Memories of Serangoon Gardens

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The Walmer Drive in 1956

“A Walk Through The Old Neighbourhood – Serangoon Gardens” blog was posted by ‘Remember Singapore’ to share here .

Memories of Serangoon Garden Reunion 2017


With thanks to  my heritage friend, Geri, who invited me to the “Memories of Serangoon Gardens Reunion”  at the Serangoon Gardens Country Club on 18 February, 2017.


Serangoon Gardens Reunion 2017 @ Serangoon Gardens Country Club.    Photo courtesy of Carol Marianne Tan-Soh.


The occasion was the 3rd reunion of the “Memories of Serangoon Gardens” Facebook group, which was attended by about 70 people.  The group page was started by Geri in 2012.

It was my first time to the Serangoon Gardens Country Club and I needed some help from Googles to get direction and map guides.




A group photo with Mike, Geri, Danny and Carol at the reunion dinner.

Geri grew up and went to school in Serangoon Gardens in the 1960s and early 1970s.  Mike and Geri left Singapore over 40 years ago and presently live in Canada with their children, grandchildren and immediate families.  They have made numerous trips back in the last 10 years to meet up with relatives, friends and former schoolmates.

They missed their favorite traditional local food and would meet with their “makan kakis” to revive their memories of the familiar taste and smell of the food with which they grew up in Singapore.

Memories of their past trips to Singapore to share on YouTube videos here .

When Serangoon Gardens was a Kampong in the Past

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Bullock cart near Serangoon Gardens Estates in 1956

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Passenger boarding the bus at Farleigh Avenue in 1956

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St Peters Church, 1957


“Chomp Chomp” Food Centre –  Then and Now

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The archived photos are shared on this blog with the courtesy of the National Archive of Singapore with acknowledgement and thanks.

Singapore – Golden Pearl of the Orient


Jack Douglas hosts “Across The Seven Seas” in 1962 and featured Singapore as the “Golden Pearl of the Orient” video (Part 1 and Part 2) on YouTube to share on this blog.

Part 1 of Singapore – Golden Pearl of Orient here.

Part 2 of Singapore – Golden Pearl of Orient here.







Bahasa Kebangsaan (National language in Malay) conducted in the evening class for adults in the 1960s.




Praying during the 7th lunar month prayers in Chinatown during the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival”. (above)

Prayers to the ancestors at home (below).





Mid-Autumn Festival for children to carry lanterns around the street in the night.



The Tai Tong Moon Cake shop in Chinatown during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

This 55-year-old movie was shared by my heritage friend Maidi Lei on Facebook with thanks.

This is one of the very few English movies produced by Hollywood or Britain for English-speaking audience in the past.  There were very few tourist attractions for Singapore unlike the high-rise skyscrapers and spectacular architectures of the buildings in the West.

Big-screen movies with location shooting in Singapore are welcome as a form of tourist promotion to help to attract tourists from all over the world as revenue earners for our country.

Our pioneer generation friends would remember the old Chinese movies filmed on location in Singapore and Malaya over 50 years ago. When you watched the movies as youngsters and now no longer young to watch the same movies again on YouTube, do you notice the changes of you, of the actors and actresses, of the familiar places, the roads and buildings (some of which have disappeared) in Singapore over the decades. Surreal …

Old Cantonese Movies

Nostalgic sceneries of old Singapore in 馬來亜之戀 ,梛林月 and 唐山阿嫂 .

Please click the names of the old movies in Chinese to watch the videos on YouTube. Thank you.

Anyone remember these old movies and the names of the actors, actresses and what are the changes of these places in Singapore?

Do you agree that watching these old movies as “memory-aids” to revive your memories of old Singapore and how different the physical changes in Singapore to share with our nostalgia friends?

River Hongbao @ Marina Bay 2017


The above photo of the fireworks display at the River Hongbao 2017 at Marina Bay was taken by my Facebook friend FreeMan Loke.  It was captured at the precise moments to show the beauty of the Marina Bay, the colorful and bright fireworks and the background of the Singapore waterfront.  With thanks to Freeman to share this photo on the blog.


After the traditional reunion dinner with the family on 27 January, 2017,  I made the annual “pilgrimage” trip to the River Hongbao 2017 at Marina Bay.

From the spot towards Esplanade Bridge where this photo was taken, there was little sign of the “fairy land” from a short walking distance away, a place where the kids would find enjoyment, excitement and fun, a place for them to build their memories many years later when they are grown up.


Most people look at different perspectives through their eyes of the mind at different times.  I have the tendency to reflect the memories of the past with juxtaposed photos of a similar occasion or events.

Is it true that the River Hongbao iconic events every year is all the same.  Seen once, seen all?

Personally, I do not agree.   Every year’s festival is different just as the 12 zodiac animals is different each year as the themes for the decorations, the designs and the layout of the venue.

The blog posted for River Hongbao 2014 here and River Hongbao 2015 here .  I missed the River Hongbao 2016 because I was in Taiwan.



The above photos of my 8-year-old son, Wei and I visited the River Hongbao 1992 at the Singapore River. The present location for the River Hongbao at The Float @ Marina Bay was built in 2007.  I submitted my blog to the Singapore Memory portal here .


The wedding photo of Wei in 2015 with his wife, Jessie (standing).  His sister, brother-in-law and his niece. (seated).

The former venue of the River Hongbao festivities at the Singapore River before 2007.


Archived photos with the courtesy of The Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).





River Hongbao 2017 @ Marina Bay

Usher in the Year of the Rooster and celebrate the arrival of spring at River Hongbao (RHB) 2017 from 26 Jan to 4 Feb at Singapore’s iconic floating platform. Organized by Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Tourism Board and People’s Association, this annual iconic event has remained an integral part of Singapore’s Lunar New Year celebrations since 1987.

RHB 2017 has lined up 10 days of fun-filled extravaganza of lights, sights, sounds to celebrate this festivity. RHB 2017 will have modern, futuristic elements and a strong local flavor. Larger-than-life lantern displays are colourful and fun, with interesting play on the Chinese word for Rooster. With nightly fireworks and laser displays, intricate handicrafts and crowd-pleasing performances featuring local and exotic programmes from the region, be prepared to treat your senses this coming spring. Satiate your taste buds with more than 40 sumptuous varieties of local and regional delicacies served
at the largest outdoor Food Street in Singapore. A myriad of fringe activities, ranging from amusement rides to carnival games to Main Stage performances, will ensure that there’s never a dull moment at River Hongbao! River Hongbao is open to public and admission is free.  [Source:]

With thanks to my blogger sister, Lina Koh, to send me additional photos taken by her at the River Hongbao 2017 at Marina Bay to share them on the blog.  Thank  you, Sista!

雄鸡鸣春 生机勃勃
“Looking to the Future”
The Main Set-piece for the Year of the Rooster is based on the theme “雄鸡鸣春,生机勃勃“ which welcomes the new Spring with lots of energy and looks forward to great opportunities.





Abundance and Happiness
On the seating gallery is a grand lantern display featuring a huge mother hen laying golden eggs thus bringing good fortune to an auspicious new year.



春到河畔2017 机会难逢
Welcome to River Hongbao



God of Fortune Lantern



Gateway Arch for Centre Link Bridge



湿地迎春, 万象更新
In Harmony with Our Environment




Abundance for All



The Virtues of Diligence and Learning



A Message of Love, Care and Concern


12 Zodiac



Exhibition Display Panels








The More We Get Toget­her: Festivals and Fe­stivities in Singapor­e

Chinese New Year is an important festival in the Lunar calendar, and is celebrated by Chinese communities all over the world including Singapore. In multi-racial and multi-religious Singapore, festivities observed by fellow communities such as our Muslim friends’ Hari Raya Puasa, our Hindu friends’ Deepavali and our Christian friends’ Christmas are similarly honoured and celebrated.

As a tribute to our multi-cultural heritage, River Hongbao 2017 will showcase “The More We Get Toget­her: Festivals and Festivities in Singapore”. The exhibition of specially curated themes and photographs will feature unique festive preparations, traditional customs and special goodies related to the festivities. Despite coming from different origins, the cultures have intermingled and taken on a uniquely Singaporean identity and shared endearing commonalities.

The exhibition, jointly curated by Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, and students from Chung Cheng High School (Main) and River Valley High School, will enable visitors to better understand how the fabric of Singapore’s multicultural society is strengthened through the co-celebration of these major festivals.


农历新年是华人最重要的传统节日,世界各地举凡有华人的地方,无不热烈庆祝这个节日,在新加坡也不例外。而在我们这个多元种族、多元宗教的国 家,也同样重视其他友族同胞的传统节日,包括回教徒的开斋节、兴都教徒的屠妖节,以及基督教徒的圣诞节等等。

春到河畔2017 的《当我们一同欢庆——新加坡的各大传统节日》 展览,展现了新加坡各族群如何欢庆这些节日,包括独具特色的节日准备工作、传统习 俗和应节美食等等。通过展览,亦能够了解到这些节日虽源自不同的文化,但也因为受到友族文化的相互影响,在欢庆的时候融入共通的元素,而衍生出

此展由晚晴园-孙中山南洋纪念馆,以及立化中学和中正中学(总校)的学生一同策展,通过精心筛选的照片和资料,让访客见证新加坡的不同族群,如 何透过本地各主要节庆活动,不分你我、同欢共庆,借此加深对彼此的认识,从而增进情感联系,形成一道多元、包容、和谐、共荣的美丽风景。

The “Fairy Land” of Games and Kiddie Rides for Fun and Enjoyment



Year of the Rooster Balloons


I wish to be a child again and bring home one of these rooster ballons to play with 🙂

Come Home for Reunion Dinner

This incidental blog is inspired by this Chinese song “Come home for dinner”   《回家吃飯》.

This is a heart-warming touching song of the singer and composer of the song.  He lives in Beijing for 13 years and have not returned home for the traditional Chinese reunion dinner.

Reproduced this 36-year-old article “Time to cast off this dinner hang-up in plain words” by Turtle in New Nation, 8 February 1981.

It is odd how some Chinese New Year customs have changed with time – and how some haven’t, even though the premises on which they were based no longer apply.

I am thinking here of the Chinese New Year’s eve reunion dinner, which still holds a central place in most families’ celebrations, and long may it do so.

To sit down with one’s parents and grown up brothers and sisters is a reminder of the original family from which we came – and to which we turn in times of the greatest travail (death of a spouse or child) and need (including a loan of money).

Dislike a brother though we may, little though we have in common with the sixth or second child of mother’s large brood, it is hard to deny one of them when he or she asks for help – and the reunion dinner renews the adhesive that binds the whole, which, in these days, may not stick together as well as it used to.

But while there is no notion of scrapping the reunion dinner, we should now re-examine a central tenet – that married women must eat it with their husbands’ parents.

The origins of this idea lay in the traditional concept of woman as chattel.  Once she married, she was considered to have left her family and to “belong” to her husband’s side.  Her parents had no more claim to her.

Today it is still de riguer that a married woman eat her reunion dinner with her in-laws.  This is well and good if that is where she wants to be, if there is no rival tug on her heartstrings.  Indeed, some traditional parents would not dream of having their daughters over.

But there are parents who do – and indeed why shouldn’t they, even if there are unmarried children and married sons to keep them company.

The situation is specially felt when a family comprises, besides the old folk, only married daughters.

These “underprivileged” parents would very likely have to eat on their own, come New Year’s eve.   On the other hand, daughters sit down to a meal with in-laws whom they may like well enough – but seldom, if ever, are they as dear as one’s own parents.

In the face of the two-child family norm preached, more and more parents are going to end up eating reunion dinners on their own – because both children will be girls.

This cardinal tenet of Chinese New Year is today based on an unacceptable premise:  woman’s lesser importance therefore she goes where her husband goes.

It is also blind to the fact that in many, if not most families, a daughter is a daughter forever – but a son is lost when he marries, his drift is to his wife’s side.

This is the very opposite of the popular belief, but a daughter, as many traditional-minded parents have discovered, is more regular in her visits, tenderer and more concerned about the old folks than a son.  When, as if often the case, her mother helps mind the children, the bond is even stronger.

So many characteristics of the reunion dinner have changed.

Some families now go out to a restaurant.  If it is a home-cooked meal, the menu is a simplified version of the traditional one because few have the time or inclination to cook the old dishes.

Some even go away during the festive season, preferring to spend their precious leave elsewhere to visiting relatives.

For practical reasons, others cannot return home.  I remember, as a student away from home, failing to get a ticket back for that all-important occasion.  I spent reunion night with other students, whopping it up in a restaurant, none the lonelier for the experience.

If these variations are possible, why do we hang on, when the reigning spirit is family togetherness, to a practice which disregards the feelings of so many?

One solution is for couples to eat the main meal with the husband’s parents, and finish off  at her parents’ place – or the other way around.

Another alternative is for a couple to alternate reunion dinners with both sets of parents.  This means for one year they eat with the husband’s family; the next with the wife’s parents.

A little flexibility can work wonders – if you want everyone to start the New Year happy.

[Source: NewspaperSG of the National Library Board].

Another video to share the chefs working at restaurants and had to miss the reunion dinners at home with their famililes.

Although most ethnic Chinese outside of China, including Singaporean Chinese in multi-racial Singapore, the traditional once-a-year practice to celebrate the Chinese New Year reunion dinner, it is an important family gathering to set a priority for everyone.

However, there are some personal unforeseen circumstances when a few of the members of the family had to be missed from the reunion dinners.  For instance, the children overseas to work on that day, the elders who are sick and disabled, family financial situation and tight family budget. It does not need to celebrate a grand annual reunion dinner.  A simple dinner together with everyone in the family is a happy, meaningful reunion dinner to enjoy.

Please watch a sentimental reunion dinner video-clip, courtesy of James Low here .


Whether the rich (above) or the poor (below), the Chinese New Year reunion dinner are celebrated by every family once a year. [Archived photos with courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore to acknowledge and thanks to share on the blog].


Rise to Good Fortune & Prosperity


The main attraction of the 13-metre-tall rooster at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road and Upper Cross Street. (photo above).

The official light-up and opening ceremony was held on Saturday, 7 January, 2017 and will be followed by 7 weeks of the street light-up until 25 February, 2017.  It brings to life the festive atmosphere in Chinatown at New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street, South Bridge Road and Garden Bridge.

This year’s Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations themed “Rise to Good Fortune and Prosperity” [金鸡报喜迎新春,狮城欢腾庆年] is organised by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee (KA-KS CCC).

Working with students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) for the sixth year to design the street light-up, this year’s elaborate display features about 5,500 handcrafted lanterns – the most ever made in the history of the Chinatown Festivals – and draws its inspiration from the Year of the Rooster.  As day turns to night and the street light-up comes alive in a spectacular display of lights, visitors will be enthralled by a creative masterpiece that combines traditions with modern design.

The creative and innovative design skills of the young SUTD students are mentioned here .

Design Concept

Since the olden days, this year’s Chinese zodiac animal, the rooster, has been an important keeper of time.  With the Chinese saying “日出而作,日落而息” (translated to work begins at sunrise and ends when the sunsets), the rooster plays an indispensable role in distinguishing between dawn and daybreak.

This year’s street light-up illustrates a linear progression of time through the life of the Rooster, and the important values it learns as it goes through different stages in life. Through various lantern set pieces (placed along the centre divider between New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street), each scene depicting a different value as the chick grows and matures into a majestic creature, symbolised by the impressive Rooster lantern centrepiece.

From 金鸡金蛋盛满盘 (From Abundance of Golden Eggs and Chicken), which represents the birth of the Rooster, five more values are illustrated:


While hanging above the streets are Peonies (牡丹花 or 畗贵花) and Peach Blossom (桃花) lanterns that adorn Eu Tong Sen Street and South Bridge Road, respectively, heralding wealth, prosperity and peace for the New Year.


The Lanterns in the Day





The Lanterns in the Night





“Early Birds” in the Queue

Many “early birds” local and overseas visitors were in the queue to wait patiently for 2-3 hours before the event started at 6:00 pm.




“Long time no see”!  Greetings and Best Wishes “Gong Xi Fa Cai”!

It was 3 years ago since I last participated in the Chinatown Chinese New Year Light-Up in 2013.  I posted the blog here .






Final touch-up and group photos of the performers before the show started.






The brightly-lit main stage for the street light-up.



Time for a ‘Tiger’ – “Cheers”!


Arrival of the Guest Of Honour – President Tony Tan Keng Yam



Welcoming Speech by Dr Lily Neo, Adviser to Jalan Besar GRC


Welcoming Speech by Mr Vincent Tan Chor Khoon, Chairman, Organising Committee


The Official Light-Up by His Excellency, President Tony Tan Keng Yam.


Highlights of the spectacular performances





Find out more photos and videos at

Appreciative spectators who gave their “thumbs-up” for this event





Countdown 2017 at Esplanade Promenade, Singapore



As another year blitzed by on 31 December, 2016, I headed down to the Esplanade Promenade in Singapore to celebrate the countdown event.



Like the same place at the Countdown last year on 31 December, 2015,  I found the best spot to watch the 8-minute fireworks display as the clock strike 12 midnight for the start of a new year on 1 January, 2017.  The location was beside the lotus pond, just below the lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum at the Marina Bay Sands.

Please check out my previous related Countdown 2015 blog to share.




Reflect on the year gone by and celebrate the possibilities that the future holds at the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown, Singapore’s annual iconic New Year’s Eve celebration jointly presented by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

Towards the final moments of 2016, I joined thousands of spectators for the stunning countdown Facade Show animation sequence on The Fullerton Hotel Singapore (former General Post Office)  and a magnificient Midnight Display with music, lights, lasers and fireworks to carry us into 2017 with a positive and reinvigorated spirit.


The Singapore Waterfront – Then and Now



The General Post Office, Singapore – c 1960 (Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore)



(Photo above)  The former Clifford Pier ( now The Fullerton Bay Hotel)


A memorable photo with the background of the Singapore waterfront, developed and built over the many decades.  The juxtaposed photo of the Singapore waterfront in 1965, courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore shown below.


Countdown & Fireworks Display

As the night skies darken, the lights of the Marina Bay Sands and the skyscrapers at the waterfront were switched on.





At 12 midnight on 1 January 2017, the burst of loud, colorful spectacular fireworks splashed into the sky above the jam-packed crowd at the Esplanade Promenade with the cheers and shouts of “HAPPY NEW YEAR”!


Please watch the video-clip of the fireworks  here .






An Unforgettable Countdown 2017 & Fireworks Display



Security measures stepped up for 2017 Countdown Celebrations

With thousands of revellers at the Countdown 2017, event organisers and government agencies increased security measures in light of recent overseas terror-related incidents.

To prevent overcrowding, the police and security personnels regulated the number of people fenced areas included The Promontory, One Fullerton/Merlion Park, Esplanade Park, Esplanade Waterfront Promenade, Marina Bay Sands Promenade, Suntec City, among others.


SMRT, SBS transit extended bus and train services on New Year’s Eve.



Teochew Festival 2016


The Teochew Festival 2016 is held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Level 1 Hall A from December 9 to December 18, 2016.


On a blessed hot, sunny Sunday morning on December 11, I visited the Teochew Festival to soak in the atmosphere of a jam-packed festive crowd at this year’s event, 1.5 times bigger than its inaugural event in 2014.  Occupying more than 45,000 square feet of exhibition space, the festival features over 30 vendors.

I attended the Singapore Teochew Festival 2014 which was previously posted on this blog here .


As a fervent heritage fan, I was attracted by the exhibition of old photographs and other “memory-aids” of the memories of Singapore at the event.

One of the highlights is the cultural gallery, which showcases artefacts of how early Teochew migrants communicated and corresponded with their families in China. Visitors can get a glimpse into the tough lives of early Teochew immigrants in Singapore through a display of Remittance Letters known as “Qiaopi”.

In the early years, these overseas Teochews would send a portion of their income, no matter how meager, along with a letter to family members back home in China.



Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan has specially loaned some of these artefacts from the Museum of Overseas Chinese Remittance in China’s Shantou. The curators also called for the public to send in Remittance Letters of their loved ones on display at this event.


The Teochew Festival 2016 is organised by Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan and there are heritage photos of the Teochew immigrants to Singapore in the old days.






The 10-day festival features other interesting exquisite craftsmanship, Teochew Feast, as well as cultural performances for everyone.


I walked down memory lanes of old Teochew Street with signboards of the shophouses owned by the Teochew businessmen.


Thye Moh Chan is one of the oldest Teochew company which is famous for Teochew confectionary thriving today selling Teochew hot cakes, biscuits and delicacies.


Why was there a big crowd at Thye Moh Chan, I wondered.


The “see hoo” was showing the crowd a “live” demonstration of making the peanut candy!



Since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, it is a good idea to shop for the goodies at the Teochew festival, with good discounts and special offers by the vendors.




In case the visitors did not bring sufficient cash for these high-valued Chinese New Year goodies, no worries … Singapore is a high-tech, modern, cashless society!



The Main Attraction on Stage



Teochew Food Street

Foodies can be treated to an array of Teochew cuisines. There will be a food street featuring 20 vendors comprising homegrown Teochew eateries as well as food vendors from Shantou and Chaozhou, China. A variety of tantalizing Teochew specialties such as Bak Kut Teh, Crystal Dumplings, Fried Kway Teow and Fried Oyster Omelette  are served at the








This young Teochew friend tasted the braised duck rice with her hubby and loved it.





The young friendly and sweet girl at the Teochew Crystal Dumpling was a crowd-puller with long queue 🙂

The Teochew Food Street was crowded












The Candy Pohpiah Stall 


The Teochew Festival 2016 is a great cultural event to remember for the family, for Teochew or non-Teochew to share, experience and enjoy!