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Issue 02

e-newsletter 2014


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The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02

iremember goes to Tampines

The SMP Memory Kit

In 2013 iremember goes to Tampines, an initiative of the Singapore Memory Project (SMP), in partnership with the Tampines Town Hub, was held at the linkway between Tampines MRT and Tampines One Mall. The event was graced by Minister Heng Swee Keat, Advisers Mr Mah Bow Tan, Mr Masagos Zulkifli and Ms Irene Ng, who all submitted their memories of Tampines.

The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is proud to announce the release of the Memory Kit: your guide to capturing personal memories. This is our very first illustrated step-by-step guide to documenting meaningful memories of and conversations on Singapore.

The occasion was a celebration of Tampines’ rich history and a gathering point for the community. As the Tampines Stadium and its surrounding neighbourhood makes way for the new Tampines Town Hub, SMP was privileged to document over 500 memories of the residents of the largest residential district in Singapore.

It is an ideal tool for first-time memory makers who would like to try their hands at capturing their own memories and that of others including family, friends and people you know. Choose from eight different formats for your personal documentation project. These include: • • • • • • • •

Oral history Writing memories Photographing memories Illustrating memories Animating memories Recording soundscape memories Documentary filming of memories Visioning the future

Each chapter is written by experienced practitioners and professionals. Contributors include documentary photographer, Zakaria Zainal, local film maker, Wee Li Lin and co-founder of Animagine, Ho Wei Siong, and the National Archives of Singapore. Besides the how-tos, we also provide a set of interview questions on selected themes, which you could use to start off conversations during interviews. Be a memory maker and embark on your own memory project today and contribute it to the Singapore Memory Project. All memories contributed will be shared online at www.singaporememory.sg

The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02

Childhood memories Memory of Melvin “I grew up in a 4-room HDB flat in Tampines. Back then, the lifts do not stop at every floor. I can vaguely remember running shopping errands for my mother at the “mama” shop located just beneath my block. One thing I enjoy about growing up at that estate is the impromptu pick-up football games at the basketball court nearby. Children of different ages and races come together to enjoy a game of football. This feeling of togetherness is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Memory of Lew Kwok Toong “1980s: I remember Tampines New Town when it first opened. It was very clean and many blocks still in building stage. The bus interchange was only a street length. It has now changed so much in the 1990s & 2000s. It looked so different and I cannot remember where the place I used to see but now have flats and other facilities and amenities. It was an idyllic and quiet town then.”

Grab a copy! Download your Memory Kit at www.issuu.com/iremembersg If you would like to obtain a print copy, email us at singaporememory@nlb.gov.sg with a brief description on the memory project that you plan to work on. We look forward to reading and receiving your memories!

Flowers lined the streets of HDB new towns.


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The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02

iremember goes to Paya Lebar The Singapore Memory Project was proud to bring iremember goes to Paya Lebar to the PassionArts Village organised by the Paya Lebar Community Centre. Held last year at Kovan Hub, the SMP booth was visited by some 500 people. Memories of some residents were showcased on panels during the roadshow and these were later sent to the Paya Lebar Community Centre to be displayed permanently. The residents also shared their memories of the area, contributing photos, filling memory cards and video recording their memories. Over 120 memories were collected. The residents not only enjoyed sharing their stories but also learning about the stories of other residents.

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The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02

From Plantation to Paya Lebar Interview by Che Xiaoya

Memory of Lian Ah Moi Lian Ah Moi is in her sixties and retired from the hawker business a few years ago. She lives alone in her house in Paya Lebar. Her early years were spent near Johor Bahru, Malaysia, before she migrated with her whole family to Singapore. The family earned a living through farming and tapping rubber trees. They would wake up at 4 am to tap rubber, which continued until noon. In the afternoon they would work on their plot of land and raise livestock. Their standard of living was poor then, with many of them having to go barefoot and with only shabby clothes for daily work. The girls had to do difficult chores such as drawing water. After moving to Lim Choo Kang in 1967, they gave up rubber-tapping and solely focused on farming and raising livestock. But the economic situation of the family saw little improvement until the early 1980s when they moved to town. Mdm Lian noted that there Paya Lebar has changed a lot since she first came here 10 years ago. More trees have been planted and more parks built, making Paya Lebar a more beautiful and livable place. But Mdm Lian believes that the biggest change lies with the people. In the past they were rather conservative, which could be seen from their style of dressing, while now things have completely changed, with people dressing more casually and sometimes more unconventionally. Also, their mindset has undergone a huge transformation: more and more elderly like Mdm Lian are beginning to set some time aside for self-enrichment. Deprived of a proper education when young, Mdm Lian has taken steps to learn to read. With help from her friend, she has learnt to read simple newspaper articles, which she finds to be a delightful enjoyment.

Popular Markets Once Located Around Paya Lebar Interview by Lily Bok

Memory of Tan Siew Suan Madam Tan Siew Suan, 59, has lived in Paya Lebar since 1977 and currently lives in the Hougang area. Mdm Tan misses the old Lim Tua Tow market and the old Peoples’ Park market near Simon Road (present-day Kovan Residence). She remembers being able to select a live chicken and have it slaughtered on the spot, which is no longer possible now. The stallholders were friendly and would sometimes even deliver their produce. She enjoyed the delicious wonton mee sold at the Lim Tua Tow market. At present she goes to the Hainanese market in Hougang. Mdm Tan has fond memories of her childhood days and home at Raymone Avenue (present Whampoa area). The layout of the buildings there was unusual. The terraced houses formed a rectangle that bordered a field in the centre where boys often played football. She also recalls catching spiders and playing five stones.

This 1983 photograph shows Lim Tua Tow Market (designed by J.Y Dowsett of Van Sitteran circa 1955), located near Upper Serangoon Road. The building and road mentioned are located near the Serangoon Gardens district.


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The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02

“The AWESOME MRT Diaries: One Boy’s Quest to Learn What it Means to be Singaporean” is based on the personal diary of Amos Wee, a 12-year-old Singaporean student, who is a fictional character from “The Diary of Amos Lee” series. Read about his journey involving a mysterious new girl in class, a missing songbird, a panda on the loose in the zoo amongst other adventures. Written by Adeline Foo, author of the popular “The Diary of Amos Lee” series!”

The inaugural book series was promoted in schools, allowing students to redeem the book when they interview and submit a memory of a senior person. Read on for excerpts of their AWESOME memories and a teaser of the book series! To participate, schools can still email to singaporememory@nlb.gov.sg. Visit www.iremember.sg for more details.

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The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02

Check out an excerpt from our book, The Awesome MRT Diaries#1!


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The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02

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The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02


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The Singapore Memory Project Issue 02

Check out some of the awesome memories we have already received from students!

Memory of Chay Choon Chong (Grandfather) “Being a strong, young man during the Japanese Occupation, my great grandfather was in danger of being taken away by the Japanese to be shot or sent to prison camps. So, he decided to join others to hide in the jungles in Kulai. The men would go out at night to forage food for everyone. It was a tough time for everybody and that was also the time when my grandfather was born in a cave. The saddest thing was that there was no formula milk available and all the babies had was rice flour gruel.”

Memory of Clansy See Teck Lye (Father) “Life in the 60s was simple and easy going. Everyone in the village knows and looks out for one another. Children led simpler lives and played traditional games like marbles, hide and seek, police and thief. There was no computer and there was only one television located at the community centre where everyone would gather every evening to watch. My father attended a neighbourhood school. As our family was not rich, he had to walk to and from school which is about an hour from home. The cost of living then is not as expensive as today. He used to tell me that he was only given 10 cents a day as allowance. He will save 5 cents a day so that he could watch a show during the weekend.” Interviewed by Melannie See from Poi Ching School

Interviewed by Chay Yenrue from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School

Kinchir Kampong house at LorongSee Photo Credit: Lam Chun

Memory of Ang Teck Koon (Father) “When there was insufficient food for the family, my father always went without and gave his share to his siblings. My father studied in Keming Primary School which still exists today. My father gave up on his studies when he was in Primary 5 and started working at the age of 12 as a part time worker in a factory. Since it was illegal to work part-time if one is below 21, my father would hide in the closet whenever the police came.” Interviewed by Evelyn Ang Jia Yi from Jurong West Primary School

A television w as a luxu in the old days ry Photo Credit:

Samuel Tham

Memory of Koh Woon Puay (Mother) “My mother’s family was the only one with a TV and it was just a black-and-white TV. When there was a good show on, her 10 or so neighbours would congregate in her living room to watch it. The small living room felt like a cinema except people were talking loudly and passing food around as they watched the TV programme together.” Interviewed by Berenice Chao from Raffles Girls’ Primary School

SMP Newsletter #2  

Read our second e-newsletter for the latest updates on the Singapore Memory Project.

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