Archive for October, 2007

My Casio Calculator Invader Game

My first electronic handheld game was most probably the Casio Calculator ‘Space Invader’ game, or more correctly – ‘Number Invader’ game. It was actually modeled after the late 70s popular Space Invader game.

I don’t really remember the model of that Casio calculator, but a Google search shows me the model MG-880. Wonder if it was the same calculator… Anyway it looks alike;

The player have to press the correct number on the extreme left to match any of the number on the right that keeps coming out randomly, so as to kill ‘it’. The 3 horizontal short lines on the right of the extreme left number indicates the number of lives you have remaining. The ‘n’ is what makes me remember the game most!

Here is the closeup of the screen;

So when was this calculator game in fashion? It should be in the early 80s, during my Poly time. Now where have I dumped this calculator???

For those that wish to try out this ‘Number Invader’ game, here it is;

DigiInvaders

The instructions are here.

Old Compass

Credit : National Heritage Board.

Yes I’m talking about the above old compass and not those when you lost your direction type haha. Saw the above old set during the National Heritage Fair at Suntec City some months back, and I remember I do have a set of that in the past.

My first set of compass was purchased when I was in higher primary level. It was exactly like the one shown above, the pencil was tightened to it. We have to keep those shorter pencil and use it for the compass. The compass, dividers and other instruments were kept together in the metal box. After some time of use, the compass and the metal box will get rusty!

Later in secondary school, the compass set also got upgraded. It got longer and “more professional”. We use pencil leads and need to “sharpen” it using sandpaper. The box containing it were usually plastic instead of the old metal box.

Now the compass set is mainly make of plastic and won’t get rusty. Here is my son’s compass set;

It’s so convenient to use – just put in the 0.5mm pencil lead like those for mechanical pencil. No need to sharpen anymore!

A Nostalgia Show

Received an email from Roger Poon (Creative Producer, Stage Elegance) regarding his team’s entertaining project Stage Elegance. His team consists of Entertainers and Puppeteers.

This is a Multi-Lingual show in Cantonese, English, Hokkien, Malay and Mandarin! Relive the good old amusement days. Party with them in retro-style!

Watch their 50’s themed cabaret performances,
be enthralled their 60’s themed magic shows
and be entertained by their 70’s themed drama-comedy!

The perfect holiday entertainment for everyone since the show is in December this year.

For more detail, contact

Roger Poon
Creative Producer
Stage Elegance

Email: roger@stageelegance.com
Website: www.stageelegance.com

See the entertainment of yester-years creatively brought back to you Live
in the elegant ambience of Jubilee Hall.


My Secondary Technical Education

I carried a big technical drawing board with a T-rule and a drum of technical drawing papers to school! You can never imagined how big that technical drawing board was then. Luckily, I don’t have to carry it for long, only for the first few lessons.

When I walked past my neighbour’s house, I saw this spade hanging on her plant.

I remember that was a spade made during my Metal Workshop in Secondary school technical class. Her son was also a Victorian years back! I didn’t know that the same spade design (only slight changes in design) was used over so many many years.

During my Secondary education from 1975 to 1978, the educational system was very much different from now. The aim then was probably to develop an educational system that will support and develop the country into a modern industrial nation. Thus in the 70s, we see the evolution of strong technical education component in our secondary education.

For the first 2 years (Sec.1 and 2) of secondary education, we were to study technical subjects outside school hours besides our normal academic subjects. As my secondary school – Victoria School, did not have such technical workshop facilities, we had to attend our technical training at a McNair Centralised Workshop at Towner Road (or McNair Rd). This was different from the then Vocational Institute education.

Below shows the McNair Centralised Workshop at the then Towner Road;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS.

There were a number of such Centralised Workshops to cater to students from the normal academic secondary schools for district or area. Secondary schools then were divided into Morning Session (7.35am to 1.00pm) and Afternoon Session (1.05pm to 6.30pm), so those in the Morning Session will attend the workshop in the Afternoon (from 2.30pm to 6.00pm) and those in the Afternoon Session will attend workshop in the morning (8.00am to 11.30am).

At that time, I remember we were taught Woodworking, Metal Work and Electricity. The most unforgettable thing was the smelly dark blue apron we wore over our school uniform when we attended the workshop session.

Below shows the drawing of the Letter Rack we have to make during the Woodworking Workshop;

Credit : Unesco, Asian Centre of Educational Innovation for development, Bangkok. Ministry of Education, Singapore.

As Victoria School is a all boys school, so all of us have to attend the technical training. But I heard that those in the mixed school, all the boys and half of the girls population needed to attend the technical training; the other half of the girls population will attend Home Economics. Maybe later in the years, all will have to attend the technical training.

The purpose of technical education was to expose students in the lower secondary to practical workshop experiences in handling some basic tools and machineries. I appreciated such training as it makes us a more “DIY” person.

After Sec.2, we were streamed into Science, Technical (or Commerce in some schools) or Arts streams according to our grades and selection. I selected Technical stream to continue my Sec.3 and 4 education then. In Sec.3 and 4, we continued our Technical education at Balestier Hill Secondary Technical School (think now it’s known as just Balestier Hill Secondary School) instead of McNair. I hated the morning assembly at Balestier Hill Secondary Technical School, as their disciplinary master always picked on us students from VS, especially claiming that our hair is too long, etc….

Now my son in Sec.1 (same Victoria School) only have D&T (Design and Technology) as a subject in the first semester of the year! Finally the project has changed, and they are making a simple guitar;

The painting is done in the 2nd Semester of the year under the Art Lesson;

Personally I think without painting looks better hehe.

Though the subject title Design and Technology sounds very “great” but what they are learning are very basic. Here is their textbook;

For only half a year (1st semester only), how much can they learn?

If you make a trip to the Singapore Philatelic Museum, you can find the 1981 issue of Tehnical Training First Day Cover stamps;

Credit : Singapore Philatelic Museum.

When I compared my son’s textbook and notes, I think we were taught more in detail during our time compared to now. When I asked my son how can we divide a straight line into 5 equal parts using only a compass; he said he can only divide a straight line into equal even numbers by bisecting them but not odd numbers. Now, let me show you;

Below shows a typical 10years series of the G&M (Geometric and Mechanical) Drawing for Sec.4 students given to me by my friend, Annie Chin in Pre U 1 in VS then (there were girls in VS Pre U in the past);

Here is a sample of the 1975 Paper;

Oh no, how I miss my T-rule!

That A&W I Knew

First thing comes to mind is the Root Beer when one mention A&W! And I love that Root Beer Float!

This followed by their waffle with ice-cream on top. I love this more than their Coney Dog (hot dog);

You have probably read about A&W in Chun See post and Aroma Cookery.

Most of us knew that the first A&W store opened at Dunearn Road in 1966. It was the first fast food from US to step into Singapore and later expanded throughout the island and including the zoo. Due to competition from other fast food chain, business was affected. In 1999, the outlet at the Singapore Zoo was closed down. By 2002, there were only 7 outlets around the island. So did A&W finally closed in 2003 or 2004? Not sure. You may probably still find A&W in Malaysia.

How many of us know what ‘A&W’ stands for? The company name was taken from the last name initials of partners Roy Allen and Frank Wright. See the history here and here.

The last A&W I still can find in Singapore was at the Changi Airport Transit area (can’t remember which terminal). In some records found on internet, in 2003 the A&W outlets are found at;

  • A & W Changi Airport T2
    Airport Blvd Changi Airport Passenger Terminal 2
  • A & W City Plaza
    810 Geylang Rd. #01-00 City Plaza
  • A & W Cuppage Mall
    Orchard Rd #01-K3
  • A & W Woodlands
    Blk 548 Woodlands Dr. #01-20
  • A & W Tampines
    Blk 201D Tampines St. 21 #01-1155
  • A & W Tampines
    Blk 205 Hougang St. 21 #01-133 Heartland Mall-Kovan

I’m most bewildered by the outlet at Tampines Blk. 201D. As I’m staying near there, but I’ve not got the chance to eat at that outlet. It was a very small outlet (with aircon installation but you can’t feel the aircon type) and once I went in, I started to perspire. So I was out without having ordering anything. That outlet even got Nasi Lemak in it’s menu! But think it lasted only about 1 year or so…

Do you still remember this outlet at Bukit Merah (besides the old HDB HQ)?

Photo Credit : Designed For Living, HDB.

Here are some old glasses from A&W found during the July Singapore Heritage Fair;

So what is left now are just cans and cans of Root Beer that we can buy from the supermarkets;

Teach Your Parents Metric

Photo Credit : Today, Mediacorp Press, Samsung.

How will you react when you read the above advertisement? You will be pondering how thin or thick is 0.4764 inches? Your mind will try to do a mental conversion from inches to mm…BTW how apt is the title “Imagine a new measure of style” haha!

Note : The actual reading is 12.1mm instead of 0.4764inches. The picture above has been edited (Photoshop) for use.

Back in the 70s, imagine how would your parents or even grandparents react when we asked them to use metric system? Also we always relate SI units to Metric system, why? The International System of Units or the International System is called the SI, using the first two initials of its French name Système International d’Unités.
Or do you remember the below 3 Metrication stamps in 1979;

Showing Distance;

Showing Length;

Showing Weight;

The last stamp you can see the Logo of the Singapore Metrication Board. This Metrication Board was probably set up in the early 70s.

So do you think if there is a campaign “Teach Your Parents Metric” in Singapore? For a campaign country like Singapore, it may not be a surprise…yes there is!

Below shows the Singapore Metrication Board’s Logo printed on their pamphlets;

Below shows the “Teach Your Parents Metric” pamphlets;

This is a very old pamphlet that I used it as a bookmark cum ‘notepad’ for my History notes. Guess that must be either Sec.1 (1975) or 2 (1976). Take a look at the inside of this pamphlet;

Some of us may even remember that in the 70s, some of the textbooks front covers usually showed the ‘SI Edition’. Below shows my Sec.1 Science Textbook in 1975;

Some textbboks even have the Metric Conversion table in them;

3 most memorable things that were in the Imperial System then were;

1. Old car speedometer. It looked something like the one below, with speed in MPH (Miles Per Hour) and the Inner Circle showed in KPH(Km/Hr);

2. Milestone road marker. These are a series of numbered markers placed along a road at regular intervals at the side of the road. Of course then, the distance measured was in Miles. These Milestone were made of stones and they are now all replaced by the new Kilometre signs;

3. Speed limit in MPH. Those ‘senior citizens’ here definitely will remember the old speed limit road signs in MPH instead of Km/h;

Credit : LTA

But how do you tell them apart? How do you know if the sign above meant MPH or Km/h ?

4. Coin operated weighing machine. You put 10 cent into the machines, usually at the cinemas lobby, then a printed ticket will be issued showing your weight in pounds;

Photo Credit : Rho. Above photo shows a similar weighing machine.

Below shows some samples of those weighing tickets in pounds;

Credit : Ebay

Traditional Pastries I’ve Eaten

These are the 2 traditional pastries I’ve eaten during my childhood. My godparents used to buy them home when they came back from shopping or marketing. Probably during that time, there were no such craze as ‘curry that puffs’, ‘roti-boys’, ‘bread that talk’, ‘donnuts that need to queue’, etc…

No doubt there were many types of pastries then, but these 2 are my favourites because of their unique shapes, designs and probably packaging. Though they don’t taste fantastic back then, but.. not too bad and still can finish the whole piece or more.

Some of the traditional cake shops still sell these pastries but they are not so commonly available. Let’s take a closer look at the first one;

These are still wrapped in the traditional plain pink color paper. I like to ‘peel’ them off one by one and eat them as shown above. But this one I bought, though look alike, the taste is not the same. It is very much like sugar taste now and after taking one ‘slice’, I gave up.

Now the second one – the round brown one. It’s still the same shape but I’m not too sure of the word is the same compared to the past haha. No doubt, it’s rather soft when you peel off the paper at the bottom, but this one taste even worse than the first one (to me). I took one bite and throw away the rest.

I’m not too sure if the above are made for offering instead of eating. The taste is longer the same old traditional taste I’ve eaten…sigh…


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