Milk Talk

What’s so nostalgia about milk?

1. The Triangular Shape Milk;

Photo credit : SPH, and F&N

The packaging of the fresh milk has undergone changes from the past. I remember it used to be triangular shape as shown above. The other popular brand then was “Daisy” right? Of cousre Magnolia or Daisy, they are both under F&N now if I’m not wrong.

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore during the Heritage Festival 2007

How many of us still remember that during the 70s, we used to “subscribe” for the packet of milk in school (during my Primary Sch days). I don’t quite remember how was the packaging of the milk like for students in school then, do you?

2. Condensed Milk;

One of the common brand available in the 60s or 70s then was Milkmaid and of course the other was Blue Cross. I remember how I used to keep those labels which had pictures of fishes, butterflies or birds inside them;

Photo Credit : Above 2 – National Archives of Singapore during the Heritage Festival 2007

3. Goat Milk Delivery Man;

I’m not discriminating against him but I just cannot tolerate the smell of the goat’s milk probably from his “white” robe. There was this Indian man delivering bottles of goat milk to an Indian family one floor below my house in Haig Road when I was still staying there in the 70s/80s. I tried not to get in the same lift as him but at times if I couldn’t, I would just hold my breath.

This is the type of container on their bicycles for the goat’s milk;

You can see the above at the Singapore Philatelic Museum. Or you may even find one in the wax museum in Sentosa;

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25 Responses to “Milk Talk”


  1. 1 profkingsfield2004 Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    back in the late 1950s, I also got free “susu” through the Salvation Army Home next to Dairy Farm Road. Seems that it was a part of the United Nations or US Government Aid Program in South East Asia to help countries with undre-nourished children. Two flavours were available; strawberry and chocolate.

    Also remembered that St Joseph Church at Upper Bukit Timah Road used to distribute food on the first Sunday of every month to poor people living in the Bukit Panjang, Hillview and Dairy Farm areas. Bags of rice and condensed milk were given to poor people regardless of race language or religion. Father Teng the parish priest was in charge. I wonder whether today’s churches do social work like this?

  2. 2 laokokok Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Hi Peter,
    No Vanilla flavour? Only Strawberry and Chocolate? Lucky it’s not my time….

  3. 3 Samantha Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Hi LKK, Oh yes.. the free milk given out during recess in primary school :)Oh and do you remember those glass soft drink bottles that you have to open with a botle opener? Can you do one on that please? I remember there was one time when they had pictures of the Monkey God and all the other characters in the story “Xi Yu Ji” on the rubber thing inside the metal caps and they even have a picture cardboard for you to paste the rubble stuff with the heads onto the missing heads of the characters in the cardboard.

  4. 4 Patricea Chow Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    I recall those triangular milk packages in the house when I was a child. I was always examining the packages, and wondering how they got the triangular shape. *hah*

    I remember my mom enrolling me in the milk programme in primary school, and we received the milk in triangular packages. Think there was chocolate, vanilla and banana. This was in the mid to late 80s. I can’t remember the brand, but through the years, it was replaced when Sustagen came out.

    Samantha: Those soft drinks in glass bottles are still found in Bali!!! Check it out: http://patricea.multiply.com/photos/photo/60/1. I recall seeing them in some areas around Thailand as well.

  5. 5 daddyto3 Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 12:13 am

    Great post! I miss drinking from these triangular packets

  6. 6 profkingsfield2004 Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 5:43 am

    Vanilla wa snot popualr as they found from survey because it resemebled close to gosat’s milk. You remember mama man riding bicycle selling goat’s milk in bottles? U see chinese poeple hate the sight of goats (not sure why) and also hate cheeze.

    So goat’s milk remind them of these things. Children as usual listen to parents and dont consume vanilla flavour. One grandmother story I heard that parents frightened their children not to drink “white” milk sold in bottles. They say milk is warm because straight from the goat’s nipples but the truth was the milk was kept warm in a metal cylindrical tank mounted at the back of the bicycle. Of course those who did not have this facility sold milk kept in pouchers hung from the side of the bicycle. There is also a medicinal story behind drinking goat’s milk: if one got asthma goat’s milk is good. There was also another reason for not drinking vanilla flavour. The milks curds very fast and a yellowish “skin” floats at the top after the bottle is opened. Quite horrible to see.

  7. 7 laokokok Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Hi Samantha, you are right. Those pictures inside the bottle cap…will do one on them once I’ve collected enough infos.

    You are right Peter. But think Goat milk is better than Cow milk right?

  8. 8 Victor Koo Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Magnolia triangular packs of fresh milk were sold at 80 cents each at the coffeeshop below my SIT block in the 1960s. There was an expiry date printed in black ink which you must not forget to check as the milk was good for human consumption for about 3 or 4 days only. Must be kept refrigerated.

    Magnolia milk in glass bottles were available too and these came in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavours. These can be kept for months without refrigeration.

  9. 9 profkingsfield2004 Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Victor,

    Just to confirm, the glass bottle version of Magnolia milk: It was a short bottle about 7″ in height and has a fat waist. The cover was some kind of soft tinsel paper (in color blue or red) and you poke a hole through the cover and insert the straw?

    U remember Magnolia Ice cream man selling ice cream in conical cone version and those wrapped in 2 biscuit waffer? I like the smell not of the ice cream but the oil-lighted lamp which the man placed on his ice cream box (assuming a motor-cycle with a side car). I go near always to smell the flame. Shiok. maybe first experience with glue-sniffing?

  10. 10 victor koo Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Profkingsfield – Yes, the glass Magnolia milk bottle was shorter the standard soft drink bottle (i.e. F&N, Coke or YHS) and was fat in the middle. It was about the same height as the Green Spot bottle but fatter. However, I remember it as having a standard bottle cap made of metal, i.e. same as those of soft drink bottles. I don’t recall a sealing foil like those of Vitagen and Yakult being used.

    The Magnolia ice cream cones, wafer biscuits and coloured bread are still being sold today by itinerant hawkers on tricycles or motorbikes with side cars. $0.80 to $1.00 a piece, depending on who you buy them from.

    The lamp was modified from a milo or ovaltine can. There was a tube sticking out from the cover. Inside the can you put some chemical called 臭电. Then add a little water, cover the can and light up the tube.

  11. 11 HamBearGer Friday, September 7, 2007 at 10:55 am

    You fellows are lucky, milk with chocolate, strawberry.. flavours. When I was in primary school, all students who were underweight were asked to attend milk drinking sessions. Only plain milk powder were used. The school cleaner prepared the milk using a metal bucket (dunno whether it is the same bucket she use to mop the floor!)and scoop up cups of it and passed it to those who qualify. I wasn’t one of them, thank goodness. From the look of the faces, the taste must be terrible, more like a torture session to me.
    PS : those soft drinks in glass bottles and metal caps can still be found in KL. Drop me a mail if u want a foto.

  12. 12 profkingsfield2004 Friday, September 7, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    There was a time when the milk powder company went to houses where women just given birth (< 1 mnonth) to promote a certain brand of milk. I remember in 1965 wehen my sister was born, there was this nurse who came to our house; weight the baby and gave away free samples. Then my father decided to buy this brand. I think there was KLIM brand and “S-26″.

  13. 13 profkingsfield2004 Friday, September 7, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    There was an Indonesina drink called SOSRO which wanted to enter the Singapore market for herbal drink. Its logo looked like Sinalco. It was packed in glass bottle when Singapore supermarket and convenience stores stocking Tertrapak packaging or plastic packaging

  14. 14 Lam Chun See Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Yes, I have SEEN such pyramid milk packages before when I was in primary school. I went to Braddell Rise School. Kids there were mainly from the kampongs. Only a few could afford this type of milk.

    Reminds me of an interesting ad in the theatres of a milk. The jiggle ends something like this:

    “Comes milk from a farm condensed in a tin,
    That’s rich in Vitamin D….” (D is sung in low mooeee tone)

  15. 15 profkingsfield2004 Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Tallking about milking cows, I thot it was a fairly straught forward job until I went to Australia and tried one at a farm. Damm even using my best hands, the milk would not flow until the Aussie chap showed me the correct way to milk the tits. Thank goodness they use machines. Can be very laborious and tiring. My fingers went stiff afterwards.

  16. 16 haveahacks Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    I think when I was in lower primary, the milk (flavored – banana, chocolate,… ?) came in white plastic sachets. Very basic – not even tetrapak – just pillow-shaped plastic packets. The milk would come in the middle of the day and all of us who had subscribed would go out into the corridor to drink the milk. No straw provided. Just tear a corner with your teeth and suck. Somewhere along the way the packaging improved, but my memory is hazy.

  17. 17 laokokok Friday, September 21, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Thanks haveahacks for the memory.

  18. 18 sgporc Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    In my lower primary days during the early 80’s we were still having such pyramid shaped milk packs. It wasn’t free, but on a subscription basis. I was the class rep sent to fetch the milk to our classroom every day, and what amused me was not only the shape of these milk packets, but also the carton boxes that they came in. I don’t remember too well, but it was either hexagonal or octogonal in shape, fitting the 6 or 8 packets in nicely with their tips all pointing towards the center of the box. Interesting geometry…

  19. 19 Thimbuktu Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    During my primary school days at Delta Primary School in the 1950s, I was one of the selected “under-nourished” students who was entitled to a cup of hot fresh milk served at the school canteen during recess time every school day.

    I could still remember the taste of the thick, concentrated milk which was a little saltish, not sweet. But its pure natural goodness, full of nourishment unlike the commercial fresh milk which is diluted and powderish.

    The free milk for students program lasted for about one year I think. Really miss its taste after about 5 decades.

  20. 20 laokokok Monday, September 24, 2007 at 7:56 am

    Thanks for the interesting infos sgporc and Thimbuktu!

  21. 21 nutty Monday, June 23, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    hello, I was wondering if anyone knew why the packaging of milk has evolved through the years? like if there were any mathematical concerns, or maybe just for practical reasons?

  22. 22 Justin Lee C K Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I love the ” The Triangular Shape Milk” packaging..
    is a signature for Magnolia Fresh Milk.
    Why not giving that idea a new life to the nation people. and do a special addition on the product, and to celebrate the joy of Life n Health.

    Justin Lee

  23. 23 Usini Abu Bakar Monday, August 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Hello there, I was rewarded with a bottle of Magnolia chocolate milk bought from a shop near the old Bukit Panjang English School for not crying when I had my tooth extracted. Unfortunately the milk was stale…..more pain for me..Is there anybody out there who has a picture of BPES in the 70’s?

  24. 24 karen Monday, September 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Hi i graduated from Braddell Rise primary school (1978 – 1984) too and was glad to see some still remember this school and the teachers.


  1. 1 Happy to be Featured in Nostalgia Blog Yesterday SG | Tiny Island Trackback on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:12 am

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