tapes
The first VCR (videocassette recorder) was launched to the mass market in 1971. By the late eighties, they became reasonably affordable for a consumer to rent, play, record or watch a film in the comfort of his home. He could even schedule his video player to do a record of TV program at a later timing. By late nineties, video tapes became endangered species as VCDs (video compact discs) and DVDs (digital versatile discs) made their way into the video sector.
Shopping has always been the favourite pastime of Singaporeans. Shopping malls, whether in prime districts or neighbourhoods, are constantly filled with people. Many are able to flourish for decades, but some unlucky ones failed to survive. The likes of Yaohan, Emporium and Daimaru had their glorious days in the eighties, but did not make it till this day.
Yaohan (八佰伴) opened its first store in Singapore in 1974. Encouraged by popularity among the locals, it subsequently opened other branches at Thomson Plaza (1979), Bukit Timah (1982), Jurong (1983-1989) and Parkway Parade (1983). After the Asian Currency Crisis in 1997/98, Yaohan bankrupted and closed most of its stores worldwide.
Another Japanese retail superstore, Daimaru (大丸) came to Singapore in 1983. By 2003, it had shut down its most of its overseas operations. Singapore was its last investment overseas.
Owned by the Lim family from East Malaysia, Emporium (英保良) was one of the biggest retailer chains in Singapore during the seventies, owning 32 stores islandwide and another 30 in Malaysia. It started in 1966 with its first two stores at Raffles Place and Hill Street. Its Oriental Emporium (东方百货公司) at Ang Mo Kio central was a favourite shopping place for the heartlanders. It also had a Chinese restaurant (东方大酒楼) for weddings or yum cha. The group could not avoid bankruptcy when the financial crisis hit in 1985.
A popular local department store at People’s Park, OG was first established in 1973. With more shopping malls joining in the competition, OG’s development in Singapore has been limited. Nevertheless, it still manages to expand to three outlets, the other two being located at Orchard Point and Albert Complex.
46. Scotts Shopping Centre
The five-storey shopping mall with another 23-storey of service apartment was popular among the rich Indonesian visitors. It was also home to Singapore’s first ever air-conditioned food court, Picnic Food Court, in 1985. In 2004, it was sold to Wheelock Properties and the whole building was demolished a couple of years later.
During the eighties, free-to-air Channel 5 was generous enough to telecast live NBA (National Basketball Association) matches featuring the intense rivalry between Larry Bird of Boston Celtics and Magic Johnson of Los Angeles Lakers. The charm of NBA was pushed to greater heights with the emergence of Michael Jordan in the mid-eighties. Basketball became a craze in Singapore after he led his Chicago Bulls to challenge Detroit Pistons’ Isiah Thomas and his “Bad Boys” at the end of the eighties.
48. Jordan Mania
With the rise of superstar Michael Jordan in the NBA, his signature moves were copied by fans around the world. The shoes he wore, the Air Jordan series, were also selling like hot cakes, including here in Singapore. The first model, Air Jordan I, was released in 1985, but was banned by NBA which disallowed “colourful” shoes. Jordan, nevertheless, wore Air Jordan II during his victory at the slamdunk competition in 1987.
49. European Football
Football remains Singapore’s favourite sport throughout the decades. Beside NBA, Channel 5 also telecast free Italian Serie A matches and the Old English Division One. AC Milan, with its rising Dutch trio of Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard, was challenging Diego Maradona’s Napoli, while Liverpool battled against derby rival Everton for the titles, an era before Manchester United ruled the Premier League.
50. Malaysia Cup
Local football fans have always been passionate and supportive of the Lions in the Malaysia Cup. The beginning of the eighties saw the rise of our favourite football son Fandi Ahmad. He established his status as a rising star in 1980 when he scored the winner in the final against Selangor, as a 18-year-old. However, Singapore would not be able to win another Malaysia Cup until 1994, but the passions of the local fans had never been lesser.
51. Mexico ‘86
The biggest football event was also shown live on Channel 5, ensuring countless local football fans got glued to their TV screens for one month. Stars such as Lothar Matthäus, Rudi Völler, Gary Linekar and Hugo Sánchez lit up the tournament, but it was the biggest star of all, Diego Maradona, who led his Argentina team to triumph as they beat West Germany 3-2 in a thrilling final at the end of June 1986.
WWF (World Wrestling Federation, not World Wildlife Fund) garnered quite a number of fans when the violent and dramatic “sport” was shown on Singapore TV. It was a funny sight to see many kids trying to imitate the actions of the legendary Hulk Hogan. And the battles between Hulk Hogan, Macho Man and André the Giant at the WrestleMania and Royal Rumble were actually quite thrilling, although later we would realise they were all fake. 😀
53. Old-Styled HDB Flats
No BTO (Build-to-Order), no DBSS (Design, Build and Sell Scheme), just straighforward sales of HDB (Housing Development Board) flats for Singaporeans in the eighties. And they were considerably cheap too, costing less than $50,000 for a 3-roomed unit. Did I mention its floor space was also larger than the current new one?
The typical design of a HDB flat built in the eighties (picture above) was duplicated in the new towns of Ang Mo Kio, Clementi and Bedok. It consists of 3-roomed units, 3-1/2-roomed units, 4-roomed units and 5-roomed units (point blocks).
54. Table Tennis Tables
Table tennis, or ping pong, tables were part of the common installations at the void decks of flats at old estates, such as Ang Mo Kio and Hougang. They were once popular with students having a game or two after school. While the facility was free, players got to bring their net, balls and bats.
Some of these tables are still around, but I hardly see anyone playing ping pong there again.
55. Stone Tables and Benches
Another common facilities found at old flats, the round white stone table completed with six stone stools provided a relaxation corner for the old folks. The surface of the table was also carved with the layout of a Chinese chess or International chess. Many of these stone tables and benches became obsolete and were replaced by metal-framed ones.
Established in 1987, it was known as MRTC (Mass Rapid Transit Corporation) then. In its early days of operation, it served only five stations (Yio Chu Kang, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Braddell, Toa Payoh) in the North-South Line. The system, known as SMRT since 2004, has expanded to four lines throughout Singapore. Oh yes, there was also a famous urban legend that then-Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew approached Venerable Hong Chuan for advice about his plan of a MRT system. Two months later after the first MRT train made its maiden journey, the bagua-shaped $1 coin was introduced.
57. Trans-Island Buses
Who can forget the signature yellow-orange single-deck buses of Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) roaming in the northern towns of Singapore, from Woodlands to Sembawang to Yishun? The company was founded in 1982 so as to provide competition to the Singapore Bus Services (SBS). It was taken over by SMRT Corporation in 2001.
58. Yellow-Top Black Taxis
Yellow-top black taxis first appeared in Singapore in 1947. The authority stopped issuing individual taxi license in 1974, and regulations stated that taxi drivers could not continue their business once they hit the age of 73.
In the eighties and nineties, the yellow-top taxi fleet was largely made up of the models of Toyota Crown and Nissan Cedric. Currently, there are only 367 yellow-top taxis left in Singapore. The domination of taxi companies means that these individual-owned cabs will be phased out in the next couple of years. Another model, the London cabs, will also cease operation in 2012.
59. Sentosa’s Monorail
I certainly miss this slow, bumpy, non-aircon ride in Sentosa, having numerous rides during my primary school excursions… Going in a loop through seven stations, passengers could access Fort Siloso, Underwater World and Palawan Beach easily, and caught glimpses of dinosaur statues along the way. The monorail started its operation in 1982, and was replaced by Sentosa Express in 2005.
60. Corona vs Lada
The likes of Toyota Corolla, Toyota Corona, Nissan Bluebird, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Beetle were common on our streets during the eighties. But things would change in May 1990 when the government introduced the concept of Certificate of Entitlement (COE), where Singaporeans needed to pay a premium to own a car for a maximum of 10 years.
Soviet Union brand Lada (model Samara) was introduced into Singapore as a budget car at the turn of the eighties/nineties. Relatively cheap, the hatchback was, however, unreliable due to our hot climate. The brand lasted in Singapore well short of a decade. Lada Samara had the unwanted reputation of being the worst car ever to run on Singapore roads. 😀
61. Motorcycle with Sidecar
A motorcycle fitted with sidecar is not that common now as compared to 2/3 decades ago, due to the many restrictions imposed; it is not allowed to travel on an expressway, pillion is not allowed if the sidecar is meant for passenger, the motorcycle has to be registered as a goods vehicle if the sidecar is meant for carrying goods.
62. Chopper Bicycle
Chopper bicycles, manufactured by US bicycle-maker Raleigh and sold at least 1.5 million worldwide from 1969 to 1979, became an iconic craze in Singapore in the eighties. With its high seat, shifting gear on its main frame, and a small-front-wheel-large-rear-wheel combination, the bicycle might not look appealing to bike-lovers today, but it was every boy’s dream 30 years ago…
By the way, it was not exactly cheap too.
63. Push Button Home Phone
No LED screen, no incoming call display, no number saving function, no fancy ringtones.
This is Singapore’s first push button home phone by Telecoms (former body of SingTel), simple, hardy and durable. It was introduced in 1979, replacing the old rotary dial phone.
64. Orange Public Coin Phone
Orange 10c-coin phone were commonly used in the past as a source of side income by shops or kopitiam. They can still be found today, with some versions in black colour, which is a clear evidence of their reliability.
65. Motorola Pager and Call Zone Phone
Motorola developed their first pager in 1959, and pagers began to find popularity since 1980. In 1990, Motorola’s Bravo numeric pager stormed the market, and would later became the world’s best selling pager. Almost a symbol of status, many guys loved to clip one at the side of their pants, and it was not uncommon to hear someone shouted “siang kar pager?” at a public payphone.
Ok, the call zone phone marketed by SingTel was not a product of the eighties. It was introduced in 1992 and lasted only five years, till 1997. To make a call, you had to find a designated call zone area, pull up the antenna and try to find the signal. And the payphone was just nearby.
66. Creative Cubic 99 and Sound Blaster
Our home-grown tech company Creative Technology was set up by Sim Wong Hoo and Ng Kai Wai in 1981, initially as a small store in a shopping mall, selling computers and providing training services. Their big break came in 1984 when they launched dual-processor Cubic 99, which had enabled voice synthesis and sound playback function.
The Creative Music System was released in 1987. Its successor The Sound Blaster was launched two years later. This would lead to the audio revolution in the PC (Personal Computer) world, especially for gamers, for more than a decade.
Black screen, white words, endless commands… DOS (Disk Operating System) was the main operating system for PC before the domination of Microsoft Windows.
To access a program, one had to go to the C:\ Drive, type in “dir/w” and then choose the file with the “.exe” extension. I remember in old SBC dramas, the actors/actresses loved to use the command of “dir/w/s” to make rapid scrolling of the directories in their computers, in order to create a busy and serious impression. 😀
68. Floppy Disks
5-1/4 inch floppy disk belonged to the days when children bought simple DOS games from Funan. Since it was introduced in 1976, the disk evolved from a capacity of 110kb to 1.2Mb, and from single-sided to double-sided. It was quickly replaced by the 3-1/2 inch 1.44Mb disk, commonly used throughout the eighties.
Another disk worth mentioning was the Zip Disk of the mid-nineties, which had 100 to 750Mb of space, considered a luxury during that era. All these, however, were eliminated by rewritable CDs, DVDs, thumbdrives and external harddisks.
69. Koei Games (1988, 1989)
Romance of the Three Kingdoms (RTK) series, Bandit Kings of Ancient China, Genghis Khan and Unchartered Waters were some of the most popular classic games from Koei, a Japanese PC historical and strategic game developer. Able to be saved in just one 3-1/2 inch disk, RTK I and II were released in 1988 and 1989 respectively. In the same years, Koei launched Genghis Khan and Bandit Kings with great success. Like elsewhere in Japan and Taiwan, Koei games had large following here, who would visit Funan regularly for updated versions of the games.
70. Prince of Persia (1989)
A role-playing PC game developed for Apple II, its graphics was a big jump in the standard and quality of animation towards the end of the eighties.
Under a limited time, the player need to fight the enemies, avoid traps, jump over obstacles and save the princess locked in the palace tower.
71. Lakers Vs. Celtics (1989)
This product from Electronic Arts (EA) was a masterpiece, featuring realistic gameplays and recognisable players (considered very good animation during that era). Each player had his strength and signature movement; eg. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could make a skyhook, Isiah Thomas drove into the lane to layup, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had high accuracy in three-pointers. The game also produced beep-beep sounds through the PC speaker, good enough for the standard of the eighties!
72. Electronic Handheld Games (Game & Watch)
These electronic handheld games were simple yet challenging. The player had to get as many points as he could in a limited time. They came in different versions too, namely Popeye, octopus and parachute.
73. Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. (1985)
The most successful video game for more than 20 years since 1985, Super Mario Bros. by Nintendo had charmed countless of kids, and even some adults. Eight gameworlds with four sub-levels each, it provided many hours of fun as the player led Mario through the Mushroom Kingdom to save the princess.
74. Casio’s Western Bar
The handheld game Western Bar from Casio was a big hit in the eighties. The sound effects were excellent, with realistic gunshot sounds and cowboy-styled music.
You played as the drunken sheriff, shooting at the beer bottles the bartender threw, dodging the ashtrays thrown by the bar’s customers and had a shootout with the bandits with dynamites.
One of the many excellent products from Casio, other than watches.
75. Racing Simulator Game
Considered a high tech game then, it had steering wheel, engine key, gears as well as a screen showing the directions of the simulated racing car. Came with adrenaline-rushing engine sounds too. Definitely a dream toy for the boys.
76. Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton storybooks were so popular in the eighties that few children of that era would not have heard of the name. She was a British novelist (1897 – 1968) who specialised in writing stories of adventures, fantasy and magic for children. Over 600 million copies of her work sold worldwide, especially the Commonwealth countries.
Do they still read these nowadays?
77. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew
Thrilling adventures, mysteries-solving, detective-inspired… No wonder so many young boys were hooked to The Hardy Boys. The stories could get a little violent sometimes.
The creator of the novels, American publisher Edward Sratemeyer, did not forget writing exciting detective stories for the young girls too, which was Nancy Drew.
78. True Singapore Ghost Stories
Written by the mysterious Russell Lee, the series of The Almost Complete Collection of True Singapore Ghost Stories consists of 21 editions, spanning more than 20 years. The supernatural stories had ranged from local folktales to foreign myths, and were extremely popular among the students. The first edition is Singapore’s all-time bestseller, released in 1989.
They said comic books, not text books, are a student’s best friends. 😉
79. Lao Fu Zhi (Old Master Q)
Hands up, who used to read Lao Fu Zi 老夫子 while having his hair cut at the barber when he was young? Ok, I admit I did.
Created by Hong Kong cartoonist Alfonso Wong (王澤) in 1962, the images of old-fashioned duo Old Master Q and his buddy Big Potato have left deep impressions in many Chinese communities, including Singapore, for decades. The long-running comic still survives till this day, although its influence and popularity have been shadowed by the domination of Japanese manga since the nineties.
80. Xiao Ding Dang
Definitely the kids’ favourite cat-robot. Xiao Ding Dang 小叮噹, which was preferably called before it was changed back its original name Doraemon, has an all-powerful cyber pocket which it can pull out many amazing gadgets to help his weak owner Nobita Nobi (大雄), who was always bullied by Takeshi Goda (技安) and Suneo Honekawa (阿福).
Created by Fujiko Fujio (藤子不二雄) in 1969, the anime was extremely popular in Taiwan, which were later introduced and sold in Singapore. The comics and cartoon series were all in traditional Chinese; the first English translation was done in 1994 by Singapore Press Holdings.
81. The Adventures of Tin Tin
The Adventure of Tin Tin was a classic Belgian comic book published from 1929 to 1976. In the comics, Tin Tin was an adventurous Belgian reporter who always encountered difficulties in his explorations, accompanied by his faithful terrier dog Snowy.
There were a total of 24 titles, with book 10 the first to be originally published in full colours. I remember the library at my primary school had most, if not the complete set, and were one of the most sought after reading materials among the students.
Cartoons & Toys
Everyday after school, I’d religiously on the TV at 6:30pm to watch my favourite cartoon Transformers. During the eighties, SBC imported many cartoons series from the United States and Japan. Many of the cartoons lasted only 30 minutes per episode, but that was enough to make many children satisfied.
Many of the cartoon series, such as Transformers, M.A.S.K. and He-Man, had their toys selling like hot cakes.
82. Transformers (1984)
A creation by the United States’ Hasbro and Japan’s Takara Tomy, Transformers was perhaps the most successful entertainment franchise that had its hand in toys, cartoons, movies, video games and comic books.
The stories of endless battles between the heroic Autobots against their evil alien robot counterparts Decepticons, and their abilities to transform from robots to cars, planes, guns, even a walkman, make the Transfomers the number one toys on many boys’ wishlists. Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream and Soundwave were the most popular of all.
83. M.A.S.K. (1985)
The cartoon M.A.S.K (Mobile Armoured Strike Kommand) was the product of a co-operation of Japan, French and American studios. The story was about a special task force with special helmets and transformable vehicles, battling against the criminal organisation V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem).
The car-turns-plane Thunderhawk was perhaps the most popular M.A.S.K. toy, while I remember the bike-turns-helicopter Condor was the cheapest toy among all.
84. The Smurfs
The Smurfs are weird little blue creatures created by Belgian cartoonist in 1958. American media network NBC (National Broadcasting Company) first aired the cartoon series in 1981, and it turned out to be quite popular. Singapore imported the cartoon after the mid-eighties.
There are over a hundred characters in The Smurfs, some of the better known ones are Papa, Brainy, Jokey and Smurfette. The villain is the evil wizard Gargamel and his pet cat Azrael.
85. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)
Portrayed as the most powerful man in the universe, this creation by Mattel started early in 1976 and became popular in the early eighties. He-Man was a barbaric warrior known as Prince Adam, who was able to transform into the powerful He-Man by simply raising his sword and shouted: “By the power of Gray Skull, I have the power!”. During the transformation, his timid cat Cringer also turned into a courageous battle tiger. The villain in the cartoon was a skull-faced warrior called Skeletor.
86. Care Bears (1983)
Teddy bears are cute, but Care Bears were even more charming, at least to the kids. Each bear had a colour, character and ability of his/her own, and when combined, the powers from their bellies was strong enough to thwart any evil plans from No Heart, the main villain. The first TV cartoon series was released in 1983, followed by its first film, The Care Bears Movie, in 1985. Both were big hits. Within several years, 40 million Care Bears dolls were sold worldwide.
In the later versions, other animals were added to the big family of Care Bears, including a lion, elephant, pig and lamb.
87. My Little Pony ‘n Friends (1984)
This pony toy, with long comb-able mane, was perhaps the girls’ favourite after the Barbie dolls. The cartoon was produced in 1984 but its series lasted only three years.
It was about Ponyland, where a group of magical ponies, unicorns and Pegasuses fought against the witches and goblins who tried every means to enslave them.
88. The Centurions (1985)
An American cartoon series started in 1985. The science fiction cartoon was about how a team of heroic centurions trying to save the world from an evil cyborg and his army. The series lasted only two years.
89. ThunderCats, SilverHawks and TigerSharks (1985 – 1987)
This American cartoon consists of three series, ThunderCats (released in 1985), Silverhawks (1986) and TigerSharks (1987). ThunderCats was about a team of cat-humanoid aliens, while SilverHawks were some heroic figures with bionic bodies. Members of the TigerSharks had special devices which could transform them into marine forms.
A long-lasting American cartoon series, created in 1969, that featured a large talking Dane called Scooby-Doo (which always went “scooby-scooby-doo” at the end of the cartoon) and four characters (Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers). The storyline largely revolved around supernatural encounters and mystery-solving.
91. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
Incredibly innovative, this was a cartoon series about four mutated turtles who were named after Renaissance artists (Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo) and had a sewage rat as their teacher. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were first created in a comic in 1984, and it was three years later when they were introduced in animation on TV. The series got so popular that toys, video games and movies soon followed.
92. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
The creations by Walt Disney (1928 and 1934 respectively), these two lovable cartoon characters have been famous and popular among children even till this day. The duo are joined by other Disney characters in Minnie Mouse, Groofy, Pluto, Scrooge McDuck and little ducklings Huey, Dewey and Louie.
93. Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985)
Cute cartoon which was shown in Singapore in the late eighties, although it debuted in the United States in 1985. It was about a group of underground-living bears who made friends with a human boy and a princess. The fun part of the cartoon was that the bears could hop at great heights after consuming their specialised Gummiberry juice. The theme song was nice too.
Campaigns & Policies
94. Dialect Names vs Hanyu Pinyin Names
Most Singaporean Chinese born before 1980 have their names registered in dialects, such as the surname of Chen 陈, is varied in Tan, Chan or Chin, depending on the dialect of that person. That method changed in the eighties when hanyu pinyin names were encouraged for usage. Some have full hanyu pinyin names, others have mixed (such as dialect surnames with hanyu pinyin names).
Suddenly there are more people with the same names (with the variations in dialects removed), as seen in the NS (National Service). And it is more difficult to differentiate between a Singaporean Chinese and a China Chinese now, based on their names. 😀
95. Speak Mandarin Campaign
Launched in 1979, the Speak Mandarin Campaign (SMC) was to encourage Singaporean Chinese to switch from dialects to Mandarin. Hawkers, public transport workers, white-collar executives were specifically targeted for the campaign from 1982 onwards. Although the campaign was successful in reducing the usage of dialects, studies showed that Mandarin was losing ground among the people. In 1991, the objective of the campaign was changed to encourage English-speaking Singaporean Chinese to use Mandarin more often.
Who still remember the campaign’s theme song by Tracy Huang 黄莺莺?: “国家要进步, 语言要沟通, 就从今天起, 大家说华语. 不分男和女, 不分老和少, 不再用方言, 大家说华语. 听一听, 记一记, 开口说几句; 多亲切, 多便利, 简单又容易.”
96. Stop at Two Policy
In 1969, then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew launched a “Stop at Two” policy, fearing a rapid growing population might give the economy extra burden. Late marriages were encouraged, and couples were advised to stop trying for a boy if they already had two daughters. Abortion and sterilisation were legalised and social and work benefits were reduced for those with three children or more.
Throughout the seventies and eighties, this campaign had a lasting and widespread effect in Singapore. Today, the government has totally reversed the policy as the issue of aging population bothers our island now. In their attempt to tackle the issue, more problems are created with the recent foreigner and immigrant policies.
97. National Courtesy Campaign
Also launched by Lee Kuan Yew, the National Courtesy Campaign started in 1979 as a campaign to encourage politeness to tourists when Singapore was thriving to boost its tourism sector. The campaign was soon introduced as nationwide for daily life, in a bid to build a caring, courteous and civil-minded society. The smiley face was replaced by the iconic Singa in 1982.
98. Keep Singapore Clean Campaign
Yet another successful campaign by Lee Kuan Yew, the aim of Keep Singapore Clean Campaign, launched in 1968, was to build a clean and green nation, raise the standard of living conditions and make it look appealing to foreign investment and tourists.
Hygiene was emphasized and littering and spitting were largely discouraged. Competitions between the cleanest and dirtiest estates, schools and shops were organised. In the eighties, the motto of the campaign was ‘Singapore is Our Home – Let’s Keep It Clean and Beautiful”.
99. From Temasek Green To Camouflaged
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) was officially formed in 1961, taking the shape of former bodies Singapore Volunteer Force and Singapore Military Force. The uniform for the military personnel was known as Temasek Green, a dull plain green-coloured clothing that needed to be starched hard and stiff during the parades.
In 1985, SAF introduced the camouflaged No. 4 uniforms with velcro and more pockets. The material used was considered more adaptable in our hot climate and its appearance could blend easily with the vegetation. The third generation SAF combat uniform, the pixelised one, was introduced in 2009.
100. NCC Badges
These are some of the NCC (National Cadet Corps) badges that a NCC cadet could earn in the late eighties to early nineties, such as the NAPFA (National Physical Fitness Award) physical fitness badges, swimming test, marksmanship, Taekwondo coloured levels, the cadet proficiency and camp pinnacle badges. I’m sure some of the badges would be obsolete by now, and newer ones are added.
There are a lot of more stuff which I have missed out, such as plasticine, Good Citizens 好公民 and Moral Education textbooks, Lafuma bags, G.I. Joe cartoon, Ladybird storybooks, blue Singapore passport that allowed direct entry to Malaysia, and many others. But I shall stick to this list for the time being.
Proceed to 100 Things We Love About The 80s (Part 2)
Published: 08 November 2011
Updated: 26 August 2013
i enjoy reading, thanks so much :-))
Ah Yes, I remember those Tattoo bubble gum after have the gum, apply a good measure of saliva and just like magic, instant tattoo.
Thanks so much for this entry. Brought a smile with the nostalgia
i’ve been through about 90% of all these stuffs
thanks for the memories : )
What a spectacular blast from the past. I had the very same marksmanship NCC badge, too!
Wooo… awesome stuff. Brings back such nostalgic memories. We used to make games from ice-cream sticks, rubber bands, plastic bags, match-boxes, drink cans, etc. Heh until Game & Watch and Donkey Kong came out.
A few mentions:
– 10c gum bottle with a white cap and glue stick underneath it.
– Pencil boxes with Gundam or other Japanese cartoon characters. The pencil boxes had so many hidden compartments and buttons to press that pops the doors out.
– Tube of gluey, sticky substance that comes with a yellow stick to blow balloons that look like a soap bubble.
– Remember the game arcades where school uniforms were prohibited and we had to steal home clothes in our bags. And they cost 20c to play.
Thanks for the memories.
Can’t stop nodding… 🙂
another addition to the list… Strawberry shortcake
yes strawberry shortcake tin lunch boxes n karrimor haversack n tag heur watches
thanks for the great memories!
I loved living in Singapore in the 70s and 80s. I remember picking out the perfect pencil case for school, woe to the girl who just got a plain one. Does anyone remember Kalkito transfers? We bought them at Global in Holland Village. One year I bought them for all my cousins in the states and took them to a family reunion. They all really thought they were neat. Also Top Trumps. It’s available in the states now and my daughter has several sets. You can’t get Enid Blyton books in the states but I was able to order some online and pick up some while on a trip to Singapore for my daughter. She’s read them all but she didn’t love them like I did.
Don’t mind if I link this article. Too nostalgic to miss.
awesome.. it does bring back a lot of good memories how I wish I can go back and take a look and feel it once again. Miss my childhood life..
Brings back so much memories!
Not sure if some of you would remember … “Kalkitos” – where sticker-like picture game – you scratch the pictures and it gets transfer to a big picture/ scenery card. It’s now back in Singapore again.
Sure, but couldn’t recall what it’s called! Now I recall! Thanks!!
PS. Where can we find it now?
wow.. I remember these too!
Thanks for all the responses! I didn’t expect so many folks feel so strongly for the eighties…
Shall continue to hunt for more nostalgic stuffs for a Part 2 of this post 😉
TQ and YES… pls do as I for one was from the early 70s B4 leaving for boundaries beyond belief… hence, this was a clear flight back to a past I truly can relate and treasure at what’s missed and I am certainly open to learn as yet what had indeed continue in shaping my one time homeland which my birth still hold true to… Majulah Singapura!!!
Enid Blyton books… Famous Five… Secret Seven… 🙂
yes do add on.. 🙂
i also remember making straws, straw basket of centrepoint kids, beggar fashion/punk look of far east peeps, karrimor haversack, tennis greats like mcenroe n agassi, tv shows like dallas n love boat and a whole lot more!
yes indeed… I still remember the teenage ninja turtles… my favorite cartoons… ;-D
Pls maintain your page.. I have also forwarded your link to my friends – I am sure they will love this compilation.
this year we do not have Ca2 instead we have project about te old days cool, i think this is the best website where we can find infos. Thank you
Hi there, I just created a group page on Facebook “For those who miss the 70s- 90s Singapore/Asia. I hope to gathered people who miss the golden good old days. And communicate, share and befriend. Mind join the group and give me the chance to enlarge the group.
Pacman, Bruce Lee, ting ting tang sweet, Grease movie, 小甜甜，Night mare on Elm Street, Zero point, TiKum TiKum, snake and ladder…
Read it through lunch!!
Thanks for bringing back such fond memories!!
Looking forward to Part 2 (and more) coming already!!
Perhaps can add this to the list of 80s “toys/games”: The Casio MG-880 Calculator with the “Space (Number) Invader” game? =)
Can play the nostalgic calculator game on this widget:
i love it. especially the racing simulator.. the handheld game… bring back memories..
Brought back good old memories! Thanks for sharing.
Haiz… looking at the pics here, wish i kept some of my stuffs from the 80s
Hi! Thanks for posting! I can relate to so many of the items above! Brings back good memories! 🙂
What about the old Sogo shopping centre at Raffles City? =p
Anyway great post, nostalgia to the max. Who says a simple life can’t be a happy one? =)
I love this page!!!
wonderful memories from the past! it really dig up alot of my childhood happening stuff.. ty!
🙂 sweets. Very good list. Would be nice to include in the nintendo game Contra also. For a girl who doesn’t like to play video games I actually enjoyed that one very much with my brother!
How about gamebooks? When I was growing up in the 1980s, gamebook series like Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf were popular among the boys.
Also computers were expensive in those days and not many got to play games like RTK.
Also “Choose your own adventure”
Lone wolf is still around :p
Very good compilation. I would like to add that during the 80s there were also the green color taxis with the flower knob at the tip of the gear stick.
I loved it! thanks for this amazing post! looks like you had a great childhood and a very balanced one too – english + mandarin pop alongside a huge variety of interests!
one thing you forgot to mention though – zero point! how we girls loved the zero point during breaks!
thanks for this awesome nostalgic post! i gotta go dig out my old western bar game which i think must be rotting somewhere in a dusty drawer (hopefully).
Not forgetting Heli-Battle, by Casio too
I have a similar game called Submarine Battle, my first “copy” was given by one of my relatives in around 1999 before it was taken away from me. But I bought another one in 2015 at China Square Central on North Bridge Road for $43 and it’s still in a excellent condition.
I hope I can get Western Bar or Heli-Battle in the same condition as Submarine Battle since the two “copies” of Western Bar sold at China Square Central need repairs for the screen for one and another on sale need repairs for the speaker.
thank you very very much for this post.
Love it so much 🙂 There was also the Centerpoint kids and their colourful clothes!
Love it! Brings back many wonderful memories!
Some additional stuff you could add to part 2:
– Transport: the old bus stops with orange seats, double decked non-aircon buses
– how the tv transmissions would go bad and there’ll be a colourful image that plays songs or the “节目中断” image
– clean and green campaign with that frog that dances around
– TV shows: Popeye, Tome & Jerry
– Games: zero-point
– Grape or orange flavoured chewing gum shaped like little balls packed in a box
– Was the “young scientist”, “知识画报” or “好朋友” published in the 1980s?
what a wonderful post! Thank you so much! Was I the only one that watched Button Moon?
Oh yes, you have refreshed my memories!
OMG Sharon, this is Button Moon.. I watched this before too, wow you brought back my memories!
love your post… i remembered the pasar malam culture was very different back then.
we had more pirated cds back then and sometimes it is combined with funfair.
snacks – there was macho man with the msg powder, maggi mee song
Thank you for doing this, now I can share it with my children.
not macho man… its macho mee!!
Indeed but I’ll still take her hand & lead her off from the podium… Elizabeth of course!!! 😉
Remember the Teenage textbook and Teenage workbook?
paya lebar Junior college? LOL
those were the days….
Thank you to all nostalgia-lovers and some of the feedback…
Will do a Part 2 soon 😉
Smiled through the whole thing. Thanx for bringing back many happy memories!
Beautiful memories of the olden singapore days…. truly ONE of a kind! Thanks for posting this up!!!
Lost in time. Well research and good effort in coming up with the comprehensive list. Do u remember Strawberry Shortcake, Bookworm Club, Galeries Lafeyette, Printemps, roller skating ring, tea dance, and this calculator game whereby we kept pressing on it (can’t remember the details on how this was played to achieve what.)
The one like mastermind where you punch in a number of choice, press (divide)(divide)(=)?
The closer to (1) your guess gets, the closer you are to the answer!!
nice post:) For the ncc badges, i rmb we would take the pins out and stick them onto a blank name tag for so its to put on while maintaining the “flush” of the badges in the same row:)
OMG this is amazing…..I still have some of these stuff in my cupboard…those were the days..I remember we also had Captain Planet and Rainbow Brite which I’m not sure how popular it was..
And talking about Zero-point, reminded me of ‘Starfish’ too!!
How about “Rounders”? Anyone played that before?
Simply wonderful…thanks ! )
Thank you so much for this post.
please please please put up part 2. Things like student bus card with the monthly sticker, tooth brush and tumbler, packet milk, tikum 🙂 Thank you for this post.
Something which could be added: The brick game craze of the late 80s. It was a handheld device that only played tetris and like, there were a billion knock offs being sold in all shopping centres!
Also, the original ERP: Restricted Zone stickers!!! We had to buy them from certain kiosks around the island as I recall!
wow, great compilation! thanks for sharing.
i also have a category in my blog for old memories, but yours is much better written.
Haha… Nice retro blog you have there 😉
Love this….was smiling my way through it!!
Those were the Days, my friends!
They were wrecked for over two decades
by our most talented elites.
Stupid foolish men leading us to
become cyborgs ans automatons.
Games – Catching spiders . Fly kites and we take ( steal ) our mother’s roll of thread . Playing gambar ; pictures on 1 side and the symbol of playing cards on the reverse . RESTRICTED ZONE – For drivers to save on buying a coupon , they pick up extra passengers before the gantry . No Luck for drivers when it rains .
I’d call this list authoritative and exhaustive. Awesome compilation effort. Thank you!
What about the ping pong game, humtam bola? We always played that during recess. Throwing ping pongs at ‘enemy’ friends became an art. Also lots of silly joint-cracking, popping fingers, blowing smoke activities were practiced lol.
Oh there were those sticky bubbles sticks that made wonderful lasting bubbles, sticky colorful men that rolled n flip down a wall after u tossed them to, green sticky gloo that glows that are kept in fridge n played as toys, parachute plastic soldiers, sterofoam cardplanes w various artwork, green tiny dinosaur that grows as large as a pain u sink n soak it in water
There’s more! A few other contributions:
1) Happy Talk radio show with Victor and Charlie on 90.5FM saturday 9am.
2) The red tablets for chewing to reveal the plaque on our teeth (are these still in use?)
3) The once-a-year HPB-issued cups and toothbrushes in primary school (are these still issued?)
4) The giant beige dental card with picture of our set of teeth (are these still in use?)
5) The inflatable plastic balls made of thin paper/plastic and inflated with a light puff
6) The home-made kites made with bamboo strips and cellophane paper, and tied with yarn
7) Playing the game of “string” with a loop of thick yarn/rope by looping it around the hands, and passing it to the next person, making the loops more and more complicated
8) The geylang laksa, where you had to take a dirty bowl and spoon from a pail, go to the back and wash it yourself, and then go to the old man who would ladle laksa noodles and beansprouts into the bowl, and you would eat it with just a spoon. And there was a long queue for this at that.
9) The “birds nest water” pushcart mounted on a bicycle
10) The indian “milk” man who rides a bicycle with a huge metal container behind him, and many glass bottles tied with string to the bicycle.
Toooooo many to mention!!!
Just thought of a few more!
11) Magnolia started selling milk in triangular “pyriamid” packages..
12) The big black Polaroid instant cameras were the rage. I still remember going to a japanese restaurant in Parkway Parade (I believe it was Isetan) and each time we ate there, they took a polaroid photo and gave us the print.
13) The playground on the rooftop of the Parkway Parade car park
14) The slides at Big Splash
Thanks sooo much for this post! Looking forward to part 2!
Great entry! Really enjoy reading it, nostalgic and brings back lots of childhood memories. Although I’m neither from Singapore and 80s, but over 90% of those I experienced before! I’m from Malaysia and I’m the early 90s, year 1990.
this is probably due to the difference in pace of progress… thus allowing you to experience the 80s…?
I’m a Singaporean and I was born on Year 1990, yet I experienced around 85% or more of the stuffs mentioned there. 🙂
I am from Penang my cnildnood spans from the late 70’s till today. I have seen all above and would like to add the milo van that come to school, the fruit and drink sellers kutside school. Cool Drink containers we bring to school, spiders in machboxes, kites with strings laced with cowskin glue and broken bulb glassses, funny roman sandals and gelled hairstyle that requires copious amount of gel and green canvass school bags.boo yeah. The most shamefull thing that I remember was I got a digital watch in std 1 and the teacher asked me for the time and I told her I have not learn to tell the time on the digitsl watch yet?…14.24Wtf!!
I found photos for the indian milkman on a bicycle! Now he drives a Camry?!?! WAHAHAHAHA..
Thank you… I’ll attach the picture here
Thanks for the wonderful memories. Unfortunately Singapore is not known for holding on to heritage, see all the famous building that we spent time in broken down. Well this was a great read and hope more Singaporeans like San Cha!
cool post! brings back pleasant memories and reminded us of the 80s.
How simple life used to be and how contented we get with our 10cents snacks and a day at the sandy playground
Actually, the first few items are still around.. I was a teacher 2 yrs ago and my kids were still playing and eating the same thing. but as I scroll down, those are treally gone forever.
thanks!! i really enjoyed reading this post. very nostalgic. 🙂
Heres some of the things which I thought are pretty iconic.
– bus tickets,
– transitlink card,
– student bus passes that are just laminated cards and the bus stamps which were just a sticker which changes colour every month.
– the scene of kids sitting outside Bishan MRT playing “Magic the gathering” card game
– Scenes of school students squatting beside the drain brushing our teeth.
– The string game that goes through the hands.
– Happy family card game? knock knock is Mr so and so home? LOL
do you know of anyone who still has those magic the gathering cards?
Amazing! How long did you took to compile all these?
A couple of weeks… I was doing some house-keeping and came across some old items, so decided to write this article for some memory sake 😉
Exemplary of one & many who still holds true to the traits that shaped us all in every way a part filled with unforgettable moments as memories of our youth… Impeccable portrayal of your share & humility you too endured while cherishing the splendour even misgivings with economical growth showered everyone that included you as well. A compilation becoming an accolade for thousands if not a million o& more Singaporeans can happily unite with your recap and the 80s is a good platform to develop further into Part 2 which I am looking forward to. Please keep us well abreast as I want to be up reading more of your great finds so help us return with fond thoughts & good memories of the island surrounded by bigger fishes. 😉
OMG! Silver Hawk! Born in ’81, I experienced almost all these childhood stuff you mentioned. Thanks!!
2nd Chance anybody?
Thanks! This blog brought back the good old memories of the 80’s. 🙂
How about those JPG long wallets that were super popular? Those with metal plates.
And converse slippers or sandals?
Aaron Kwok “tui ni ai ai ai bu wan” Muhahahahahhahaha!
This is a great article! Brought back so many memories of my childhood! Other memories include girls playing zero point, Xinya the Courtesy Lion, triangular shaped milk packs distributed weekly in class ( you need to pay $3.70 per week I think) in different flavours, head lice spreading among classmates once one person got it. I also remembered my mum and uncle joining the BEST program to learn English. Really appreciate you put in so much effort to gather all these pictures into one article.
Yes, I was a victim of the head lice during primary six and have to cut botak! As for the triangular shaped milk (my favourite is the strawberry flavour), I drank for free for several months because I was not able to afford but school sponsored me, hehe.
Fantastic!!! Nostalgic stuff!
Remember …Solid Gold, Hawaii 5 O and when Jack Lord came to our island to shoot an episode ? Charlie’s Angels, Loveboat and Fantasy Island etc ?
BIG Splash!!! Satay Club.
Shopping Centres – Printemps!
Oh, Katong Park!
Bai Roti – the man who comes to the residential estates with bread in his bread box and you can ask for kaya bread and he would slice the french loaf, spread that margarine on it + kaya, then slice it and put back in the plastic it came from for you ?
Sometimes, he sells the triangle curry puffs too!
I accidentally and unexpectedly found the Speak Mandarin campaign theme song 大家说华语 here: http://www.1ting.com/singer/780/song/3
I wonder why she was chosen to sing the song instead of a local artiste?
And just as unexpectedly, on the same page is the theme song to 怒海萍踪 , an 80s SBC Chinese drama.
To the good old days!
“国家要进步, 语言要沟通, 就从今天起, 大家说华语. 不分男和女, 不分老和少, 不再用方言, 大家说华语. 听一听, 记一记, 开口说几句; 多亲切, 多便利, 简单又容易.”
Sigh… I feel dialects are also part of Singapore culture, they shouldn’t be eliminated at all
This list is awesome!!!!!
This is super fun! Can you discuss Bookworm Club too? I credit it as the one thing that improved my English back in Primary School! Despite it being very expensive, my mother signed me up to the club to read a crazy amount of English books.
Aiyah my grammar was all gone in that previous post. But heck care lah! 😀 Love this.
This is awesome, really missed this things, some are really gone forever where our kids arent able to find it anymore….. So missed them,,,,, thanks for the compile!
Totally agree with ZhuoHao, Bus Tickets and Squatting beside the drain to brush our teeth!
Also there was a huge craze with magnets!
Collecting and exchanging stickers were huge as well. I remember having loads of stickers, furry ones, pop up ones, even scratch and sniff ones!
How bout the long orange wooden ruler that the teachers will being to class and as punishment, would hit it aginst our palm or bums? And those small thin multiplication books?
As for games, let’s not forget Pespi Cola 1 2 3! And is the original Power Rangers in that era too? I’ve forgotten.
Great post! Was smiling all the way while reading..
Remember the girly stickers books and the autograph books?
This post is absolutely amazing, all the memories. It’s hard to put all we liked in 100 items. There is a footnote you should add to the Transformers. They came out with THE TRANSFORMERS MOVIE in the late 80s, and there was a part which made all the boys cry! (Death of Optimus Prime)
Ah the good old days. Actually I did buy something recently that almost all my friends had which I didn’t (cos it cost too much for what it is). The almighty PILOT THE SHAKER H-1010 mechanical pencil. Was such a must have item back then! 🙂 Looking forward to your next post on this.
what a great list. thank you
does anyone rmb the sour plum sweet? it is also wrapped in a thin edible film made of sticky rice like the rabbit sweet [but not chewy].. i love it!!! isit still for sale?
yes i think some candy shop in chinatown still has it. Its further up CK dept store along new bridge road
Thank you! You’re awesome!
Great work putting this together!! Now, all the more, I want a time-machine to bring it all back once again. 🙂
I remember the blue Young Scientist cards we had to fill up when we were in Primary School…
And Aksi Mat Yoyo!
Well Done… this is indeed a superb site capturing the essence of SIngapore in the 80s…. relate to every bit of it especially NBA craze and Nintendo Games!!
Courtesy is for free, courtesy is for you and me
It makes for gracious living and harmony.
Living a friendly life
Make courtesy our way of life!
(can’t remember that middle verse)
Great article! 🙂
Born in 77. Thank you for this great article! Those were the beautiful and days.. =)
TQ, TQ…. Thank YOU….!!!! Through this excellent contribution you challenged our claims both by departure as well as holding grounds for many islanders happily in-rooted and it brought us all hurtling back with a priceless page that will soon create new chapters gathering not moss but beautiful memories worth zillions to each of us individually, mine & many more thumbs UP for your spontaneous adaptation of the lifestyle during the 80’s with more to follow up I am confident you will pursue without hesitation, thank you again.
The joy of yesteryears… Brought back fond memories… and the older you get… the fonder the memories… 🙂
Thanks for all these great posts, keep writing! Bring back alot of memories. Despite the harsh life in the past, kids this days will never get the chance to experience the great life we have back then 🙂
The recorder! After use, u got to dismantle it into 3 portions to rinse out the saliva inside.
And does anyone remember this magazine called “Young Generation” (or smthg like tt)? Got Constable Acai & Vinny the Vampire…
And last time u can buy a sweet cold drink at the school canteen for 10 cents only. 🙂
Those were the days… 🙂
And ‘Bookworm’ club
During my primary school times, the canteen also sold cold drink for 10c per cup (although it was very diluted)..
and a plate of mee cost 50c (two mouthful and not much ingredients)
In the 70s, there were street vendors selling home-made pineapple or coconut drinks on wooden cart on wheels, at 20c per cup. The drinks came with real pineapple cubes, coconut slices, very “authentic” indeed 🙂 I remember those days after school, my brother and I would buy from that Ah-Pek, pineapple drinks. We would ask for more pineapple cubes and he would give, very generous of him 🙂 The thing is that Singapore in the 70s people were not very hygiene-conscious, Ah-Pek simply rinsed the used plastic cup in a pail of water (hung at the side of his cart), that would be considered as cleaned, then serve the next customers… who were mostly kids. The thing is Ah-Pek would use that same pail of water for rinsing cups the whole day :O.But nevertheless my brother and I still grew up healthily 😀
Thanks for the article.
For the Mandrain pop of the 80s, we also have 齐豫，潘越云，林慧萍，苏芮, etc.
For comics, anyone can still remember 乌龙院?
Attached the pictures for you 😉
I love that. And wonder where can i find again.
I could be wrong but i seem to recall that the Mr. Kiasu books were published around the 80s too…
I am born in the 80s.
You may have forgotten about Tamiya Cars and Tamagotchi!
Not forgeting JPG wallet!
Thank you for this very comprehensive and wonderful compilation – it brought back many happy memories!!
Maybe you also remember some of the following?
1) On Radio – Saturday Spin with Roger Kool, sponsored by Burger King
2) Cinema – in the 80s, we didn’t have multiplexes. Cinemas advertised movies with huge life size painted billboards. Seats were available in Stall ($3.50) & Circle ($4.50) instead of the single price we have today. When you bought your ticket, the lady would use a crayon-like pencil to write the seat number on the ticket – I always found it hard to read the hand-writing. At Cathay, I would buy drinks like Slush (syrup + ice) and Slurpee (flavoured icy drink)
3) Kallang Wonderland (which was closed when land was needed for the Singapore Indoor Stadium)
4) Before 8 Days, we had the RTV times, Go & Fanfare
5) 80s music was great – apart from tea dances and roller discos, we went to Fire (Orchard Point), Rumours (Forum Galleria), Warehouse and Peppermint Park (Parkway Parade) to dance. We also went to ‘functions’ where mobile discos would play standards like Square Rooms & Big In Japan
We had the Hitachi Radio show by Chris Ho….we had the pen pal columns in Fanfare. we had great deejays like William Xavier, Paul Cheong, Choo Swee Lian hosting the Japan Hits on Sunday nights…….we had talented models from Carrie’s, Mannequin Studios (Maria Heng, Ethel Fong, Lillian Sim etc)…..my fav mag was Go!!! Hey, not forgetting Bibi & Baba jeans!
Arthur Kiong, Jenny Teo, Jeanette Joseph and William Xavier were my favourite pilots of the airwaves! Still see and hear Mr X but not the others.. Wonder where they are now..
yes, Shal, i now remember the scribbled writing on those cinema ticket 🙂 Yes, sometimes we couldn’t make out the seat no. and ended up “seat confusion” with other patrons in the dark of the cinema 🙂
Yeah, we used to have football team we gave a damn about.
Kudos to you for this site.
*THUMBS UP* Part 2 , YES!!! More pictures?! Hahahah…maybe can put up a Virtual Museum for things from the 80s where everyone contribute a part of their childhood, ya? *To Sarah who posted on 4 Nov=> The calculator game? Are you referring to the numbers from 0-9 that we had to press and form a total of 10? The other button has music too: “When the Saints go marching in”? My father still has it on his desk!!!!
Thank you for this wonderful post! Brought a smile when I remembered those simple days of kaka with free toys and my robotic pencil case. Life was simple and happier. Maybe I should do a post on Food from the 80s which are disappearing!
How abt the good old cartoons like Care bears, my little pony. I watched a lot of smurf, He Man and electric company!
Great effort… Nicely written… Enjoyed it immersly.. 🙂
Have done 95% of those . Not bad I had a memorable childhood . Thanks man ..!! Especially pix # 49 !! YNWA !
Wow! This is fantastic! What a wonderful trip down memory lane!!
Fantastic Article! It brought back so much memories ! Thanks!
Omg… I lived all these!!! Lol!!! Now being 36yo, i see so much changes in so many things. This brings back the old memories… Good job compiling these good really old stuffs!
I remember boxy Gameboy and the SEGA games where we have to stick a game cartridge to play the games…. Was it still 80’s? And during my Kampong days there is this van that comes around selling roti & random household products….
Nintendo!!! Remember the big cartridge where you have to push in at a certain perfect angle to make sure the game plays correctly? And whenever the game ‘hang’, we will blow into the cartridge or the player itself hahaha and I’m still wondering who taught us that and it actually works!
Love the list but I thought you miss out “she-ra” &, “spiderman and his amazing friends”
LOVE those :”GOLDEN DAYS”…… MISS THOSE DAYS…
Hi, I still remember the Young Scientist Blue Card. Anyone still have that? I believe the Badges Collection is fun and teaches us Science the Fun Way=)
Great article, thanks!
I still remember my plastic spectacles from primary school & the metal frame ones from secondary school.
Would it be possible to do an article on old shopping centers during that time, before the upgrading/renovation etc? Eg: Plaza Singapura.
Bring back a lot of childhood memories ^^ thank you!!
Thanks…such sweet memories of my childhood . Remember the TV shows like Voyage to the bottom of the Sea,Green Hornets, the Japanese serial,Dinosaur and not forgetting the horrors like Orang Minyak , Pontianak? Always remember the open air theatres in Joo Chiat, Guillemard and shows like One Arm Swordsman and Snakewoman..
Thank you so much.. it was lovely.. i still live with it.. those good memories i had. The compilation of all these have great significant touch to my life. Cheers..
Choose your own adventure was also very popular
Oh yes! One of my favourites… Nearly have forgotten these..
Great list although a bit sino-centric…I remember watching this Malay TV programme Aksi Mat Yoyo as a kid (I’m Chinese Singaporean) and not understanding a word but loving it. Girls back then loved to read Sweet Valley High books in primary school too.
Since the previous comment mentions ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, I should add that I used to buy them from second-hand bookshops, which seem to be dying out in Singapore too (forgot the chain’s name. EPB bookshops?)
For those who wishes to relive the memories with old school snacks, you can visit BiscuitKing @Casuarina Road, near Lower Pierce Reservoir.. (I’m by no means associated with them)
Check out the pictures here.
Memories!!! I actually bought these toys Mask,Centurion,Thundercats,Bravestarr and so on! Lol. Now all gone. I suspect my mom gave all those toys away without telling me. Pissed man! Wasted sia. If not I will proudly display them. One more game is missing though. Remember guys? I dont know what game was that call. We used to cut (think shoe box or the cardboard from drawing block). Then we cut into small rectangle (this represents the players) and fold it into two. Then we cut a bigger rectangle (this one is the goalkeeper). Cut another bigger rectangle (goalpost). The soccer ball is from cigarette box. Think it’s silver or gold colour. Position our “players” into some formation. Pass the ball around until we get closer to our opponent penalty box area before we blast it into the goal. Damn shiok man..
Is it similar to Subbuteo soccer game?
Yeah but subbuteo is considered expensive tt time. Not really into it. You need some skill to tap the ball to another player. Tried couple of times but still crap. It’s just like any soccer game where u have 11 players with no referee. Thanx for the subbuteo reminder though Almost forgot about it.
Thanks!! This is such a wonderful article I can share with my children, letting them know my childhood life.
Thank you, it brought back so many memories… 🙂
Just to add on to your informative article, Raleigh Choppers were originally made in Nottingham, England. The most common colours sold in SIngapore were: Ultraviolet (top seller), Infrared, and Lemon Yellow. Kids who could not afford Raleighs bought the Taiwanese copies such as ‘Eagle E1’, ‘Kris’, ‘Roadmaster’ (some came equipped with Shimano 3 speed hubs).
The Chopper bike was an essential thing to have in the disco and new wave era until the release of the film E.T. in 1983, which created a huge demand for BMX bicycles in SIngapore. Choppers began to be passed on to elderly folks for their daily commuting use. In recent years, Chopper fans in the UK have started clubs dedicated to the restoration of the Chopper bicycle, and a ‘modern’ Chopper (called the Mk III) has also been re-issued by Raleigh with updated components.
in 2002, Dr Tom Karen received a special commendation from the Design Council (UK) for his work, which includes the design of the Chopper.
Kudos to you for writing such in-depth details on Chopper
Thumbs up and thanks 😀
We would love to see M.A.S.K. make a comeback as a live action movie. We gone as far as to write a movie script! Come join the effort!
Excellent list! Many of the items were memories from the 70s as well….brings back fond memories
AWESOME!!!! It brought back so much memories…thank you for doing this and now time to share it with my son 🙂
Hey, thanks for putting in so much effort to come up with this list. It really bring back many wonderful childhood memories of our generation!
I was in an ad agency which produced and marketed the Figurine Panini Sticker Collections. ‘The World of Survival’ was our first, then ‘Age Of The Dinosaurs’ which was an even bigger seller. We then created our own Total Defence collection, ‘Brave Men And Fighting Machines’. In the 60s, Milkmaid Milk started this sticker collection promotion.
I was also handled the promotions for Sentosa and assisted in the implementation of their new logo and colour schemes.
Thanks for a rush of memories!
Wow.. So ‘Brave Men And Fighting Machines’ was a local production, a joint project between SAF and Panini?
Nice compilation.. Thanks! May also want to include the “water bottle” mobile phone that exist in the ’80s, before the smaller version became available. Saw some of my army mates carried them during reservist training…
sample of picture:
Ohhh this article brings back such memories. 😀
wow.. this is so cool. I think u really captured the essence of the eighties quite well! those were the days..
oh my gosh these totally bring back memories~
Don’t forget the Teenage Textbook!
Those were the days…times flies, thanks for these memories
I can never forget the Casio Watches that went through my primary and secondary school days. It’s a great post. Man I feel old…
Back in the 80s/90s or even in some old neighbourhoods now, people used gas tanks for cooking…
I remember once they received the orders, the gas company delivery men had to carry the heavy blue tanks to each unit to replace the empty ones…
Thank you for this wonderful article! I love it! Brings back so many fond memories of the good old 80s.
Thank you for the lovely memories. I went to the ’80 indeed . How much I missed my Chopper bicycle and cycled around the Spooner Road area……..
This is an amazing post! I can’t tell you how much I was nodding away going through the list of 100 items. Great effort!
Not only nodding away.. Smiling to yourself too.. Rt?? While reading.. I was nodding n smiling all e way.. Really miss those old days.. No high technology.. But.. Was really happy 😉
I can totally relate to the post having had my childhood days in the 80s! 🙂
I recently found a place where I can buy old sch tidbits (such as the HIRO choclate cake, the DING DANG and TORA sweets). There is this thin coloured slice wafer that we could buy from canteens during my Pri sch days. Not sure if it’s 80s thou… 🙂
Here is a photo:
Two more food that I loved during childhood…
the piggy biscuits in colourful “nets”
and the round bubble gums in different flavours and come in four per box (if I remember correctly)
I love those piggy biscuits!! Can we still buy those?? Pls inform!
Last saw them at Chinatown CNY bazaar several years ago! 😛
my fav era….
Hi Snowger, where can I find those tidbits?? Let me know.. I wanna ‘go back’ to my childhood 😉
Ate before,look like coloured plates.
Where is that place that you found?
Hi,your articles brought back lots of fond memories, thank you 🙂
Btw, do you know where I can find those retro games like five stones and animal chess?
Animal chess should be still available in those old book and stationary shops at Bras Basah 😉
Ahh! The good old days! Thanks for the memories!!
1 of the must have during recess time…. Bee Bee tidbits which is noodle like crackers that cost only 10 cents. The wrapper is orange in colour with a man face (if I’m not wrong) managed to bought some couple years back for the same price!! But couldn’t find it anymore…
Yes Bee Bee for only 10 cent. Bee Bee is still around, I saw a it somewhere recently. Maybe at Seng Siong Commonwealth, can’t recall extactly where I saw it.
Hi. I teach in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. This drool-worthy snack is still available here in a number of the polytechnic’s snack shops (referred to as NP – Co-op) at about three packs for 50 cents. This was my lunch back in my secondary school days in the ’80s. For drink… tap-water. Still alive and kicking.
Just a tiny contribution to this valuable article’s tribute to reminiscing the eighties … something that is steamrolled, making way for progress. So here we are grappling at the diminishing remnants of our past… save this Bee Bee Snacks (hopefully). Ha.
I miss Lao Fu Zi!!
Thank you so much for this!
Hi, is there a book for this?? Bring back fond memories!!
I want to buy!! Was it being compiled into a book?? Thanks!!
Hi Rachel, thanks for your interest.
It’s unlikely to go into publication and will remain at this free-for-all blog 😉
Thanks Remember Singapore.. Really thanks for e effort in bringing back all e sweet memories for all of us.. Kids of the 80s.. Is a pity tat this won’t be compiled in a book 😦
Will save ur blog..
Thank you so much for the post! If you go gurther back, you could buy 2 bubble gums (with the tattoo print) for 10c. Amazing collection of things you got there. Great effort!
Thanks for the memories! Me now 35 (born year of the dragon)
Some more to add (if you can find pictures better still hehehe):
1. road safety park at East Coast Park
everyone wanted to drive the go-kart… so cool, who wants to be a pedestrian??
2. bookworm club piggy bank – still have it somewhere buried in my storeroom
3. Squirrel mascot from POSB – my first bank account when we got our bankbooks..
4. Xiao DiDi – chinese TV children show about a robot from outer space..
Thanks for the feedback..
(1) and (3) are featured in the Part 2, (3) POSB Squirrel mascot is featured at Singapore’s Favourite Mascots whereas (4) Xiao DD is mentioned at From Black & White to Coloured
Thank you very much for sharing the 80s memories, I can relate a lot to them, growing up as a young kid in the 80s!! Many beautiful memories, many are lost, great to find them here! Keep up this awesome site of yours!!
Thanks JH… Your website and photos are superb! 🙂
Nostalgia…..Days of innocence and day dreams.
I just saw “The Muppets” last night and I *loved* it! Amy Adams and Jason Segel did such a great job! Then there was the muppets! It made me so happy seeing them in a big time movie again. Me and my kids laughed so hard through the whole thing! I just wish there was more Beaker. 🙂
The playground picture at the beginning of the blog seems to be taken at Dover Road, just behind block 35, is it?
Yep, you are right.. The last surviving Pelican playground in Singapore, awaiting demolition: https://remembersingapore.wordpress.com/dover-playground/
Haha … I spent my childhood in Dover from the years when I moved in Feb 1978 till I moved out from my parents place in early 2000 when I got married.
This is just awesome! Thanks for bringing back the memories…miss those days. 🙂 Thank you so much. 🙂
…kind of a bitter sweet moment after reading through the whole article…
Missing those days…. and kind of feeling old… hahahaha
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Well written and yes exactly how I remember the 80s…
this page kicks ass, puts a smile on my face, and probably put many to tears.
Just a tiny comment:
How could you miss out CSS (City Shuttle Service) buses when you actually did mention TIBS?
CSS is at Part 2 😉
did anyone mention fried carrot cake place on banana leaf with a few toothpick given still can remember that stall sold at toa payoh lor 5 blk51 brings bk gd memories hi i m fr 1973
For TV programmes, there was also Sesame Street, The Electric Company and The Muppet Show which I really enjoyed watching.
I also remember the ice-cream “Blur Block” which was milk based and came with either the strawberry and milk or chocolate and milk flavours, and of course, the “Lion Stick” which was orange-flavoured ice… 🙂
Thanks for starting this blog and sharing the memories! 🙂
perhaps the most memorable part of 80s are those catchy music which never seems out of date i m a great fan of this era music did anyone share the same feeling my favourites include your wildest dream by moody blue secret by omd i feel like buddy holly by alvin stardust dont answer me by alan parsons project after the fire by del kommarser try again by champaign thats all by phil collins hurt so gd by john cougar mellencamp 19 by paul hardcastle square room by al colney and many more ………these popular list include depeche mode billie ocean starship debbie gibson madonna the cars wang chung ………..
Hi Koon Chin,
Sorry this reply does not match the topic of this blog. But I have been looking for a friend that I have not kept in touch for some time. He is also ‘Tan Koon Chin’ and the both of you share some similar interest in food and music. I am wondering if you used to stay near Serangoon stadium, studied at a local polytechnic but dropped out after the first year.
If you are, can you contact me at airbinloo@[hot.mail][.com]
Thanks. I am Alvin Loo
hey anyone remember the coloured chocolate buttons that came in different kinds of packaging like figure of eight and a circular disk or something like that? it was always available in mama shops =/
Still available:) Try Sheng Siong and those small heartland provision shops..
I remember this was a favourite piece used as a background music on SBC channels when they were not broadcasting any programs (or lost in transmission) 😀
Richard Clayderman’s Souvenirs D’enfance (Memories Of Childhood)
Aaaaahhhh, how lovely of you to post this……:) thank you!
Those were the days… and thanks for the memories!
Anyone remember Space Ghost, Birdman, and Tenessee Tuxedo from evening cartoons? Also Saturday Chinese cartoon series like xiao2bao3li4xian3ji4 (adventures of xiaobao) and xiao qingwa (little frog) theme songs.
I remembered Ultraman, Wangsa and YeFeng and Batman (the one with smaller ears LOL)…also Baywatch, Dallas, Charlie’s Angels and Hawaii-5-O…love Ghost Busters and Solid Gold. 🙂 Not forgetting the Lao Fu Zi comic books too.
Xiao bao li xian ji is my all time favourite Chinese cartoon and Prince Sapphire is my favourite English one:)) There’s also xiao mu ou (Pinochio) and another xiao something, can’t remember the name but it’s about beavers.. Anyway, these were from the 1970s:)
Thanks for taking me down memory lane!
Wow Remember Singapore, all the good old days of 80’s. I have eat, drink, taste, read, play or came across almost 90% of what you have upload here. Really brought back fond memories. Thank you so much. If I were granted a wish or given a time machine, I will choose to go back to the 80’s.
Haha.. It’d be a dilemma to choose between the likes of marbles, aeroplane chess, dragon playground and the likes of internet, Faceboook and iPhone 😉
it brought back fond memories. Thank you so much for the memories
I hope someone still reads this blog once awhile, and hope I’m not too late to contribute.
Its really lots of nods, smiles and tears for me too!
Bring me back all the way to those days when I play ‘gor li’ in school! We also had another game called “ka Ji” (In Hokkien) literally Hitting your marbles against another player’s, aim is to crack their marble. We will always go to ‘mama shop’ to buy the marble for 20 cents, its made of clay. Then my champion friend will bring a ‘ti ji’ a metal marble, in fact is a ball bearing but a huge one to ‘destroy’ everyone’s poor clay marble.
We also go playing in ‘tua Lang gao’ aka storm drains, where we will try to catch small tadpoles or small drain fishes for fun.
How about catching at HDBs? When we limit the level to go to and we end up disturbing the neighbours as we hide just right outside their doors!!
I also remembered listening to reduffision on the America top 40s and Billboard top 100s (hope I didnt remember wrongly) “We didnt start the fire” was the No.1 Song for many weeks.
Not to forget the ‘Hello Kitty Craze’ though is the beginning of the Millennia but it really goes down as ‘the event’ to remember. Hahaha….
Good day Man Utd fan… Me too! Played with the clay marbles during primary school and someone with ti ji came along and smashed all our marbles
Hahaha….. Yay! Man Utd all the way!!
Btw, I still have my range of lone wolf game books and my old sega console.
Do you want some photos of them for your collection?
Sure Man Utd fan
you can email to me and I’ll post the pictures here 🙂
Sonia Rykiel bags!
Love this link….
pop up on this link was so happy and joy to see and read all these things i used to play, go and eat when i was young lol
really thank you 🙂
I remembered we girls used to have the paper dress. Where you hv a paper girl/ boy figure, and we dress them up with paper dress / costumes with 2 dog ears by the shoulder of the costume, n u can clip it on the girl/ boy figure. 🙂
Paper dolls!! Yes…..I played with them too…loved them, even design and cut my own to fit them, certainly didn’t take up much space, like what my kids have today (which filled up a whole drawer with just a few).
Nostalgic… Thanks for the great compilation.
This is so classic. Do you remember any of these?
Reblogged this on My Thinking Out Loud! and commented:
I live in this era! 8)
All this brings back good childhood memories….
Thanks for the memories. Remember Metro and Isetan?
WOW!!!!!!! Great post!!!! Brings back nostalgic memories!!!!! Thanks for the moving clip of Prince of persia!!!
Anyone remember looking for pen pals in Singapore Post newspaper? Collecting round button pins of our favourite british bands? Go Queensway Shopping Center or Peninsular Plaza to buy clothings to dress like members of the bad ‘Checkers’, I am still in love with Akina Nakamori, Seiko Matsuda and Naoko Kawaii. Oh ya, not to forget the luminous papers that we wrapped our school files. Smash Hits magazines, anyone?
I remember the penpal section!! Made a penpal too. Sadly lost contact with him
Gosh!!!….the 80’s n 90’s without Internet..that’s how we did it…How time flies..
I remember that was a drink called Pi Poo or something like that, it has a marble inside the bottle to block the bottle opening when u put it upright. Memories..
So many memories 🙂 Thanks for putting this up.
I wandered here when I was googling about Isetan in the 80s. Man, what a great article, such nostalgia, brought a tear to my eye (have been away from Singapore for close to 10 years now).
If any one has any photos of the Transformers toy aisles of these shopping centres in the 80s/ early 90s, please, please shoot me an email – Isetan (Havelock Road), Kids’ World (Goldhill Square, as it was then called), Kids’ World (on 8th floor of Wisma Atria), Yaohan (toy section in basement of Plaza Sing), Metro (toy section in basement of Paragon), Metro (Beach Road), OG (People’s Park), Daimaru (Liang Court), Parkway Parade….
I would be eternally grateful. =)
Could you do a section on 80s SBS and TIBS buses? Man i dunno why; when i see pictures of them, all the 80s memories come flooding back
Love it 10000%, including part 2. Thank you very much for bringing the nostalgic feeling.
I been through more than 90% of them!
Hello I’m not sure if you know but AsiaOne might have copied your post! Considering that the AsiaOne gallery is labelled 120517 I assume it was created on the 17th of May 2012. Just thought you would like to know.
Hi xin, thanks for the notification.
Nothing much I can do so guess I’ll live and let live with it. 😉
They dont even have the basic courtesy to ask you for permission to repost the photos let alone credit you for your fantastic post.
Shame on you, 154th world-ranked SPH.
So glad to know that people actually love and is willing to remember the old days 🙂
Actually, I’m a millennium baby and I have gone through 80% of these as well. Perhaps it’s actually not so far away…
Great!!! Brings back memories!!! Anyone got any pics of the chocolate ice cream with two ice cream sticks in it?
And the Plum flavored one?
Oh and the Black plastic Bag with the Big question mark on it where u get a surprise every time?
Boarding the bus when u were a kid was simple, u just need to say “Uncle half price one”
Rocket ice cream?
Oh! And the two drinks sold at NTUC where the containers were in the shape of an elephant and a lion???
Really really great remembering those times. Me and my wife were damn happy. Thank you brother!!! GGMU!
Does anyone remember the mini ice cream cone snacks which can be found in supermarket? 🙂
Thank you so much for the memories 😄
I was born in ’76, but I throughly enjoy the 80s, I had a fantastic childhood.
– playing hide & seek (in the whole HDB block)
– attending kindergaden without any knowledge of English & Mandarin (I remember as I cried like hell cause I couldn’t understand the teachers & no one seem to know how to speak Cantonese);
– helping my mom bring out the empty glass bottle for the uncle selling soya sauce (yup back then it’s an uncle carrying a large jar of soya sauce & he’ll fill up your empty bottle)…
and much much more nostalgic memories
It’s stationEry not stationAry. E for eraser.
StationAry means “not moving”
Thank you for this blog. I’m guessing that those that love it as much as I do are those born in 80s as all these remind us of our formative years starting from primary school. Don;t mind if i link your blog to mine. Thanks.
Wow…how time flies chance upon this page as I need to prepare items for kids National Day Celebration … miss those years..
Very interesting. It’s a recap about the past. Thanks for sharing. Like very much. 🙂
Oh, how I love your blog….had about almost all of them, I remember the ‘yeh-yeh’ skipping ropes the school girls used to play, also those paper dolls and paper crafts of the past (was a big thing for me, considering we couldn’t afford expensive toys). Oh, how about those 4 cornered hankies our parents used to put on our heads when it rained ;P… great blog (IMHO, one of the best!). A BIG THANK YOU, please keep them coming (especially the pictures), the 70s/80s were really big things that happened to me.
I love this blog! It brings back so many fond memories! I was just doing up a post on childhood games for my kid and my sis recommended your blog. What a treasure to find! Thanks for taking the time to compile all this!!
Don’t forget forget push pop and ring pop of the 90’s! Here are the commercials, but the push pop one is in French though but the music and tune and what they say in the commercial was the same as the English version only that this one is in French! And I so love this blog! Totally awesome! Totally nostalgic!
Push Pop Commercial (French)
Ring Pop Commercial (English)
I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid!
How our Malaysian neighbours reminisce their childhood in the 80s… Almost the same way as us 🙂
I moved to Australia 12 years ago- this certainly brings back fond memories. =)
Anyone remembers the following:
1) Lion Stick/ Jolly Lolly
2) Brazilian dramas(dubbed in Mandarin) on saturday afternoons – ‘Missy’
3) Satay man who set up stall at HDB void decks (those who went to St Theresa’s Convent would know what I’m on about).
4) Oshin (dubbed in Mandarin)
Count on me Singapore! 😉
BTW- is there still the ‘Dear Mr Policeman’ book in primary school?
My favourite was that page with the picture of how to identify a crook-
it was half man/ half woman- and had distinct features to help you pinpoint your pervert- like mole with hair….i think there was also a chapter on how to make yourself less desirable and less likely to be targetted by a pervert- like furiously picking your nose!
very entertaining! 😉
Where is digimon and tamagochi.
I saw Hiro in malaysia,the mrt is built in the late 80s,how about hello kitty and hot wheels?
Thanks for putting together this wonderful (and thorough!) article
Just a point on #62, Raleigh was from Nottigham in the UK.
This is great stuff…sure miss the 80’s….When I was in the 80’s, I always wonder what’s great about 70’s and 60’s especially among the olkder people back then. Now I know why…you associated with the era that you grew up in….everything about that era…for me it is the 80’s…if I could live my life again, I would still choose to go through the 80’s for my growing up years.
Totally agreed!! Is was during those years tat we were Singaporean!! True born Singaporean!! We don’t ask questions ” r u Singaporean?” give me back my country which belongs to true born locals!!
Those were the days …
Those were the best era….simple life…..carefree days….
Those were the best of Singapore……I remembered the Ribena & Hacks advertisements. What about our serious looking news reader? Norman Lim, Susan Lim, Duncan Watt…….Fondly remembering Larry Lai, Paul Cheong, William Xavier & my fav Talentime, Rolling Good Times! We had great talents!
A wonderful nostalgic clip by TARC (Tunku Abdul Rahman College) of Malaysia:
Ain’t their childhoods (70s/80s) similar to ours? 🙂
I am happy to report that as of Nov 2012, you can still buy some of these toys at Seng Yew Bookstore in Bras Basah Complex (Bai Sheng Lou) on North Bridge Road. E.g. flag erasers (also at Popular Bookstore upstairs), kuti-kuti, old style marbles (goli), handmade ‘five stones’ (those little bean bags). Go get ’em before they disappear.
@Ellen I remember Brazilian drama Missy! You can find the opening theme on YouTube. Very nostalgic! There has even been a recent Missy remake in Brazil. Alas, of course it’s not as cool as the old one. You can find all this on YouTube.
Wow!! I remember that programme Missy too and also Oshin which ran for what seemed forever. My mom and I like watching Fang Tai cooking on tv too……she seemed so good with cooking- ps she used tai bai fen (corn starch) in almost all her dishes. I used to live in Bkt Timah, but now overseas- when I go back to Singapore, I always go to see the area I used to live – Yuk Tong Ave/ Jalan Pisang Emas ….
Reading this brings back so much memories for me and does make me wonder if anyone here might be the writers of some of these posts might be my primary school friends who I have lost touch – ie everyone. I studied at Pei Hwa Primary School finishing in 1989. Anyone in that year, would love to hear from you guys! 🙂
I guess my childhood is a little bit like this, only that we had a little bit more high tech toys, like Gameboy Color. It’s funny how things don’t change that much between the 80s and 90s, but enter the 2000s and just like that, technology transforms everything. Nice post, btw (:
How can I forget Swing Singapore, the street party first started in 1988 but discontinued after 1992…
This was a great list that took me 30 minutes to go through.. Lived in Singapore from 86-88 and loved riding my bike through the monsoon drain at Clementi or riding into Orchard Rd at midnight to go to Denny’s because it was the only place open that late. We also had the satay man on the motorbike with a sidecar who used to set up at the end of Sunset Way and cook satays every Saturday and Sunday morning. Mmmmmm… the smell! And the drinks that you could buy in a plastic bag; do they still have them? Going to the movies at the cinema on the corner of Orchard Rd and Scott Rd and only paying $2.50.
Ah…MEMORIES!!!! Thanks for bringing a smile to my face. Anyone here remembers the Courtesy song? Courtesy is for free, courtesy is for you and me…..I forgot the rest of the lyrics and can’t find the song at all.
You can find the music clip and lyrics here 😉
hi whats that place with the pelican structure playground it looks dam familliar. And its killing me becuase i cant figure it out
thanks for sharing this, i just found my kuti kuti toys and this post made me so nostalgic, all the things we grew up with that our kids won’t know the joys of! best childhood memories!
Bought this 4-in-1 chess set from retro stationary shop Chia Brothers at Tan Quee Lan Street
Got my childhood favourite animal chess
What an amazing blog!! Not only is it fascinating from a chronological aspect, but also geo-cultural. The colours..the graphics…intriguing products! There’s just so much to take in here – return visits essential, like visiting an exotic new country but only a few days to see it. Thanks for posting this total treat! I hope you might like to drop in on my WordPress book The Matt Black Metropolis..all comments very welcome. It’s also very focused on the 80s….intro and 2 chapters so far. Cheers, Matt
This site really bring back fond memories for me!! Growing up in the 80s-90s was e best.. I believe is e best in Singapore too!! Without those foreign invension!! A time when our neighbours were truely local born Singaporean!! Really miss those times!! Thanks a zillion for creating this site 😉
This site really brings me back the memories while i was in primary schools where SBC is still around. Great site and good effort!
You’ve done a fantastic job of collecting our memories. I enjoyed the pixs and your comments. Thank you, this is a treasure trove!
I remembered turning on the tv to some malaysian channel programme teaching you to fold paper objects. The programme is right after sesame street on channel 5.
Playing one legged catching in school basketball court!..Now i know why my right leg has bigger muscles …..
I remembered the cute magnetic clip pencil boxes some of my classmates have while many of us use the rectangular coloured ones.
What a great site. Living in Perth Australia now for over 25 years but still can remember all these memories of Singapore. Can you do one of the 70’s as I was born in 1961.
Basketball is one of my favourite sports
In the past, when there were not enough players, a couple of us would play ABC or man jiang hong (满江红) on the basketball court
For those who don’t know the rules, ABC is a game where the players shoot the basketball from different spots around the paint, while man jiang hong is to shoot from foul throw line, let the ball bounces in the paint once, shoot again, catches the ball without letting it bounces onto the ground, and shoot the third time. The first basket is 5 points, the second is 3 and the last ball worth 2 points. The one who scores a perfect basket (score all three) can go another round. Usually the target score is set at 100 points or 99 (more challenging)
Seldom see kids play these games nowadays…
and I wonder who were the inventors of these two interesting basketball games, anyone who has a clue please let me know 🙂
I remember playing card games during my childhood. it is a 2 player card game where both party flip the card and compare whose card is stronger and the winner keeps the cards.
I’m still able to recall a few:
1) card games with fishes. I still remember whales is the strongest but lose to bomb and bomb lose to the weakest fish in the card game.
2) card games with genie. same rules applies, the genie win most of the card but lose to ring.
unfortunately I am not able to find any of these online. these are some of the card games I played in the 80s-90s.
this is one example
anything on motor cycling races etc
Hi! Came across this wonderful website. As a 80s baby many of the articles bought back fond memories and also tears to my eyes. Wish Singapore is like how it was in the 80’s and 90’s. Simple and carefree… Thank you so much for this website. Ur doing a wonderful job!
Does anyone remember those rectangular sandwich cookies that came in little stacks? It had cream sandwiched between a cocoa cookie and a vanilla cookie. Where to get that?
im looking for that too! if you know where to get it please let me know 😦
Thank you for the memories really! Overwhelmed by nostalgia right now hahs. I can never forget Alley Cat, and that tune!
Anyone else remembers the ball pit and slide at Parkway Parade Burger King? And the rooftop playground there too?
block catching…you forgot the favourite pastime..block catching.
wow…. great effort and too awesome! 🙂
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Did anyone else play one-leg catching back then?
Lol.. As long as u r born during those era.. One leg catching and zero point will definitely bring bk fond memory!! As those were the stuff to play n it was fun too 🙂
You grew up brushing your teeth with a mug in primary school during recess time. You would squat by a drain with all your classmates beside you, and brush your teeth with a coloured mug. The teachers said you must brush each side ten times. Not forgetting the silly red tablet which you know not the purpose for.
Long Hu Men was also very popular back then. The characters in there were all with very muscular body. Now I wonder where can I find those
Shanen, You can still buy the Simplified Chinese colored version of Old Master Q in Singapore, but if you look hard enough at any newsstand islandwide.
RemSG, Alfonso Wong (王 泽) is still alive, he did not pass away: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfonso_Wong is proof of that and he used his eldest son’s name is a pen-name to create the comic and only his comics are hard to find anywhere in Singapore now.
Great read! Those were the days….
Thanks for the great efforts! Its wonderful
Thanks for contributing of all above. I got touch by all above item when I saw them.
Teamy Bee from Productivity Campaign and accompanying campaign song ” good, better, best, never let it rest….”
Cartoon: Xiao Tian Tian aka Candy, Candy Japanese manga… Adventures of Tom Sawyer “ta mu sa ye Li xian ji”.
Game: dog n bone; crocodile, crocodile, may we cross the river, yes or no?; wat is the time now, MR Wolf? ….
Those were the days….,,,
The good old bubblegum… Bought it in JB for nostalgic sake 🙂
There is also free tattoo available behind the wrappers….
Where’s the Bruce Lee & John Travolta’s era?
Heya, I found the tidbits at Johor Bahru’s city square! Was so excited when i saw “satay sticks”. Its at a store called Kanpitan, found some other kiddo stuffs that we cant find it nowadays!
My 80s favorites: Electronic Handheld Games & Goli (Marbles). I was 11-14, now am 42 🙂
Thank you for bring me back to the 80s. I attended my primary school (Townsville pri. Sch) from 1984 to 1990. There were extended class and mono class then. Pupils from the extend class like 7x or 8x were considered bad students. I failed my exams in primary 5 and went straight to 7 extended followed by 8 extended and took my PSLE. Then students from 8 mono will go straight to “VI”, now it’s call “ITE”. I always remember a phrase from the Chinese text book from primary two or primary three: “司马光把水缸打破，让水留出来”. I also remember each day after school, a group of us “bad students” would go to “Parco Funworld” at Ang Mo Kio central to play bumble car.
Does anyone recall reading these books where the central character was a little green alien called Nimmy who lived in Toa Payoh? Any idea where I can purchase the books?
amazing site …. and nice collection of pictures!!!! I am in my 50’s now but I certainly went thru periods where I seen it all of those things you posted!!! I personally own one of those poluar Raleigh bicycles back in the 70’s …!!!!!
I just discovered your website. Great job and I hope the Ministry of Education will use this site for their National Education. It really brings back many fond memories!
Anyone still remember the double decker prawn crackers? It’s either in yellow or red packaging. (:
I remember the “young botanist”, “young geologist” badges.. 🙂
colour paper, blink blink stickers, dragon ball cards, etc.. many more
Hello I m from Indonesia, almost everything that showed, bring me back to my childhood also in 80-90’s. The bubble gum with free tattoo behind the wrappers, the PC Koei RTK games, the films, the sneakers, almost everything was the same with us in Indonesia. Good Old days..Great effort.
Ok, this pair resembles more of my school shoes last time… Used to get real dirty and dusty after football or other games, but would always use the white chalk to “whiten” them
(Photo credit: AsiaOne)
Love it!!! Those were the days……..
where are the triangular pack milk?
I guess one’s family had to be considerably well-off to buy a toy scooter like this in the 1980s
I never had the chance to play with this 🙂
(Photo credit: National Archives of Singapore)
Chuang Yi Comics (founded in 1990, closed in 2013)
Ya… The same goes for bookworm short stories.. Was really nice and popular in the late 80s to 90s.. But.. It became all screwed up in the millennia..
Yes awesome memories. I was from Townsville Pri too attended in yr 1983 the very first batch of Pri one students. Definitely love playing the zero point and five stones in school. We always loves sharing our paper dolls as well.
Lol i am in NCC in 2013 and I still have the badges…
Local fans of WWF in the 80s will remember him….
Iconic wrestler Ultimate Warrior dies at 54
Only three days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, James Hellwig, who wrestled professionally as “The Ultimate Warrior,” reportedly died Tuesday at 54, WWE officials announced.
WWE did not give a cause of death for Hellwig – who changed his name legally to ‘Warrior’ in 1993, also giving his children a pretty unique surname. Hellwig appeared on WWE Raw on Monday in New Orleans on USA Network to a rousing ovation from fans, only a day after WrestleMania XXX.
Known for his extremely muscular physique, long, shaggy hair and colourful face paint, The Warrior feuded with many of the then-WWF’s biggest stars, including Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage during his career. He defeated Hogan at WrestleMania VI to become champion, and was also an ex-Intercontinental champion.
The Ultimate Warrior’s career spanned 13 years, from 1985-98, and included three stints in the then-WWF. His most memorable run came from 1987-91. He came back for short stints in 1992 and 1996.
Loved Big Splash and the blow up glue. Such memories.
What about the sticker book ‘Daring Men and Modern Machines’. It was about Singapore armed forces.
Wet and Wild!! Holland Village.
A stylo-milo “battleship” pencil box
Hi there, i just chanced upon these cool gadgets of the 80s….Nice. Keep up the good work of contributing to the nostalgic days..
Gem biscuits not the only nostalgic treat: 15 other old-school snacks Singaporeans grew up with
The Straits Times
Published on Nov 25, 2014
SINGAPORE – Iced gem biscuits are just one of the snacks that many Singaporeans grew up with in the 1980s. Many other treats waited for us in the provision shops and school tuckshops. Do you remember these?
1. Hiro chocolate cake
Chocolatey and with moist cake inside, it was the ultimate taste of heaven for most of us growing up. Having tasted the various kinds of fancy, expensive chocolate cakes, sometimes it is nice to fall back on old favourites.
Just seeing this sweet might make your lips pucker, as you recall its extreme sour taste. These sweets were all the rage with primary school kids, and being able to have one without your facial muscles spasming was an achievement. Then, you had to go around showing everyone your stained tongue.
3. Butterfly crackers (also known as pig’s ears)
These crackers are shaped like ears, and in retrospect, were probably a tool for children to train their jaws. They were not the softest of biscuits, but boy, were they addictive.
4. White Rabbit Candy
These chewy milk sweets wrapped with edible rice paper are the quintessential comfort snack. The first sweets were made in 1943 in Shanghai. Chinese leader Zhou Enlai even presented US President Richard Nixon with a pack when he visited Beijing in 1972.
5. Apollo chocolate wafer
Before all the fancy Western chocolate biscuits came to Singapore, there was the “red packet wafer” from Malaysia that ruled all the chocolate treats.
6. Spectacle chocolate
This was the cheap version of M&Ms and to us then, it tasted every bit as good. What’s more, you could use them as spectacles. This was great because almost every single child must have thought it was cool to wear spectacles. And found out later in life that it was not.
7. Pocket-sized nutella
This was perhaps many Singaporeans’ introduction to the irresistible Nutella. It conveniently comes with a white stick, and it was not enough to wipe it clean with the stick. It had to be licked clean. With the reported shortage in hazelnuts, this should be the only acceptable size. We have to save Nutella.
8. Haw flakes
Haw flakes. “Haw” is the noise a child makes when his mother asks if wants to eat Haw Flakes. But there is a much deeper meaning to this childhood treat’s donkey-like sounding name. Haw is a berry of the hawthorn bush, which is used to make these reddish-brown discs.
These were given out as treats in primary school. Made of hawthorn, they were also addictive, and a good way of training children to share.
9. Ling Mong Tablets
These were plum-flavoured and shaped like tablets. Wrapped in gold paper, they came in little tubes.
10. Kacang Puteh
Kacang Puteh, assorted snacks that are wrapped in thin paper cones made from pages ripped out of old newspapers, magazines and school exercise books, sold between the 1950s and 1960s by immigrants from India.
An endless assortment of nuts in a twisted paper cone usually made from old magazines or newspapers- eco-friendly and tasty! You can still get them outside some Cathay movie theatres.
Bee-bee – The most addictive of all tidbits. There is something potent in the mixture of wheat flour, chilli powder, salt, sugar and Sunset Yellow E110.
Your fingers would get all smeared with the sweet, salty and spicy seasoning trying to get the last tiny sticks of these out of the pack, but it was worth it.
12. Chupa Chups
These old favourites, created in 1958, are still doing well. Creator Enric Bernat got the idea of creating a sweet on a stick when he saw how children got their hands dirty when they took sweets out of their mouths to examine them, talk to their friends, or keep them for later.
The chicken-flavoured corn snacks are produced by Malaysian snack company Kinos, which is also the creator of Tora and Ding Dang chocolate toy boxes.
14. Tora and Ding dang
These two, made by Malaysian manufacturing company Kinos, were popular. This was the only way to get a toy before we started eating Happy Meals.
15. Danhua cake
Made of ground peanuts and covered with crispy egg pastry, these made-in-China snacks now also come in seaweed and sesame seed flavours.
chocolate push up ice cream
great post thank you! Hey does anyone remember the tv comedians “Big Mouth” and “Big Ears” ? I can’t find where I can buy or download their old shows… any help would be much appreciated :)) can email me at email@example.com
Wow, charming this article. Many many memories start flying back. Good job.
Btw, anyone remembered Peninsula Shopping Center basement those jeans stores? I think was ‘Saudara’ Stores and popular jeans was ‘LEA’ brand back then. Also, the 1st USA shopping in Spore back the was Shui Heng in Orchard Road (I may be wrong) but was later taken over by OG store.
How about Far East kids with those big mini combo players pumping music all night long at Liat Towers.
Wow, just amazing guys and girls of the ’80s……….
Im looking for a type of chicken tibit in green packing, packaging is abit translucent able to see through the inside. my school canteen use to sell 10cent per pc with mash potato.
anybody know where can I find it?
came back to this webpage again in this new year. Growing up in the 80’s was fun and having played the games and toys,seen some of those wonderful TV shows,eaten some of the nice stuff then, really, brings back the good times…..Nice to see those things again in this present time. Thank you for sharing your memories too.
Love your post! You have such an awesomely retentive memory! I also remember how my friends and I queued up at MacDonalds Far East Plaza, summoned all our courage and together we spluttered some tongue twister at the wide-eyed counter service staff (probably on vacation job) in exchange for some free burgers in the 80s. LOL. Anyone here with the same ‘cheapo’ experience?
I became a football fan back in 1986 when I was only 10, amazed by the genius of Maradona (more of his skills than his controversies). Those were the days…. when I used to play football with friends at the void deck after school, and SBC aired the World Cups for free!
Diego Maradona and the ‘Hand of God’ goal from 1986, 30 years on
22 June 2016
It was 30 years ago today…
On June 22, 1986, Diego Maradona lived out an Argentine fantasy, hitting heights of football magic that few have seen before or since… and perhaps paying a long-term price for his achievement.
It was the day that Argentina met England in the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup. This, of course, was just four years after the two countries had gone to war over the Falklands Islands, their first meeting since. But for Argentina, it goes deeper than that. In the nineteenth century, their country was effectively an informal part of the British Empire. In 1806-07, the British made unsuccessful attempts to invade. Afterward, they hit on the idea of financial imperialism, controlling the purse strings without the expense of a military occupation. The introduction of football was part of the imperial baggage.
England, then, was always a reference point, the object of an Argentine love-hate relationship. So they developed a self-defence strategy. The English might have had the formal power but the Argentines were smarter, trickier and more cunning in finding ways to circumvent usual restrictions. This is precisely what Maradona did when he managed to flick the opening goal of the game past Peter Shilton with his hand.
The referee did not see it, but his Argentina teammates did. There was a delay while they waited for the whistle. “Come and celebrate with me,” shouted Maradona to his companions, aware that a little bit of deception was needed to complete the con.
Some years later I spoke with Terry Fenwick, one of England’s centre-backs in 1986, about the experience of marking the man who at the time was unquestionably the world’s greatest player. Fenwick was in awe of what Maradona was capable of, his capacity to turn and burst with the ball tied to his left foot, changing direction as he went. A player who was rugged rather than classy, Fenwick resorted to what he could do in an effort to stop him and was booked for a crunching late tackle. He stuck an elbow in Maradona’s face off the ball and when it came time for Maradona’s famous second goal, he was left helpless.
Maradona received a short pass from Hector Enrique in his own half of the field. He spun and ran, “turning like a little eel” in the unmatched words of BBC radio commentator Bryon Butler, who a few seconds later concluded the play by saying, “and that’s why Maradona is the greatest player in the world.”
His slalom dribble took him past man after man. From a defensive point of view, England were poor — the space between players allowed Maradona to take them on one by one rather than presenting a collective block. He cut inside one centre-back, Terry Butcher, and then, on the edge of the area, he burst outside Fenwick — the earlier yellow card perhaps preventing a crude attempt to halt his progress with a foul — before throwing Shilton a dummy and slotting home from a narrow angle.
After the game Enrique claimed the assist, joking that he had laid it on a plate for Maradona. Centre-forward Jorge Valdano, who had been up in support, marvelled at Maradona’s capacity to think at pace. Like those slowed-down scenes of Jake La Motta in “Raging Bull,” the top sportsmen seem to see things at a different speed, with more time to evaluate their options. Valdano had been trying to make himself available for a square pass. Maradona told him afterwards that he had seen him, and was trying to work a way to play the pass when the option to keep going himself presented itself.
If the first goal showed that Argentina were smarter, the second showed that they were better. This was the way it was seen back home, at least. It was a local fantasy made flesh, blood and goal. It all but overshadowed what came next — two goals in the semifinal against Belgium that may have been even better followed by an intelligent performance in the final against Germany, where Maradona dragged man-marker Lothar Matthaus all over the pitch to open up space for his teammates. Germany hit back to equalise at 2-2 before Argentina threaded a wonderful pass through to Jorge Burruchaga for the third title-winning goal.
The recently deceased Roberto Perfumo, a fine ex-player and a man of great wisdom, once drew an interesting comparison. Roman emperor Julius Caesar had a slave walk behind him to whisper in his ear reminders that he was only mortal. Argentina, said Perfumo, had tended to do the opposite with Maradona. They told him that he was a god. And that began on June 22, 1986. It did Maradona the man no good at all. Living in the aftermath of that day has not always been easy. There were times when it seemed unlikely that Maradona would be alive to celebrate this 30th anniversary.
Thankfully, despite all of his excesses and dark times, Maradona is still around to enjoy being a father and a grandfather — and to daydream about the day that a “squat little man” (Bryon Butler’s words again) took on the entire English defence and came out on top.
Who wants to turn back the clock? 🙂
Turn Back The Clock in 1988 by Johnny Hates Jazz
I want to. I love 80s music, especially new wave.
Reply if you listen to these musicians.
Tears for Fears
Men at Work
The Human League
Guns N Roses
Pet Shop Boys
The change from Temasek Green To Camouflaged was in year 1983, not 1985. I knew because that was my ROD year. The year I first wore the camouflaged uniform. 🙂
100 years of toys 😀
Creator of ‘Lao Fu Zi’ comic Alfonso Wong dies
03 January 2017
The Straits Times
Comic artist Alfonso Wong Kar Hei, who created the beloved “Lao Fu Zi” or Old Master Q comic series, has died, reported the Apple Daily and NetEase websites.
The Tianjin-born artist died on Jan 1 in the United States, said NetEase.
He died from natural causes, according to a statement released by OMQ ZMedia, the company that promotes and markets the Old Master Q comics and quoted by the website of Taiwan News.
Apple Daily reported that Wong was 93 years old while NetEase put his age at 92.
Wong, who moved to Hong Kong in 1956, has said: “My life is like comic strips, and I do my best to make Old Master Q, that is myself, to play the fool and entertain readers.”
In 1962, Wong used his oldest son’s name as a nom de plume to create the Old Master Q (Lao Fu Zi in Chinese) series, which appeared in newspapers and magazines.
Hong Kong people and fans abroad grew up reading the comic, which featured a cast starring Old Master Q, a mischievous, elderly and bespectacled man dressed in traditional Chinese attire.
The other regulars in the strip include Big Potato, Mr Chin and Miss Chan.
Wow! I grew up in that era.
(1) pirate software shops: began selling on 5 1/4 floppies, 3 1/2 floppies, then CDROMs. At first in Funan Centre then Sim Lim Square. Funan turned good guy but has perished. It turns out Sim Lim persists but nowhere can such a shop be found.
(2) Apple II , IBM compatible 286, 386, 486 computers. Struggling to save files on cassette tapes or 130K floppies, and running a computer with 16 kilobytes of RAMs, these are something unimaginable by the younger generation.
(3) Non-aircon buses. So hot, so noisy and so dusty. During rain and traffic jam it became an even harder ordeal. It was an unforgettable moment in life. Go seek out the movie Bugis Street where a scene near the end was on such a bus.
I was living in Singapore during that period. It’s scary to read how much has changed since then. I still use my “Ah Beng” comb to this day, but my pager no longer has a network to connect to.
It leads me to believe that everything was better in the 80’s!
Outstanding article. Most of Singapore was poor then. I have played with kuti kuti & five stones.
80s teen brand ixi:z returns to Singapore with a retail store offering iconic designs
05 December 2019
We can barely spell it, much less pronounce it, but the ixi:z wallet was without a doubt a must-have for the Singaporean teenager during the late 1980s and early 1990s – even if the price tag was not in the range of a 13-year-old’s allowance.
At the height of the Japanese brand’s popularity, every Secondary 1 or 2 kid in Singapore saved up all their allowance money just to own one of these brightly coloured Velcro wallets that boast a texture and design that recalls (perhaps a tad too closely) the Louis Vuitton Classic Epi Leather. If you were an extra-flushed teenager, you would also have had the matching ixi:z pencil cases.
The street brand (pronounced “ick-sees”) might have faded away as we entered the new millennium, but with such a storied history, it should come as no surprise why ixi:z has chosen to make its big comeback here in Singapore.
Forty years after its initial launch in the region, ixi:z will be opening a retail store at Mandarin Gallery on Dec 14. But before that, it will making its big revival debut at street culture convention Culture Cartel from Dec 6 to 8.
Now on its second edition, Culture Cartel is billed as the biggest street culture in Southeast Asia. Held at the F1 Pit, it will offer interactive exhibitions, showcases and workshops on everything art, fashion, toys and tattoos.
Creative director of ixi:z Singapore, Eugene Ow Yong, told CNA Lifestyle that this long-awaited revival has “been in the works for quite a while now”.
“We’re coming back as a streetwear brand and that will be our core focus for the next few years,” shared Ow Yong. “We’re looking at t-shirts and hoodies for now with plans in the pipeline to add more to our collection.”
With the fashion industry currently swept up in the storm of nostalgia, the brand confirmed to CNA Lifestyle that they will also be bringing back some of the fan favourites.
“We’ve brought back many of the iconic designs from the 80s, but we also have a lot of new collections we will be releasing over the next few months,” said Ow Yong. “We know how important it is to constantly reinvent the brand while still maintaining familiar elements.”
So why bring back the brand after a 30-year absence?
“Much of the core philosophy of what made ixi:z so popular in the 80s remains largely the same today – attention to detail, understated, bold, and adventurous,” said Ow Yong.
“Culture Cartel was chosen as the platform to relaunch and revive this brand, as it reaches out to both street fashion enthusiasts and those uninitiated. We also want to inspire a whole new generation of Singaporeans who have never seen ixi:z before and at the same time, give the older generation a healthy dose of nostalgia.”
According to Ow Yong the response received from last year’s Culture Cartel also proved that Singaporeans always have a healthy appetite for quality streetwear brands.
“So honestly speaking, it was only a matter of time,” he said. Ow Yong contends that the ixi:z wallet was so popular back in the day because of its “magnetic appeal”.
“I think the brand as a whole and the wallets in particular had a very magnetic appeal because of the subtle Japanese influence paired with a sense of style that was ahead of its time,” he said.
That said, Ow Yong revealed that there are no plans to bring back the iconic wallets. For now. Not willing to simply ride on the nostalgia train, the creative director insists that the comeback of ixi:z is about “reshaping the brand for the next decade”.
“We are definitely looking to the next generation of consumers that includes today’s teenagers, young adults, and the young at heart. Nostalgia is nice for those who fondly remember us,” said Ow Yong, “But we have more choices today than ever before and the marketplace is arguably more competitive. We’re confident of rising up to the challenge.”
“I think anyone who was around in the 80s for our initial foray into the region will be able to answer and understand our objectives very clearly,” he continued.
“We’re not here just for the nostalgia factor. We’re looking to recreate the wave we rode, as well as the appeal the brand had among the younger crowd. We’ve learned from our past successes and failures and we want to build a streetwear brand that puts the consumer at the centre of things while still having a bit of the magic that enchanted hearts and minds all over Singapore.”
He added that opening a brick and mortar ixi:z store at Mandarin Gallery in this retail climate was a “deliberate decision” to go against the grain.
“We’ve always felt that shopping for clothes is an experiential process and consumers get as much pleasure from buying the clothes as they do in wearing them,” he shared. “Even today with e-commerce dominating the retail sector, we believe the physical shop has a role to play in helping shoppers decide which brands they want to buy.”
He added: “That’s not to say we won’t have e-commerce, we definitely will in the future. But for those who like to touch the clothes, feel the material, and try them on before buying, our doors are always open. During our opening hours of course!”
Thank you for the great write up. It is amazingly comprehensive on how it was while we were growing up.
Your detailed write up will at least be a good reference on historical events or past games, food, kodak moments….etc we all once loved or hold dear in our memories.
Hope you continue to pen down all these memories where many of us are finding hard to write it.
Excellent list of the popular English songs of the 80s