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The Big Five-O From The Past

BY ABBEY YEO | 05 Aug 15 Comments

Take a stroll down memory lane. The good old days from the past, products and experiences that you would have been through and the list goes on. Here is my version of 50 favourite picks. Read on!


1. Sam Fong Hoi Tong powder (aka AH MA’s (Grandma’s) powder)

You probably have seen this in your grandma’s makeup stash. I believe in those days, it’s commonly used to keep the skin smooth and fair, just like your foundation. But seriously, think twice if you are planning to apply it now, cause who wants to be looking geisha white right? These days, we just clean silverware or polish our jewelries with it. Or as a facial mask by adding water to it.

2. Hazeline Snow cream

Hazeline snow, sounds familiar to you? An awesome cream that soothes any skin irritations other than just its moisturising use. Your mom probably swore by this!

3. Prickly Heat powder​

I call it the miracle heating powder that heals all kinds of rashes!

4. Johnson's baby powder and powder puff!

Your butt would probably have been puffed with this before you even know it!

5. Good Look styling gel

Looking dapper in Don Draper’s cut, I guess the good old fashion never dies. Look through your grandpa’s stash of styling products, and you will probably still find this lying around.

6. White school shoes and the Kiwi white cleaners

There, these trusty white cleaners! But I hope you weren’t one of those who let the washing machine do the dirty job.

7. Afro hair pick

Used to create afro hairdo or to add volume to thin and straight hair yet at the same time taming flyaway or frizziness.

8. Bobby pins and hair clips

Never missed clipping a few spares onto my pinafore, because it was never enough with just one or two to keep the fringe away. I'll say these pins are still a goddamn saviour for a neat top knot or any up dos.

9. And this commercial. Still good as ever!

10. Barber shops

The good old retro barber shop, from haircuts to a clean shave to even trimming moustache and eyebrows, you name it the uncle does it. We might not love the cut, but we definitely love the experience!

11. Mama shops

Photo by: www.iconsof.sg

Mama shops (aka provision shops) are the go-to for quick snacks, knick knacks or even a drink (that my mom highly disapproved of) on our way home from school. Oh, how I miss those $0.10 sweets for a pop!

12. Pasar malam (aka night market)

Photo by: avinteo.blogspot.sg

Pasar malam were like impromptu party occasions when I was a kid. Remember Uncle Ringo rides, toys, Ramly burgers (yums!) and candy floss? This has got to be one of the best fun places to be at as a kid.

13. Plastic bags

How quaint! Although we never ever want to be seen carrying one of these anywhere, it is still worth a mention.

14. This Fashion

Photo by: sg.asia-city.com

Yes, before online blog shopping got in trend, This Fashion seemed to be the only answer to my affordable New Year’s clothing and random retail therapy.

15. Discman and Walkman

These were the best spins where LDs and CDs were still in use. Remember how owning a Walkman was cool in school until iPods and music downloads came along? Yeah, CDs then became almost obsolete.

16. And those VCR players

They simply saved my day when I couldn’t get home in time to catch the final episode of my favorite TV dramas! 

17. Bus cards

Photo by: remembersingapore.org

CEPAS card? No, this! I was even taught to charge the fares to my card with the punch machine upon boarding the bus. Now we just tap and go!  

18. Pagers

Remember the numbers that were translated into messages? It was like deciphering text messsages with just a string of numbers. The beeper codes, we called it.

19. Public phones and phone cards

Besides a travelling card, phone card was the next important item to have in my wallet!

20. Before the evolution of Apple and Samung phones

The snake challenge!

21. Playgrounds

Photo by: gordonator.blogspot.sg

I thought the concrete playgrounds were the best thing that ever happened to me as a kid! Pretty sad that they had been replaced with the plastic ones due to safety and hygiene concerns. But you can still check out the last one standing at Toa Payoh.

22. Chope!

Photo by: blog.feedme.sg

Chope-ing seats with your personal belongings or even just a packet of tissue is one of the most fascinating practice that you only experience here. Definitely worth a mention though it isn't about nostalgia. You can try that in another country, but you probably lose everything doing that.

23. Floppy disk

What did you use before thumb drives were invented? FLOPPY DISK! And yes, one was never enough with that size of memory.

24. Flag Erasers

Photo by: hedgehogcomms.blogspot.sg

What better way to learn the name of the countries than through a game? 

25. Chalkboards

Still missing those lessons taught over cemented floorings and chalkboards.

26. My guilty pleasures!

The kind of books I brought to school for reading periods! Don't judge. 

27. When it was still TCS before it became MediaCorp

Remember this?

Or this?

Or were you too young to remember this?

28. How could I ever forget the amazing pencil box?

29. Damn, these notebooks!

Thanks to these notebooks, our contact lists never went missing! Appointments, birthdays and other essential reminders were all penned down.

30. And these wallets!

31. Jotter books

Yikes, homework!

32. The eccentric lingos of Singapore’s Kopitiam culture

It can be quite stressful to order a drink from a kopitiam, but if you mastered it, it should be a breeze. There are the commonly used lingos such as 'siew dai', which means 'less sugar' and 'gar dai' which means 'more sugar'. Check this out by the little dröm store. :D


33. Our own language – Singlish

Siao bo! What talking you. (Translated as: Are you crazy? What are you talking about?)
This isn't something from the past, but it's something that is uniquely us. If you are new to our culture, Singlish is an informal way to express our feelings, usually when exaggerated, it is amusing but to some extent, some may find it offensive. Note: these phrases are still best practiced among closer peers to spice up a mundane conversation.

34. And of course… The Great Singapore Workout!

And left and right and left… Remember this? First introduced about 18 years ago when the Health Promotion Board promoted this campaign all over schools. We had to learn them during PE (Physical education). Someone should bring this back!

35. Say hello to my best friend, Xiao Ming

From the above: 

There, there, Xiao Ming. We were once storytellers in our own way. 

36. PETS textbook

The only thing I recall from this was trying to spot the animals hidden in the different pages of my PETS textbook.

37. And, the awesome feeling of being put in charge of the OHP!

38. Coffee machine

The traditional coffee houses are always equipped with such traditional coffee grater machines that so often reminded me of the wholesome coffee fragrances coming from the grating.

39. Literally, the gems (Yums)!

40. And the ice popsicles too!

41. Definitely, the Kacang Puteh (White beans or nuts in Malay)!

That was probably how my parents dated back then – Kacang puteh and movies!

Did you know Kacang puteh was originated from the Chevdo, a seasoned vegetarian snack from India? These nuts were typically scooped into a thin long cone, wrapped from newspaper or magazine loose sheets (you probably don’t get this now), or simply from a pre-rolled white piece of paper cone.

42. Shall we dance with the games? Hopscotch and zero point! 

43. How about the pick-up-sticks?

Five, six, pick up stick… This game very much tested my patience!

44. Kept a pet in my pocket too!

Oops, I meant virtual pets. Not sure about you, but this was the first digital monster-like pet that accompanied me everywhere I went, because feeding time was a very serious affair, got to keep ‘em happy. No I’m still talking about my virtual pet.

45. Polly Pocket

What’s better than Ken and Barbie’s love story? THIS! It’s like getting my dream house (as a kid).

46. Board games or checkmate?


47. Or Reversi?

48. Or were you one of the cool kids with funky Yo-Yo that ran like a fireball?

49. No way, I rather hang with Minesweeper!

50. But I guess, it was the bands that bonded us!

Cool or not? This was what we called BFF (Best friend forever). Frenz foreva!

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