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Any major exhibition is the work of many hands. While the collection of memories has been an ongoing process since 2011 when the Singapore Memory Project was first launched, the actual work for the exhibition started at the end of 2012. Tan Huism, Head of Exhibitions and Curation at the National Library, was assisted by a team of people during the nine months it took to put together the “Hands: Gift of a Generation” exhibition. Huism began her curatorial career at the National Museum of Singapore and later continued her work at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Sean Lee is a teller of short stories through his photographs. He was a winner of the 2011 ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu and a member of the Reflexions Masterclass (2011­–2013). His work has been exhibited at the Prix Decouverte, Les Rencontres d’Arles (2009), Galeria TagoMago, Barcelona (2011), New York Photo Festival, New York (2011),

Hands: Gift of a Generation is a book born from the multi-sensory exhibition of the same name by the Singapore Memory Project (SMP) held between August and October 2013 at the National Library.

About the Singapore Memory Project

Comprising 45 individual profiles, each accompanied by a striking photograph, this book is a valuable collection of stories that reflects the transformation of Singapore through the years.

but also organisations, associations,

The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national movement that aims to capture and document precious moments and personal memories related to Singapore; recollections not merely from individual Singaporeans, companies and groups. The SMP currently involves partners (academic, research and library institutions, heritage agencies, public agencies, private entities and community organisations) and Memory Corps

These anecdotes encapsulate a diverse cross section of everyday Singaporeans, each connected through their unique experiences and perspectives of Singapore. Reflecting this diversity, the book contains 10 translated profiles in each of Singapore’s mother-tongue languages of Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

– volunteers who serve various roles, such as helping individuals with difficulties documenting their memories; connecting the SMP to people with memories of key Singapore events, personalities and places; and enrolling more volunteers to join the SMP cause.

Empire Project, Istanbul (2011) and TantoTempo Gallery, Kobe (2012), among others. Photography

ISBN 978-981-45-1656-3


Front cover : Hands of former firefighter, Abdul Rahman bin Osman Back cover : Hands of dancer and choreographer, Santha Bhaskar


Published by: National Library Board, Singapore Printed by: Craft Print International Ltd Photography by: Sean Lee Designed by: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) All rights reserved. © National Library Board, Singapore, 2014. The views of writers and contributors do not reflect the views of the Publisher. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission from the Publisher and copyright owner(s). Whilst reasonable care is taken by the Publisher to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the Publisher accepts no legal liabilities whatsoever for the contents of this publication. ISBN: 978-981-45-1656-3

National Library Board, Singapore 100 Victoria Street #14-01 National Library Building Singapore 188064 Tel: +65 6332 3255 email:

HANDS : gift of a generation / [compiled by] National Library Board, Singapore – Singapore : Published for National Library Board Singapore by Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2014. pages cm ISBN : 978-981-45-1656-3 1. Singapore–History–Anecdotes I. Singapore. National Library Board, compiler, publisher DS598.S7 959.57002 — dc23



CONTENTS Preface • 6 Introduction • 9 Profiles • 11


Abdul Rahman bin Osman Agnes Chow

Ang Mui Choo

James Tan Peng Huat Jasmine Lim

• 15

Alex Tan Tiong Hee

Jita Singh

• 16

• 20

Khoo Kah Chin

• 50

Roslina Baba

• 53

Rufino Soliano

Chin Sit Yeong

• 24

Kok Kham Seng

Chua King Yap

• 27

Kok Ying Oi Lim Beak

Goh Heo Kee

Han Jok Kwang

Sua Yap Teng

• 61

Low Kim Heng

• 34

Tan Mian Kiau

• 65

• 37

Mohamed Hanapi bin Mohamed

Hedwig Anuar nee Aroozoo

• 38

Mrs Mohamed Siraj


• 41

Ng Weng Sang

• 85

• 70

• 89

• 69

• 66

吴厚基 • 106

Chua King Yap

• 86

• 108

Jita Singh

Jumiah Yunus

林昆明 • 112

Lim Beak • 114

[pjh rpq;;

Mohamed Hanapi bin Mohamed

陈有忠 • 118

Othman bin Tubah Roslina Baba

• 138

• 140

• 154

• 136

Xu; rP fpahq

• 156

• 158

,uhkr;re;jpu KUifah • rhe;jh gh];fu;


• 162

lhf;lu; rhe;jh fpwp];Bdh ,khDNty;

• 142

Syed Abdul Kadir

• 152

jpUkjp KfkJ rpuh[;

• 134

• 148

• 150

Nydh jk;igah

• 132

Puan Mohamed Siraj • 120

`rd; Fj;J}];

• 128

萧汉权 • 116

Thomas Thomas

Nfg;ld; gy;Njt; rpq;

• 126

• 130

林默 • 110

黄珍珠 • 122

• 90

Syed Abdul Kadir

• 62

Hasan Kutus s/o Meerasahib Ho Hwee Long

Sew Hung Kun

• 58

Abdul Rahman bin Osman

Roslina Baba

• 82

Dr Shanta Christina Emmanuel

• 57

Lim Koon Meng

• 33

• 78

tho;f;iff; Fwpg;G • 147

陈美娣 • 104

Hedwig Anuar nee Aroozoo

• 77

• 81

Santha Bhaskar

• 54

Leaena Tambyah

• 30

Roland Vivian Simon

• 49

Koh Keow Chai

Francis Tan

• 74

Ramachandra Murugaia

• 23

• 28

• 73

Othman bin Tubah

• 46

Chan May Lee

Eddie Tessensohn

Oer See Kiang

• 42

• 45

Jumiah Yunus

• 19

Captain Baldev Singh


• 12

Profil-profil • 125

• 103

• 144

jhk]; jhk];;

• 164

• 166

• 93

• 94

Tan Yeow Tiong Thomas Thomas

• 97 • 98

Wong Chin Choo

• 101


Preface At the launch of the exhibition “Hands: Gift of a Generation”, I met the photographer Sean Lee who had shot the hands of all the subjects featured. He told me it was one of the most meaningful assignments he had ever undertaken as each of the subjects had such fascinating stories to recount. Sean had a particularly deep impression of Mrs Hedwig Anuar as he was struck by how gracious and patient she was during the entire photo shoot. The day after the launch, I stared at the picture of the hands of Mrs Anuar, the former Director of the National Library – in fact, the first Singaporean director of the National Library back in 1960. Under her charge, the library system was substantially developed; from a meagre membership base, the tireless Mrs Anuar promoted the reading habit to a young and growing nation. I was struck by the picture of her hands poised over an open book. I could imagine those hands running through the pages during an animated storytelling session as she rallied to get kids interested in the magical world of stories and reading. It’s hard to believe that only about 50 years ago, many Singaporeans were illiterate and it would have been very difficult to convince them of the value of letting their children go to school and the library. Nowadays, with the variety of media clamouring for our attention, we take the written word for granted.



Regrettably, I never had the pleasure of working with Mrs Anuar as I joined the National Library after she had retired. But my colleagues constantly regale me with stories of how strong and committed she was to the library, the most inspiring of which was how she marshalled a human chain in order to physically move the books from its older premises at the National Museum to the new facility at Stamford Road in 1960. Each pair of hands featured in this project is an expression of the strength and determination of its owner in shaping a better future for their generation and the generations to come. And it’s no surprise that none of the pioneers profiled in the exhibition and in this book asked for anything in return for the time they spent at the interview and photography sessions. I am proud the Singapore Memory Project has played a part in retelling their stories – poignant, candid, bittersweet and joyful by turns, but always memorable – of what those hands went through. This book is both a gift to the owners of those hands and their struggles, as well as a gift to the future generation in appreciation of the giants that have come before us.

Gene Tan Director, National Library


Introduction Hands: Gift of a Generation is a book born from the multi-sensory exhibition of the same name by the Singapore Memory Project (SMP), held between August and October 2013 at the National Library Building, Singapore. * By elegantly depicting first-hand accounts from Singaporeans of all walks of life, this book seeks to document their lives and present the stories of Singapore as told by Singaporeans in a personal and evocative way. Comprising 45 individual profiles, mostly verbatim accounts and each accompanied by a striking photograph, this book is a valuable collection of stories that reflects the transformation of Singapore through the years. The memories are rich in their diversity, describing struggles, sacrifice, triumphs and joy. They pay tribute to the struggles of Singapore’s early pioneers and the hard work of many who helped shape the Singapore of today – from people as diverse as Konfrontasi and Japanese Occupation survivors to proponents of women’s rights, a dancer, tailor, charcoal seller, trishaw rider and more. The stories encapsulate a diverse cross section of everyday Singaporeans, each connected through their unique experiences and perspectives of Singapore. Reflecting this diversity, the book contains 10 translated profiles in each of Singapore’s mother-tongue languages of Chinese, Malay and Tamil. It is our hope that the poignant stories told in Hands: Gift of a Generation not only act as an insightful window into Singapore’s past, but also remind you of your own memories and help you piece together an intimately personal slice of the Singapore story.

* For those who missed the original “Hands: Gift of a Generation” exhibition, an abridged

version has been set up at the Woodlands Regional Library since March 2014.





Abdul Rahman bin Osman Born: 1938

Was a fireman at Paya Lebar Airport, Keppel Shipyard, Jurong Shipyard and with Shell at the Pulau Bukom refinery. It was more dangerous than any of my previous jobs, but it seemed like I couldn’t get away from being a fireman. My first impression of Pulau Bukom was that it was very hot, and the whole island smelt like a petrol station. After some time, I got used to it. So much so that nowadays, I miss Bukom, the atmosphere, everything. I still make trips to Bukom to go to the recreation club. I don’t know what exactly it is about the place that I like so much, but it’s just a feeling. Fighting fires at the refinery was a different experience. We would position ourselves near the fire and get ready, but at first only the officers and the engineers from the refinery would go in to assess the situation. The engineers were needed to repair leaking pipelines, close valves and things like that. Only when the fire was too big for them to handle, would we firemen go in. The technique of firefighting at the refinery was different as well – the risk of more explosions from the petrol and gas pipelines was always there. When there was an explosion, it was like a bomb going off and the fire was almost alive. It was alive! The most important thing at the beginning was



not to fight the fire, but to use water to cool the surrounding tanks containing gas and petrol, so that they did not overheat and explode from the pressure. But we couldn’t use water to fight the fire itself, as it would create too much steam. We used foam to blanket the fire. Before you go in to fight the fire, the fear will be in your heart. You just have to fight the fear and force yourself to go in. Once you’re actually fighting the fire, the fear goes away and you can feel happy that you are doing your job. The 1985 fire at Pulau Bukom was the last major fire that I fought. I had been tasked to stand by outside, and I watched my team go in. I couldn’t do anything; I had to stay outside to cool the pipelines and tanks. My entire crew ended up in the hospital with burns. I visited them in the hospital and all of them were in bandages, I couldn’t recognise them. How would you feel when you see your friends like that? I was very, very sad and I went to the mosque to pray for them. Luckily, all of them survived. After that fire, my heart was not in firefighting any more. My daughter was born that year as well, and I decided to leave firefighting.



Agnes Chow Born: 1940

Married in the early 1970s. Continued to work after she was married, until her first child was five. Manages the special diet of her daughter Joan, a professional bodybuilder. Since she was young, my daughter Joan enjoyed art and sports. In fact both of my daughters are like that, except my elder child is quieter. From the time Joan was in primary school, she liked sports. She loved to play on the monkey bars in school. She studied science in university, but I saw an advertisement in the Chinese newspapers about a course on sports management at one of the polytechnics. It was a new course at that time and I told her about it, thinking that maybe in the future she could work in the Sports Council. She was indeed interested and enrolled for the course. After she completed the course, she did her practicum at a local gym. She started as a trainer and then became a manager. At that time, she also took part in one of her first bodybuilding competitions. It was a regional competition held in Singapore. I initially didn’t want to go and watch the event, but Joan persuaded me to. At first I didn’t like the sport, or the fact that she was a girl and taking part in this sport. Muscular girls seemed rather crude to me – I’m quite old-fashioned, after all. However, Joan was so insistent. Moreover, she won first place in that competition – her passion in the sport was so evident that I did not want to stop her from pursuing it. When she was announced as the winner, our national anthem played over the PA (public announcement) system. And I was very proud of her because

she was representing Singapore in an area that Singapore had few talents in. Since then, I knew that I should not stop her. During Joan’s competitions, I too am very busy! I have to cook for her and all her food portions have to be weighed. She will write out a menu for me and I will cook whatever she has planned for her dietary needs. At night, I will prepare her food for the next day. It’s time consuming and can be quite difficult to get right. Sometimes I’m used to preparing a certain quantity of food and she may suddenly adjust her diet and increase or decrease her intake and I will get confused. She’s very particular about her diet. I spend a lot of time preparing food for Joan; sometimes I miss out on my social life because I can get very busy just helping Joan with her food preparation. Joan is a very determined person. Even as a child, she was different from the other children. When most children want something, you can usually pacify them and talk them out of it, but Joan was not like that. You can’t talk her out of something that she really wants. If she wants it, she wants it. Like when she wanted to start a gym – the business she’s running now – I tried to tell her to give it more thought and that it wasn’t as easy as she thought. But she just went ahead with it and said she would solve the problems as they came. She said if she failed then she would just pick herself up. So I just let her be, but today she’s successful. One thing about her, she can take care of herself. But of course, as parents we still worry about her.



Alex Tan Tiong Hee Born: 1945

Son of a wealthy businessman who experienced Singapore’s transition from colonialism to self-government in the 1950s. My father, Tan Yeok Seong, was quite wealthy, and our family had a satisfactory and stable standard of living. We lived in a bungalow in Bukit Timah, we had an amah (domestic helper) and we travelled in a chauffeured car. My father was a publisher, but he also had several other businesses in retail and merchandising. He published Chinese textbooks and magazines, including a well-known newsletter for students called Young Malayans. There were articles about United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) politicians, the Yang di Pertuan Agong (Supreme Head of State of Malaysia) and political events during the post-war period. In the 1950s, Singapore was evolving from colonialism to self-government. My father had friends such as Thio Chan Bee in the Progressive Party (PP) and Lee Khoon Choy in the People’s Action Party (PAP). He supported the Progressive Party and the Labour Party led by Lim Yew Hock because most of his friends were members. In 1959, I followed the elections with my father. The PAP was getting very strong and was feared by the incumbent government. Most of 16


the rallies we attended were in Newton, Farrer Park, Hong Lim and Tiong Bahru. The rallies were very good and they touched on really big issues. There were big crowds and you could see that most of the people were still very poor; they wore singlets and cha kiah (wooden clogs) or slippers. The PP leaders were people such as C. C. Tan, a rich man living in Balmoral Road, who were aristocratic, capitalistic and drove big cars. They were unlike the PAP people, who were seen as humble and coming from ordinary backgrounds. I was pro-PAP because my feelings were always for the underdog. We were not communist, but we were sympathetic towards the poor. However, the PAP later split with Ong Eng Guan, who was supposed to the champion of the poor, and we were very confused. In 1961, the Economic Development Board (EDB) was formed and my father was involved in promoting investment into Singapore. In 1963, Singapore joined Malaysia and then there was the Indonesian Confrontation. There was a flight of capital from the Indonesian

businessmen and the businesses in Telok Ayer suffered as a result. My father helped to channel some of the investments into the industries in Jurong. The EDB would have a list of essential industries – plastics, leather and timber, for example. My father would get his Indonesian businessmen friends, especially those from the same clan and dialect group, to invest in these industries and apply for pioneer investor status and tax exemptions. Intensive industrialisation was necessary because the PAP had to win the fight against the left wing. After my graduation from Raffles Institution in 1963, I went to work for my father, where I was doing a lot of accounting work and correspondences. I had to help with the paperwork involving the EDB, so I often visited the Jurong Industrial Estate. Back then, Jurong was very quiet, not a hive of activity like today. There was a lot of criticism of Goh Keng Swee’s plan to industrialise Jurong and a lot of debate as to whether Jurong would succeed. But my father believed that hard work and perseverance would make it work.

There were also the race riots in Singapore in 1964. I was helping in my father’s business then. After clearing up for the day, I left and tried to take a bus or taxi but there were none, so I went back to my father’s shop. Then I saw people running up the roads. The police told me and the other people around to go to the police station on Maxwell Road. We stayed at the police station through the night until the police vehicles sent us back home at 1 am. My father’s offices were in North Bridge Road, but we closed them the following day and concentrated all our business in Robinson Road. I had locked up the office, and there was a big crowd at Boon Tat Street as a Malay man had got beaten up and there was blood all over. A Bengali man and one or two Chinese came and helped him. The police cordoned off the area and there was an announcement that there was going to be a curfew. After that, we had to stay at home and we only had Huntley & Palmers biscuits to eat. I wasn’t really interested in history until later in life, when I realised we were losing the buildings, the institutions, the food and the people that I had grown up with. HANDS


Ang Mui Choo Born: 1943

Grew up on China Street in the late 1940s. Learnt tuina in Fuzhou and helped to grow the practice in Singapore. I grew up in Singapore’s China Street, also known as “giao geng kar” (literal translation in Hokkien), which was a place filled with gambling dens and had many undesirable people (gangsters) hanging around. We were one of the few Hockchew families who lived in the two- or three-storey old house in that area. Most were Cantonese. In those days, most Hockchew migrants went to Yong Peng or Sarawak, so there weren’t many Hockchews in Singapore. More came over in the second wave of immigration in the 1990s.



my elder sister had died young. She pleaded on my behalf, saying that since I loved school so much, there wasn’t much harm in letting me continue. In 1984, when my youngest child was three, I went to learn tuina (Chinese massage) in Fuzhou, China. At the time, tuina was a very closely guarded trade passed down from shifu (master) to apprentice. Hence, the knowledge of tuina was always very exclusive, and there was a shortage of tuina practitioners in Singapore.

When I was in primary school, I loved to watch street performances. We had to bring our own stools to sit and watch them. We would return home very late after the performance ended, sometimes around 1 am, and had to climb up very dark steps in the two-storey house. It was very scary. Once, after watching a performance based on a ghost story, I was so spooked by some noise that I fell down the stairs.

I had to be away from work for a few months, but we could see that there was a need for more tuina practitioners based on the ailments that our patients were presenting. Later on, I began to invite and fly over senior tuina experts from Fuzhou where I trained so they could also teach the local TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners here.

My father was a barber and he had a big shop opposite People’s Park Complex that he co-owned with a partner. There were already seven of us in my family, but my father later had another wife who gave birth to 11 children. The income from the shop had to support this large family.

My tuina practice became very well known because I would always take the time to attend to each patient. However, because tuina is very time-consuming, I can only see a few patients a day, and those who need diagnostic help end up having to wait a long time for their turn.

As a child, I observed that the female hairdressers gave “extra services” after work, such as drinking with their customers. My father felt that girls did not need to be well educated and wanted me to join the hairdressing trade. I protested and cried and cried. My mother was particularly fond of me as

My years of tuina practice are evident in my hands. They’ve taken a real beating over the years, but that’s what I think hands are for anyway. If you’re going to have hands, you might as well work them to the bone if it can achieve some good. I wouldn’t have it any other way.



Captain Baldev Singh Born: 1951

Grew up wanting to be a lawyer, but eventually decided to be a pilot. Later joined Singapore Airlines as a pilot for 40 years. I did not aspire to become a pilot when I was growing up. I wanted to be a lawyer. But when I was preparing for my senior Cambridge (‘O’ levels), I had a classmate who was learning how to fly a plane. He was taking lessons at Seletar at the time and he would tell me all about it. He made it sound very exciting and challenging. Eventually, I was convinced that I wanted to be a pilot. I told my parents about it, and they were supportive of my decision. So I went to Melbourne to get a pilot’s licence. I didn’t go to university or for further education. I just went with the intention of becoming a trained pilot. When I returned, the MSA (Malaysia-Singapore Airlines) had just split into two airlines. I applied to both Singapore Airlines and the Malaysian Airline Systems. Both airlines offered me a job, but the Singapore Airlines offer came in slightly earlier and my mother felt that it made more sense to be based in Singapore, so I took the job with Singapore Airlines. That has been my job ever since. And what a job! I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have been able to fly for 40 years with such a progressive airline, with such a great track record. I always tell the younger staff – pilots, cabin crew, ground staff – to guard their rice bowl jealously, as it is a very special rice bowl.



Back in the day, there was a certain romance to flying. Air travel was not as common, so it was much more of a special occasion. People didn’t mind that we had to make stops. It used to take two or three stops to get to London, for example. And people dressed up for the flight and were ready to have a good time. There was much more of a party atmosphere on board, even without any in-flight entertainment systems. When I started in 1973, we used to fly out of Paya Lebar Airport. It was a straightforward airport to fly in and out of, except that we used to fly over people’s houses and the older aircraft were much noisier. Nonetheless, Paya Lebar wasn’t a bad airport. It was a nice, safe airport. Changi Airport was built in the late 1970s and became operational in 1981. It had the best modern equipment and well-separated runways dedicated for take-off and landing. I would compare it this way: Paya Lebar Airport was like you’d been happily driving a Honda for a while, and then one day, you get to drive a BMW. Suddenly, you realise there is a world of difference.



Chan May Lee Born: 1933

Second-generation tailor at CYC The Custom Shop, Singapore’s oldest custom shirt maker. Worked for 67 years before retiring in 2012 at 79 years old. People say they appreciate the clothes that I make. After doing this for so many years, I am really happy to hear this because I enjoy being in this line. I feel like I was destined to do this. The Shanghainese way of shirt-making is very meticulous. They will not let a shirt pass if there is the slightest error and you will have to start over. For example, if the lines are not straight, you have to remove the entire thread. You must not try to fix it by adding a new thread, which will make it look imperfect. So it is a very strict way of making clothes. It was really difficult to learn. My mother-in-law would knock my head if I made any mistakes. When I was a little girl, I came to Penang from China. My mother passed away one week before the war started. When the war began, my father had to go somewhere else, so an Indian doorman took my sisters and I to live in a rural village. My mother-in-law visited us there. When she arrived, she saw that our clothes were torn and tattered. We were really very poor back then. She was very sad and told my father that she would like to bring me to Singapore to learn tailoring. My father agreed. When I was 12, I took the train to Singapore with my father’s friend and went to live and work with my mother-in-law. I started as an apprentice. Finally, after three years, we could set up our own shop. We were very happy. At that time, I had been attending night classes for three years. But I decided to stop studying in order to work full time to earn more money. So I worked everyday from 7 am to midnight. I could make six to seven shirts in a day. In those days, that was considered very fast.



$100 was a big amount of money back then. I was very happy to be making over $100. So I worked hard every month and started saving up to buy a necklace for myself. Back then, I had never seen any gold jewellery before. I was very excited and wanted to wear them. But suddenly, my father called and asked me to send some money back to Penang to help the family. So I couldn’t buy the necklace and I was very sad. One day, I met Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Istana to take his measurements. When I was there, Mr Goh asked if I could help him alter his trousers and I agreed. After I finished the alterations, I decided not to charge him for such a small matter. But he insisted on paying me and gave me $50. We wanted to do an exhibition of our clothes, so we did a promotion. We invited anyone who has kept their CYC shirts for over 30 years to exchange them for new ones. Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s wife brought in two shirts that were made over 30 years ago! We could tell as we had imprinted the date of manufacture. We were very excited and proud when we saw former MM Lee wearing our shirt on television. He looked good, and we could say that CYC made the shirt. I’m very happy that our ancestors have left us their legacy. And I am very glad that it can be passed down to future generations.



Chin Sit Yeong Born: 1949

Grew up working in the leather shoe business and built his business supplying leather. Currently retired. I was born in Singapore in 1949 and lived in a shophouse on Malabar Street in Bugis (小坡). My childhood was usually spent outdoors, playing with my four siblings in the back alleys. We also listened to Rediffusion and sometimes watched TV. It was in black and white then, of course! Our neighbours were from different dialect groups. There were Hakkas, Hainanese, Cantonese and Hokkiens, but somehow everyone could speak and understand each other’s dialect. My father arrived in Singapore when he was 13 and has been in the leather shoe business ever since. When I was born, my father was importing leather from Europe and supplying it to local shoe and handbag makers. He also exported leather to neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Nowadays, we don’t think of having things made in Singapore. But back then, small factories or home-based cobblers were making shoes by hand all over Singapore. There were more than 10 shoe retailers in the Bugis and Middle Road area alone. Hakkas in the shoe business were mostly from Malaysia. Shoemakers used to make shoes by hand with only a few simple tools. But later on, some started to use simple equipment such as a hydraulic press to cut leather. Apart from shoe-making, other Hakka trades included cane furniture-making, metalwork, pawnshops, traditional Chinese medical shops and shirt-making.



When I was studying, I was already helping my father with his business. The shoe-making industry was at its peak in the 1960s. Local shoemakers exported their shoes to countries in the Middle East. I decided to leave school at Secondary 4 to help with the family business in 1966. I helped with things such as accounting and the unloading of goods. I remember seeing goods tarnished by water after being transported because the incoming shipments weren’t stored in containers then. Such incidents were rare though. In 1974, I started my own leather supply business. I rented a 3,000 square feet house along Aljunied Road at S$500 per month as a makeshift shop and warehouse. I started peddling leather to furniture makers as not many of them used leather to make sofas then. When the Singapore economy started getting better in the 1980s, more Singaporeans could afford leather sofas. The leather suppliers in Singapore knew each other and we all had cordial relationships. We even had a shoe makers’ association where members would play mahjong in the evenings and gather for Lunar New Year celebrations. However, this association closed down a few years back as the number of shoemakers has diminished since the 1980s.



Chua King Yap

Born: 1948

Has a passion for orchids and has been cultivating them for more than 40 years. Greatly admired the traditional Malay kites he saw as a child and has enjoyed making and flying his own kites ever since. I was born in Lok Yang village in the western part of Singapore. I remember that the house I stayed in did not have piped water or electricity. I started growing orchids in Lok Yang when my brother brought home some potted orchids from his friends. We experimented and read books on how to grow orchids as we were very interested in cultivating them. In 1970, we moved to Ama Keng village in Lim Chu Kang when the government needed the land in Lok Yang to build an industrial estate. We moved into a house with a vegetable farm and I brought my orchids along. Ama Keng was a village where most villagers planted vegetables and reared chickens. There was a “town” with more than a dozen shops selling food and different provisions, as well as clinics. When I started growing orchids in 1970, I only had one or two hundred potted plants. I also grew our national flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim, and more than 10 other species. I began cultivating them and after three years, I started selling the cut flowers to the market stalls, as well as to the florists on Orchard Road. I remember that there was a row of flower shops opposite Centrepoint (now 313 Somerset) where I would send the cut orchids to twice or thrice a week. At that time, those flower shops were very famous and popular. My selling price was a dollar each for the best species, but



the shops would sell them at $3 or $4 a stem and use the lower quality orchids to make flower hampers. In 1983, the government ordered us to move out of Lim Chu Kang as the land was to be used for military training. I applied for and drew lots for a piece of land in Jalan Kayu. It took nine months to move all of my 50 to 60 thousand potted plants and supplies from Ama Keng to Jalan Kayu. The prices of cut flowers were high in the 1970s and 1980s but have been in decline since the 1990s due to the appreciation of the Singapore dollar. Suppliers would rather buy from countries such as Thailand and Taiwan. In 1996, I received a letter from the government informing me that we had to move out of the land in three months. I was upset and confused as I was already 50 years old then and had to give up my livelihood and start anew. I had to auction off most of my potted plants and rent a small area on a friend’s farm to keep the rare species. I have had to scale my business down now – I get potted flowers from those who grow them and sell these in different wet markets. I worry about my income as I sometimes do not make a profit.



Eddie Tessensohn Born: 1935

Experienced the Japanese Occupation as a young boy when his mother was interned by the Japanese. My father, Clement Louis Tessensohn, was a doctor, and he was involved with the Eurasian community and the Singapore Recreation Club (SRC). My great grandfather, Edwin Tessensohn, was the first president of the SRC. SRC has been part and parcel of my family’s life and memories through the years. During the Japanese Occupation, my mother was interned by the Japanese as she was European. My father was let off because he was a doctor, and allowed to continue working at his dispensary at Victoria Street. I remember the Japanese coming in and taking over my father’s dispensary. The first wave of Japanese soldiers were very rough people, but there was one who was educated in the United States called Mr Takahashi. My father spoke with him and he managed to get my mother out of the internment camp, but she had to wear a red star on her arm. Mr Takahashi was later transferred out and another terrible officer took over. He put my mother back in the camp. During this period, I saw my mother for only six months.



We lived in an apartment above the dispensary. I was very young at the time, but I remember we used to cook big pots of congee with sweet potato in the dispensary each morning. My father’s assistant and I would then carry the buckets of congee to the streets around Kampong Glam, including Arab Street, and distribute the congee to the poor and starving people sitting by the side of the streets. It was my father’s idea to do that for the people, because food was very scarce during the Occupation. My family became quite well known in the Kampong Glam area because of that, and during the Maria Hertogh riots later in the 1950s, we were warned by the Malays to stay away from the trouble. After the Japanese surrender, we went to Sime Road to see Mum, and oh, it was a tearful and joyful occasion. The British troops brought white bread and butter for the prisoners, things that we had not seen during the Japanese Occupation. Later, the United Kingdom government offered us a trip back to the UK and we went.

Years later, my brother Robin and my mother, who were both interned by the Japanese, each got 10,000 pounds from the British government. After the war, I studied in the UK for a while before returning to Singapore. I was in St Patrick’s School while my family lived at East Coast Road and when we moved to Victoria Street in town, I went to St Joseph’s Institution (SJI). I used to play cricket and hockey for the Combined Schools team, and I scored my first century while playing for SJI against the Johor state team. I cracked my bat in that game and the next Monday, I was told to go and see Mr Frank James, one of the top men in SJI. He congratulated me on my performance and gave me a note asking me to get a new bat from Winston’s in the Arcade on his account. Since I was playing cricket and hockey, I got a part-time job reporting on sports for The Straits Times. I would play in the games, write reports on them and phone up my friends for the results of other games. I was paid by the

column inch, so I used to write five or six paragraphs but the editor would cut them to just one paragraph! After my stint with The Straits Times, I joined the big shipping firm, C. F. Sharpe. In the early days, we had the Singapore Harbour Board (SHB). Later, the SHB became the Port Authority of Singapore and they cleared all the tally clerks, stevedores and lighters from the Singapore River. I started off as a boarding officer – when the ships came in, my duties were to board the ship, collect all the documents, deliver the mail and the cash, and do the port clearances. I started learning from there, and got myself up to operations manager and later shipping director. When I was with Sharpe, I dealt with Japanese ships and American tankers. When I visited the Japanese ships, the Japanese captains would hear about my mother being interned during the war, and they would be very apologetic. I told them what’s past was past and that I wouldn’t hold it against them.



Francis Tan Born: 1963

Was born on National Day. Has fond memories of growing up in Kampong Amber in eastern Singapore. I was born on National Day. Actually, it wasn’t National Day yet at the time; it was just the 9th of August. But when I was in school, my birthday would always be a holiday, so I would invite my friends to come over for a party. Sometimes my friends would say, “My mother says that because it is the seventh month, night time cannot go out.” So they could not come to my party. But us kids did not really believe in these things. At the time, my father drove private cars known as ba wong cheh (Cantonese for 霸王车). I don’t think it was really legal, but he drove some teachers who lived near us to school. Most of them taught at ACS (Anglo Chinese School) and that’s how I ended up there. Most of my classmates were the sons of rich men and it was quite common to hear them say, “My family owns this or that famous establishment”. I was the only one who was a driver’s son. But it did not bother me. We were all kids anyway, and kids don’t care whether someone is more atas (high-class) or



not. We played together, grew up together, got into trouble together, looked at girls together. Today, they are still some of my closest friends. I remember that when school reopened, some kids would not be around when attendance was being taken, and they would say, “Oh! He’s still in Disneyland (or some other place). Not back yet.” I would think, “Where is Disneyland?” I had never even been to Johor Bahru. That could have had some influence on my interest in travel later on. When I was really young, we lived in Kampong Amber in the east coast among all the Peranakans, so I used to always think of myself as a Peranakan. My grandmother had been adopted by a Malay family, so we spoke both Malay and Chinese at home. It was only much later that I realised that I wasn’t actually Peranakan. As kids, we used to always go to the Chinese Swimming Club behind our house in the kampong. We would turn up in our swimming suits, take our

floats and call out to the guy who jaga (manned) the door. “Ah Keong Chek (Uncle Keong)!” Then he would just let us in, without us having to pay the $0.20 entrance fee because he knew we were all from the same kampong. My sister and I are very, very close. When I was in primary school, it was her responsibility to take me to school before taking bus number 12 to her own school at St Hilda’s. She was only in Secondary 1 at the time, but back then, 13-year-olds were already considered to be quite grown up and they were given a lot of responsibility. In those days, the bus conductors used to scold us. They would say in Hokkien, “Go inside! There’s no ghost at the back of the bus!” People used to gather in front of the bus and not move to the back because there was only one door near the front. When my sister joined Singapore Airlines (SQ) as a stewardess in the 1970s, she used to take me with her on holidays with the free tickets allocated to family members of cabin

crew. By the time I joined SQ as a steward, she had been with the airline for almost 10 years and was about to resign as she was married and pregnant. But we managed to do one flight together. We requested it so that we could take our parents to Vancouver. In those days, the cabin crew were paid about $2,000, which was a lot of money because most of your peers were being paid a few hundred dollars. I invested this extra money in a salon to support a hairstylist friend. It was my first proper, registered business. After a while, I felt that I still needed that piece of paper (academic qualifications) after all. So I took the money that I had saved up working with Singapore Airlines and spent three years in Australia studying business. When I returned, I joined Qantas doing business development and later I moved into travel agencies. Today, I’m back working with Singapore Airlines as the distributor for their tickets. It’s still my favourite airline.



Goh Heo Kee Born: 1936

Volunteered with gardening and various activities at the Nanyang Girls’ High School in the late 1970s and 1980s, in particular organising the lion dance troupe activities. Joined the school as custodian in 1991. Known as Uncle Jack to all the students. At 12, I decided to stop school (at Nanyang Primary School). I told the principal that I wasn’t good academically, and that while others got two “eggs”, referring to two zeroes when they scored 100, I was only capable of getting one “egg”, meaning that I would get zero. The principal commented that I was the bravest among all her students to have had the courage to walk into her office and discuss things so candidly. I worked in a number of different trades after that, including being a certified electrician and making furniture. But I would return to the school to help out with things like changing light bulbs, hanging couplets during Chinese New Year, weeding and watering the plants. Later on, Principal Chua Liang insisted that I join the school despite it already having seven custodians. I ran into an old girl from the school and she tried to persuade me to take the job, but the wage was much lower than what I was getting with my newspaper delivery job. So I said I would think about it. In the end, they made special arrangements so I could continue delivering newspapers in the early mornings. In those days, the job of a school custodian was not just locking up the offices and gates every night – I was like a handyman. If something was broken, I had to fix it. The custodians also looked after the plants on the school grounds. On top of that, I made stage props for the school’s drama



and dance troupes, and decorations for Chinese New Year. I even made the dragon’s head for the dragon dance during the school’s 75th anniversary celebrations in 1992, which was featured in the newspapers. Things are different these days. Many things are outsourced, so my workload is slightly lighter. Sometimes I have to wait to lock up the school for the accounts staff who work late when they have to close the accounts. But I don’t mind. I was an ex-student and I’ve been a part of this community for so long now, it’s not really a chore. A lot of the old students come back to visit and talk to me. They come to help out with their ECAs (extra-curricular activities) long after they graduate. Some bring gifts during the festive seasons and let me know when they get married. The students know when you show care and concern for them. I try and reason with them when I think they’re doing something wrong, like watching VCDs or cartoons during the exam period. If they’re not happy with being told off, I reason with them and ask them to go home and think about it, whether watching shows instead of studying for their exams is good for them in the long run. If they think I’m wrong, they can come and scold me. They never do.



Han Jok Kwang Born: 1947

Lived on Pulau Bukom as a child. Delivered bread baked by his family business to fellow islanders on Bukom Besar and Bukom Kechil. For leisure, he leads a group of 15 cyclists every Sunday evening on an exploration of Singapore. My family lived on Pulau Bukom and my father was a baker. We made the bread on the island and delivered them to the islanders on Bukom and Bukom Kechil. I went to Pulau Bukom Primary School. The teachers took a ferry to school each day while we children walked, took a bus or cycled. During my first few years in primary school, the school was located next to the refinery. After a couple of years, I believe Shell felt that it was not so safe, and the school was relocated to Pulau Bukom Kechil (Little Pulau Bukom). We now had to commute from Pulau Bukom Besar (Big Pulau Bukom) to Pulau Bukom Kechil. Only a narrow channel separated the two islands, but you still had to take a sampan (boat) to get across. Once on Bukom Kechil, you had to walk to school. That was the setting for my childhood. I didn’t get to see the mainland that often, probably a couple of times a year. At the height of Pulau Bukom’s population (in the 1960s), there were easily more than 5,000 people on the island. The island was quite self-contained in the early days – there were living 34


quarters (for Shell workers) and we had electricity. Shell also provided three movie screenings a week. Workers from the surrounding islands such as Bukom Kechil (now joined with Pulau Bukom after land reclamation), Pulau Semakau and Pulau Seking (now part of Pulau Semakau after land reclamation) would also feed into Bukom Besar, commuting by ferry and sampan to get to work. There were also the people who worked at the medical facilities and the small provision shops, firemen and policemen. There were many different types of manual labourers and contractors around at the time. My grandmother lived on another island, Pulau Semakau, which is a landfill today. My dad lived on Bukom and after he married my mother, she came over to join him. Semakau was a lot more ulu (remote) than Bukom Kechil. I always remember that grandma would trap monitor lizards that were about three feet long and fry them with ginger as a treat when we visited. They tasted like chicken and it was a treat because she took a lot of trouble to trap them. Most of the residents on Semakau were

fishermen, and there was a little barter trading with Indonesian boatmen. Bukom Besar was more modern, with proper housing, roads, a school, an open-air cinema and a hospital. There was a fire brigade and a police force as well. Bukom Kechil bore more resemblance to a kampong – I remember we had a house on stilts. My siblings and I would commute between the two islands to help our parents sell the bread. We would cycle around the islands with baskets of bread, deliver them to the customers and as such, we knew a fair bit about the islands. When you have very little on an island, you try to make the best of nature. For example, we would go fishing at high tide and crabbing at low tide. There were other activities such as sailing and something that is illegal now – spearfishing. We constructed our own spear guns to shoot fishes. The common fishes there are selar and kuning, and in the night you could catch seabass, snapper and garoupa. You could also be very well rewarded with a good cuttlefish catch.

I owned a canoe around the time when Apollo 11 landed on the moon (1969), and I was inspired to name my canoe after it. It was left behind by an expatriate and I made a sail for it by stitching empty flour bags together. Once, I almost drowned while paddling my canoe between Bukom Besar and Bukom Kechil. On land, we flew kites and played games such as marbles, tops and kampong football. During my childhood, there was little control over firecrackers and it was a wonderful treat to play with them during the Chinese New Year period. I grew up having to cycle to school and deliver bread to my island customers. Six years ago, I revisited cycling as a way of exploring Singapore. Today, I lead a group of up to 15 cyclists and we cycle every Sunday evening, covering between 20km to 25km to a different location every week. For Singapore to be a sustainable, liveable city, cycling must feature as a way of life, not merely for “show”. Cycling also makes for a cleaner environment and a healthier population.



Hasan Kutus s/o Meerasahib Born: 1947

Runs a spice shop with his wife at Tanjong Pagar Market. President of the Singapore Tenkasi Muslim Welfare Society and committee member of Maulana Mohammad Ali Mosque. I was born in the Tanjong Pagar area at 4 Cheng Tuan Street, which is now Tanjong Pagar Plaza. We lived there until 1968, when we moved to Kim Tian Road. My father passed away when I was five years old, and my mother raised my sister and I by grinding spices that we supplied to the stalls that sold curry paste. The houses we lived in were dwellings for multiple families; for example, in one house you could find 20 families, with each family occupying one room. One family could have up to 10 children. We also had a common kitchen with individual stoves. There was a communal toilet with a big bathing area where two or three people could bathe at the same time. Sometimes, the families would share their food. I remember people would sleep in their lorries at night because their rooms at home were so small, while others would sleep on folding beds that they laid out on the five-foot-way. There was hardship, but we were used to it and there was no grumbling. We were very poor then, but all of us lived in harmony. When I was a child, I had to help my mother with her work. It was very common for children to do so. I helped to deliver the ground spices to the stalls. We did this about three times a day, once in the morning for them to prepare the curry, another in the afternoon to deliver other things such as pickles, and again in the evening to collect the money. I would deliver the spices in the morning at around 8 am before I went to school, my mother would make the delivery in the afternoon and in the evening, I would do the delivery again.



At that time, we did not realise the importance of education. But now, we know that our children have to be educated in order to succeed in life and we have a lot of government support for that, too. After I retired (from SingPost in 2003), I worked with my wife, Sahban Beevi, at our spice stall at Tanjong Pagar Market. We buy spices from a wholesaler and mix them accordingly, as there are different spice mixes for different recipes. We know the proper preparations for each mix, for dishes such as briyani, korma, soups, masak merah, rendang, fishhead curry. We don’t use onion or ginger in our mixes because some Buddhists don’t take them. We supply our spices to stalls, restaurants and caterers, and many of our customers are from the Chinatown area. At Tanjong Pagar Market, the stallholders are all very friendly and there is respect for everybody. Our spice shop is inherited from my mother’s spice business, which grew from the time she was selling spices from baskets to a stall in 1976. The spice business is in our blood. Our intention is to help people cook good, healthy food. Whatever we sell at the stall, we cook at home. For spice mixes, it’s all about the proportions, the quality of the spices and the experience of the mixer. Some spice stalls don’t like to share their recipes for mixes, but we tell anybody who asks with an open heart. We maintain our relationship with longtime customers and in everything we do, we give all praise to God.



Hedwig Anuar nee Aroozoo Born: 1928

Former Director of the National Library (1965–1988) and co-founder of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE). Founding member of the Library Association of Singapore in 1957 and the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians in 1974. The Raffles Museum (now National Museum of Singapore) and Library were separated in 1955, and the Printers and Publishers Act came into force, under which all Singapore publications had to be deposited in Raffles Library, as well as sent to the British Museum Library in England. Previously, there was hardly anything in Singapore and we had to get everything from London. Most of the books, both in Raffles Library and in the libraries in Malaya, were English books and there were few books in Chinese, Malay or Tamil. If there were libraries that catered to readers in those languages, they would be private association libraries run by the various clan associations in Singapore.

platforms. So it was very important to be visible about this, to show that we were doing something about getting the Chinese, Malay and Tamil books. But they couldn’t understand the technical difficulties in that there were few books in these languages published in Singapore in the first place, and we had to import them from China or India or Malaysia or Indonesia. And of course so many Chinese books were banned anyway because of the communists.

1959 was when the PAP (People’s Action Party) and self-government came in. The last British governor left for England, so they didn’t want another expatriate at the National Library. The policy of Malayanisation was gradually getting more and more locals to head organisations, so it was a very good time for the new graduates because they had all these good prospects ahead of them. The government invited me to come back to Singapore from the University of Malaya.

We would go to the schools and leave some literature with them on how to join the library, what the library had to offer and encouraged both the children and the teachers to use the library. The habit of reading was not established then. In the early 1960s, there were still a lot of people who were illiterate. It was more difficult to reach out to them than the children, and we decided that the best thing would be to reach out to the children first because they were going to be the future readers and users of the library. It was a lot of promotional work. I remember a story in the newspaper with the headline, “Mrs Anuar’s been on the warpath again promoting libraries”.

In November 1960, the library was officially opened by the Yang di Pertuan Negara (Head of State), Yusof Ishak, and he noted that we didn’t have enough chairs or desks because the furniture was being made by the Prisons Department so that we could save money. That was the cheapest furniture we could get. At the time, I think the government saw the library as being useful for promoting multilingualism, which was one of their 38


On promoting reading:

If things had turned out differently, I might have ended up as an academic at the university, as I liked to write stories and poems. But in a way, I am glad I did not, because I think being in the civil service allowed me to be more involved in social issues and working more directly for people and with people. HANDS


Ho Hwee Long

Born: 1940

Joined Teachers’ Training College in late 1950s and rose through the ranks to become a principal. Among the first batch of band instructors trained to start the Singapore School Band Project in 1967. After 44 years, he still continues to conduct bands. Of course, being a new CCA (Co-Curricular Activity), we started too quickly. In the beginning, when we were getting people to join the band, I wouldn’t say it was very difficult but there was some scepticism; some people were doubtful about how successful this programme was going to be. But we had a lot of students. And surprisingly, we saw a lot of girls joining the band. I remember when I first started as a band instructor, I was sent to Cedar Girls. I was still a principal then. In the morning, I was in school; in the afternoon, I taught at Cedar Girls. I saw, wah, the girls came in to play the tuba, play the trombone, play the euphonium‌ I was so amazed. That was the first time in my life that I saw girls playing brass instruments. Later on, of course, there was also the clarinet and saxophone. My generation never dreamed of females playing wind instruments. Traditionally, most females played the piano, or at most, the violin.



I chose to teach band music because I always think that band music, as compared to orchestral music, is easier to reach out to the younger generation with. To put it simply, for orchestral music, the members might mostly be from rich families. They must have had violin, cello or piano lessons since they were young. But for the not so well-to-do families, I think band music caters for all of them, whether they are from middle or lower income class families, to provide the opportunity for these kids to make music collectively. In terms of repertoire, orchestral music is perhaps too highbrow for the general public. Band music or most of the band repertoire can reach out to the general public. I would still like to see the Band Project continue to grow, so we can learn from other countries and mould our own kind of band culture in Singapore.



James Tan Peng Huat Born: 1948

Gave up a job in the Ministry of Health as a trainee nurse to volunteer with the Singapore Armed Forces after the announced withdrawal of the British Army in the 1960s. Actually, when I joined the Armed Forces, I didn’t know what the scope was, what the role was... it was totally new to me. Nevertheless when I joined, the first thing they did was to put me on a military truck and take me to a camp, which happened to be SAFTI (Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute) – at that time, I didn’t know what it meant – at Jurong, 16 and half miles. That was the most disciplined, strictest camp in the whole of Singapore. I went through the training, called Basic Military Training (BMT), which would normally last for three months. But due to the escalated withdrawal of the British, they needed our service quickly; therefore they shortened the entire three months of training into six weeks. That made it even more challenging. We had to do a lot of night duties, night training and night camp. And it was very tiring, really. At that time, I was a bit regretful that I left a job in the hospital with air-con and an easier life



to join the army under the hot sun and with a tough training life. After a while, I think the regime did me good in terms of my physique and my health. The BMT then was very, very tough. A lot of what I went through is no longer in practice today. For example, we were asked to “change parade”. It’s more a matter of discipline than anything. They knew that you couldn’t make it. They counted from 1 to 10 and they expected you to quickly strip and shower and come back to the parade square by the count of 10. Even if they counted to 50, you wouldn’t be able to make it. They purposely wanted to punish people and wanted you to have quick reflexes, because in the army, when they shout for assembly, you have to get in line as quickly as you can. So at that time, when I was told to change parade... when I came back I was shivering in the cold evening breeze, shivering while trying to stand straight. And that was tough.

Also, if you made any mistake, you had to do “high port”, meaning that you put the rifle – at that time the rifle was very heavy; it had a wooden butt and weighed about 16 kg as compared to today, I believe it is now only 5 kg – you have to put the rifle straight above your head while doing frog jumps. That was very, very tough. On top of that, we also jumped up a slope called Peng Kang hill. The hill was very steep and you needed a lot of strength to jump upwards – not downwards, you know. We also had a stand-by-bed parade every morning at about 5 am or 6 am. We woke up as early as 4:30 am to do PT (physical training) and running, followed by stand-by-bed, where every piece of clothing in the wardrobe had to be aligned squarely, without any protrusion or thread coming out from the clothing, nothing. And the mugs from breakfast must be completely dry. I saw incidents when the mugs were turned upside down and covered up, and when the officer picked up the

mugs and found water, they threw the mug outside the parade square. Whether it was raining or not, if you didn’t align your clothing properly, they were pulled out of your wardrobe and thrown out to the parade square. Imagine how bad you’d feel if it happened to you. At that time, the military was very, very well disciplined. And that’s where I learnt how to iron my clothes, because in the army I was told to iron my own clothes. It must be fully starched, must be folded exactly with four fingers – not more, not less, four-finger fold – and you have to iron until the clothes can stand on their own on the desk... that’s how I got used to ironing up till today. And that has helped me as well when I raised my own family.



Jasmine Lim Born: 1959

Grew up in a family with two sisters and a brother. Her parents ran a popular traditional bakery in Upper Paya Lebar that was once featured on a television show. Now the successful owner of a beauty business. After I finished secondary school, I helped out at the bakery for a while before getting a job at a clothing boutique at Wisma Atria. It was there that I met a lot of my contacts – I was good at connecting with people, and I made friends quickly. In the late 1980s, I attended a course at a beauty school in Far East Plaza. At first, it was just for fun, but I quickly became interested in learning more about the beauty industry. I started visiting industry exhibitions in Hong Kong to learn more about the various brands and suppliers. During that period, I visited exhibitions in Hong Kong for 10 consecutive years. On one of those visits, I discovered a beauty cream made by a Swiss manufacturer and eventually got them to manufacture creams for my own brand, Dermaglow. I started going to offices and homes to sell the creams, but I wasn’t going in cold. I got my friends and contacts to try the creams, and they would recommend them to their family and friends. So when I visited each office or home, I would already



have a few sales. My business really spread by word of mouth, and I am so grateful to have met many helpful clients who have become friends. Some of my clients were bankers and socialites who recommended me to many of their friends, and that helped my business. I even had a client who was a banker, and she recommended me to her friends and contacts in Taiwan. I made a trip to Taiwan just to sell creams to her friends there. I got to where I am today because of clients and friends like these who helped me grow my business. In 1994, I started my first shop in Toa Payoh. I later moved the shop to Bukit Timah, before shifting to my present location at Goldhill Plaza. I didn’t have much difficulty and setting up the shop was smooth sailing, all thanks to the support from my regulars. Some of them have been with me for 20 years. I believe it’s because of the service we provide, the quality of my beauty therapists and the trust my customers have in me, which is why they’ve stayed with me for so long. I’m quite blessed that my clients trust me and my recommendations.



Jita Singh Born: 1949

Member of the national football team for five years (1969–1973), after which he was motivated to become the first Sikh football coach. Coached the national football team from 1979 to 1984. Currently Senior Head of Game Development at the Football Association of Singapore. In those days, it was quite easy for us to play football; we would just play in any space we could find and use stones or wooden sticks for goalposts. Our ball would be a plastic ball and we would play barefoot. The ground could be uneven, we would get cuts here and there, but it didn’t matter to us. I was an athlete and held the school’s short- and long-distance records, and I also played hockey for the school. But I found football to be more challenging and more fun. I come from the Sikh community, and at that time the majority of the community was involved in hockey. When you talked about a Sikh, you automatically associated him with hockey. When I was in my teens in the 1960s, because of the pressure from my community, I couldn’t openly tell my family that I was going to play football. So I used to tell them that I was going to watch a football match at the St George’s field. In those days, there would be various leagues such as the Business Houses League and the Government Services League, as well as friendly games. I would go and play in a game without my shirt on, and after the game I would use handkerchiefs from my house to wipe the sweat off. So that was my daily routine until one day, it happened that my father went to watch a game with his friends. I didn’t see



him, but he saw me playing. After the game, I did my normal routine and went home. My mother asked me who won the game. And you know, it had to be Murphy’s Law – usually I would know the result because I would ask around. This time, I didn’t ask. So I was stuck for a while, and the cane came out when she told me that my father had seen me playing bare-bodied. Well, I had a few lashes and it was discovered that I was the thief stealing the handkerchiefs from the house. Eventually my parents relented and allowed me to play, because I had a very good mentor from the Windsor Rovers football club, Mr G. P. Suppiah. He assured my parents that he would take care of me and that football would not harm me. I remember that when I was first selected to play for the national team, the jerseys were made of heavy cotton and not comfortable at all. It was a jersey with four coloured squares. They didn’t have laundry services so the players took their jerseys back home to wash. I was so proud of playing for Singapore that I would open my closet to look at the jersey every couple of hours. There wasn’t any Singapore flag on it, just four squares! But the pride of playing for the country was so strong that I just had to look at the jersey every few hours.



Jumiah Yunus Born: 1944

Trained as a midwife (1963–1965) and was a qualified rural midwife from 1966 for 33 years. Retired due to the arrival of her granddaughter. Still works part-time through the Silver Connection because she loves babies. As a kid, I grew up in Geylang and led a simple life. I was like a samseng kia (tomboy), and roamed around in my singlet and shorts. Although we were poor, we managed to study. I did my ‘O’ levels at Siglap Secondary School in 1962. My batch was the first girls’ batch. After my ‘O’ levels, I started training as a midwife. I was in the 40th batch. Midwife training was very interesting – classroom work in the mornings, then hands-on training after a few months. We went to the wards to learn how to handle babies, to see how babies were delivered. My first time holding and bathing a baby was scary and I shivered while doing so! I remember working at KK (Kandang Kerbau) Hospital during the baby boom period where we even delivered babies on the floor! We had to squat down to deliver the baby. We were strong at that time because we were so young. And the amniotic fluid sometimes shot out and splattered on us. I delivered many, many babies. At that time we worked the afternoon shift from 2 pm to 9 pm and if we were in the labour ward, we took fetal heart rate, checked their blood pressure, checked the patients and delivered babies. If there was a doctor’s case, we called the doctor – there were no



handphones then. We had to use the intercom to reach the doctors; they would tell us where they were and we would contact them. I remember the most number of cases I had to handle in a day was 22! I also worked in the rural areas. We would go to the homes for delivery, to do nursing. I found it enjoyable, because when you went to the patients’ home they treated you better. In the 1960s, I used to have to promote the “Two is Enough” campaign for the Family Planning and Population Board. We had to check on couples to see how many children they already had, and their income status. It was for their future actually. When we advised the wife, the husband was not around. After delivery, they didn’t come back for their contraceptives. So we had to visit them at their homes. We were like sales girls. Some of the couples didn’t want to stop having children and we had to respect that. I got chased out by a husband once – he said, “Even worms on the wood have food to eat, why you worry about my children?” We just carried on with our work.



Khoo Kah Chin Born: 1942

Trained in the Malaysian navy, but decided to join the newly formed Singaporean navy after marrying a Singaporean. I mean, a navy is a navy, you know. And there wasn’t any problem. We speak the same language; most navies speak the same language. Most naval officers, we talk to each other, we understand each other pretty well. Somehow we have the same sense, the same feeling. The Indonesians had their own patrol, their custom boats, which used to patrol the Singapore Straits, and we had our Singapore boats. We look at each other, sometimes we wave, sometimes they just stare at us and we just stare back at them. After all, there’s no war; they’re doing their job and we’re doing our job. That’s about it.

Responsible for setting up the Diving Unit in 1971, he recalls an unconventional service the unit performed during peacetime: We had fishermen coming back suffering from bends, you know, nitrogen narcosis. When they dive under water too long, breathing compressed air, they get air bubbles in the blood system. So you get them coming to the diving school



for treatment. We had two doctors trained in Australia who had diplomas in underwater medicine. The divers operated the chamber and the doctors would do the treatment. We had quite a few cases of this. In peacetime that became part of our role, in addition to what a navy diver was supposed to do. We took it as a job and did it quite well.

In addition to changing the flags he sailed with, Khoo also wore three different uniforms in the Singapore Navy. Before the standard white, Khoo had also donned the early jungle green: Can you imagine a navy man wearing a green uniform with boots? Of course later, we said, hey, this cannot go on, we cannot have guys in jungle green and boots running around the ship. It’s slippery and you may fall. Jungle green is good for the jungle, for camouflage, but not in the navy. So slowly we changed from green to beige, but we still had green overalls. And then later we changed to white and then changed our overalls to blue.



Koh Keow Chai Born: 1952

Former chairman of the Civil Defence Committee. Ex-policeman. Now serves his community as a volunteer. It was a Saturday morning, and we heard the news about the collapse of Hotel New World. I went with Lawrence Sia, in my capacity as a member of the Resident’s Committee. They said, “Aren’t you a policeman with the Traffic Police? You need to come here immediately.” So I went along with the Secretary. The collapse of Hotel New World at the junction of Serangoon Road and Owen Road on 15 March 1986 was an incident that saw seven storeys collapse into a single pile. When I arrived, there was a strong stench of gas. And I saw people smoking. My first instinct was to shout, “Smokers, out! No smoking!” and proceeded to chase them away. It was quite messy then, and everyone was at a loss as to what to do. So we started calling in the police to handle the traffic and call in the rescuers.



It was timely that there were people digging underground for the subways then, and they helped with the rescue efforts. About 33 people died, I think... people were filled with all kinds of emotions; many were devastated, many also came to help. I was running to and fro, between my position as the chairman of the Civil Defence Committee and my duties as a member of the Traffic Police. There were people from the construction industry who came with supplies such as wooden planks and nails on lorries, and offered them to us. And when we started to calculate how much we ought to pay them, they just waved and left. Others also came forward with eggs, porridge... we had a steady supply of food.



Kok Kham Seng Born: 1953

Worked in Seiko Instruments since 1974. Has been in the company for 39 years. Presently Division Manager in charge of Total Quality Management. Grew up helping in his father’s laundry shop in Jalan Kayu. When I was about to complete my National Service, I saw a notice posted inside the camp advertising an apprenticeship with Seiko. They wanted to start a company here and needed technicians. Seiko was a big name at the time (1970s) and so I was interested. It was very common to read in the newspapers about how Singapore was moving towards industrialisation. I did not know exactly what I would be trained in, but because the company was reputable, I thought it could be an interesting area to get into and a good opportunity to build my career. This was Seiko’s first plant outside of Japan, but it would also be a fully integrated plant, right from the raw materials up to the finished product. This meant that many people were sent to Japan for training in different areas and for different durations depending on what they were being trained for. The planning was very thorough and systematic. In the beginning, we were not called Seiko Instruments, we were called Singapore Time. When you tell people that you are working for Singapore Time, people would get confused and think that you were working for the press, like The Straits Times.

to open a plant in Singapore. The Prime Minister attended the official opening of the first plant in 1973. It was the first watch plant in Singapore at the time. It was a very grand occasion; all of us had to put up displays to explain what we were doing. There was a lion dance performance and newspaper coverage, and a lot of excitement. We practised for the event according to detailed plans. Those who were trained in Japan were assigned to give a presentation to the PM. There were 90 of us. At every point there were people standing around waiting for him to come by and give a brief explanation of each station. When he walked past the stamping station, for example, we would have products set up and placed under the microscope so that he could look at them and we would explain the purpose of that particular part in the watch. Since then, the factory in Singapore has expanded and diversified. We moved away from the rental premises in Marsiling Drive to our current place, and the various buildings were added in stages. I’ve ended up staying with them for 39 years and counting.

Apparently, it was the PM (then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew) who encouraged and convinced the general manager of Seiko





Kok Ying Oi Born: 1917

Came to Singapore with her mother when she was eight years old. Ran a charcoal business with her husband. Lived at Temple Street for over 80 years. Back in those days, there could be 40 people living in one shophouse. There were eight rooms in each shophouse. The rent was cheap and you paid only $2.50 to $3 for a room. Money was worth more in those days. You could buy things with a cent. These days, you can’t even buy anything with a dollar. How did I meet my husband? I lived upstairs and he was working downstairs. He was Teochew. They had a business selling charcoal. My mom liked him and thought he was a good man. My husband started the business back in China. He followed his uncle who was selling charcoal. His uncle brought him to Singapore to set up a shop selling charcoal. So we continued the business. After my husband died, my sons took over the business. The business continued until our Arab landlord decided to take back the shop. Charcoal was really cheap. 18 cents could get you 10 kati (unit of measurement equivalent to 605 grams) of charcoal. Only 18 cents. That’s really cheap right? Money was worth more then. Selling charcoal was tough. You had to squat, sort and pack the charcoal into bags. Afterwards you had to sew the bags shut before loading them onto the lorry. Of course it was hard work. The young workers took care of it. I never had to do it. As a daughter I never had to work. And as a daughter-in-law I also never had to work. I seldom left the house; it was as if I was hiding in a hole. I had very little experience and knowledge. No one uses charcoal anymore these days. They are very dirty. Everyone uses gas now. In the past, most people used charcoal.



But these days everyone prefers to have clean homes. They hire servants to clean their house. Use charcoal? You must be joking. Your hands will become black and you would have to wash them. With gas, you just turn the knob. The older generation does not like to eat food cooked using gas. The younger people do. They like it because it is quicker. If you use a charcoal stove to cook rice, it will stay warm for very long. But rice from the rice cooker turns cold very fast. The heat from an electric cooker is not strong enough. Rice cooked over charcoal is also more fragrant. Rice from the rice cooker is not so tasty and it has no fragrance. But charcoalcooked rice has a fragrance. Charcoal is just better. After all, charcoal has been around since the creation of heaven and earth. Hasn’t it? I gave birth to four children. My husband’s wife from China had four children and they were brought to Singapore. We raised seven children here. Three daughters and four sons. The eldest was already a young man. We scrimped and saved, raising them by selling charcoal. They went to Yang Zheng School. My children never went to university, but my grandchildren did. They are all university graduates. Grandsons, granddaughters, everyone is a graduate! My children did not attend university because we could not afford their education. My grandchildren visit me often, and they always bring me out. We will go to restaurants and have shark’s fin. They are willing to splurge. The grandchildren really love me.



Leaena Tambyah Born: 1937

A committed social worker. Was Assistant Director of Department of Social Welfare (1961–1964), Chairman of Family Welfare Services, Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) (1975–1978) and Chairman of Handicapped Children’s Playgroup (1979–1985). My parents were very much into voluntary work, so that influenced me. My father used to be involved with the St Andrew’s Mission Hospital. My mother, too, was involved in voluntary work. I was exposed to this from an early age, to think about people who had a different and tough way of life. I belonged to our Church Youth Fellowship. One day we went to visit the St Andrew’s Orthopaedic Hospital. At that time, polio was a big problem for children with disabilities. So there were a lot of post-polio kids. They had a school there, with a teacher who would teach them so that they could keep up with their studies when they went back to school. Our youth fellowship went there on a visit one day, and I was sitting on a bed with this little fellow telling him stories. And when it was time for us to go home, he just put his arms around me in a scissor-grip and wouldn’t let me go. “You cannot go, you cannot go, you must stay here and tell me some more stories.” And that touched me tremendously. And so I thought, “Ok, I must try and do something for these kids.” And social work seemed to be an option.

In the 1990s, Leaena worked closely with AWWA and looked into placing children with disabilities into mainstream education: Kathleen Chia was chairman at that time, and she said, “I’ve got two boys in the Centre for the Multiply Handicapped Children who are too bright and shouldn’t be in this school.” So we tried to put them into mainstream schools. The Ministry of Education



said, “We have no disabled children in mainstream schools. Sorry, but we cannot take them in.” But I knew that there were disabled children in the mainstream schools. Quietly, we did our own research and found that there were more than a hundred of them, because of principals who were kind and thoughtful and accepted these children with disabilities. When you register a child for primary school, you just take the birth certificate; you don’t have to take the child along. But when the child turned up on the first day of school, and they saw this kid on his crutches or in his wheelchair, they said, “Come,” and they took them in. And they kept all their classes on the ground floor, and when necessary, friends or teachers carried them upstairs. Of course, I realised this was not safe for the children. So Tan Bee Wan, who was NCSS (National Council for Social Service) head at that time, decided to do a study of the number of children with disabilities in mainstream schools. She invited me and another medical social worker to take part. From our study, we discovered that these children with disabilities were not going for therapy because their parents did not have the time or the money for the therapy sessions. So then, I remembered that when I was a child, SATA (Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association) used to have travelling mobile X-ray vans to the kampongs. So we got vans and fitted it up like a therapy clinic. We took it to the schools. It was such a success!



Lim Beak Born: 1908

Worked on her husband’s farm in her mid 30s until her 70s, where she grew vegetables and later reared pigs and fish. I was born on the 18th day of the first month in 1908, and came to Singapore when I was 34 on board a big boat called An Keng. My husband had fled here in 1939 to avoid conscription back in Fujian in China. My Si Soh (literally Fourth Aunty, but meaning sister-in-law) was very considerate and said, “We’d better get Gor Soh (referring to Lim Beak) to Singapore. Otherwise, he’ll have been gone for so long, he might go and marry a native there.” When I first got here, I took a tram, pulled along by a wire that went from downtown to the 10th Mile of Ulu Sembawang. From there, we got on a lorry to go to the 13th mile of Ulu Sembawang, which is also called Jia Zui Gang (freshwater harbour). My husband had been staying there with his sister and brother-in-law. We went around asking for seeds of various vegetables such as long bean, bittergourd, tapioca and eggplant. It took 40 days before we could harvest the crops. Eggplants sold for only two cents a kati (unit of measurement equivalent to 605 grams) then and we would earn slightly over a dollar with our harvest. But that set us up with the beginnings of our farm. After that, we borrowed money from a friend to join the local tontine scheme. We used $10 to bid for the lottery and managed to get $580 for capital to buy pigs. I knew a little about rearing pigs as we had one or two of them in China. When the pigs were sold, we could return the money we borrowed.



When I first arrived, hardly anyone lived in that area. It was all rubber plantations and no other families lived within a two-mile radius. Only army deserters ventured that far. Luckily, more people moved to the area later on and a school was set up, so my children could be educated locally. In the early 1950s, some very heavy rains washed away a lot of the soil for growing vegetables. So we decided to dig a pond and rear fish instead. I remember we went to the city to buy the fry. Silver carp fry cost 10 cents, grass carp was also 10 cents. We also got song fish and tai. All in, the cost of the fry was about $100. I asked the seller if we could them pay back after 10 months when the fish were big and ready to be sold, and he said okay. He couldn’t do anything else with the fish anyway so he didn’t mind us owing him the money. Everyone did that in those days. In 1986, the government said we weren’t allowed to rear pigs anymore as the pig waste might pollute our water supply. They suggested we move to HDB (Housing Development Board) flats. I moved into one in 1993. HDB flats now stand on where my farm once was. When I didn’t have to look after the animals anymore, I could go travelling. I travelled all over China and also went back to my hometown several times. My great-grand nieces and nephews are very warm towards me and ask that I go back and visit often.



Lim Koon Meng Born: 1942

Studied in Chung Cheng High School and then in London. Started his own construction firm and was involved in the construction of Mount Elizabeth Hospital in the late 1970s. It was quite a culture shock when I got to England in the 1960s to study, because the English spoken there wasn’t anything like the English spoken at my school. In those days, you could get away with not speaking very much English at all in Singapore. Even though we were still under the British at the time, many government officers spoke in dialect or Malay. I travelled to England as a British subject. There were no Singapore passports in those days. Because I was away, Singapore’s independence was a fairly remote concept and did not have much of an impact on me until my travel documents expired and I had to get new ones. I turned 21 just after Singapore had become independent. My parents had been receiving letters from the immigration department but they didn’t realise the significance of the correspondence and didn’t do anything about it. So when I tried to get a new passport in London, they told me that because I had not returned to Singapore to swear my allegiance to the newly independent country, I was effectively stateless and potentially stuck there. When I came back from my studies, I worked for the Public Works Department for about three years. It was very routine work, drafting buildings for the military. But it gave me some experience as to how the construction industry worked here. The first project I worked on when I joined the private sector was for Lum Chang. They had just won a tender to build HDB flats in Tanjong Pagar – a group of 5 blocks and an adjoining car park. That was an important learning experience for me as



it gave me hands-on experience from the ground up, literally. I was on site the day the piling machines went in until the day the flats were completed. The schedule was very, very tight. The buildings needed to be completed well before the 1976 elections. We had to work day and night on that project. The site was next to the Yan Kit Swimming Complex, which was a popular place at the time. When the piling was in full swing, we asked if they would close the pool for two weeks. The construction company was willing to compensate the pool for any losses due to the closure, but they refused. They said that the pool was for the public and they couldn’t just deny everyone the use of the pool for two weeks. The problem was that after the construction began, cracks were found in the pool. These could have been there from before the construction and exacerbated when it began. We were really worried about safety issues, but the management maintained that the public should have access to the swimming pool. It was a very stressful period; we prayed that we could finish that part of the construction quickly and without any incident. The construction went on, rain or shine, day and night. There were complaints about the noise from residents in the surrounding areas, but we couldn’t stop. Those blocks of flats were finished on schedule within that remarkably tight timeframe. It might have been some kind of record. HDB flats after that took much longer to build.



Low Kim Heng Born: 1952

Former hawker’s assistant selling beef hor fun (flat rice noodles) at a hawker stall on Koek Road in 1965. Later worked in a coffee shop, Bamboo House, then in various hotel kitchens. Now a chef at Raffles Town Club, handling cold dishes. I was recommended by my father’s friend to become an assistant to a hawker, and I slowly picked up the skills. It was difficult, like in hawker centres these days. The hawker centre was along the roadside on Koek Road. It used to be crowded there, flanked by two rows of old shophouses, where Centrepoint is now. One side was open-air, and the hawkers set up their stalls from noon. That was around 1965 to 1969, before they were chased away. There were also hawkers in coffeeshops in old shophouses, kind of like what they used to have in Chinatown, with patrons eating by the roadside. The upper stretch (towards the back of Cuppage Road) sold Malay food and the lower stretch sold Chinese food. The food sold were the usual traditional fare – the Hainanese sold curry rice and porridge, some sold Hokkien mee, beef noodles, kway teow soup, and so on. Basically the food you see at hawker centres now. It was a high-class place, because it wasn’t as messy. Especially because the Orchard Road market was very clean and catered to the Europeans. As an assistant, I had to slice beef and clean the cow’s stomach, which wasn’t like the readily frozen ones today. We had to buy the unprocessed ones, which were very dirty.



Then we used a pot, and added gypsum powder to marinate the stomach, until it was soft and then we scraped off the dirt. The dish (beef hor fun) took many hours to prepare, and we had to use the bones to boil the broth. Orchard Road back then was quite quiet; there were not too many people during the weekdays, except perhaps at lunch. Past 9 pm, not many people would be left. Only one stretch, where Paragon is now, could be quite crowded. They had what you called tea dances there on Sundays. Our coffee house was opposite the Mandarin Hotel, known as Bamboo House. It was quite famous. Our chefs were mainly Hainanese. I am not Hainanese, but I speak the dialect. Because Hainanese used to work in British military bases, they were already trained and worked in kitchens like ours when they left the base. The coffee house sold both Western and Chinese cuisine, as well as pastries. Every day, we worked from morning to night, non-stop. Sometimes we had a break in the afternoon. We worked from 10 am to about 2:30 pm and had a break, before resuming at 5 pm. Those of us in the Western food kitchen did not get a break and we worked the entire day, because people still came in the afternoons.



Mohamed Hanapi bin Mohamed Born: 1945

Was in the police force for 26 years on rotation in different divisions and locations. Started out in Woodlands division near the customs, later worked at Orchard and Tanglin divisions. Retired to spend time with family. I applied to be a temporary teacher at Pulau Merlimau Primary School off Tanjong Kling. Every day for three months, I took a sampan (boat) to and from the island to teach. But because my Malaysia Certificate Examination results did not meet the teaching requirements, I became a police officer instead. I joined the police force in 1965. I was sent to the Jalan Gurney barracks in Kuala Lumpur and trained there for six months. The recruits came from all over, such as Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore and other parts of Malaysia. There was an option to serve in other parts of Malaysia because Singapore was part of Malaya at the time. But then Singapore separated from Malaysia right in the middle of my training. Because training was so tough, we thought the separation meant that we could go back home and that training was over. We were so happy! We all threw our uniforms and boots up onto the zinc roof of the barracks in celebration. But then, we were ordered to retrieve our things and continue training. When I first started as a policeman, I had to wear brown shorts and a grey wool shirt. If we handled decomposed bodies, we would have to get new shirts because the smell would stick. I also had to polish the silver buttons on my shirts and wear boots and knee-high socks. I felt quite proud wearing the uniform. People had respect for the uniform in those days. As a police officer, I dealt with many things. There were gang fights in the 1970s and we would patrol the streets and



look out for hidden parangs (big knives) or weapons under gunnysacks or in the trees or bushes. I would also see many corpses. I once saw a victim of a fight whose neck was almost severed. One of the younger officers fainted after seeing it and needed an ambulance. And there was once, after lunch, two younger colleagues saw the gruesome sight of bodies that had been run over at the train tracks near Rifle Range Road. They vomited their lunch. During my time at the Orchard Road Division in the 1970s, many personal thefts were reported. So we formed a special task force where I was dispatched to identify the pickpocket syndicate. I paired up with my counterparts to trail the suspects and catch them red-handed. I think I had a knack for spotting Indonesian pickpockets and I suspect they performed black magic on their victims before taking their belongings. These Indonesians had talismans on their bodies and the victims would only realise that their things were stolen after the police informed them of the theft. These culprits would get fined and be deported back to Indonesia. But they would change the names on their passport and be back in Singapore to steal again a few weeks later. I think that the police force should interview and survey the retiring officers. They are the ones who have vast experience. And as you know, we police officers are of all different races and we all get along. We enjoy our time together.



Mrs Mohamed Siraj Born: 1925

First female social worker with the Syariah Court. Co-founded the Young Women’s Muslim Association (1952) and the Muslim Women’s Welfare Council (1964). My husband was involved in community and social work and I was in a number of committees as well, including the Singapore Children’s Society and the Family Planning Society. I realised that there were no Muslim women on the committees and I thought that if anything happened, no one would help us Muslim women. In the 1950s, men could divorce their wives just by verbalising the divorce and paying them alimony of $30 for three months even if they had children. It was not fair, but women had no rights and could not protect themselves. My friends and I decided that we must do something and we started the Young Women’s Muslim Association by word of mouth. Women then were afraid of their husbands, and some were told by their husbands that they would divorce them if they joined us. We told them that if they were afraid, they wouldn’t be able to do many things. Some of the women were not afraid and said that even if they were thrown out of their homes, they would still fight. We met the legislators and brought forward issues such as the divorce and polygamy laws. Eventually, these laws became better. We also told them that Muslims needed a place where women could go and bring up their issues and achieve more rights, and that ended up being the Syariah Court.

came to the court because of problems with their husbands. Mostly these were money issues – their husbands would marry other women and leave them without financial support. I also felt that since I was involved in all this work, I should know more about the law. If we didn’t know the law, how would we be able to help people? But it was difficult studying at a late age, especially since I was also working. I started attending classes with Encik Ahmad Ibrahim (Singapore’s first local Attorney General) and he taught me a great deal. In 1964, we started the Muslim Women’s Welfare Council. Even after the divorce and polygamy laws were changed, there were still problems as many men just did as they liked. Most women were not educated and their parents and husbands would keep them at home. With the council, we did charity and welfare work, and we tried to help the women by giving them legal and medical advice. What kept me going was the desire to help those unfortunate people. There were so many unfortunate women and children, and unfortunate men as well. I felt that I had to help in whatever way I could.

I later worked in the Syariah Court as a counsellor, and it was a horrible experience because there were many women who





Ng Weng Sang Born: 1950

Studied theatre design in London. Created accessories for fashion shows in the 1970s. Eventually began working on window displays for Tangs Department Store. In the 1960s, when I was still in school, my mother and I would visit the stores in High Street, Raffles Place and Shenton Way every Saturday.

me a job, but because I couldn’t get deferment from NS, I couldn’t take the job. After NS, there were no opportunities in either film or television, so I started doing accessories.

We would always have lunch in one of the Western food places, such as GH Café, Polar or Troika. In those days, the Western food establishments were always run by the Hainanese.

That was in 1978. At that time, all the big fashion brands weren’t available in Singapore yet, or if they were here, only the clothes came in, the accessories didn’t. We did not have all this high-fashion jewellery. So they needed someone to do accessories for the fashion shows. I had to look at the catalogue, figure out the look for the collection and create accessories that would go with it. I created accessories from scratch for boutiques such as Club 21, Glamourette and Link. I would also do the props, stage settings and table settings for parties or events that the boutiques had. And that’s how Tang Wee Sung got to know of me and my work and how I eventually ended up doing window displays for Tangs.

The hip stores then were places such as Robinsons, Whiteaways and Metro, but OG on Upper Cross Street had the most memorable window displays. Everyone looked to OG on Upper Cross Street for their iconic window displays, especially in the 1970s. It was always done as a pictorial, telling a whole story. They would have up to 20 mannequins in different poses depicting a complex scene. They had the biggest and most interesting window displays. Another memorable one was Whiteaways in Shenton Way. Whiteaways was a British store, a bit like Robinsons, but they had moving displays featuring marionettes. My mother felt that the best thing she could do for me was to give me a good education, and that this “inheritance” was better than leaving me money. After my father passed away, she paid the $50,000 bond in order to let me go to art college in London before serving NS (National Service).

I can still remember my first display at Tangs. We were in the midst of preparing for the move to the new Tangs building and they needed someone to replace the original display guy who had been tasked to help with store planning. My first display was in the old store. It was the children’s window, featuring stuffed mannequins sitting on a life buoy. It was a small window, at the most only 10 feet. That’s all I remember of my first window display.

I studied theatre design, and when I came back, I tried to get a job doing sets for films. One of the Shaw brothers offered





Oer See Kiang Born: 1951

Started working in the construction industry at age 16. Still in the industry, mainly supervising worksites. I was born in Singapore and spent my childhood in Norfolk estate, known as Bek Gioh in dialect. My mother died from epilepsy when I was eight and my father passed away when I was 11. I was the second youngest out of seven children, and could not complete my primary school. After my father died, we were homeless as the government or landlord had confiscated our place. I had to fend for myself as most of my relatives were without the financial means to help. I worked for anyone who could provide food and lodging then. I worked as a child labourer at a leather factory making shoes. The working hours were very long and I had to pay for food myself. I remember being alone in the factory during Chinese New Year, eating roti prata while everyone else was home celebrating. I was keen to work fast, and once, I was not careful while using the industrial stamping machine to cut leather and my index finger was crushed. I was out of action for three months and the boss “compensated” me with $270, which was equivalent to 3 months’ pay, and told me I was not to report him to the authorities and to go away. When I was 16 and stronger, someone recommended that I work in the construction sites, carrying sand and mixing cement. I started working in construction sites building small bungalows in the Bukit Timah area. I hoed mud and had to carry sand for $4 a day. If it rained, I would have no income for the day. I would stay in the makeshift warehouse in the worksite.



I was interested in reading blueprints and construction jobs involving metal, and taught myself the relevant skills through observation. I learnt most of these skills within a year. I was hardworking and thus my daily wage was raised from $3 to $10 within a year. I soon started subcontracting projects for metal work in civil engineering, making drains and canals, overhead bridges and so on. Around 1970, Singapore’s construction industry was booming, and I started subcontracting metal jobs from Tan Kim Huat Construction Company. I worked on the Changi Airport hangar for close to three years, building the workshops where the planes would be repaired. We also built underground storage tanks for the planes’ petroleum as well as the drainage system. Back then, there were no mandated safety measures. We could wear slippers to worksites and many people did. Stepping on nails was an everyday affair, nothing surprising. Regulations to wear helmets and safety boots were only in place in the 1980s. After that, I mainly worked in civil engineering projects such as the Tiong Bahru and Hougang canals. I built so many drains and canals that I cannot recall all of them. Around 1985, I worked with Eastern Industry to secure a part of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) western line, from Bukit Merah to Boon Lay. We built the footings and pillars for the MRT tracks.



Othman bin Tubah Born: 1947

Worked as a contractor after graduating from school. One of his first jobs was at the Pasir Panjang power station. Later worked as driver. We had to use our hands to pull the thick electrical cable. The exterior of the cable was made of rubber, but the interior had all this electrical cable, all metal, so it was very heavy. We had to pull it out from the big rolls and put it inside the sand. Many people were needed to pull it. There was a sort of tunnel in the sand, we put the cable in there and covered up after that. At the time, the power station was still run by the British. Later on, I also worked at the docks in Pasir Panjang, carrying things off the British ships. It was very difficult to get work. There was a company called Chua Chua Leong and we would go there and wait to see if they needed people for the day. When the ships came in, they would decide how many men they needed, and if we were called up, we would go and carry ammunition from the ship to the waiting trucks. Big, big magazines. Very heavy. The work was not regular, sometimes there was work, sometimes there wasn’t. After that, in the 1960s, I went to work in the Jurong Shipyard. My friend was a crane driver there and he recommended



that I work there. But I didn’t know how to drive, so I did staging for the engine room. This means that we set up the place so that the people who needed to do welding, spray painting or repair things could go in after we set up. Later, I had a team of maybe three, four men, and I was the person in charge. My manager from Jurong Shipyard went to Mitsubishi Shipyard. He asked me to join him there. The shipyard was at Pioneer Road. Anyway, I didn’t stay long with Mitsubishi. When I joined them, I originally asked to be inside the engine room, similar to what I was doing before. But they put me in the tank, which meant that we had to clean the tank and do the staging there. It was very deep and slippery. This is the tank where they put the oil for the ship, so it also smelt bad and was very dangerous. But you know, about a year after I left, that’s when the ship exploded. You know Spyros? Some of the men that I was in charge of were inside the ship. I said to myself, “Alamak…” They were people from my section; there was one welder and two sisters. I knew those

two sisters, both cleaners; they were on board the ship when it exploded. It’s so sad. When the news was reported, people called me and told me, “You know this guy, last time under you? He was there. Gone already.” Life was difficult at the time. I had three children, all in school. A friend I knew from the coffee shop at my block asked me to take my driving licence so I could get different kind of jobs. I went to take the test. That time very easy. When you fail, you can try again after two or three days. Not like now. But I was very lucky, one time I pass already. Motorbike also one time I pass. Even if you had no motorbike licence, you just had to display the “L” plate and you could go on the road. After I passed my test, I tried to get a job as a driver. Ahmad, lah, last time they call Ahmad. I read in the newspaper about a place at International Plaza that was looking for a driver. So I went for an interview, but they didn’t ask me why my licence was red. At the time, you would get a red licence when you just passed the driving test. Only after one year,

then you would get a normal license. But they never asked me about it. So I was supposed to start work two or three days later. When I reported to work, they asked me to drive the car. Whoa… it was a Mercedes. I was nervous! So I drove very slowly. After a while, it was okay, but when I had to go to the office, I had to drive up, up, up the International Plaza car park. Sweat! I mainly drove the boss’ mother around. You know, the Ah Ma. She had small feet. I drove her when she went to wash her hair at the salon, or when she went to Guang Meng Sua (Bright Hill Temple) to pray. I had Chinese friends in the kampong (village), so I learnt some Chinese, easy words, lah. Then when Ah Ma spoke to me in Chinese, and asked me if I want to go here or go there, I told her, “Chin chye (anything), lah!” Then she said, “Eh, you can speak Chinese?” So they liked me. I worked there for 25 years, until no one needed looking after. The children all grew up, there was no one left to drive.



Ramachandra Murugaia Born: 1931

Came to Singapore in 1948. Opened Jothi Store & Flower Shop in 1960 selling cigarettes, betel leaves and prayer items. Back then, Singapore looked like a village. No traffic lights, only one-way traffic. There was one traffic light at Stamford Road; people came to see it. I first started working at The Straits Times for two years from 1948 to 1950. I started as a compositor. Now they have electronics and all. At that time there was nothing, everything was written by hand. Then the Singapore Tiger Standard opened and people asked me to work there as the salary was higher. At the time, former Foreign Minister S. Rajaratnam was working with me. A lot of people came to see him. Even former MM Lee (Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew) came to visit him many times. But the day the new government was set up, the company closed down. I searched for work for nearly one year. From 1959 to 1960, there was no work. I couldn’t get a job.

as the shop was very small. I already had four children at the time. I fed my family with the earnings from this shop. But it was very hard work, from 6 in the morning to sometimes 11 at night. I still tell people to work hard and improve. After two years, I took a small portion of my savings and opened a flower shop. But when my son was two years old, I had many bad debts and couldn’t save. A lot of money was lost. My first daughter’s name is Jothi. All my businesses were named after her. Jothi has a special meaning; it means ‘light’. I know some very old customers. Some have been coming to the shop for 50 years. I started Jothi and it was a lot of hard work, but now I’ve given it to my son and he is in charge. He’s doing very well and I am very happy. I’m not educated, but he is. And he has taken over all of the work.

So in 1960, I opened a small shop. It was only a small shop selling cigarettes, betel leaves and prayer things. In one day we could make $60 to $100. It was very difficult starting out





Roland Vivian Simon Born: 1932

Was a telephone operator at the Sembawang naval base during the Japanese Occupation. Joined the Malaysian Navy in 1963 and continued with the Republic of Singapore Navy. Officially left the Navy in 1987, with the rank of Major. He recalls a close-shave with the Indonesian boats towards the end of Konfrontasi (Indonesian-Malaysian Confrontation from 1962–1966): Towards the end of Konfrontasi, I was fuelling at Pulau Bukom. And I got a signal – ‘Go to help Panglima. At Sultan Shoal Lighthouse.’ So I went there. They said they had fired a shot at one of these Beatty boats that were coming in. So, the boats left. But as they came back, I looked to the horizon and saw three PT (patrol) boats, plus two Koma-class motor torpedo boats coming towards us, to attack us. So I quickly came up with a battle plan. I said, “Look, see those three small boats to my left, you go to my left and I go to my right. We fire at them. We have more powerful guns, we will sink them. After that, you come and help me with the torpedo boats, but watch out for the torpedo.” It was a good thing our ships were not made of metal; they were wooden boats. If they were metal, they would attract the torpedo. So I said, “I’ll sink them and come back and we will help each other.” My partner Andy had one gun and I had one gun. They were 40 millimetre guns, which was good. And we also had two 20 millimetre guns. The Indonesian customs boat had a 12.7 millimetre gun. So we outgunned them. But the



motor torpedo boats had torpedoes and they had bigger value guns... Anyway, I said we would go. So I said, “Andy,” – he’s a New Zealander – “Andy, this may be our last fight. We may not come out of this alive.” So all the crew was ready to fight... and we had to control our guns and fire. Both sides were moving slowly, coming to international waters before we could open fire. And there was rain as well. There were two of us and five of them coming. I called for backup. Within five minutes, I suddenly saw the boats scattering. Then we heard the planes coming. They didn’t shoot, just zoomed down to frighten them. So the boats went into the Phillip Channel. I should have shot and sunk them, but I said, “No, let’s watch.” They broke off and sailed back towards their base. I wondered why the boat didn’t fire the torpedoes. They gave way. Then I saw the British destroyer coming, it came dashing down. I saw the Indonesian boats scattering. The commander later asked me, “Tell me, what were you doing before this?” So I said I was fuelling halfway at Bukom. And he said, “Carry on, I’ll take charge.” Before I left, he said over the loud hailer, “You were brave lads, taking on five ships.” And I replied, “It’s my duty, Sir. I would have died for my duty. Defending our country.”



Roslina Baba Born: 1963

Advocate and solicitor from 1994 till present. Part of the first batch of NUS (National University of Singapore) law students to spend all four years at the Kent Ridge campus. I wanted to be an English or Literature teacher, as I loved studying languages and the written word. But my father saw that I had the aptitude for higher education and said that I had to get a professional degree. In those days, that meant medicine, law, engineering or accounting.

After I graduated from law school, I wasn’t too interested in joining the big law firms that mostly focused on corporate law. I felt I could help people as a lawyer, so I joined a small law firm in Geylang that did a lot of work serving the disadvantaged. I remember defending a hawker for just $300.

When I was in pre-university, the school took us to the Industrial Arbitration Court, and even though there were no lawyers there, the arguing of cases and the proceedings caught my interest. I decided that studying law wasn’t such a bad compromise. After all, law also has to do with language.

It was a very small firm, comprising three partners and only one pupil. Later on, one partner left to move overseas and another was on long-leave, so only my pupil-master and I were left. I had only joined the workforce for about 18 months when my pupil-master was detained by the Internal Security Department. Suddenly, I found myself running the firm while also trying to handle my boss’ case. It was not the usual pupilage experience that most young lawyers get, I can tell you!

I was part of the first batch of NUS (National University of Singapore) law students to spend all four years at the Kent Ridge campus. Although the ratio of male to female students was about 50:50, I was the only female Malay student in that department. I was quite active in the Muslim Association. We organised talks and debates about philosophy, religion and current topics. During my final year, there was another group of students and lecturers organising a petition against the quota for female medical students, limiting their intake to something like only three out of 10 students. We felt this was discriminatory against women. The members of this group would eventually go on to become AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research).



Eventually, the family of the detained lawyer decided to close down the firm so that she would not have to worry about it during her period of detainment and I wouldn’t have to run it by myself. After that, I went to London to pursue my Masters. I enjoyed my time in London and the work there was interesting too. But being Asian, you come back home when your parents ask you to, and mine did. I came back and joined my present firm. I have been with them for the past 22 years.



Rufino Soliano Born: 1932

Musican, composer and retired head of the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra. Started out as a percussionist in 1960 and worked his way up to lead the 38-piece orchestra. I was born in 1932 in Singapore. My grandfather and my entire family were from the Philippines. My grandfather played the piano for silent movies in those days. That is why he came here to work and the entire family followed him. All my uncles and aunties are musicians. My father knows that my brother likes to play the piano and I sometimes disturbed him when he was playing the piano. It showed my interest and I had a good sense of rhythm. Then he told me that he would teach my brother how to play the piano and me the violin. When I first started my band, I called it the Marvel Boys. We started it when we were 15 years old because my father had musician friends and their children all played music and liked music. They used to come to the house very often so we would have jam sessions. One day my father said, instead of jamming, why don’t you do something about it? So I started to gather the boys to perform. We played at Shackler Club, British Club, once at Great World Cabaret and once at Lido’s nightclub. Then my Uncle Jerry asked me to work at the Raffles Hotel and from then on, I learnt proper drumming because a lot of foreign “floor shows” came here to perform. The “floor show” dancers were from the Philippines but they did nothing but Latin music. I found out that Latin has good rhythm and it makes you want to move. So from then on I started playing Latin. And when I worked with the radio I started doing my own programme called the Latin Six.



In the late 1970s and 1980s, all the big stars came to Singapore. Count Bessie, Ben Monroe and Johnny Ray were here. I jammed with Buddy Rich, the fastest drummer in the world. We had a jam session with him and he taught me some drum tricks. So I played for all of them. The last person I played for was Sammy Davis Jr. But I didn’t play the drum, I played percussion. When I had my second stroke, I was blind for half a day and the surgeon came to talk to me. He said that I was lucky because I didn’t have any blood clots, otherwise I would be paralysed. Later on, my daughter brought me to the doctor and I told her that I was coming in for a very big nervous breakdown and there was no medicine to cure it. The doctor asked what I did and my daughter told him that I’m a musician; I’m a drummer and I play music. Then the doctor asked her to give me my music and see what happens. She said to me, “Dad, would you compose some songs if I asked you to?” I said I would try, and she continued, “Okay, if you can come up with at least 12 songs I promise you I’ll try to get the CD going for you.” I bounced back. I wrote 12 songs and I did the CD. In two weeks, all the songs were ready. We did the pressings and the CD was just released. I titled all the songs after my grandchildren. I learnt my music at the age of 8. And now I am 81. All the way, I knew nothing except music. I play music, I write music and I love music. And I’m very glad that I’m a musician. I don’t regret it.



Santha Bhaskar

Born: 1939

Learnt music and dance at age three. Left her family in Kerala, India to get married in Singapore. Dancer and choreographer. Received a Cultural Medallion for contributions to dance in 1990. My husband Mr K. P. Bhaskar had been living in Singapore since the early 1950s, and after three years he came to India to seek a bride who could dance. So coming to Singapore was my destiny, and I don’t regret anything. It was divinely decided that I was to serve here, and I am very happy about it. Mr Bhaskar’s dance school started in 1952, but we didn’t have a proper place like what we have now. He held classes at the Ceylon Tamil Association on Kirk Terrace. We also travelled to Johor, Malacca, Muar, Seremban, Batu Pahat, Penang and other parts of Malaysia to teach dance. Singapore is small and it was not enough for us to make a living from teaching dance at that time. We would be asked to perform as well, but we didn’t make much money from our performances. In the early days, we had mostly Ceylonese Tamils taking lessons at our school. The local Indians were not so interested in learning dance or music at that time, but it was a necessity for the Ceylonese Tamils. For the girls, they had to pay a dowry to get married, and it could be a huge sum required for a husband with an occupation such as an engineer, a doctor or a lawyer. But if the girls learnt music or dance, they didn’t have to pay such a large dowry. Because of that, many girls learnt dance. In 1958, Mr Bhaskar and I saw this Chinese movie, The Butterfly Lovers. After watching it, we both thought that it would be a good idea to choreograph the story into a dance drama. I was around 19 and just had my first son. At that



time, we had many Chinese students learning Indian dance; we taught at Chung Cheng High School, Chinese High, Nan Hwa and Hwa Chong Secondary School. When we did The Butterfly Lovers, these Chinese students supported the show and we had one week of sold-out performances. We had Chinese costumes set to Indian music and Indian dance, and that was my first experimental work in dance. Before that, I had only performed Indian epics. I later had a Chinese dance teacher from Indonesia, and I learnt Chinese dances such as the scarf dance and the sword dance. I also learnt Malay dance. I really liked the multiculturalism that I found here in the 1950s. It was all about respecting each other’s cultures, living and performing together. I’ve been influenced by Chinese and Malay dance, as well as other dance styles such as ballet. If I were in India that wouldn’t have happened, because I wouldn’t even have seen Chinese dance. I came to Singapore and saw the beauty of other cultures; I absorbed all of that and naturally my dance and choreography styles reflected that. Even my style of teaching dance has been influenced by Singapore. In Singapore, we teach according to the needs of the students, because they don’t have lessons every day. I cannot teach them like how I was taught in India. I’m very Singaporean in my soul and I cannot be separated into different cultures.



Dr Shanta Christina Emmanuel Born: 1943

Joined the healthcare industry for 42 years. Just retired from SingHealth in 2012. Last position held was Head of SingHealth Chronic Disease Management Office. I didn’t have any burning desire to study medicine but I knew my father would like it if one of us did, so I got into medical school. But that was a very difficult period because it was a six-year course. The next year, it became a shortened five-year course. I got married when I was a houseman and was six months pregnant towards the end of my housemanship when the postings were about to be given out. Since I was pregnant, I was told I wouldn’t be posted to a hospital. They said they would post me to public health instead. They sent me to the School Health Services. I didn’t have any idea what it was about at first. But I came to realise there were so many schools in Singapore and every few days we had to go to a new school. Singapore was so different at that time; we had to drive to real kampongs (villages) and I would get lost trying to find my way. When we got there, there were no rooms allocated to us. The schools were ill-prepared and wanted us to operate out of the storeroom. I was upset because they clearly didn’t understand that we were providing a valuable service. So I was happy when that posting ended and I was sent to work in the polyclinics.

stories of them waking up with a cobra under their pillow! There was long lalang (coarse grass) and the nurses would get bitten by dogs when they went out. We would see 150 patients a day. And my patients used to tell me they hated coming to the polyclinic. They asked me why I had to tie my chair to the table, was I afraid that they would steal my chair? I had to explain that I had to do so because every time I took their blood pressure their chair would move. And I had to keep getting up to move the chair back. That was why I had to tie the chair to the table. At that time all the islands – Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong – were inhabited villages. There were families living there. So the midwives would go there twice a year and the doctors would go once a year. There were no proper jetties and none of us could swim. We went in little wooden boats! We gave immunisation to children, antenatal care for women, arranged for mothers to come over when they delivered. We all entrusted our lives to the boatman who took us to the island. We would go and come back with fresh fish, durians and all kinds of things. This was all phased out around 1973 or 1974.

I loved working at the Queenstown polyclinic. In Queenstown, things were quite civilised; I knew doctors who worked in the more remote areas – Bukit Timah, Ama Keng – there were





Sew Hung Kun Born: 1914

Former trishaw rider during the 1960s and 1970s. Took on various jobs prior to this, such as driving lorries of durians from Malaysia to Singapore and labouring on construction sites. I was born in China in 1914. When the Japanese invaded China and I was called to the army to fight the Japanese, I didn’t want to bear arms and fight a war. How could we? We weren’t trained; it’s not like in Singapore where you have NS (National Service) and the soldiers know what to do. I wouldn’t have known what to do or how to fire a gun, so I borrowed money from my relatives and took a European steamship to Singapore. That was in 1938, when I was 24 years old. When we arrived in Singapore, I was quarantined for a day and my aunt had to pay five silver coins to obtain the relevant papers (official stamp) from the British government officials. I became a trishaw rider as you could earn quite a bit as one since there were no taxis then. There weren’t too many buses either. I would ride around Dua Poh (South Bridge Road side of the Singapore river) and Suay Poh (North Bridge Road side of the river). I remember that during or after a heavy downpour, the canal near Tekka market would overflow and it would flood. People didn’t want to get their shoes and socks wet in the rain, and I would enjoy good business whenever it rained. It cost 10 dollars a year for the trishaw registration plate. You had to register so that if someone stole your trishaw, you could report it to the government and the culprits would be caught. I bought my own trishaw and rode for more than 10 years. I used to earn a lot from the American soldiers



who stopped over in Singapore from Vietnam. They were given a generous allowance for their stopover here. They arrived in ships that had a thousand soldiers on board. Half of them would get a day off in Singapore and have to return by midnight. The next day, the other half would get to come ashore for some R&R (rest and recreation). I couldn’t speak English so I wouldn’t earn as much as my counterparts who were educated and could speak English. But since they liked to go out in groups, I would just follow the lead of the other trishaw riders and send these soldiers to bars and clubs in Bugis, Tekka and downtown. In addition to being paid by the soldiers for the fare, the Indian bouncers at these clubs would also pay me a commission of one dollar for each customer I brought them. The soldiers would still have to pay a dollar or two for the entrance fee because there would be bands entertaining them in the clubs. Of course, some soldiers would also ask to go to brothels. I had been riding for more than 10 years when more taxis began to appear and public transport improved. The American soldiers also stopped coming to Singapore after the war ended. The trishaw trade stopped being lucrative and it didn’t make sense to ride anymore, so I took on various odd jobs, such as painting HDB flats.



Sua Yap Teng Born: 1954

Began apprenticeship in 1970. Started Lian Bee Engineering with friends in 1977, then founded his company, S.U.A Engineering Pte Ltd, in 1991. I left school at Secondary Two. My mother wanted us to be apprenticed, to learn skills that would carry us into the future. Through friends’ recommendations, she managed to get my brother a job as an apprentice in a steelwork factory. The rest of us followed. The factory was in Bukit Timah, where Methodist Girls’ School is today. The shifu (master) in those days didn’t really teach; you were just expected to watch and learn. We cut metal strips, bent and shaped them, and learnt how to weld. The company I apprenticed at made consoles, the metal parts for control panels used in industrial settings. Eventually, a few of us decided that we would venture out and start our own business. We put in $500 each and had to be very careful with our expenses. One of the partners got us a deal to supply windows for HDB (Housing Development Board) flats being built then. That was our first order. You know, the metal grill on the windows in the early HDB flats? The pattern alternates between straight lines and a capsule-like shape. We would start with strips of metal, bend them around to form the capsule shape, and then weld the straight parts in between. Once that was done, we sprayed them with silver paint. We made hundreds and hundreds of these windows and installed them in Queenstown, Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio. That window design was the standard design and used everywhere. The flats were just empty shells at the time of installation, no flooring, no doors yet.



We also made front gates for private houses. Customers requested certain designs and we would have to draw and fabricate them. It was popular to have curly waves on top of the rectangular gates in the 1970s. By the 1980s, it didn’t seem like there was much of a future for this type of windows and gates. So we decided to go back to what we were doing in our apprenticeship and build consoles and control panels for industrial purposes. We also moved away from the old materials and focused on working with stainless steel. At the time, there were no companies in Singapore that dealt with making structures for marine rigs and oil containers. A project with a company in Batam got us started on this. Eventually, word got out that this type of work could be done in Singapore, and we began to get orders to build stainless structures that would be fitted with electronic controls at other local companies, and then be shipped off to places like Dubai, Oman, Indonesia and Vietnam. I have never really thought of getting my children to take over the business. It’s different for them. They’ve never ground, welded or cut metal. They’re not trained to work with steel. They should pursue their own interest, whatever that may be. I enjoy the challenge and believe in doing good work that will please our clients. I also believe that honesty should be a guiding principle in all that we do. I have a big calligraphy of the Chinese character for “honesty” in my office. This is something I’ve held firmly on to and will keep doing so.



Syed Abdul Kadir

Born: 1948

Started boxing at 11. The first Singaporean to win a medal for boxing in the Commonwealth Games. Represented Singapore at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Retired from the sport in late 1976 and went on to coach the Singapore national team. The Olympics were my dream. I said I wanted to represent the country but my friends laughed at me. They said, “This sport is very tough, you cannot…” I said I would prove it to them. We always say that if this person can, so can I. But you cannot just use your mouth. You must work for it. Only train, train, train. Work, train. That was my life. For ten years, I was doing it. I won my first national open championship at the age of 19. I was selected for the Olympic Games. It was my peak. The very highest. I was really well prepared. I sparred with all heavier weight guys. So people saw that I could take on and punch the heavier guys. Other competitors in my weight category from other countries were quite worried. They didn’t want to spar with me. And when we went to Munich, I was confident. The next match was against Cuba and I knew that I would win. But the second round he came at my head. There was a very, very small cut. So the referee stopped the fight. The doctor came up and checked the wound. My corner man just wiped and



dabbed it. The blood stopped. It was a very small cut; we could have continued. But they didn’t allow me to fight. I cried. I couldn’t do anything to change their decision. Although I went to the Olympic Games, the 1971 South East Asian Peninsular games was the best fight for me because the final opponent was Burmese. He was purposely brought down from the hill tribes for the purpose of boxing. He was fearsome, a very fierce guy. And he was number one in Asia at that time. His coach was very arrogant. When we met in the dining hall, he came up to me and said, “You’re meeting my boy, you eat more.” He told me to eat more! He was serious. So I said, “OK, I’ll see you tonight.” That’s all. Then when I beat his boy, I would say I shook the world. They didn’t know that Singapore has boxers who can win. I don’t know what it means to retire. Not in my vocabulary. People say in any sport, you have to sacrifice. Your time. And your youth. As long as I’m still strong, I will continue to help the young kids. They need guidance. I feel that if I don’t give back what I enjoyed from the sport, I’m not doing the right thing.



Tan Mian Kiau Born: 1950

Worked as a babysister when she was 11 before becoming a housekeeper at age 15. Later became a factory worker at General Electric. When I was 11, I had to work as a babysitter for 50 cents a day just so I could get my meals at my employers’ place. When my eldest sister had her baby, I was sometimes sent to the far end of Jurong to care for her and the newborn. My mother would make me work in different houses as a housekeeper or cleaner so as to save the rice for our other family members. When I was 15, someone offered me a housekeeping job at an American’s house. It was a big bungalow in Lim Chu Kang. I was initially very scared because I neither spoke nor understood English. I also had to stay there and could only go home every fortnight. Luckily, there were three other housekeepers who were willing to guide me. I was able to learn some English and could slowly adjust. I was a housekeeper till my early 20s when I got married and had kids. However, I did not like to stay home as the kids were too noisy and were always quarrelling. I started looking for housekeeping jobs near the Bukit Timah area, and by then, I was paid around $80 a month for a full-day job.



In 1972, I decided to apply for a job at General Electric (GE) as a factory worker. At that time, GE had seven factories in Singapore, and there were three in the Jurong industrial area. The plant I worked in was near the Jurong Bird Park. I quit my housekeeping job but my employer then convinced me to work part-time for her. So in the mornings from 7 am to 12 noon, I had to clean her house and do the ironing, among other things, for $60 a month. I had to rush home to cook and wash before rushing to my second shift work from 3 pm to 11 pm. I was paid 39 cents an hour at GE when I first started. It was hard work; I had to stand the whole day at the assembly line fixing motor parts for refrigerators or fans and my hands would be black with oil. We were also given only 20 minutes for meal breaks at first, so I had to wolf down my dinner. After the government intervention on the treatment of factory workers, our meal break was extended to 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes for coffee break. After GE, I got a job at a childcare centre as a cleaner but because I was scared of centipedes and I saw a few there, I quit. Now, I work at an institution’s tuckshop cleaning tables.



Tan Yeow Tiong Born: 1931

Learnt carpentry and set up a business in the 1960s; restarted his business after it failed. Has been with his son’s firm, Albright Plastics, since 1988. Goes to work every day and makes moulds and other woodwork items for the factory. After the war was over, I apprenticed at a furniture maker’s workshop in 1949. The furniture workshop was in New World. They had master craftsmen from Shanghai who were famous for their skills.

buy truckloads of furniture. By the 1960s, fewer of them came to Singapore to buy furniture. Rubber prices had come down, and we began to have competition from furniture makers there.

The period of apprenticeship for carpenters was a minimum of 18 months. After 18 months, we had to pay them back for a month. That meant that we had to make up for days that we might have been ill or missed work during our apprenticeship. It was very hard work. We started at 7:30 am and worked until 6 pm every day, except Sundays, when we worked for half a day. Our pay was 50 cents a day. After six months, you would then be paid $1.50 a day.

I was a good carpenter. People knew me for my workmanship and they would ask me to make furniture, and I could deliver complex designs. Unfortunately, I didn’t really spend too much time thinking about work. Instead, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get ahead by gambling. I would calculate the odds, and work out number schemes for gambling.

We made a lot of beds then. The floors in kampong (village) houses were not finished with cement. The floors were dirty and had ants, worms and other bugs, so the beds had to be raised. These days, the floors in the HDB flats are properly finished. It doesn’t really matter if you have a bed frame or not. We also made dressing tables and glass cabinets. People would buy dressing tables for women to sit at and do their hair and make-up when they got married. The dressing table had a round mirror on one side and drawers on the other. Newly-weds would buy that. In the 1950s, we had many customers from Malaya. Rubber prices were up and they would come with their lorries and



My partners and I were young and impulsive at the time, and we were greedy. The business failed in 1964. It was devastating. My uncle pulled me aside and gave me a good talking-to. My father had passed away by then. My pek gong (grand uncle) told me to get my act together, and he would help me financially. His conditions were simple. He had four rules: Don’t gamble. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t mess around with women. I listened to him, and just concentrated on work after that. Those were hard times. There were days when we could not afford to buy food. We ate only bread and water. From the 1980s, things got better. Until today, I will have bread and water once a day, just to remind myself of the hard times, and how one must work hard.



Thomas Thomas Born: 1952

Was General Secretary of the Singapore-Shell Employee’s Union and served in the Central Committee of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) from 1987–2007. Former Executive Director of Singapore Compact for Corporate Social Responsibilty. I saw some unfairness at the workplace. I saw how some bosses were good while others were unreasonable, and I got into the union just to try and make things better. Initially it was difficult, but over time, you gained experience and the workers’ trust and became more effective at representing workers, and things improved. The need to change values of management to make it more people-centric was what drove us as union officials. One of the first dismissal cases I handled was when one of our members had an industrial accident and suffered a head injury. He was in a coma, was hospitalised for a few months and had brain surgery. After he came out, he was advised to go to open court and file a civil suit rather than accept workman’s compensation, as the amount of compensation at that time was quite low. Somebody at the company’s personnel department tried to mislead him by telling him that he could accept workman’s compensation and still be able to pursue a civil case. He went back to the company, confronted this guy and gave him a punch. The company sacked him, and we at the union thought it was very unfair. We took up the case and defended him. I remember that this happened a few days before Chinese New Year and we said to the management, “Look, this guy has four children and expenses. While we are discussing (the case), we think you should give him some money.” They said no. So we asked



them to confirm the home addresses of the senior people in the company, for the worker, his wife and his four children to visit them over Chinese New Year. We asked them to be generous with their ang pows and to ask their friends to contribute as well. For some reason, they immediately chose to give him a cash advance and saved him the visit. We persisted with his case and eventually he got reinstated. That made us realise that if you feel strongly about something, you should push for it. There were also people in management who saw value in talking with us, and relations improved. We were able to bring industrial relations to higher levels, treat workers with respect and dignity for the benefit of workers and companies. People, especially those in lower level jobs, were extremely lowly paid, and this was a problem. I could see office boys doing second jobs at petrol kiosks after working hours. When negotiating collective agreements, I was to argue that the lower level workers should be paid much higher. We emphasised the point that there should at least be a minimum living wage, and the measurement was that none of the workers would need to take a second job. Together, we improved wages and opportunities for career advancement, especially for lower level workers. We brought greater recognition for shift workers with substantial increases in shift allowances at each collective agreement. Those were small successes that meant a lot to the workers.



Wong Chin Choo

Born: 1929

Blinded due to fever at age four while visiting a village in China. Attended vocational training in 1959 with the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped (SAVH). Learnt to play the piano and sing and then taught piano at SAVH on an informal basis. My family was quite protective and did not let me do many tasks. But I wanted to be independent. Let me tell you about an experience during the Japanese Occupation. During that period, we were allowed to rear poultry and plant some vegetables. We stayed in a multi-storey building at Tiong Bahru and the garden was shared by the different tenants. So we had to chase the poultry down in the morning, and in the evening we would call out for them and they would climb up a flight of stairs to return home. The staircase would become dirty but the tenants washed it daily. One night, my family went out to watch a show and I was home by myself. There was a chicken, not too old, but almost ready for eating; it weighed about half a jin (about 250 grams). I caught it, slaughtered it and cleaned it myself! When they returned, they were all surprised. I went to SAVH when I was 20 plus. I wasn’t a student then, since I was over-aged. So I became an apprentice, learning how to make rattan baskets. And privately, they taught me some lessons, some basic education and Braille.


I also learnt to play the piano but I didn’t learn it at SAVH. I learnt to play the piano because my sister is a piano teacher. She didn’t know I liked to play, but sometimes I tinkered with the piano keys when she was not at home. So when she realised that, she encouraged me and told me to go for the examinations. There were Braille-notated scores, which my sister didn’t know about, but later, she managed to order them from the UK. I learnt to play by trial-and-error touching. And then I took the exams until Grade 8 and I could teach. So I taught for a while at the school (SAVH).

On teaching the visually handicapped: It’s like teaching sighted people. You first learn the staff notation, right? I teach them with the help of the Braille scores. I have to teach them by holding their hands. For sighted people, I might also need to hold their hands. I have to correct their hand postures and I have to hold their hands to correct them.




陈美娣 1933 年生 陈女士是新加坡历史最悠久的裁缝 CYC上海恤衫(私人)有限公司的第二代裁缝师。 她于2012年在工作67年后退休,当时79岁。 许多人说他们非常欣赏我做的衣服。听到这样的话,让从事裁





条项链。当时,我从来没有见过金饰,因此我很兴奋地想买一 条来戴。可是我的父亲突然间打电话来要我寄钱回槟城接济家



么细微,裁缝都绝对不会让那一件衬衫过关,你必须从新来 过。例如,衬衫上的线缝歪了,你必须把线全拆了,而绝对不





修改后,我本来不愿意收费的,因为那不过是举手之劳,但是 他还是坚持付给我五十块钱。

当我还是一个小女孩时,我便从中国来到槟城。我的母亲在战 争开始前一周过世了。战争开始后,由于我的父亲需要出远
















我已经上了接近三年的夜校,但是我还是决定放弃,以便全职 工作,多赚钱。我每天从早上七点工作到午夜。我一天能够做 好六到七件衣服,这在那个时候算得上是很快的了。




吴厚基 1936 年生 吴先生1970至 80年代曾在南洋女中进行园艺和各项活动的义务工作,尤其擅长组织舞狮队的活动。 他在 1991年成为南洋女中的校工,成为学生们口中受爱戴的Uncle Jack。 我在12岁那一年,决定辍学(南洋小学)。我对校长说我的








直截了当地讨论问题。 在毕业后回校协助课外活动时,很多校友会来找我聊天。而有 离开学校后,我做过许多不同的工作,包括有执照的电工以及




农历新年时张挂春联,除草和浇花等。后来虽然学校已经聘请 了七名校工,蔡亮校长仍坚持要我加入校工的行列。我遇到了







们的行为对她们有什么影响。假如她们认为我有错,她们可以 来骂我。然而,她们从来没有。

那时候,校工的工作不只是每晚锁上办公室和学校大门,我更 像是一名技工。有什么东西坏了,我都必须去修理。校工也负 责照顾校园里的植物。此外,我也为学校的戏剧团和舞蹈团制 作道具以及农历新年的装饰品。1992年七十五年校庆里使用的 舞龙龙头也是我的作品,这一点报章有报道。





Hedwig Anuar nee Aroozoo 1928 年生 前任国家图书馆馆长(1965-1988),妇女行动与研究协会创办人之一。1957创办的新加坡图书馆 协会与1974年东南亚图书管理员会议创会会员之一。 莱佛士博物馆(现在的国家博物馆)和图书馆是在1955年分








要什么都得向伦敦那边借用。莱佛士图书馆和马来亚各图书馆 的藏书多数是英文书,中文,马来文和淡米尔文的书籍是极少


的。只有新加坡各会馆开设和管理的私人图书馆,能提供这几 个语种的书给读者借阅。

我们会去各所学校宣传,推广,留下资料向他们介绍加入图书 馆的方法,并介绍图书馆可为他们提供的服务和资源,并鼓










经看过一则新闻报道,头条便写着“Anuar 太太披甲上阵,推 广图书馆”。

1960年,图书馆由当时的国家元首尤索夫·依萨正式开幕。他 指出我们的桌椅不够齐全,这是因为我们为了省钱,请了监狱



作者,因为我非常喜欢创作小说和诗歌。但从另一方面想,我 也庆幸自己没有,因为担任一名公务员让我更能够接触社会议







林默 1908 年生 林女士从 30 几岁开始在丈夫的农场工作至70岁左右。 我在1908 年正月18 日出生,34 岁那年,我来到了新加坡,所








怕会在那里娶了当地的女人。” 1950年代初,连场大雨冲走了大量适合种菜的土壤,因此我们 我刚到这里时,坐上的电车是由电缆从市区到乌鲁三巴旺


“十里”拖着走的。我们再从那里转搭货车到乌鲁三巴旺 “十三里”,那里又名“吃水港”。我丈夫就和他的姐姐和姐



是。我们还买了松鱼和鲐鱼鱼苗,总共大概100块钱。我问卖家 能不能够让我们赊账,在十个月后鱼儿长大并且可以售卖了才





两分钱,我们的收成可以赚到一块多钱。但那足以作为我们农 场最早的资本。

1986年,政府说不允许我们养猪了,因为猪崽的排泄物可能污 染水源,而我们向马来西亚购买的水是不足够的。政府建议我

在那之后,我们向朋友借了钱去标会。我们以10 块钱成功标


到 580 块钱作为本钱购买猪崽。我有一点养猪的知识,因为我









林昆明 1942 年生 林先生在中正中学接受教育,后负笈伦敦。毕业后开设自己的建筑公司并曾参与 70 年代晚期 伊丽莎白医院的建筑工程。 当我在1960年代到英国去时,我受到不小的文化震荡,因为那






民统治下,多数政府官员还是说方言或马来语。 打桩工作全面施工时,我们曾要求关闭游泳馆两周,公司愿意 我是以大英国民的身份到英国去的。当时并没有所谓的新加坡




事,并没有带给我太大的影响,直到后来当我的旅游证件失效 而需要申请新的证件时,我才意识到其重要性。我在新加坡独


立后不久 满21 岁。我父母之前就收到移民局寄来的信却没有意





利继续使用设施。这是一个充满压力的时段,我们只有期盼能 够在安全的情况下顺利地完成整个工程。不管白天黑夜或日晒





助于我累积经验,更了解本地建筑业的情况。 这五座组屋最后如期完工,甚至创下纪录。之后的政府组屋都 我转入私营企业界后,第一个项目是为林增控股建造组屋。他


们当时刚成功标得丹戎巴葛一地段来建造组屋——一共五座组 屋和毗邻的停车场。那是一次让我从零做起的宝贵学习经验。 我从重型机械到场开工,一直到组屋完工那天都在工地。




Roslina Baba 1963 年生 Roslina 女士从 1994年担任律师至今。 由于我很喜欢语文科目和语文本身,我一直都很想成为一名英















伙人在内安法下被拘留了。这时我只好一面管理公司,一面为我 的老板打官司。这绝对不是一般实习律师有机会得到的经验啊!

我是新加坡国立大学法律系第一批全程在肯特刚校园上课的学 生。虽然当年男女学生的比例是 50:50,我却是法律系里唯一



被拘留期间有所顾虑,而我也不用继续一个人打理。那之后, 我便决定到伦敦攻读硕士学位。

当时我在回教学会里十分活跃。我们举办过不少有关哲学,宗 教和时事课题的讲座和辩论。在我大四那年,有一些学生和讲











萧汉权 1914 年生 1960和 70 年代当过三轮车夫。在那之前从事过其他工作,如从马来西亚运载榴梿到新加坡以及 在建筑工地打工。 1914年我在中国出世。当日军侵略中国时,我被征召入伍。










新加坡后被隔离了一天,我的姑妈还不得不用五个银币向英国 官员索取盖章的证件。

那些美军必须缴付一块或两块钱的入门费,这是因为俱乐部里 有乐队为他们演奏。当然,一些美军会要求到妓院去。

三轮车的登记费一年10元。登记三轮车的好处是,万一有人偷 了你的三轮车,你可以向当局报案,逮捕小偷。我买了自己的








在新加坡逗留一天,而必须在午夜回到船上。隔天,另一半的 军人也会获准上岸休闲。




陈有忠 1931 年生 第 二 次 世 界 大 战后学习木工并在1 9 6 0年代创业,生意失败后曾东山再起。自1988年 便 一 直 在 儿 子 的 公 司 ,A lbr ig h t P lastics工作。他每天在工厂的工作包括制作模具和木制 产 品 。 战争结束后,我曾于1949年在一个家具制造厂当过学徒。那家



人都会找我做家具,而我也能制作设计复杂的家具。可惜我并 没有花太多时间去想工作的事。反而把时间用在思索如何依靠



作一个月。这是为了弥补我们在学艺期间因为生病或其他缘故 缺席的时间。我们的工作相当辛苦,每天的工作从早上七点半





伯伯把我拉到一边好好教训了一顿。我的伯公要我重新振作起 来,并愿意在经济上支持我。他开给我的四个条件很简单:不





所以床铺必须加高。政府组屋的地板铺设了混凝土,所以没有 床架都没有关系。我们也制作梳妆台和玻璃橱柜。人们会在家





天,我还是每天吃一顿面包和白开水,以此提醒自己不能忘记 过去吃过的苦,以及一定要勤奋地工作。

1950年代,很多马来亚的顾客光顾我们。随着橡胶的价格上 涨,这些顾客会开着罗厘来大肆买家具。到了1960年代,他们 的人数减少了,因为橡胶价格已经回跌,而我们开始面对马来




Thomas Thomas 1952 年生 曾担任新加坡-蚬壳公司工会秘书长以及全国职工总会中央委员会委员(1987-2007)。 前任官委议员。现任新加坡企业社会责任协会执行董事 我在职场上看到一些不公平的情况。我既看过好的老板,也看



们能多给一些红包并请朋友也那么做。基于某些原因,公司 管理层立刻决定预支薪水给他,叫他不必去拜年了。我们在这





理层的价值观,使之以更人性化,更以人为本的方式对待员 工,是推动我们这些工会工作者前进的动力。

当时公司管理层里也有一些人认为和我们商谈是有意义的, 这大大改善了双边的关系。我们进而能够提升公司与员工之间





手术。他出院以后,我们劝他上法庭提出民事诉讼,而不要 接 受公司的低额赔偿。公司人事部有人企图误导这位工友,使他







阶层员工更高的薪金。我们的目标是争取到可以让员工糊口的 薪金,而用来衡量的标准就是员工不需要在正职以外兼差。












黄珍珠 1929 年生 黄女士四岁那年到访一个中国农村时因高烧不退而失去视力。她大半辈子都在帮忙家中的家务。大 约1959年,她在新加坡视障人士协会接受职业培训,学会弹奏钢琴和歌唱。后来,她便在协会里以 非正式的形式教导钢琴。 我的家人十分保护我,不肯让我做很多事。可是我很渴望独














食用了,大概一斤(约250克)重,被我捉住了。我亲手宰杀和 清洗了它,这让家人回来后都十分惊奇!

关于教导视障人士音乐 那和教导一般人是一样的。你也必须先学习读谱,对吗?我会












Abdul Rahman bin Osman Lahir pada tahun 1938

Pernah menjadi anggota bomba di Lapangan Terbang Paya Lebar, Limbungan Keppel, Limbungan Jurong dan bersama Shell di kilang penapis Pulau Bukom. Kini bertugas sebagai seorang tukang kebun. Tentang pengalaman bekerja sebagai ahli bomba di Pulau Bukom: “Ia lebih berbahaya berbanding sebarang tugas saya sebelumnya, tetapi saya seolah-olah tidak dapat lari daripada menjadi seorang ahli bomba. Pandangan pertama saya tentang Pulau Bukom ialah tempatnya yang sangat panas, dan keseluruhan pulau berbau seperti sebuah stesen petrol. Lama-kelamaan, saya jadi lali. Sehingga sekarang, saya rindukan Bukom, suasananya, segalanya. Saya masih mengunjungi Bukom untuk pergi ke kelab riadahnya. Saya tidak pasti apa sebenarnya tarikan tempat tersebut sehingga saya amat sukakannya, tapi ia hanyalah satu perasaan. Melawan api di kilang penapisan adalah satu pengalaman yang berbeza. Kita akan menempatkan diri berdekatan api tersebut dan bersiap sedia, tetapi pada tahap awal hanya para pegawai dan jurutera dari kilang penapisan tersebut yang akan masuk ke dalam untuk meninjau keadaannya. Para jurutera tersebut dikehendaki berada di situ untuk membaiki saluran paip yang bocor, menutup injap dan perkara yang sedemikian. Sekiranya api terlalu besar untuk mereka tangani, barulah anggota bomba seperti kami masuk ke dalam. Teknik melawan api di kilang penapisan tersebut juga berbeza – risiko terjadinya lebih banyak letupan daripada saluran paip petrol dan gas sentiasa ada. Apabila satu letupan berlaku, ia seperti sebuah bom yang sedang meledak dan apinya seakan-akan hidup. Ia memang hidup! Perkara yang terpenting terlebih dahulu bukanlah


melawan api tersebut, tetapi menggunakan air untuk menyejukkan tangki-tangki di sekeliling yang mengandungi gas dan petrol, supaya ia tidak menjadi terlalu panas dan meletup akibat tekanan. Tetapi kita tidak boleh menggunakan air begitu sahaja untuk melawan api, kerana ini akan menghasilkan terlalu banyak wap. Kita menggunakan busa untuk menutupi api tersebut. Sebelum kamu masuk ke dalam untuk melawan api, kamu akan berasa gementar di dalam hati. Kamu harus melawan ketakutan tersebut dan memaksa diri untuk masuk ke dalam. Sejurus kamu mula melawan api tersebut secara nyata, ketakutan itu akan hilang dan kamu akan berasa gembira kerana dapat melakukan tugas dengan baik. Kebakaran pada tahun 1985 di Pulau Bukom merupakan kebakaran besar terakhir yang saya lawan. Saya telah ditugaskan untuk berjagajaga di luar, dan saya melihat rakan-rakan saya yang lain masuk ke dalam. Saya tidak dapat melakukan apa-apa; saya terpaksa berada di luar untuk menyejukkan saluran paip dan tangki-tangki. Kesemua rakan-rakan saya berakhir di hospital dengan kelecuran. Saya menziarahi mereka di hospital. Mereka semua dalam keadaan berbalut dan saya tidak dapat mengecam wajah mereka. Bagaimanakah perasaan kamu jika melihat rakan-rakan kamu seperti itu? Saya berasa sungguh sedih, sungguh terharu dan saya hanya mampu mendoakan mereka sahaja. Nasib baiklah, mereka semua terselamat. Selepas kebakaran tersebut, saya tidak lagi berminat melawan api. Anak perempuan saya juga lahir pada tahun tersebut, dan saya membuat keputusan untuk meninggalkan kerjaya saya sebagai seorang ahli bomba.�



Chua King Yap

Lahir pada tahun 1948

Minatnya terhadap anggerik begitu mendalam dan beliau telah menanamnya selama lebih 40 tahun. Beliau sangat mengagumi layang-layang tradisi Melayu yang dilihatnya semasa kanakkanak dan berasa seronok membuat serta menerbangkan layang-layangnya sendiri sejak itu. Saya lahir di Kampung Lok Yang di sebelah barat Singapura. Saya ingat lagi bahawa rumah yang saya diami tidak dilengkapi paip air atau elektrik. Saya mula menanam anggerik di Lok Yang apabila abang saya membawa pulang beberapa pasu anggerik yang diperolehinya daripada kawan-kawannya. Kami bereksperimen dan membaca buku tentang cara-cara untuk menanam anggerik kerana kami sangat berminat untuk memeliharanya. Pada tahun 1970, kami berpindah ke Kampung Ama Keng di Lim Chu Kang apabila pemerintah memerlukan tanah di Lok Yang untuk membina sebuah estet perindustrian. Kami berpindah ke sebuah rumah yang ada sebuah kebun sayur dan saya membawa bersama anggerik saya. Ama Keng merupakan sebuah kampung di mana kebanyakan penduduknya menanam sayur-sayuran dan menternak ayam. Terdapat sebuah ‘pekan’ dengan lebih sedozen kedai yang menjual makanan dan lain-lain keperluan seharian. Ada juga terdapat beberapa buah klinik di situ. Ketika saya mula menanam anggerik pada tahun 1970, saya hanya ada seratus atau dua ratus pasu pokok. Saya juga menanam bunga kebangsaan kita, Vanda Miss Joaquim, dan lebih daripada 10 jenis yang lain. Saya mula memupuknya dan selepas tiga tahun, saya mula menjual bunga yang dicantas kepada gerai-gerai di pasar, juga kepada penjaja-penjaja bunga di Orchard Road. Saya ingat lagi ada beberapa deret kedai bunga bertentangan Centrepoint [sekarang 313 Somerset] yang di mana saya akan menghantar anggerik yang telah dicantas sebanyak dua atau tiga kali dalam seminggu. Pada masa itu, kedai-kedai bunga tersebut sangat terkenal dan diminati ramai. Harga jualan saya sedolar setangkai untuk jenis yang terbaik, tetapi kedaikedai tersebut akan menjualnya pada harga $3 atau $4 setangkai dan


menggunakan anggerik yang mutunya lebih rendah untuk membuat bakul hadiah berhias bunga. Pada tahun 1983, pemerintah mengarahkan kami keluar dari Lim Chu Kang kerana tanah tersebut akan digunakan untuk latihan tentera. Saya memohon dan berusaha untuk mendapatkan sebidang tanah di Jalan Kayu. Kerja-kerja untuk untuk memindahkan kesemua pokok-pokok berpasu yang berjumlah 50 hingga 60 ribu serta bekalan lain dari Ama Keng ke Jalan Kayu mengambil masa sembilan bulan. Harga bunga-bunga yang dicantas agak tinggi pada sekitar tahun 1970an dan ’80an tetapi ia mula turun sedikit sejak tahun 1990an kerana nilai dolar Singapura yang meningkat. Para pembekal lebih suka membeli dari negara-negara seperti Thailand dan Taiwan. Pada tahun 1996, sekali lagi saya mendapat surat daripada pemerintah yang memaklumkan bahawa kami perlu keluar dari tanah yang kami duduki dalam masa tiga bulan. Saya berasa gusar dan keliru kerana ketika itu usia saya sudah mencecah 50 tahun dan terpaksa melepaskan mata pencarian saya dan harus memulakan segalanya sekali lagi. Saya terpaksa melelong sebahagian besar pokok-pokok berpasu saya dan menyewa sebuah kawasan kecil di ladang seorang kawan untuk memelihara anggerik-anggerik jenis nadir tersebut. Saya terpaksa mengecilkan perniagaan saya sekarang – saya mendapatkan bunga-bunga berpasu daripada mereka yang menanamnya dan menjual bunga-bunga tersebut di beberapa buah pasar basah. Saya bimbang tentang pendapatan saya kerana ada kalanya kerja-kerja ini tidak mendatangkan keuntungan yang lumayan.



Jita Singh

Lahir pada tahun 1949 Anggota pasukan bolasepak negara selama lima tahun (1969–1973), selepas itu beliau terdorong untuk menjadi jurulatih bolasepak berbangsa Sikh yang pertama untuk negara. Beliau membimbing pasukan bolasepak negara dari tahun 1979 hingga 1984. Beliau kini bertugas sebagai Ketua Kanan Pembangunan Sukan di Persatuan Bolasepak Singapura. Pada masa dahulu, agak mudah bagi kami untuk bermain bolasepak, kami akan bermain di sebarang kawasan lapang dan menggunakan batu atau batang kayu sebagai palang gol. Bola kami cuma bola plastik dan kami akan bermain berkaki ayam. Tanahnya kadang kala tidak rata, kami akan terluka di sana sini, tetapi kami tidak hiraukan. Di sekolah saya seorang pelari dan memegang rekod jarak dekat dan jarak jauh sekolah, dan saya juga mewakili sekolah dalam sukan hoki. Tetapi saya dapati bolasepak Iebih mencabar dan lebih menyeronokkan. Saya berasal dari masyarakat Sikh. Pada masa itu sebahagian besar masyarakat kami terlibat dalam hoki. Apabila kamu bercakap tentang seorang Sikh, kamu secara automatik akan mengaitkannya dengan hoki. Dalam linkungan usia muda kira-kira pada tahun 1960an, akibat tekanan daripada masyarakat, saya tidak dapat berterus terang pada keluarga bahawa saya akan bermain bolasepak. Sebaliknya, saya selalu beritahu mereka bahawa saya akan pergi menonton perlawanan bolasepak di padang St George. Pada masa dahulu, terdapat pelbagai liga seperti Liga Dewan Perniagaan dan Liga Perkhidmatan Pemerintah, disamping perlawanan persahabatan. Saya akan pergi dan bermain dalam sesuatu perlawanan tanpa memakai baju, dan selepas tamat permainan, saya akan menggunakan sapu tangan yang saya bawa dari rumah untuk mengelap peluh saya. Begitulah rutin harian yang saya lakukan. Pada suatu hari, bapa saya secara kebetulan pergi menonton sebuah perlawanan bolasepak dengan rakan-rakannya. Saya tidak perasan kehadirannya, tetapi dia


melihat saya bermain. Selepas permainan, saya lakukan rutin biasa saya dan pulang ke rumah. Ibu saya bertanya siapa yang menang perlawanan itu. Dan kamu tahu, hari itu semuanya tidak kena – selalunya saya tahu keputusannya kerana saya akan bertanyakan pada orang. Kali ini, saya tidak bertanya. Jadi, saya tergamam seketika, dan ibu mengeluarkan rotan sambil memberitahu saya bahawa bapa saya telah melihat saya bermain dengan berlengeng. Lalu, saya pun dirotan beberapa kali dan mereka dapati sayalah pencuri yang telah mencuri saputangan-saputangan dari rumah kami. Lama-kelamaan ibu-bapa saya mengalah dan membenarkan saya bermain bola, kerana saya mempunyai seorang pembimbing yang sangat baik dari kelab bolasepak Windsor Rovers, namanya ialah Encik G. P. Suppiah. Beliau meyakinkan ibu-bapa saya bahawa beliau akan menjaga saya dan bolasepak tidak akan mencederakan saya. Saya ingat lagi ketika saya mula-mula dipilih untuk bermain dan mewakili pasukan bolasepak negara, jersinya dibuat daripada kain kapas yang berat dan tidak selesa langsung. Jersi tersebut bercorak empat segi berwarna. Mereka tidak mempunyai khidmat membasuh baju. Para pemain harus membawa pulang jersi mereka untuk dicuci. Saya berasa sangat bangga kerana dapat mewakili Singapura. Saya gemar melihat jersi saya yang tergantung di almari. Tidak ada bendera Singapura di jersi itu, hanya bercorak empat segi! Rasa bangga tidak terhingga bila dapat mewakili negara. Kerap kali saya membuka almari untuk melihat baju-baju jersi itu semua dan saya akan melihat jersi itu setiap beberapa jam.



Jumiah Yunus Lahir pada tahun 1944

Mendapat latihan sebagai seorang bidan (1963–1965) dan merupakan seorang bidan kampung dari tahun 1966 sehingga 33 tahun seterusnya. Bersara disebabkan kelahiran cucu perempuannya. Masih bekerja sambilan melalui Pertalian Perak (Silver Connection) kerana beliau suka kepada bayi. Sewaktu kecil, saya membesar di Geylang dan menjalani kehidupan yang biasa sahaja. Saya seperti seorang samseng kia (tomboi), dan gemar merayap dengan berbaju singlet dan berseluar pendek. Walaupun kita miskin, kita mampu belajar. Saya mengambil peperiksaan peringkat ‘O’ di Sekolah Menengah Siglap pada tahun 1962. Anggota kumpulan (batch) saya merupakan kumpulan perempuan yang pertama. Setelah ujian peringkat ‘O’, saya mulakan kursus latihan sehingga lulus sebagai seorang bidan. Saya berada dalam kumpulan yang ke empat puluh. Latihan perbidanan ini sangat menarik – melakukan tugas di bilik darjah pada sebelah pagi, dan latihan amali dilakukan beberapa bulan kemudian. Kami pergi ke wad-wad untuk belajar bagaimana menangani bayi, untuk melihat bagaimana bayi-bayi dilahirkan. Ketika kali pertama saya memegang dan memandikan seorang bayi adalah menakutkan dan saya menggeletar waktu melakukannya! Saya masih ingat sewaktu bertugas di Hospital KK (Kandang Kerbau) semasa zaman kelahiran bayi yang banyak dan ada kalanya kami membidani kelahiran bayi di atas lantai sahaja. Kami terpaksa menyangkung untuk membantu melahirkan bayi tersebut. Kami rasa amat bertenaga kerana kami masih muda ketika itu. Adakala cecair amniotik tersebut terpancut dan terpercik ke atas kami. Saya membidankan ramai bayi, ramai sekali. Pada waktu tersebut kami bekerja shif petang dari 2 petang hingga 9 malam. Semasa bertugas di dalam wad bersalin, kami akanmencatatkan kadar degupan jantung janin-janin dan periksa tekanan darah mereka. Kami juga periksa


pesakit tersebut dan memberi bantuan sewaktu kelahiran bayi. Jika terdapat kes yang perlukan bantuan doktor, kami akan mendapatkan doktor – tidak ada telefon bimbit ketika itu. Kami terpaksa gunakan interkom untuk hubungi mereka; mereka akan nyatakan di mana mereka berada dan kami akan hubungi mereka. Saya ingat lagi jumlah terbanyak yang saya perlu tangani dalam satu hari adalah 22! Kami juga melakukan kerja-kerja membidan ini di luar hospital. Kami akan pergi ke rumah-rumah untuk membidankan, dan merawat. Saya dapati ia menyeronokkan, kerana apabila anda pergi ke rumah si pesakit mereka melayan anda dengan lebih baik. Pada tahun 1960an, saya pernah ditugaskan mempromosi kempen ‘Dua Mencukupi’ bagi pihak Lembaga Perancangan Keluarga dan Penduduk. Kami perlu memeriksa pasangan-pasangan dan bertanyakan tentang anak-anak dan pendapatan mereka. Kami lakukan ini semua untuk masa depan pasangan tersebut ini. Kami berbincang dengan si isteri tanpa kehadiran suami masing-masing. Selepas bersalin, mereka tidak datang semula untuk mendapatkan alat pencegahan kehamilan mereka. Jadi, kami terpaksa pergi ke rumah mereka. Kami seperti jurujual wanita. Sesetengah pasangan tidak mahu berhenti dari mendapat anak lagi dan kami terpaksa hormati keputusan mereka. Saya pernah sekali dihalau oleh seorang suami – katanya, “Sedangkan ulat di kayu ada makanan untuk makan, kenapa kamu bimbang tentang anak-anak saya?” Kami tetap menjalankan tugas kami.



Lim Beak

Lahir pada tahun 1908 Bekerja di kebun suaminya pada pertengahan usia 30an sehingga usia 70an. Saya lahir pada hari ke lapan belas bulan pertama tahun 1908, dan datang ke Singapura ketika berumur 34 tahun menaiki sebuah bot besar bernama An Keng. Suami saya telah melarikan diri ke sini pada tahun 1939 untuk mengelakkan diri daripada dikerah menjadi askar di Fujian. ‘Si Soh’ saya (atau Makcik Keempat saya, tapi juga bermakna kakak ipar) sangat bertimbang rasa dan berkata, “Lebih baik kita hantar Gor Soh (merujuk kepada Lim Beak) ke Singapura. Kalau tidak, suaminya yang berada berjauhan untuk sekian lama, mungkin akan berkahwin dengan seorang penduduk tempatan di sana.” Ketika saya pertama kali tiba di sini, saya menaiki sebuah tram, yang ditarik oleh wayar yang melalui pusat Bandar ke Batu 10 Ulu Sembawang. Dari situ, kami menaiki lori untuk pergi ke Batu 13 Ulu Sembawang, yang juga dipanggil Jia Zui Gang (pelabuhan air tawar). Suami saya tinggal di sana bersama saudara perempuannya dan juga iparnya. Kami pergi ke sana sini meminta benih pelbagai sayuran seperti kacang panjang, peria, ubi kayu dan terung. Ia mengambil masa 40 hari sebelum kami dapat meraih hasil tanaman tersebut. Harga terung cuma dua sen sekati pada masa itu dan kami akan mendapat untung sekitar lebih sedolar hasil tuaian kami. Tetapi itulah yang menjadi asas permulaan kebun kami. Kemudian, kami meminjam wang daripada seorang kawan untuk menyertai skim senoman tempatan. Kami menggunakan $10 untuk bertaruh dalam loteri tersebut dan berjaya mendapatkan $580 sebagai modal untuk membeli khinzir. Saya tahu serba sedikit tentang memelihara khinzir kerana kami ada dua ekor khinzirdi China. Apabila khinzir-khinzir tersebut dijual, kami dapat membayar balik wang yang kami pinjam. Ketika saya mula-mula tiba di sana, tidak banyak orang tinggal di kawasan tersebut. Seluruh kawasan merupakan ladang getah dan tidak


ada keluarga lain yang tinggal dalam jarak lingkungan dua batu. Hanya mereka yang melarikan diri daripada tentera yang sanggup meneroka sejauh itu. Mujurlah semakin ramai orang yang berpindah ke kawasan itu kemudian dan sebuah sekolahpun didirikan bagi pendidikan anak-anak saya. Pada awal tahun 1950an, beberapa kejadian hujan yang sangat lebat berlaku. Banyak kawasan tanah yang digunakan untuk menanam sayur hancur musnah. Oleh itu, kami memutuskan untuk menggali sebuah kolam dan menternak ikan pula. Saya ingat lagi kami pergi ke bandar untuk membeli anak ikan. Anak ikan Silver Carp berharga 10 sen, Grass Carp juga berharga 10 sen. Kami juga mendapatkan ikan song dan ikan tai. Harga bagi kesemua anak-anak ikan tersebut adalah sekitar $100. Saya bertanya si penjual sama ada kami dibenarkan membayar balik kepadanya setelah 10 bulan apabila ikan-ikan tersebut telah membesar dan siap untuk dijual, dan dia membenarkan. Lagipun, dia tidak dapat lakukan apa-apa dengan ikan tersebut dan dia tidak kisah kami berhutang dengannya. Semua orang melakukan perkara begini pada zaman itu. Pada tahun 1986, pemerintah mengatakan bahawa kami tidak dibenarkan menternak khinzir lagi kerana najisnya boleh mencemarkan bekalan air negara dan apa yang kita beli dari Malaysia tidak mencukupi. Mereka cadangkan supaya kami berpindah ke rumah pangsa HDB (Lembaga Pembangunan Perumahan). Saya berpindah ke sebuah flat pada tahun 1993. Rumah-rumah pangsa HDB kini berdiri di atas bekas tapak kebun saya. Apabila saya tidak perlu lagi menjaga haiwan-haiwan tersebut, saya dapat pergi melancong. Saya mengembara ke serata China dan juga pulang semula ke tempat asal saya buat beberapa kali. Cucu cicit saya, lelaki dan perempuan, semuanya sangat mesra dengan saya dan meminta saya mengunjungi mereka selalu.



Mohamed Hanapi bin Mohamed Lahir pada tahun 1945

Berkhidmat dalam pasukan polis selama 26 tahun secara bergilir di pelbagai divisyen dan balai. Bermula di divisyen Woodlands berdekatan kastam, kemudian bekerja di divisyen Orchard dan Tanglin. Bersara untuk menghabiskan masa bersama keluarga. Saya memohon jawatan guru sementara di Sekolah Rendah Pulau Merlimau berdekatan Tanjong Kling. Setiap hari selama tiga bulan, saya terpaksa menaiki sebuah sampan pergi dan balik ke pulau tersebut untuk pergi mengajar di sekolah itu. Oleh kerana keputusan Sijil Peperiksaan Malaysia saya tidak memenuhi syarat-syarat untuk mengajar, saya memilih menjadi pegawai polis. Saya menyertai pasukan polis pada tahun 1965. Saya dihantar ke berek Jalan Gurney di Kuala Lumpur dan menjalani latihan selama enam bulan di sana. Para pelatih datang dari seluruh negara, seperti Sarawak, Sabah, Singapura dan lain-lain negeri Malaysia. Terdapat pilihan untuk kami berkhidmat di lain-lain negara di Malaysia kerana Singapura merupakan sebahagian daripada Malaya pada ketika itu. Singapura berpisah daripada Malaysia betul-betul sewaktu saya sedang separuh jalan mengikuti latihan tersebut. Latihan-latihan yang kami jalani sangat susah dan kami sangka perpisahan tersebut bermakna kami dapat pulang ke rumah dan latihan telah pun berakhir. Kami sangat gembira! Kami pun melontarkan pakaian seragam dan but-but kami ke atas atap zink berek kami untuk meraikannya. Tetapi, kami diarahkan mengambil semula barang-barang kami dan meneruskan latihan. Ketika saya mula menjadi pegawai polis, saya harus memakai seluar pendek berwarna coklat dan baju kemeja berwarna kelabu. Jika kami menangani mayat reput, kami perlu mendapatkan kemeja baru, kerana baunya akan melekat. Saya juga harus mengelap butang perak pada kemeja saya dan memakai but serta setokin panjang paras lutut. Saya berasa agak bangga memakai pakaian seragam tersebut. Orang ramai hormat kepada seragam tersebut pada zaman itu. Sebagai seorang pegawai polis, saya menangani banyak perkara. Terdapat pertempuran samseng pada tahun 1970an dan kami


akan meronda lorong-lorong dan mencari-cari parang-parang yang disembunyikan atau lain-lain senjata di bawah sarung guni atau pada pokok-pokok dan belukar. Saya juga pernah melihat banyak mayat. Pernah sekali saya melihat seorang mangsa pergaduhan yang lehernya hampir putus. Salah seorang pegawai yang lebih muda pengsan setelah melihatnya dan memerlukan khidmat ambulans. Dan pernah sekali, selepas makan tengah hari, dua rakan setugas yang lebih muda melihat pemandangan mayat yang mengerikan yang telah digilis di landasan berdekatan Rifle Range Road. Mereka memuntahkan semula semua yang dimakan tengah hari tersebut. Semasa saya berkhidmat di Divisyen Orchard Road pada tahun 1970an, banyak kecurian barang-barang peribadi dilaporkan. Oleh itu kami pun membentuk sebuah pasukan tugas khas di mana saya dikerahkan untuk mengenalpasti sindiket penyeluk saku tersebut. Saya berpasangan dengan rakan sejawat untuk mengekori mereka yang disyaki dan mereka akan ditangkap. Saya rasa saya ada bakat mengecam penyeluk saku rakyat Indonesia dan saya mengesyaki mereka menggunakan ilmu hitam ke atas mangsa mereka sebelum mengambil barang-barang mangsa. Rakyat Indonesia tersebut memakai tangkal di badan mereka dan mangsa mereka hanya akan tersedar bahawa barang-barang mereka telah dicuri apabila polis memberitahu mereka hal tersebut. Pencuri-pencuri ini akan didenda dan dihantar pulang ke Indonesia. Mereka yang telah didenda akan menukar nama mereka pada pasport mereka dan kembali semula ke Singapura untuk melalukan kecurian beberapa minggu kemudian. Saya rasa pasukan polis harus mewawancara dan melakukan tinjauan ke atas para pegawai yang akan bersara. Mereka pasti mempunyai pengalaman yang luas. Dan seperti dimaklumi, kami pegawai polis terdiri dari pelbagai bangsa dan kami semua bekerjasama dengan baik. Kami seronok semasa menjalankan tugas bersama-sama.



Puan Mohamed Siraj Lahir pada tahun 1925

Pekerja Sosial wanita yang pertama dengan Mahkamah Syariah. Salah seorang pendiri Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (1952) dan Majlis Kebajikan Wanita Islam (1964). Suami saya terlibat dalam kerja kemasyarakatan dan sosial dan saya juga menganggotai beberapa jawatankuasa, termasuk Persatuan Kanak-kanak Singapura dan Persatuan Perancangan Keluarga. Saya menyedari tidak ada muslimah dalam jawatankuasa-jawatankuasa tersebut dan saya berfikir jika sesuatu berlaku, tidak ada sesiapa yang akan menolong para muslimah kami.

Saya kemudian bekerja di Mahkamah Syariah sebagai seorang penasihat, dan ia merupakan pengalaman yang buruk kerana terdapat banyak wanita yang datang ke mahkamah disebabkan masalah dengan suami-suami mereka. Kebanyakannya melibatkan masalah kewangan – suami mereka akan mengahwini wanita lain dan meninggalkan mereka sendirian tanpa bantuan kewangan.

Pada tahun-tahun 1950an, lelaki boleh menceraikan isteri-isteri mereka hanya dengan melafazkan talak dan membayar mereka nafkah sebanyak $30 untuk tiga bulan walaupun mereka mempunyai anak-anak. Ini tidak adil, tetapi wanita tidak mempunyai hak dan tidak dapat melindungi diri. Saya dan rakan-rakan saya memutuskan untuk melakukan sesuatu dan kami pun memulakan Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura dengan menyebarkannya dari mulut ke mulut. Kaum wanita pada masa itu sangat takut kepada suami mereka, dan sesetengahnya diberitahu oleh suami mereka bahawa suami mereka akan menceraikannya jika wanita tersebut menyertai kami. Kami memberitahu mereka bahawa sekiranya mereka takut, mereka tidak akan mampu melakukan banyak perkara. Sesetengah wanita tersebut tidak takut dan berkata sekiranya mereka dihalau keluar dari rumah sekalipun, mereka akan tetap berjuang. Kami menemui para peguam dan mengutarakan perkara-perkara seperti undang-undang perceraian dan poligami. Akhirnya, usaha kami membawa kepada undang-undang yang lebih baik. Kami juga memberitahu mereka bahawa masyarakat Islam perlukan tempat di mana wanita boleh pergi dan membentangkan masalah-masalah mereka demi mendapatkan lebih banyak hak, dan ini berhasil dengan adanya Mahkamah Syariah.

Saya juga berasa bahawa oleh kerana saya terlibat dalam semua kerja ini, saya harus tahu lebih banyak tentang undang-undang. Jika kita tidak tahu tentang undang-undang, bagaimanakah kita boleh menolong orang? Tetapi, belajar pada usia lanjut begitu sukar, lebih-lebih lagi saya juga sedang bekerja. Saya mula menghadiri kelas-kelas bimbingan Encik Ahmad Ibrahim (Ketua Hakim pertama Singapura) dan beliau mengajar saya banyak perkara.


Pada tahun 1964, kami memulakan Majlis Kebajikan Wanita Islam. Walaupun setelah undang-undang perceraian dan poligami ditukar, masih terdapat masalah kerana ramai orang lelaki bertindak sesuka hati. Kebanyakan wanita tidak terpelajar dan ibu-bapa serta suami mereka akan mengongkong mereka di rumah. Dengan adanya majlis tersebut, kami melakukan kerja amal dan kebajikan, dan kami cuba membantu wanita tersebut dengan memberi mereka nasihat guaman dan perubatan. Apa yang membuat saya terus berkhidmat adalah keinginan untuk membantu golongan yang kurang bernasib baik. Terdapat begitu banyak wanita dan kanak-kanak yang kurang bernasib baik, termasuk lelaki yang kurang bernasib baik. Saya rasa saya harus membantu dengan apa pun cara yang terbaik.



Othman bin Tubah Lahir pada tahun 1947

Bekerja sebagai seorang kontraktor selepas menamatkan persekolahan. Salah satu tugas awalnya bertempat di stesen janakuasa Pasir Panjang. Kami terpaksa menggunakan tangan untuk menarik kabel elekrik yang tebal. Bahagian luar kabel tersebut dibuat daripada getah, tetapi dalamnya ada kabel elekrik, semuanya besi, kerana itu ia sangat berat. Kami perlu mengeluarkannya daripada gulungannya yang besar dan memasukkannya ke dalam pasir. Ramai kakitangan yang diperlukan untuk menariknya. Terdapat semacam terowong dalam pasir tersebut, kami memasukkan kabel tersebut di dalamnya dan menutupinya selepas itu. Pada masa itu, stesen janakuasa masih dikendalikan oleh pihak British. Kemudian, saya juga bekerja di pelabuhan di Pasir Panjang, mengangkut barang-barang daripada kapal-kapal British. Pada masa itu memang sangat sukar untuk mendapat pekerjaan. Terdapat sebuah syarikat bernama Chua Chua Leong dan kami akan pergi ke sana dan menunggu untuk melihat sekiranya mereka perlukan orang untuk bekerja pada hari itu. Apabila kapal-kapal berlabuh, mereka akan tentukan berapa ramai orang yang mereka perlukan, dan jika kami dipanggil, kami akan pergi dan membawa peluru-peluru daripada kapal tersebut ke trak-trak yang sedang menunggu. Bekas pelurunya besarbesar. Sangat berat. Kerja-kerja seperti ini tidak selalu ada, semuanya bergantung pada situasi. Selepas itu, pada tahun-tahun 1960an, saya bekerja di Limbungan Jurong. Seorang kawan saya merupakan pemandu kren di sana dan dia menyarankan saya bekerja di sana. Tetapi saya 140 HANDS

tidak tahu memandu, jadi saya memasang pelantar untuk bilik enjin. Ini bermakna kami menyediakan tempat tersebut supaya pekerja yang perlu mematri, mengecat sembur atau membetulkan peralatan dapat masuk ke dalam setelah kami menyediakannya. Kemudian, saya memiliki satu pasukan yang mungkin terdiri dari tiga atau empat orang, dan saya merupakan penyelianya. Pengurus saya dari Limbungan Jurong berpindah ke Limbungan Mitsubishi. Dia mengajak saya menyertainya di sana. Limbungan tersebut terletak di Pioneer Road. Bagaimanapun, saya bertugas tidak lama dengan Mitsubishi. Semasa saya menyertai mereka, pada mulanya saya diminta bekerja di bilik enjin, serupa dengan apa yang pernah saya lakukan sebelum bertugas di sini. Di sini mereka menempatkan saya dalam tangki, yang bermakna kami harus membersihkan tangki tersebut dan memasang pelantar di sana. Ia sangat dalam dan licin. Ini merupakan tangki di mana mereka mengisi minyak untuk kapal tersebut, jadi ia juga berbau busuk dan sangat berbahaya. Untuk pengetahuan semua, kira-kira setahun setelah saya meninggalkan tempat itu, kapal tersebut pun meletup. Kamu tahu Spyros? Beberapa orang yang pernah bekerja di bawah penyeliaan saya berada dalam kapal tersebut. Saya berasa amat bersyukur. Mereka yang terlibat adalah rakan-rakan kerja saya; di antara mereka adalah seorang

pematri dan dua orang wanita. Saya kenal kedua-dua wanita tersebut, mereka berdua pekerja pembersihan, mereka berada atas kapal tersebut semasa ia meletup. Ia sungguh memilukan. Apabila berita itu dilaporkan, ada orang menelefon saya dan memberitahu, “Kau kenal si dia ni, kau dulu ketuanya? Dia ada di sana. Sekarang dah arwah.” Kehidupan pada masa itu susah. Saya mempunyai tiga orang anak, semuanya sedang bersekolah. Seorang kenalan di bawah blok saya menyarankan agar saya mengambil lesen memandu supaya saya dapat melakukan pelbagai kerja. Saya pun pergi mengambil kursus. Pada masa itu sangat mudah. Apabila gagal, kamu boleh cuba lagi selepas dua atau tiga hari. Tidak seperti sekarang. Saya bernasib baik, saya lulus ujian pertama. Kursus menonggang motosikal pun saya lulus dalam ujian pertamanya. Walaupun kamu tidak ada lesen motosikal, kamu hanya perlu mempamerkan tanda ‘L’ dan kamu dibenarkan memandu di jalan raya. Selepas saya lulus ujian, saya cuba dapatkan pekerjaan sebagai pemandu. Mereka gelarkan saya Ahmad. Saya terbaca di surat khabar tentang sebuah tempat di International Plaza yang sedang mencari seorang pemandu. Jadi saya pun pergi untuk ditemuduga, tetapi mereka tidak bertanyakan tentang lesen saya yang merah. Pada masa itu, kamu akan mendapat lesen berwarna merah apabila baru sahaja lulus ujian memandu. Setelah setahun,

barulah kamu akan diberikan lesen biasa. Mereka tidak pernah bertanya saya tentang lesen tersebut. Sejurus itu, saya dikehendaki mula bekerja dua atau tiga hari kemudian. Ketika melaporkan diri untuk bekerja, mereka menyuruh saya memandu kereta yang disediakan. iaitu sebuah kereta Mercedes. Saya rasa gementar! Jadi saya memandu sangat perlahan. Tidak berapa lama kemudian, saya rasa selesa, tetapi apabila saya perlu ke pejabat, saya terpaksa memandu ke atas, jauh ke atas ke tempat letak kereta di International Plaza. Berpeluh! Tugasan utama saya ialah memandu ibu majikan saya ke merata tempat. Kamu tahu, si Ah Ma. Kakinya kecil. Saya akan memandunya untuk mencuci rambutnya di salon, dan bila-bila dia ingin pergi bersembahyang di kuil Guang Meng Sua. Saya ada kawan-kawan Cina di kampung, jadi saya belajar sedikit bahasa Cina, perkataanperkataan yang mudah sahaja. Kemudian ketika Ah Ma bercakap dalam bahasa Cina dengan saya, dan bertanya jika saya hendak ke sini atau ke sana, saya jawab, “Chin chye (sebaranglah)!” Lalu dia kata, “Eh, kamu boleh cakap Cina?” Jadi mereka suka pada saya. Saya bekerja di sana selama 25 tahun, sehingga khidmat saya tidak lagi diperlukan sebab tiada orang untuk dijaga. Semua anakanaknya sudah dewasa, tiada orang lagi untuk saya pandu.

Roslina Baba Lahir pada tahun 1963

Peguambela dan peguamcara sejak 1994 sehingga kini. Saya ingin menjadi seorang guru bahasa Inggeris atau sastera, kerana saya gemar belajar tentang bahasa dan perkataan. Tetapi bapa saya melihat kecenderungan saya dalam pendidikan tinggi dan mengatakan bahawa saya harus mendapatkan segulung ijazah profesional. Pada zaman itu, ini bermakna perubatan, undangundang, kejuruteraan atau perakaunan. Ketika di pra-universiti, sekolah kami membawa kami melawati Mahkamah Timbangtara Perindustrian. Walaupun tidak ada peguam di sana, penghujahan kes-kes dan perbicaraannya menarik minat saya. Saya merumuskan bahawa mempelajari undang-undang bukanlah sesuatu pengorbanan yang teruk. Lagi pun, undang-undang juga ada kena mengena dengan bahasa. Saya merupakan sebahagian dari kumpulan pertama penuntut undang-undang NUS (Universiti Kebangsaan Singapura) yang menghabiskan masa selama empat tahun di kampus Kent Ridge. Walaupun nisbah pelajar lelaki dan pelajar perempuan adalah sekitar 50:50, saya merupakan satu-satunya pelajar Melayu wanita dalam jabatan tersebut. Saya agak cergas dalam Persatuan Islam di sana. Kami menganjurkan ceramah dan bahas tentang falsafah, agama dan perbincangan semasa. Semasa tahun terakhir saya, terdapat satu lagi kumpulan yang menganjurkan petisyen menentang kuota untuk pelajar Perubatan wanita, yang membataskan kemasukan mereka kepada sekitar cuma 3 daripada setiap 10 pelajar. Kami rasa ini tidak adil terhadap wanita. Maka sekumpulan pelajar dan pensyarah memulakan satu petisyen. Ahli-ahli kumpulan ini akhirnya berkembang menjadi AWARE (Persatuan Wanita Untuk Tindakan & Kajian).


Selepas saya menamatkan pengajian undang-undang, saya kurang berminat menyertai syarikat-syarikat besar yang kebanyakannya menumpukan kepada undang-undang korporat. Saya rasa saya dapat menolong orang ramai sebagai seorang peguam. Lalu saya berkhidmat dengan sebuah syarikat guaman yang kecil di Geylang yang banyak berbakti kepada golongan kurang bernasib baik. Saya masih ingat menjadi peguambela untuk seorang penjaja dengan bayaran hanya $300. Ia merupakan sebuah syarikat yang sangat kecil, yang terdiri daripada tiga rakan kongsi dan hanya seorang murid. Kemudian, seorang rakan kongsi meninggalkannya untuk berhijrah ke luar negara dan seorang lagi mengambil cuti panjang, jadi hanya tinggal ketua peguam dan saya sahaja. Saya baru sahaja bekerja selama kira-kira 18 bulan apabila ketua peguam saya ditahan oleh ISD. Tiba-tiba, saya terpaksa mengendalikan syarikat tersebut dan pada masa yang sama cuba menangani kes ketua saya. Percayalah, ia bukanlah pengalaman menimba ilmu guaman yang lazimnya diterima oleh kebanyakan peguam muda! Akhirnya, keluarga peguam yang ditahan tersebut memutuskan untuk menutup syarikat tersebut supaya beliau tidak perlu bimbang tentangnya semasa tempoh penahanannya dan saya tidak perlu mengendalikannya sendirian. Selepas peristiwa itu, saya pergi ke London untuk melanjutkan pengajian ke peringkat Sarjana. Saya berasa seronok waktu di London dan bekerja di sana juga menarik. Tetapi sebagai seorang orang Asia, kamu harus pulang apabila ibubapa kamu meminta kamu pulang, dan itulah kemahuan ibu-bapa saya. Saya kembali semula dan menyertai syarikat ini hingga sekarang. Saya telah berkhidmat dengan mereka sejak 22 tahun yang lalu.



Syed Abdul Kadir Lahir pada tahun 1948

Mula bertinju pada usia 11 tahun. Merupakan rakyat Singapura yang pertama memenangi sebuah pingat untuk tinju dalam Sukan Komanwel. Mewakili Singapura pada tahun 1972 dalam Sukan Olimpik di Munich. Bersara daripada sukan tersebut pada lewat 1976 dan terus menjadi jurulatih pasukan kebangsaan Singapura. Sukan Olimpik merupakan impian saya. Saya berazam ingin mewakili Negara tetapi kawan-kawan saya mempersendakan saya. Mereka berkata, “Sukan ini sangat sukar, engkau tak boleh…” Saya katakan saya akan buktikan kepada mereka. Kita selalu katakan bahawa jika orang ini boleh, saya juga boleh. Tapi kamu tak boleh gunakan mulut saja. Kamu mesti berusaha untuk mencapainya. Cuma latihan, latihan, latihan. Berusaha, berlatih. Itulah kehidupan saya. Selama sepuluh tahun saya melakukannya. Saya menang dalam kejohanan terbuka kebangsaan saya yang pertama pada usia 19 tahun. Saya dipilih untuk meyertai Sukan Olimpik. Itu kemuncak saya. Pencapaian yang tertinggi. Saya benarbenar bersedia dengan baik. Saya berlawan dengan semua petinju yang lebih berat. Jadi, orang lihat bahawa saya boleh hadapi dan atasi mereka yang lebih berat. Lain-lain pesaing dari negara-negara lain, dalam kategori berat badan berasa agak bimbang. Mereka tidak mahu berlawan dengan saya. Sejurus itu kami pun berangkat ke Munich. Saya berasa amat yakin. Pertandingan seterusnya menentang Cuba dan saya tahu saya akan menang. Tetapi pada pusingan kedua, lawan saya melepaskan tumbukan ke atas kepala saya. Terdapat luka yang sangat kecil, ia sangat kecil. Maka pengadil menghentikan perlawanan. Doktor datang dan memeriksa luka tersebut. Pembantu saya sekadar mengelapnya dan menekapnya. Pendarahan berhenti. Ia cuma luka


yang sangat kecil; kita sepatutnya boleh teruskan. Tetapi saya tidak dapat berbuat apa-apa; mereka tidak membenarkan saya berlawan. Saya menangis. Saya tidak dapat lakukan apa-apa. Walaupun saya pernah pergi ke Sukan Olimpik, sukan Semenanjung Asia Tenggara pada tahun 1971 merupakan perlawanan yang terbaik buat saya kerana pesaing saya di peringkat akhir merupakan warga Burma. Dia sengaja dibawa turun dari kalangan kaum bukit untuk tujuan bertinju. Dia kelihatan menakutkan, seorang yang sangat garang. Dan dia merupakan petinju nombor satu di Asia pada masa itu. Jurulatihnya sangat angkuh. Apabila kami bertemu di dewan makan, dia datang kepada saya dan berkata, “Kau akan bertemu dengan anak didikku, kau harus makan lebih banyak.” Dia suruh saya makan lebih banyak! Dia bersungguh-sungguh. Lalu saya katakan, “OK, saya akan bertemu kamu malam ini.” Itu sahaja. Kemudian, apabila saya mengalahkan anak didiknya, saya boleh katakan saya telah menggoncang dunia. Mereka tidak tahu bahawa Singapura mempunyai para petinju yang boleh menjadi juara. Saya tidak tahu apa makna bersara. Ia tidak wujud dalam kamus hidup saya. Kata orang dalam sukan apa pun, kamu harus berkorban. Masa dan zaman muda kamu. Selagi saya masih kuat, saya akan teruskan membantu kanak-kanak kecil. Mereka perlukan panduan. Saya rasa jika saya tidak mengembalikan apa yang telah saya pelajari daripada sukan tersebut, saya tidak akan berasa berpuas hati .



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me;ehl;fspy; tpkhdj;jpy; gwg;gJ vd;gJ xU ngUikf;Fupa nra;jp. Vndd;why; mg;Nghnjy;yhk; vy;NyhuhYk; tpkhdj;jpy; gwf;f KbahJ. mg;gbg; gwg;gJ xU Kf;fpa epfo;thf ,Uf;Fk;. me;jf; fhyq;fspy; tpkhdj;jpy; nry;Yk;NghJ tpkhdj;ij ,ilapy; epWj;jpa gpd;Ng nry;y Ntz;bapUe;jJ. cjhuzkhf 'yz;ld;" nry;y Ntz;Lnkd;why; ,ilapy; ,uz;L my;yJ %d;W ,lq;fspy; epWj;jpa gpd;Ng nry;y KbAk;. kf;fSk; mijg; ngupjhff; fUjtpy;iy. tpkhdj;jpy; nry;y tpUk;Gk; gazpfs; ey;y cil cLj;jp ey;y myq;fhuj;Jld; tpkhdg; gazj;ij mDgtpf;fj; jahuhthu;fs;. tpkhdj;jpy; ve;j xU nghOJNghf;F mk;rq;fSk; ,y;yhkNyNa gazpfs; nfhz;lhl;l czu;itg; ngw;wdu;. 1973-,y; ehd; vdJ gapw;rpiaj; njhlq;Fk;NghJ ehq;fs; 'ghah Nygu;" tpkhd jsj;ijg; gad;gLj;JNthk;. me;j tpkhd jsk; tpkhdq;fs; te;J nry;y trjpahf ,Ue;jhYk; ehq;fs; tPLfSf;F Nky; gwe;J nry;y Ntz;ba mtrpak; ,Ue;jJ. NkYk; gioa tpkhdq;fs; Ngupiur;riy cz;lhf;fpajhy; nghJkf;fSf;Fr; rpukk; Vw;gl;lJ. 'ghah Nygu;" tpkhd epiyak; rpwg;ghdJ ghJfhg;ghdJ. 1970-fspd; ,Wjpapy; rhq;fp tpkhd epiyak; fl;lg;gl;L 1981- ,y; gad;ghl;bw;F te;jJ. mq;F midj;J etPdr; rhjdq;fSk; ,Ue;jd. tpkhdq;fs; NknyOk;gTk;> jiuapwq;fTk; jdpj;jdpahf xLjsq;fs; ,Ue;jd. N`hz;lh tz;bia Xl;ba xUtUf;F 'gp vk; lgps;A+" tz;b fpilj;jhy; vt;tsT NtWghL njupANkh mJNghd;wJjhd; 'ghah Nygu;" tpkhd epiyaj;jpw;Fk; rhq;fp tpkhd epiyaj;jpw;Fk; cs;s NtWghL vd;gJ vdJ fUj;J.



`rd; Fj;J}]; gpwg;G 1947

njhiyj;njhlu;Gj; Jiwapy; 1965-1969 tiuAk; gpd;G rpq;fg;G+u; mQ;ry; Jiwapy; 2003 tiuAk; 34 tUlq;fshfg; gzp nra;jtu;. ,g;NghJ jdJ kidtpAld; jhQ;Nrhq; gfhu; re;ijapy; xU krhy; nghUs;fs; tpw;Fk; fil itj;jpUf;fpwhu;. rpq;fg;G+u; njd;fhrp ,];yhkpa eyr; rq;fj;jpd; jiytuhfTk;> nksyhdh KfkJ myp kR+jpapd; cWg;gpduhfTk; cs;shu;. ,d;W jQ;Nrhq;; gfhu; gpshrh vd;W miof;fg;gLfpd;w jQ;Nrhq;; gfhupy; cs;s 'nrq; Jthd;" njU 4-,y; ehd; gpwe;Njd;. 1968-tiu mq;F tho;e;J gpd; 'fpk; jpahd;" rhiyf;Ff; Fbngau;e;Njhk;. vdf;F 5 tajhf ,Uf;Fk;NghJ vd; je;ij ,we;JNghdjhy;> krhiyg; nghUs;fis miuj;Jf; filfspy; nfhLj;J mjpy; fpilf;Fk; tUkhdj;jpypUe;J vd;idAk; vd; jq;ifiaAk; vdJ jhahu; tsu;j;jhu;. ehq;fs; tho;e;j tPl;by; gy FLk;gq;fs; xd;whf tho;e;jdu;. cjhuzkhf xU tPl;by; 20 FLk;gq;fs;$l xd;whf tho;thu;fs;. xt;nthU FLk;gj;jhUk; Xu; miwapy; tho;thu;fs;. xU FLk;gj;jpy; Rkhu; 10 gps;isfs;$l ,Ug;ghu;fs;. rikayiw xd;whf ,Ue;jhYk; xt;nthU FLk;gj;jhUk; jdpj;jdp mLg;igg; gad;gLj;JNthk;. nghJthd fopg;giwAk; %d;W my;yJ ehd;F Ngu; xNu Neuj;jpy; Fspf;Fk; msTf;F xU ngupa FspayiwAk; ,Uf;Fk;. tPl;bypUf;Fk; FLk;gj;jpdu; czitj; jq;fSf;Fs; gupkhwpf; nfhs;tJk; cz;L. mtu;fs; jq;fpapUe;j tPl;L miwfs; rpwpait vd;gjhy; rpyu; ,uT Neuq;fspy; ruf;Fe;JfspYk;> rpyu; klf;F nkj;ijia tpupj;J 5 mb mfyk; kl;LNk cs;s eilghijapYk; gLj;J cwq;FtJ cz;L. tho;f;if fbdkhf ,Ue;jhYk; mJNt gofptpl;lJ vd;gjhy; mjw;fhf ahUk; tUe;Jtjpy;iy. ehq;fs; Viofshf ,Ue;jhYk; epk;kjpahf tho;e;Njhk;. mg;NghJ gps;isfs; vy;yhUk; ngw;NwhUf;F cjTtJ tof;fk;. mJNghd;W ehDk; vdJ jha;f;F cjtp nra;Ntd;. jhahu; miuj;j krhiyiaf; filfSf;Ff; nfhz;L nry;tJ vdJ Ntiy. fhiyapy; krhy; nghUs;fisr; rikaYf;fhff; filfSf;Ff;; nfhz;LNgha;f; nfhLg;gJ> gpwF kjpak; CWfha; Nghd;w nghUs;fisf; nfhLg;gJ> khiyapy; gzk; thq;Ftjw;fhf vd;W xU ehisf;F %d;WKiw filfSf;Fr; nrd;W tUNthk;. fhiyapy; gs;spf;Fr; nry;tjw;F Kd;G 8 kzpastpy; krhiyiaf; filfSf;Ff;; nfhz;L nry;Ntd;. kjpaKk; khiy Neuj;jpYk; vdJ jhahu; me;j Ntiyiar; nra;thu;. khiyapy; kPz;Lk; ehd; mijj; njhlu;Ntd;.


me;jf; fhyq;fspy; vq;fSf;Ff; fy;tpapd; Kf;fpaj;Jtk; njupatpy;iy. Mdhy;> ,d;W tho;f;ifapy; Kd;Ndw Ntz;Lkhdhy; fy;tp mtrpak; vd;gij ehq;fs; ed;F czu;e;jpUf;fpNwhk;. murhq;fKk; mjw;F KO xj;Jiog;Gf; nfhLf;fpwJ. rpq;fg;G+u; mQ;ry; JiwapypUe;J Xa;T ngw;w gpd;G> ehDk; vdJ kidtp \hgd; gPtPAld; Nru;e;J jhQ;Nrhq; gfhu; re;ijapy; ,Ue;j vq;fs; krhiyg; nghUs;fs; tpw;Fk; filiaf; ftdpj;Jf;nfhz;Nlhk;. nkhj;j tpw;gidahsuplkpUe;J nghUl;fis nkhj;jkhf thq;fpg; gyjug;gl;l czT tiffSf;F Vw;g krhiyg; nghUl;fisj; jahupg;Nghk;. gpupahzp> FUkh> R+g;> krhf; nkuh> nuz;lhq;> kPd; jiyf;fwp Nghd;wtw;wpw;F krhy; nghUs;fisj; jahupf;Fk; Kiw vq;fSf;F ed;whfj; njupAk;. rpy ngsj;j kjj;jpdu; ntq;fhaj;ijAk; ,Q;rpiaAk; tpUk;gkhl;lhu;fs; vd;gjhy; mtw;iw vq;fs; krhiyfspy; Nru;f;fkhl;Nlhk;. ehq;fs; vq;fs; krhy; rhkhd;fisf; filfs;> cztfq;fs;> czT jahupj;J tpepNahfk; nra;Nthu; vdg; gy ,lq;fSf;F mDg;gp itg;Nghk;. vq;fsJ thbf;ifahsu;fspy; ngUk;ghNyhu; irdh lTd; tl;lhuj;ijr; Nru;e;jtu;fs;. jQ;Nrhq; gfhu;> re;ijf; filf;fhuu;fs; vy;NyhUk; xUtiu xUtu; kjpj;J ez;gu;fshfg; gofpNdhk;. $ilfspy; itj;J tpw;w krhiyg; nghUl;fis 1976-Mk; Mz;L xU filahf khw;wpdhu; vdJ jhahu;. mjpypUe;J cUthdJjhd; vq;fsJ krhiyf; fil. me;j tpahghuk; vq;fsJ ,uj;jj;NjhL fye;jJ. kf;fs; ey;y> MNuhf;fpakhd czit cz;z Ntz;Lk; vd;gJjhd; vq;fsJ tpUg;gk;. ehq;fs; tpw;Fk; krhiyg; nghUisj;jhd; tPl;bYk; rikf;fpNwhk;. ey;y krhiyiaj; jhahupg;gjw;Fj; juKk; msTk; mDgtKk; Kf;fpak;. rpy krhiyf; filf;fhuu;fs; jq;fs; nghUl;fspd; nra;Kiwfis ahUf;Fk; nrhy;ykhl;lhu;fs;. Mdhy;> ehq;fs; ahu; Nfl;lhYk; mtu;fSf;F krhiy nra;Kiwfisg; gw;wp kiwf;fhky; $WNthk;. ehq;fs; vq;fsJ ePz;l ehs; thbf;ifahsu;fNshL ey;y njhlu;G nfhz;Ls;Nshk;. ,e;j vy;yhg; GfOf;Fk; ,iwtDf;F ed;wp $WfpNwhk;.



[pjh rpq;; gpwg;G 1949

Njrpaf; fhw;ge;jhl;lf; FOtpy; (1969-1973) 5 Mz;Lfs; cWg;gpdu;. mjd; gpwF Mu;tj;jhy; rPf;fpaf; fhw;ge;jhl;lg; gapw;Wtpg;ghsuhdhu;. Njrpaf; fhw;ge;jhl;lf; FOTf;F 1979 ,ypUe;J 1984 tiu gapw;Wtpg;ghsuhf ,Ue;jhu;. jw;NghJ rpq;fg;G+u;f; fhw;ge;jhl;lr; rq;f Nkk;ghl;Lf; FOtpd; %j;j jiytuhf cs;shu;. mf;fhyq;fspy; fhw;ge;J tpisahLtJ Rygkhf ,Ue;jJ. eq;fs; vq;F ,lk; fpilj;jhYk; fw;fisNah my;yJ Fr;rpfisNah Nfhy; fk;gq;fshf;fp ntWq;fhy;fNshL gpsh];bf; ge;Jfisf; nfhz;L tpisahLNthk;. rkkpy;yhj fuLKulhd jplypy; tpisahLk;NghJ clypy; fhak; Vw;gLtJz;L. ,Ue;jhYk;> mJFwpj;J ehq;fs; ftiyg;gl;ljpy;iy. ehd; xU tpisahl;L tPuu;. gs;spapy; FWfpa kw;Wk; neLe;J}u Xl;l tpUJfisg; ngw;Ws;Nsd;. NkYk; gs;spiag; gpujpepjpj;J `hf;fp tpisahbapUf;fpNwd;. MdhYk;> fhw;ge;jhl;l tpisahl;Nl kpfTk; rthyhdjhfTk; Mu;t%l;LtjhfTk; ,Ue;jJ. ehd; rPf;fpa r%fj;ijr; Nru;e;jtd;. rPf;fpa r%fj;jpdu; ngUk;ghYk; `hf;fp tpisahl;ilNa tpUk;gp tpisahLthu;fs;. rPf;fpar; r%fj;Jf;Fk; `hf;fpf;Fk; neUq;fpa rk;ge;jk; cz;L. 1960-fspy; ehd; gjpd;k tajhf ,Uf;Fk;NghJ vdJ r%fj;jpypUe;J Vw;gl;l vjpu;g;gpd;; fhuzkhf ehd; fhw;ge;J tpisahlg; NghfpNwd; vd;gij ntspg;gilahff; $wtpy;iy. Mdhy;> nrapd;l; [hu;[; ikjhdj;jpy; elf;Fk; fhw;ge;jhl;lj;ijg; ghu;f;fg; Nghtjhfg; ngw;Nwhuplk; $wptpl;L tpisahlr; nry;Ntd;. mf;fhyq;fspy; tzpf epWtdq;fSf;fhd Nghl;b> murhq;f Nritf;fhd Nghl;b> el;GKiw Ml;lq;fs; vdg; gy Nghl;bfs; ele;jd. ehd; me;jf; FOf;fspy; vd; ngw;Nwhu; mwpe;Jnfhs;sf; $lhJ vd;gjw;fhf Nkw;rl;il $l ,y;yhky; tpisahLtJz;L. tpisahb Kbj;jgpwF tpau;itiaj; Jilf;f tPl;bypUe;J nfhz;Lnrd;w iff;Fl;iliag; gad;gLj;JNtd;. fhw;ge;J tpisahbaJ vq;fs; FLk;gj;jhUf;Fj; njupahjthW ghu;j;Jf;nfhs;Ntd;. ,J vdJ njhlu; eltbf;ifahf ,Ue;jJ. Mdhy;> xU ehs; vdJ je;ij jdJ ez;gu;fNshL fhw;ge;jhl;l tpisahl;ilg; ghu;f;f


te;jpUe;jhu;. mg;NghJ ehd; tpisahbaij vd; je;ij ghu;j;jhu;. Mdhy;> ehd; mtiuf; ftdpf;ftpy;iy. fhw;ge;jhl;lk; Kbe;jgpd; vdJ md;whl Ntiyfis Kbj;Jtpl;L ehd; tPl;bw;Fr; nrd;wNghJ ''tpisahl;by; ahu; ntw;wpngw;wJ?"" vd;W vdJ jhahu; Nfl;lhu;. mJ vdf;F ,f;fl;lhd R+oiy cUthf;fpaJ. nghJthf ehd; ghu;f;f Ntz;ba tpisahl;bd; Kbit mwpe;Jnfhs;tJ tof;fk;. Mdhy;> md;W Kbit mwpe;Jnfhs;s kwe;Jtpl;Nld;. mk;kh Nfl;Fk;NghJ vd;dhy; gjpy; $wKbatpy;iy. mjdhy;> vdf;Fg; gpuk;gb fpilj;jJ. gpwF tPl;bypUe;j iff;Fl;ilfs; jpULNghdjw;F ehd;jhd; fhuzk; vd;gij mwpe;jhu;fs;. tpd;l;]u; Nuhtu;]; fhw;ge;jhl;lf; FOtpypUe;J jpU [;igah mtu;fs; vdf;Fg; gapw;Wtpg;ghsuhf ,Ue;jhu;. mjdhy;> vdJ ngw;Nwhu; vd;id tpisahl mDkjpj;jdu;. mtu; vdJ ngw;Nwhuplk; fhw;ge;jhl;lj;jhy; vdf;F ve;jg; ghjpg;Gk; tuhky; vd;idg; ghJfhg;ghfg; ghu;j;Jf; nfhs;tjhf vdJ ngw;NwhUf;F cWjp mspj;jhu;. ehd; Kjd; Kiwahfj; Njrpaf; FOtpy; ,lk; ngw;wpUe;jNghJ vq;fsJ fhw;ge;jhl;lr; rPUil jbj;j gUj;jpj;Jzpahyhdjhy; mJ mzptjw;F trjpahf ,y;iy. mg;NghJ ryit nra;Ak; trjpAk; ,y;iy vd;gjhy; ehq;fs; Milfis tPl;bw;F vLj;Jr; nrd;Wjhd; Jitf;f Ntz;Lk;. ehd; rpq;fg;G+Uf;fhf tpisahLtjpy; ngUik mile;Njd;. ,uz;L kzpf;F xUKiw vdJ mykhupiaj; jpwe;J vdJ fhw;ge;jhl;l cilia vLj;Jg; ghu;j;Jg; ngUikailNtd;. mg;NghJ rpq;fg;G+u;f; nfhb fpilahJ. ehd;F tz;zr; rJuq;fshyhd rl;ilia mzpNthk;. Mdhy; jha;ehl;Lf;fhf tpisahLfpNwhk; vd;Dk; ngUik vq;fSf;F kpFe;jpUe;jJ. mjdhy;> vdJ fhw;ge;jhl;lr; rl;ilia mbf;fb vLj;Jg; ghu;j;Jg; ngUiknfhs;Ntd;.



Nydh jk;igah gpwg;G 1937

<LghLila r%f Nritahsu;. r%f eyj;Jiwapd; cjtp ,af;Feu;. (1961-1964). FLk;g ey Nritj;Jiwj; jiytu;> Mrpag; ngz;fs; eyr; rq;fj;jpd; jiytu; (AWWA)(1975-1978). clw;FiwAs;s rpWtu; tpisahl;L mikg;gpd; jiytu; (1979-1985). vdJ ngw;Nwhu; Nritj; Jiwapy; <Lgl;bUe;jJ vd;id kpfTk; ftu;e;jJ. vdJ je;ij 'nrapd;l; Mz;L&]; kp\d;" kUj;JtkidapYk;> vdJ jhahu; RaNritg; gpuptpYk; kpfTk; <LghLilatu;fs;. ehd; jpUr;rigapd; ,isNahu; gpupitr; rhu;e;jtu;;. xU Kiw 'nrapd;l; Mz;L&]; vYk;Gg; gpupT kUj;Jt kidiar; nrd;W ghu;j;Njhk;. mg;Nghnjy;yhk; Foe;ijfSf;F ,sk;gps;is thj Neha; xU ngUk; gpur;rpidahf ,Ue;jJ. mq;F ,sk;gps;is thj Nehahy; ghjpf;fg;gl;l Foe;ijfs; gyu; ,Ue;jdu;. mtu;fSf;fhfj; jdpahf xU gs;spAk; ,Ue;jJ. mq;F mtu;fSf;Fg; ghlk; nrhy;ypf; nfhLf;f Mrpupau;fSk; ,Ue;jdu;. mjdhy;> mf;Foe;ijfs; jpUk;gg; gs;spf;Fr; nry;Yk;NghJ ghlj;ijj; njhlu;tJ Rygkhf ,Ue;jJ. ehq;fs; xU ehs; me;j kUj;Jtkidiag; ghu;itaplr; nrd;Nwhk;. mg;NghJ ehd; xU rpWtdpd; gLf;iff;F mUfpy; mku;e;J fijfisf; $wpNdd;. ghu;it Neuk; Kbe;J jpUk;Gk;NghJ me;jr; rpWtd; jdJ iffshy; vdJ fOj;ij ,Wff; fl;bf;nfhz;L> ''ePq;fs; Nghff;$lhJ> ,q;NfNa ,Ue;J vdf;Ff; fijfs; $w Ntz;Lk;"" vd;whd;. mJ vd;id kpfTk; ghjpj;jJ. mjdhy;> me;jf; Foe;ijfSf;fhf VjhtJ nra;a Ntz;Lk; vd;W KbT nra;Njd;. mjw;Fr; r%f Nrit xU rpwe;j jPu;thf mike;jJ. 1990-fspy; Nydh Mrpag; ngz;fs; eyr; rq;fj;NjhL (AWWA) neUf;fkhf Ntiy nra;J clw;Fiw cs;s gps;isfisg; nghJg; gs;spfspy; Nru;j;jhu;. Mrpag; ngz;fs; eyr; rq;fj;jpd; jiytuhf ,Ue;j 'Nfj;jyPd; rpah"> ''vd;dplk; ,uz;L gy clw;Fiw khztu;fs; ,Uf;fpwhu;fs;. mtu;fs; kpfTk; Gj;jprhypfs;. Mjyhy; mtu;fs; ,e;jg; gs;spapy; ,Uf;f Ntz;bajpy;iy"" vd;whu;. mjdhy;> mtu;fis muRg; gs;spapy; Nru;f;f Kide;Njhk;. Mdhy;> fy;tp mikr;rfk;> ''vq;fs; gs;spfspy; clw;Fiw cs;s khztu;fisr; Nru;g;gjpy;iy. mjdhy;> mtu;fis muRg;gs;spapy; Nru;f;f ,ayhJ"" vd;W $wp kWj;J tpl;ldu;. ,Ue;jhYk;> muRg;gs;spapy;


epiwa clw;FiwAs;s khztu;fs; gbf;fpd;wdu; vd;gJ vdf;F ed;F njupAk;. ehq;fs; nrhe;jkhf Kaw;rp nra;J 100f;Fk; Nkw;gl;l clw;FiwAs;s khztu;fs; muRg;gs;spfspy; gbf;fpd;wdu; vd;gijf; fz;lwpe;Njhk;. mg;gs;sp Kjy;tu;fspd; md;Gk;> rpe;jidj; jpwDNk mjw;Ff; fhuzk; vd;gijAk; mwpe;Njhk;. njhlf;fg;gs;sp Kjyhk; Mz;L gjptpd;NghJ Foe;ijapd; gpwg;Gr; rhd;wpjio kl;Lk; gs;spf;F vLj;Jr; nrd;why; NghJk;. Foe;ijfis mioj;Jr; nry;y Ntz;bajpy;iy. Mdhy;> gs;spapy; Kjy; ehs; ,JNghd;w clw;FiwAs;s gps;isfs; rf;fu ehw;fhypapNyh my;yJ Cd;WNfhYlNdh gs;spf;F tUk;NghJ mtu;fis kWf;fhky; 'th" vd;W md;Gld; cs;Ns mioj;Jr; nrd;wdu;. NkYk; mj;jifa clw;FiwAs;s khztu;fspd; tFg;Gfs; jiuj; jsj;jpNyNa ,Uf;FkhW ghu;j;Jf; nfhz;ldu;. khbf;Fr; nry;Yk; mtrpak; Vw;gLk;NghJ MrpupaNuh ez;gu;fNsh mtu;fisj; J}f;fpr; nrd;wdu;. mtu;fs; mg;gb md;NghL ftdpj;Jf; nfhz;lhYk; me;j khztu;fSf;F mq;Fg; ghJfhg;gpy;iy vd;gij czu;e;Njd;. Njrpa nghJr;Nrit mikg;gpd; jiytuhf ,Ue;j 'lhd; gp thd;" mtu;fs; muRg;gs;spfspy; gbf;Fk; clw;Fiw khztu;fspd; fzf;nfLg;ig elj;j KbT nra;jhu;. me;jg; gzpapy; fye;Jnfhs;SkhW vdf;Fk; kw;nwhU nghJr; NritahsUf;Fk; miog;G tpLj;jhu;. vq;fsJ fzf;nfLg;gpd; Kbtpy; muRg;gs;spfspy; gbf;Fk; clw;FiwAs;s khztu;fs; kUj;Jtg; gupNrhjidf;Fr; nry;tjpy;iy vd;Wk; mjw;Ff; fhuzk; mtu;fsJ ngw;Nwhu;fspd; nghUshjhu trjpapd;ikAk; Neukpd;ikAk; vd;gij mwpe;Njhk;. vdJ rpWtajpy; rpq;fg;G+u;f; fhrNeha; vjpu;g;Gg; gpupT> elkhLk; CLfjpu; (vf;];Nu) fUtpfisf; nfhz;l thfdq;fs; fpuhkq;fSf;F tUtJz;L. mJNghd;W ehq;fSk; thfdk; xd;iw kUj;Jkidahf khw;wpg; gs;spfSf;Ff; nfhz;L nrd;Nwhk;. mJ kpfg; ngupa ntw;wpiaj; Njbj; je;jJ.



jpUkjp KfkJ rpuh[; gpwg;G 1925

\aupah ePjpkd;wj;jpd; Kjy; ngz; Nritahsu;. ,];yhkpag; ngz;fs; ,isNahu; gpupT (1952) kw;Wk; ,];yhkpag; ngz;fs; eyr;rq;fj;jpd; ,izj; Njhw;Wtpg;ghsu; (1964). vdJ fztu; r%f NritapYk;> ehd; rpq;fg;G+u;f; Foe;ijfs; rq;fk;> FLk;gf; fl;Lg;ghl;Lf; FO Nghd;w gy r%ff; FOf;fspy; <Lgl;bUe;Njhk;. me;jr; rq;fq;fspy; ,];yhkpag; ngz;fs; vtUk; ,y;iy. mjdhy;> ,];yhkpag; ngz;fSf;F VjhtJ gpur;rpid vOe;jhy; cjtp nra;a vtUk; ,y;iy vd;gij czu;e;Njd;.

xU Nkhrkhd mDgtkhf ,Ue;jJ. mit ngUk;ghYk; nghUshjhug; gpur;rpidfshfNt ,Ue;jd. mg;ngz;fspd; fztd;khu; NtW ngz;fisj; jpUkzk; nra;Jnfhz;L ghjpf;fg;gl;ltu;fSf;F ve;j xU ,og;gPLk; juhky; tUkhdj;jpw;F topapy;yhky; jdpNa tpl;Lr; nry;tJ tof;fk;.

1950-fspy; Mz;fs; ntWk; tha; thu;j;ijfshy; ngz;fis tpthfuj;Jr; nra;JtpLthu;fs;. mtu;fSf;Ff; Foe;ijfs; ,Ue;jhy; $l ,og;gPl;Lj; njhifahf ntWk; 30 nts;spia %d;W khjq;fSf;Ff; nfhLj;Jr; rupnra;JtpLthu;fs;. ,J Nghd;w Neu;ikaw;w Kiwfspy; ngz;fspd; cupikfs; kWf;fg;gl;ld. ,];yhkpag; ngz;fSf;F ve;j xU ghJfhg;Gk; cupikAk; mspf;fg;gltpy;iy. ehDk; vdJ ez;gu;fSk; mjw;F VjhtJ jPu;T fhz Ntz;Lk; vd;w vz;zj;jpy; ,sk; ,];yhkpag; ngz;fs; fofj;ijr; rl;lg;gb gjpahky; tha;nkhopahf cUthf;fpNdhk;. mg;Nghnjy;yhk; ngz;fs; jq;fs; fztUf;Fg; gag;gLthu;fs;. vq;fs; rq;fj;jpy; Nru;e;j rpyiu mtu;fs; fztd;khu;fs; tpthfuj;J nra;JtpLtjhf kpul;bdhu;fs;. Mdhy;> ehq;fs; mtu;fsplk; nrd;W> gae;jhy; ve;j xU fhupaj;ijAk; rhjpj;Jtpl KbahJ vd;W vLj;Jf; $wpNdhk;. rpyu; jq;fs; FLk;g cwT ghjpg;gile;jhYk; mjw;fhfg; gag;glhky; vq;fSld; Nru;e;J rhjpf;f tpUk;gpdhu;fs;. ehq;fs; rl;l ty;Yeu;fis mZfp tpthfuj;J kw;Wk; gykzk; Nghd;w gpur;rpidfis Kd;ndLj;Jr; nrd;wjhy; mtw;wpy; gy rl;l khw;wq;fs; Vw;gl;ld. NkYk; ,];yhkpag; ngz;fs; jq;fs; cupikfisg; ngw xU jdp mikg;G Ntz;Lk; vd;W Ntz;LNfhs; tpLj;Njhk;. mjd; tpisthf '\aupah ePjpkd;wk;" mikf;fg;gl;lJ.

vd;Dila gzpfspy; <LgLk;NghJ rl;l EZf;fq;fis mwpe;jpUe;jhy; kf;fSf;F cjTtJ vspjhf ,Uf;Fk; vd;W ehd; czu;e;Njd;. rl;lj;ij mwpahky; jhk; kf;fSf;F cjt KbahJ vd;gij mwpe;Njd;. mjdhy;> rl;lk; gbf;f Muk;gpj;Njd;. tajhd fhyj;jpy; Ntiy nra;Jnfhz;Nl gbg;gJ kpfTk; fbdkhf ,Ue;jJ. ehd; 'n`d;rpf; mfkJ ,g;uhfpk;" (rpq;fg;G+upd; Kjy; murhq;f tof;FiuQu;) vd;gtuplk; rl;lk; gbf;fj; njhlq;fpNdd;. ey;yKiwapy; rl;lk; gapd;Nwd;. 1964-,y; ',];yhkpag; ngz;fs; eyr; rq;fj;ij Muk;gpj;Njhk;. tpthfuj;J> gykzk; Nghd;w rl;l khw;wq;fs; Vw;gl;l gpd;Gk; gy Mz;fs; jq;fs; tpUg;gg;gb ele;J nfhz;ljhy; gy gpur;rpidfs; vOe;jd. ngUk;ghyhd ngz;fs; fy;tpawpT ngwhjtu;fs;. mtu;fis> mtu;fsJ fztu; kw;Wk; ngw;Nwhu; tPl;Lf;Fs;NsNa milj;J itj;jpUe;jdu;. mtu;fSf;F vq;fs; rq;fj;jpd; %yk; ed;nfhil kw;Wk; gy cjtpfisr; nra;Njhk;. me;jg; ngz;fSf;F kUj;Jt cjtpfisAk; rl;l cjtpfisAk; ehq;fs; toq;fpNdhk;. ngz;fs;> rpWtu;fs;> Mz;fs; vd;W Jd;gq;fis mDgtpf;Fk; gyUf;Fk; vt;tifapyhtJ cjt Ntz;Lk; vd;w kdg;ghd;ikNa vq;fis me;jr; Nritapy; Kd;ndLj;Jr; nrd;wJ.

ehd; me;j ePjpkd;wj;jpy; MNyhrfuhf Ntiy nra;jNghJ Vuhskhd ngz;fs; jq;fs; fztuhy; Vw;gl;l gpur;rpidfisj; jPu;f;f mq;F te;jJ




Xu; rP fpahq; gpwg;G 1951

16 MtJ tajpypUe;J ,d;Wtiu fl;Lkhdj;Jiwapy; Ntiy. fl;Lkhdj; Jiwapy; Nkw;ghu;itahsuhf ,d;W tiu ,Ue;J tUfpwhu;. rpq;fg;G+upy; gpwe;j ehd;> 'ehu;Nghy;f; v];Nll;" ,y; vdJ Foe;ijg; gUtj;ijf; fopj;Njd;. vdf;F 8 tajhFk;NghJ fhy;if typg;G Nehahy; vdJ jhahu; ,we;jhu;. gpd;G vdJ 11MtJ tajpy; vdJ je;ijAk; ,we;Jtpl;lhu;. ehq;fs; 7 gps;isfs;. ehd; MwhtJ ,s;is. vd;dhy; njhlf;ff; fy;tpiaf; $l Kbf;f Kbatpy;iy. vq;fs; je;ij ,we;j gpd;G murq;fNkh my;yJ epy cupikahsNuh vq;fsJ ,lj;ij vLj;Jf; nfhz;ljhy; ehq;fs; jq;Ftjw;F tPL fpilahJ. vq;fs; cwtpdu;fs; midtUk; nghUshjhu trjpaw;wtu;fs; vd;gjhy; tho;f;ifia elj;JtJ fbdkhf ,Ue;jJ. cz;z czTk;> jq;f ,lKk; ahu; nfhLj;jhYk; mtu;fs; nrhy;Yk; Ntiyiar; nra;J ehd; fhyj;ijf; fopj;Njd;. fhyzpfs; nra;Ak; xU Njhy; njhopw;rhiyapy; xU Foe;ijj; njhopyhspahf ehd; Ntiy nra;Njd;. NtiyNeuk; mjpfkhf ,Ue;jJ. NkYk; vdJ cztpw;fhf ehNd nryT nra;a Ntz;bapUe;jJ. rPdg; Gj;jhz;il vy;NyhUk; tPl;by; nfhz;lhb kfpo;e;jNghJ ehd; 'nuhl;b gNuhl;lh" rhg;gpl;Lj; njhopw;rhiyapy; cwq;fpaJ ,d;Dk; vd; epidtpy; epw;fpwJ. ehd; vdJ Ntiyia tpiuthfr; nra;J Kbg;Ngd;. xU Kiw njhopw;rhiy mr;R ,ae;jpuj;ijg; gad;gLj;jpj; Njhiy mOj;Jk;NghJ vdJ Ml;fhl;b tpuiy eRf;fpf; nfhz;Nld;. mjdhy;> %d;W khjq;fSf;F ehd; NtiyapypUe;J tpyf;fp itf;fg;gl;Nld;. vdNt> vdf;F 270 nts;sp epthuzj; njhifahf mspf;fg;gl;lJ. mJ vdJ %d;W khjr; rk;gsk;. mjd; gpwF vd;id Ntiyia tpl;L ePf;fptpl;ldu;. vdf;F taJ 16 MFk;NghJ> cly; typikNahL ,Ue;j vd;idg; ghu;j;j xUtu; fl;Lkhdj; jsj;jpy; kz; Rkg;gJ kw;Wk;> rpnkz;l; fyit nra;tJ Nghd;w NtiyfSf;Fr; rpghupR nra;jhu;.

ftdk; nrYj;jp xU tUlj;jpw;Fs; fl;Lkhd Ntiyiaf; fw;Wf; nfhz;Nld;. ehd; fbd ciog;ghsp. mjdhy; vdJ ehs; Cjpak; xU tUlj;jpw;Fs; 3 nts;spapypUe;J 10 nts;spahf mjpfupj;jJ. fl;llg; nghwpapay; Jiwapy; cNyhf Ntiyfs; nra;tJ> fhy;tha;fs; kw;Wk; fopTePu; fhy;tha;fs; mikg;gJ> Nkk;ghyq;fs; mikg;gJ Nghd;w NtiyfSf;Fj; Jiz xg;ge;jf;fhuuhfg; gzp nra;Njd;. 1970-fspy; fl;Lkhdj; Jiw kpf Ntfkhf tsu;r;rpaile;jJ. ehd; 'lhd; fpk; `{thl;" fl;Lkhdj; Jiwapy; ,Uk;Gj; jsthlj; Jiz xg;ge;jf;fhuuhf vdJ Ntiyia Muk;gpj;Njd;. rhq;fp tpkhd epiyaj;jpy;> tpkhdk; gOJghu;f;Fk;nfhl;lif mikf;Fk; gzpapy; 3 Mz;Lfs; gzpahw;wpNdd;. NkYk; rhq;fp tpkhd epiyaj;jpy; G+kpf;fbapy;> vupnghUs; (ngl;Nuhy;) Nrkpg;Gf; fplq;F kw;Wk; fopT ePu;f; fhy;tha;fis ehq;fs; mikj;Njhk;. mg;Nghnjy;yhk; Ntiyaplr; rl;lg; ghJfhg;G eltbf;iffs; vJTk; ,y;iy. fhypy; nrUg;G mzpahky; Ntiyf;Fr; nrd;wjhy; jpdKk; fhypy; Mzp Fj;JtJ xU rhjhuz epfo;T. 1980-fspy;jhd; jiyf;ftrk; mzptJ> fhypy; ghJfhg;Gr; nrUg;G mzptJ Nghd;w ghJfhg;Gr; rl;lq;fs; eilKiwg;gLj;jg;gl;ld. mjd; gpwF ehd; 'jpahq;ghU" 'n`sfhq;" Nghd;w ,lq;fspy; fhy;tha; mikf;Fk; gzpapy; <Lgl;bUe;Njd;. vd;dhy; epidtpy; itj;Jf;nfhs;s Kbahj msTf;Ff; fhy;tha;fisAk; fopT ePu;g; ghijfisAk; fl;bAs;Nsd;. 1985-fspy; <];l;u;ld; njhopw;rhiyaplkpUe;J ngUtpiuTj; njhlu; tz;br; Nritf;fhf 'Gf;fpl; Nkuh" tpypUe;J 'G+d;Ny" tiu J}z; kw;Wk; mbj;jsk; mikf;Fk; gzpiag; ngw;W mjidr; nra;J Kbj;Njd;.

vdf;Ff; fl;ll tbtikg;G> nraw;jpl;lq;fis Muha;tJ> fk;gp fl;LtJ Nghd;w Ntiyfspy; Mu;tk; mjpfk;. mjdhy;> me;j Ntiyfspy; mjpff;




,uhkr;re;jpu KUifah gpwg;G 1931

1948-,y; rpq;fg;G+u; tUif. 1960-,y; N[hjp G+f;filj; jpwg;G. rpfnul;L> ntw;wpiy kw;Wk; G+ir rhkhd;fs; tpw;wy;. mf;fhyj;jpy; rpq;fg;G+u; xU fpuhkk;Nghy; fhl;rpaspf;Fk;. njU tpsf;Ffs; fpilahJ. rhiyfspy; xUtopg; Nghf;Ftuj;J kl;LNk ,Uf;Fk;. mg;NghJ ];lhk;Nghu;L rhiyapy; xNu xU rhiyg; Nghf;Ftuj;J tpsf;F kl;LNk ,Ue;jJ. mjdhy;> mij Ntbf;if ghu;g;gjw;fhf kf;fs; mq;F tUtJz;L. ehd; Kjd; Kjypy; 1948-ypUe;J 1950-tiu 'jp ];nluapl;; ilk;];" ehspjopy; njhFg;ghsuhf Ntiyiaj; njhlq;fpNdd;. ,g;NghJ vy;yhk; kpd;kakhfptpl;lJ> Mdhy;> mg;NghJ vy;yhtw;iwAk; ifahy;jhd; vOj Ntz;Lk;. mjd;gpwF 'rpq;fg;G+u; ilfu; ];lhz;lu;l;L" ehspjo; njhlq;fg;gl;lJ. mq;Fr; rk;gsk; mjpfk; vd;gjhy; mq;Fr; nrd;W Ntiy ghu;f;Fk;gb rpyu; vd;dplk; $wpdu;. ehd; mq;F Ntiy ghu;f;Fk;NghJ Kd;dhs; ntspAwTj;Jiw mikr;ru; jpU v];. ,uh[uj;jpdk; mtu;fSk; vd;Dld; Ntiy nra;jhu;. mtiuf; fhz;gjw;fhfg; gyu; tUtJz;L. Kd;dhs; kjpAiu mikr;ru; jpU. yP Fthd; A+ mtu;fs; gy Kiw mtiug; ghu;f;f te;jpUf;fpwhu;. Mdhy;> rpq;fg;G+upy; Gjpa murhq;fk; nghWg;Ngw;wTld; me;j epWtdk; %lg;gl;lJ. 1959- Kjy; 1960- tiu Rkhu; xU tUl fhyk; Ntiy fpilf;fhky; miye;Njd;. mjdhy;> 1960-Mk; Mz;L xU rpwpa filiaj; njhlq;fpNdd;. me;jf; filapy; rpfnul;L> ntw;wpiyg; ghf;F kw;Wk; G+ir rhkhd;fis tpw;Nwd;.


xU ehisf;Fr; Rkhu; 60Kjy; 100 nts;sptiu kl;LNk tUkhdk; fpilj;jJ. filAk; kpfTk; rpwpajhf ,Ue;jjhy;> Kd;Ndw Kbahky; rpukg;gl;Nld;. vdf;F ehd;F Foe;ijfs;. fil tUkhdj;jpy;jhd; ehd; vdJ FLk;gj;ij elj;j Ntz;Lk;. fhiy 6 kzp Kjy; ,uT 11 kzp tiu kpfTk; fbdkhf cioj;Njd;. mjdhy;> ahiug; ghu;j;jhYk; fbdkhf cioj;J Kd;Ndw Ntz;Lk; vd;W ehd; mwpTiu $WtJz;L. ,uz;L tUlq;fSf;Fg; gpwF vdJ Nrkpg;gpd; xU gFjpia vLj;J xU G+f;fil Muk;gpj;Njd;. vdJ kfDf;F 2 tajhFk;NghJ vdf;F ,Ue;j Nkhrkhd fld; gpur;rpidfshy; vd;dhy; Nrkpf;f Kbatpy;iy. fld; Vw;gl;ljhy; vdJ tUkhdj;jpy; ngUk;gFjpia ehd; ,of;f Neu;e;jJ. vdJ %j;j kfs; ngau; 'N[hjp". mjdhy;> vdJ midj;J epWtdq;fSf;Fk; 'N[hjp" vd;w ngaiuNa itj;Njd;. 'N[hjp" vd;gjw;F xsp vd;W nghUs;. vdJ filf;F> 50 Mz;Lfshf tUfpd;w gy thbf;ifahsu;fNshL vdf;F neUq;fpa njhlu;G cs;sJ. fbd ciog;ghy; cUthf;fpa 'N[hjp" filia ,g;NghJ vd; kfd; nghWg;Gld; ftdpj;J tUfpwhu;. mtu; filia ed;whf elj;JtJ vdf;F kfpo;r;rp mspf;fpwJ. ehd; fy;tp mwpT ,y;yhjtd;. Mdhy;> vd; kfd; ed;F gbj;jpUg;gjhy;> filapd; midj;Jg; nghWg;GfisAk; mtNu ftdpj;Jf; nfhs;fpwhu;.



rhe;jh gh];fu; gpwg;G 1939

3 tajpy; gujk; kw;Wk; ,ir gapd;wtu;. ,e;jpahtpd; Nfush khepyj;jpypUe;J te;J rpq;ifapy; jpUkzk; Gupe;Jnfhz;ltu;. eld mikg;ghsu; kw;Wk; ehl;bak; MLgtu;. ehl;bar; Nritf;fhf 1990-,y; fyhr;rhu tpUJ ngw;wtu;. 1950-fspd; njhlf;fk; Kjy; vdJ fztu; jpU. gh];fu; rpq;ifapy; tho;e;J tUfpwhu;. 3 tUlq;fSf;Fg; gpwF ,e;jpahTf;F te;J ehl;bak; fw;wwpe;j ngz;zhd vd;idg; ghu;j;Jj; jpUkzk; Gupe;Jnfhz;lhu;. ,Jjhd; ehd; rpq;if te;jjw;fhd fhuzk;. rpq;if te;J vdJ gzpiaj; njhlq;f Ntz;Lk; vd;gJ ,iwtd; mspj;j tukhf KbT nra;Jnfhz;ljhy; ehd; rpq;if te;jjw;fhf tUe;jtpy;iy.1952-,y; gh];fu; eldg; gs;sp njhlq;fg;gl;lJ. ,g;NghJ ,Ug;gJ Nghd;w trjpahd ,lk; mg;NghJ ,y;iy. mg;NghJ vdJ fztu; 'fpu;f; nlu];" ,y; cs;s ,yq;ifj; jkpo;r; rq;fj;jpy; eld tFg;Gfis elj;jpdhu;. mJkl;Lkd;wp> eld tFg;Gis elj;Jtjw;fhf 'N[h$u;> kyhf;fh> %thu;> nruhk;ghd;> gj;Jgfhj;> gpdhq;F" Nghd;w gy ,lq;fSf;Fk; ehq;fs; nrd;W tUtJz;L. rpq;fg;G+u; xU rpwpa ,lk; vd;gjhy; eldg; gs;sp %yk; fpilf;Fk; tUkhdk; vq;fs; tho;f;iff;Fg; NghJkhdjhf ,y;iy. mjdhy;> tFg;Gfs; elj;JtNjhL eld epfo;r;rpfisAk; elj;JNthk;. ,Ug;gpDk; mjd;%yKk; Nghjpa tUkhdk; fpilf;ftpy;iy.

ehl;ba ehlfkhf;f Ntz;Lk; vd;w vz;zk; cUthfpaJ. mg;NghJ vdf;F taJ 19. vd;Dila %j;j kfd; gpwe;jpUe;j Neuk;. rPd khztu;fs; gyu; vq;fs; eldg; gs;spapy; ,e;jpa eldk; gapd;wdu;. mf;fhyq;fspy; ehq;fs; 'Rq; nrq; cau;epiyg; gs;sp> rPd cau;epiyg; gs;sp> ed;Fth cau;epiyg; gs;sp> th Nrhq; cau;epiyg; gs;sp" Nghd;w gs;spfSf;Fr; nrd;W eld tFg;Gfis elj;JNthk;. mjdhy;> 'jp gl;lu;gpis yt;tu;];" vDk; rPdj; jpiug;glj;ij ehl;ba ehlfkhf elj;Jtjw;Fr; rPd khztu;fs; kpfTk; MjuT mspj;jdu;. vq;fs; ehl;ba eldj;jpw;fhd xU thu fhy EioTr; rPl;Lfs; midj;Jk; tpw;Wj; jPu;e;Jtpl;ld. mJjhd; ehl;ba ehlfj;jpy; vdJ Kjy; mDgtk;. mjw;F Kd;G ,e;jpa ,jpfhrq;fis kl;LNk ehq;fs; NkilNaw;wpapUf;fpNwhk;.

Muk;gf; fhyj;jpy; ,yq;ifj; jkpou;fNs vq;fsplk; Mu;tj;Jld; eldk; fw;Wf;nfhs;s tUthu;fs;. rpq;ifj; jkpou;fs; ,ir> eldk; Mfpa fiyfspy; mt;tsthf <LghL fhl;Ltjpy;iy. Mdhy;> ,yq;ifj; jkpou;fSf;Ff; fiyfisf; fw;Wf;nfhs;tJ xU mj;jpahtrpaj; Njitahf ,Ue;jJ. Vndd;why;> ,yq;ifj; jkpo;g; ngz;fs; jpUkzj;jpy; epiwa tujl;riz nfhLf;f Ntz;ba epiy ,Ue;jJ. mjpYk; nghwpapay;> rl;lk;> kUj;Jtk; gbj;j khg;gps;isfs; vd;why; xU ngupa njhifia tujl;rizahff; nfhLf;f Ntz;bapUe;jJ. Mdhy;> mtu;fs; ,irNah eldNkh fw;wpUe;jhy; mjpf tujl;riz nfhLf;fj; Njitapy;iy vd;w epiy ,Ue;jjhy; ,yq;ifg; ngz;fspy; mjpfkhNdhu; eldk; fw;Wf;nfhz;ldu;.

1950-fspy; ,q;Ff; fhzg;gl;l gy,df;fyhrhuk; vdf;F kpfTk; gpbj;jpUe;jJ. xUtu; kw;wtu; fyhrhuj;ij kjpj;J xw;WikAld; tho;e;jdu;. rPd> kyha; eldq;fNshL 'ghNy" eldq;fSk; vd;id kpfTk; ftu;e;jd. ehd; ,e;jpahtpy; ,Ue;jpUe;jhy; xU rPd elj;ijf; fz;Lfspf;Fk; tha;g;G$l vdf;Ff; fpilj;jpUf;fhJ. ehd; rpq;fg;G+u; te;jjhy; kw;wf; fyhrhuj;jpy; cs;s moifg; Gupe;Jnfhz;L mij vdJ eld mikg;gpd; $Wfspy; gpujpgypf;fr; nra;Njd;. vdJ eldKiwfs; rpq;fg;G+iug; gpujpgypg;gjhf ,Uf;Fk;. rpq;ifapy; khztu;fs; jpdKk; tFg;Gf;F tu ,ayhJ vd;gjhy; mtu;fsJ Njitf;Nfw;g eld tFg;Gfis elj;j Ntz;Lk;. ,e;jpahtpy; fw;Wj; jUtJ Nghd;W jpdKk; nrhy;ypf; nfhLf;f ,ayhJ. ehd; xU rpq;fg;G+uu; vd;gjhy; gy ,df; fyhrhuj;jpypUe;J vd;idg; gpupj;Jg; ghu;g;gJ fbdkhd xd;whFk;.

gpw;fhyj;jpy; ',e;NjhNdrpah" tpypUe;J te;j xU rPd khjplkpUe;J rPd eldq;fshd 'jhtzp eldj;ijAk;> fj;jp eldj;ijAk; fw;Nwd;. gpwF kyha; eldj;ijAk; fw;Wj; Nju;e;Njd;.

1958-,y; ehDk;];fUk; 'jp gl;lu;gpis yt;tu;];" vDk; rPdj; jpiug;glj;ijg; ghu;j;Njhk;. mijg; ghu;j;j gpwF me;jf; fijia xU




lhf;lu; rhe;jh fpwp];Bdh ,khDNty; gpwg;G 1943

kUj;Jj; Jiwapy; 42 Mz;Lfs; gzpGupe;jhu;. rpq;if kUj;Jtj; JiwapypUe;J 2012-,y; Xa;Tngw;whu;. Xa;T ngWk; fhyj;jpy; ehs;gl;lNeha; epu;thfg; gpuptpd; jiytuhf ,Ue;jhu;. kUj;Jtuhf Ntz;Lk; vd;gJ vdJ jPuhj Mirad;W. Mdhy;> vdJ je;ij vq;fs; ,Utupy; ahuhtJ xUtu; kUj;Jtuhf Ntz;Lk; vd;W tpUk;gpajhy; ehd; kUj;Jtg; gbg;igj; Nju;e;njLj;Njd;. kUj;Jtk; 6 tUlf; fy;tp vd;gjhy; mJ vdf;F kpfTk; fbdkhf ,Ue;jJ. Mdhy;> ehd; Nru;e;j mLj;j Mz;Nl 6 tUlk; vd;gJ 5 tUlq;fshff; Fiwf;fg;gl;lJ. ehd; gapw;rp kUj;Jtuhf ,Uf;Fk;NghJ vdf;Fj; jpUkzk; ele;jJ. mg;NghJ ehd; 6 khjf; fu;g;gpzpahf ,Ue;Njd;. mjdhy;> vdJ gapw;rp tFg;Gfs; Kbe;J Ntiy toq;Fk;NghJ vdJ fu;g;gj;ijf; fhuzk; fhl;b> kUj;Jtkidapy; Ntiy nfhLf;fhky; gs;spfSf;Fg; gapw;rp kUj;Jtuhfg; gzpaku;j;jpdu;. mg;NghJ me;jg; gapw;rp Fwpj;J vdf;F ve;j mDgtKk; fpilahJ. Mdhy;> rpq;fg;G+upy; gy gs;spfs; ,Ue;jd. xU Fwpg;gpl;l rpy ehl;fSf;Fg; gpd; Gjpa gs;spf;F khwpr; nry;y Ntz;bapUe;jJ. mg;Nghnjy;yhk; rpq;fg;G+u; ,g;NghJ ,Ug;gJ Nghd;W ,Uf;fhJ. rpy rkak; ehq;fs; fpuhkq;fSf;Fr; nrd;W jpUk;gptu top njupahky; jtpj;jJz;L. gs;spfspy; vq;fSf;F vd;W miw fpilahJ> kUj;Jtj;jpw;Fj; jdp miwia xJf;f ahUk; Kd;tuTk; ,y;iy. mjdhy;> gs;spfspy; nghUs;fs; itf;Fk; miwf;F ntspapy; vq;fis kUj;Jtk; ghu;f;fr; nrhd;dhu;fs;. vq;fsJ Nrit kpf cd;djkhdJ vd;gij mtu;fs; czutpy;iyNa vd;W vz;zp ehd; tUe;JtJz;L. mjdhy;> gs;sp kUj;Jtuhf ,Ue;j vdf;Fg; gyJiw kUj;Jtkidapy; Ntiy fpilj;jNghJ kpfTk; kfpo;r;rpahf ,Ue;jJ. 'FtPd;];lTd;" kUj;Jtkid kw;w kUj;Jtkidfis tpl Nkk;gl;bUe;jjhy; mq;F Ntiy nra;tJ vdf;Fg; gpbe;jpUe;jJ. Vndd;why; 'Gf;fpl; jPkh> Mkh nfq;" Nghd;w ,lq;fspy; Ntiy nra;gtu;fs; jhq;fs; J}q;fp vOe;jNghJ jq;fs; jiyaizf;F mbapy;


ey;y ghk;G ,Ue;jjhfTk;> mtu;fs; jq;fpapUe;j ,lq;fisr; Rw;wpf; Nfhiug; Gw;fs; mjpfkhf ,Ue;jjhfTk;> jhjpfs; ntspapy; nry;Yk;NghJ eha;fs; fbj;jjhfTk; $wf; Nfl;bUf;fpNwd;. gyJiw kUj;Jtkidapy; xU ehisf;Fr; Rkhu; 150 Nehahspfisf; ftdpg;Nghk;. mtu;fs; mq;F tUtij tpUk;gtpy;iy vd;W $WtJz;L. mtu;fsplk; ,uj;j mOj;jg; gupNrhjid elj;Jk;NghJ mtu;fsJ ehw;fhypia NkirNahL ,izg;gJz;L. mg;NghJ mtu;fs; ''ehq;fs; ehw;fhypiaj; J}r;fpr; nrd;WtpLNthkh? Vd; ,t;thW fl;LfpwPu;fs;?"" vd;W Nfl;ghu;fs;. ehd; mtu;fsplk; '',uj;j mOj;jg; gupNrhjidapd;NghJ rpy rkak; ehw;fhyp gpd;dhy; efUk;> mt;thW efuhky; ,Ug;gjw;fhfj;jhd; ehw;fhypia NkirNahL ,izj;jpUf;fpNwd;"" vd;W ehd; gjpy; $WNtd;. mg;Nghnjy;yhk; 'Gyht; cgpd;> Gyht; nlfhq;" Mfpa jPTfnsy;yhk; fpuhkq;fshf> kf;fs; FbapUf;Fk; ,lq;fshf ,Ue;jd. mjdhy;> me;jf; fpuhkq;fSf;F tUlj;jpy; ,uz;L KiwahtJ (jhjp) kUj;Jtr;rp nry;y Ntz;Lk;. kUj;Jtu; tUlk; xU Kiw nrd;W kUj;Jtk; ghu;g;ghu;. mg;NghJ rpwe;j glFj;Jiw fpilahJ. vq;fSf;Fk; ePr;ry; njupahJ. me;jf; fpuhkq;fspy; ,Ue;j Foe;ijfSf;Fj; jLg;G Crp NghLtJ> fu;g;gpzpg; ngz;fisf; ftdpj;Jf; nfhs;tJ kw;Wk; gps;isg; Ngw;Wf;fhf mtu;fis mioj;J tUtJ Nghd;w NtiyfSf;F ehq;fs; rpwpa kug; glfpy;jhd; nry;Nthk;. vq;fisg; glfpy; mioj;Jr; nry;Yk; glNfhl;bia ek;gpj;jhd; vq;fsJ gazk; mike;jpUe;jJ. glfpy; nry;Yk;NghJk; tUk;NghJk; Gjpa kPd;fs; kw;Wk; Lupahd; gok; Nghd;wit fpilf;Fk;. 1973-,ypUe;J 1974-tiu mJjhd; vq;fsJ tho;f;ifKiw.



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Any major exhibition is the work of many hands. While the collection of memories has been an ongoing process since 2011 when the Singapore Memory Project was first launched, the actual work for the exhibition started at the end of 2012. Tan Huism, Head of Exhibitions and Curation at the National Library, was assisted by a team of people during the nine months it took to put together the “Hands: Gift of a Generation” exhibition. Huism began her curatorial career at the National Museum of Singapore and later continued her work at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Sean Lee is a teller of short stories through his photographs. He was a winner of the 2011 ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu and a member of the Reflexions Masterclass (2011­–2013). His work has been exhibited at the Prix Decouverte, Les Rencontres d’Arles (2009), Galeria TagoMago, Barcelona (2011), New York Photo Festival, New York (2011),

Hands: Gift of a Generation is a book born from the multi-sensory exhibition of the same name by the Singapore Memory Project (SMP) held between August and October 2013 at the National Library.

About the Singapore Memory Project

Comprising 45 individual profiles, each accompanied by a striking photograph, this book is a valuable collection of stories that reflects the transformation of Singapore through the years.

but also organisations, associations,

The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national movement that aims to capture and document precious moments and personal memories related to Singapore; recollections not merely from individual Singaporeans, companies and groups. The SMP currently involves partners (academic, research and library institutions, heritage agencies, public agencies, private entities and community organisations) and Memory Corps

These anecdotes encapsulate a diverse cross section of everyday Singaporeans, each connected through their unique experiences and perspectives of Singapore. Reflecting this diversity, the book contains 10 translated profiles in each of Singapore’s mother-tongue languages of Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

– volunteers who serve various roles, such as helping individuals with difficulties documenting their memories; connecting the SMP to people with memories of key Singapore events, personalities and places; and enrolling more volunteers to join the SMP cause.

Empire Project, Istanbul (2011) and TantoTempo Gallery, Kobe (2012), among others. Photography

ISBN 978-981-45-1656-3


Front cover : Hands of former firefighter, Abdul Rahman bin Osman Back cover : Hands of dancer and choreographer, Santha Bhaskar

HANDS: Gift of a Generation  

Comprising 45 individual profiles, each accompanied by a striking photograph, this book is a valuable collection of stories that reflects th...

HANDS: Gift of a Generation  

Comprising 45 individual profiles, each accompanied by a striking photograph, this book is a valuable collection of stories that reflects th...