Archive for the 'Books & Publications' Category

Guess What Quiz No.3

The picture shows part of something. Guess what is that ‘something’? You have to tell me what is this ‘something’ call and what is it use for?

Answer;

The correct answer is Tong Sheng 通勝, Chinese Almanac. I don’t know since when it was called Tong Sheng instead of Tong Shu. I remember it was known as Tong Shu 通書 especially by the Cantonese but maybe the word “Shu” sounds like “losing” so this word was changed to “Sheng” which means “win”.

My first encounter with this very thick book was when my godmother used it to check some auspicious dates. I was only about 9 or 10 years old then, and I was attracted by the pictures and drawing in it;

Frankly until now, I still do not understand all the drawings in it.

This ‘book’ has been around for many many years and the meaning of Tong Shu means “a book that knows all”. Some people may check with this book on what one should or should not do on each day. But usually the Chinese will use it to check for auspicious dates for wedding, opening ceremony for their businesses, etc.

Take a look at the thread binding used for this thick book;

And this thread is enough to hold this thick book together! I’m impressed. The first page of the book usually is the boy and a cow working on a farm;

We may use it to check our age or year of birth and also our Chinese horoscope. Example my year of birth is 1962, I was 24 years old (1985) and born in the year of tiger;

Oh this book even has diagrams of foetus in the womb;

It shows the foetus from 1st month to 9th month and how is the position like when delivering. On the left is the talisman for pregnant woman who have offended the ‘Foetus God’, I think.

The most interesting part of this book is the portion where one can learn English;

It has a few pages where people can learn how the English alphabets and also some English words like those shown above. As the book is written in Cantonese, so it is more accurate to read it in Cantonese instead of Chinese. Take a look at the word “Saturday” and the pronunication in Cantonese. If we will to read the English word using the Cantonese pronunication, it sounds really weird. The whole book content seems to be printed in just Black and Red ink;

If you think that this Chinese Almanac is meant for those people who are superstitious, you are wrong. It does contain some Scientific content too. One can learn about Eclipse of the Sun or Moon from it;

The Chinese Almanac has more than 2000 years of history and it’s good to at least browse through it and take a look at its contents. If you wish to know more, you can take a look here.

 

What My Father Wrote ;

My First Dictionary Half A Century

Do you still keep your first dictionary? I still have mine! Let me show you a small part of my dictionary collection…

My first dictionary was actually given to me by my godsister when I was in primary school, probably upper primary in the early 70s. So coincidentally, this dictionary is also called the My First Dictionary;

You see the two stickers on the front cover, and that was what I did to it. I don’t really remember whether these were those type of ‘water tatoos’ stickers – you put them on a pail of water and then place the ‘tatoos’ on your arms or legs or any other surface to apply the stickers. Here you see another one on the page inside;

So this First Dictionary was reprinted in Sep 1958, exactly 51 years ago – half a century! I like this dictionary because of the exercises and questions at the end of the dictionary;

In the past most of us really ‘read’ and ‘study’ the dictionary (use our dictionary throughoutly)  as you can see some of the words were underlined;

Now  my children’s dictionaries are as clean as those in the book stores.

I bought my first personal pocket dictionary when I was in Sec.4 in 1978. It was a Collins pocket dictionary and see – I’ve a Kentucky Fried Chicken sticker on the front cover. You don’t find this KFC sticky anymore now.

This dictionary has been with me for almost 35 yeasrs and now my daughter (Pri.4) is using it;

So between these 2 Oxford dictionaries, which do you think is ‘older’?

Do you think you get the answers right? OK, the white jacket one was reprinted in 1952;

While the dark blue cover one was reprinted in 1949 (60 years old);

I got it wrong too and I thought the one with the white cover was older… These 2 were handed down to me by my father. He probably used these when he was working in his twenties.

Come to think of it, I have more Oxfords at home! So do you still have your first dictionary with you?

My Old TV Guide Magazine

Do you keep your old TV guide magazines? My mother kept hers, above (176)  is just one of the many and she still had the 1st copy. Funny thing is that I don’t remember her buying those TV guide magazines and she is also not keen in watching TV programmes…

What so special about the above TV guide? Well that issue was published on 2 Jun 1984 and about 25 years ago. Coindentally, on the cover you can find the 25 years of Nation Building logo (1959 to 1984) and it was going to be National Day celebration in a month plus. I will talk about this Nation Buidling topic nearer to National Day.

But now, what were popular then? OK, video tapes were probably still popular as can be seen on the back cover page advertisement by TDK;

Now even you can hardly find a video cassette player on sale at Courts, Harvey or Best, etc.

Of course, my used to be idol Maggie Teng was very popular then as can be seen on the cover page. Not forgetting her 2 sisters Judy and ….(forgotten oh).

Let’s take a peek at the old TV programmes in the 80s;

Channel 5 and 8;

Even on Sunday, the Channel 5 started broadcasting at 8.30am and ended at 11.40pm, while Channel 8 from 2.30pm to 11.30pm. It was still SBC then and you can see at 8.30am, they are showng you the SBC Text (Teletext) on Channel 5, probably still new and promoting it then. Channel 8 programmes seem very boring also starting with sample pages of SBC Text. Lucky there was the afternoon Mandarin matinee at 3.25pm. Evening time was the Chinese variety show ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ at 8.30pm. Channel 8 ended early at 11.30pm. I wonder if they were trying to boost population then…else why the TV shows end so early before midnight?

Back then, Channel 3 and 10 (Malaysia channels) were also included in our TV guide including newspaper;

Oh before I forget, there was this ever changing channel – it was called Channel 12 at that time;

Do you still remember what was that Channel 12 for?

Browsing thru the guide, I saw this very popular car model back then;

And I believed Chun See and his gang will know what car was that haha.

Now there are so many types of TV guides from the various Channels. Example the iWeeklly from Channel 8;

or U guide and the English TV guide, but most of us will discard them after a week…

Before I end, the price of the 1984 176 issue TV guide was 50cents then, and 25 years later, the iWeekly price is $2 (though with 2 sets of magazines).

My Old Chinese Composition Exercise Book

This is my old Chinese Composition exercise book, 31 years ago when I was in Sec.3 (1977);

Note that this old Chinese Composition exercise book was turned from left to right as it was binded on the right side instead of on the left side.

Take a look at the inside;

The unique part is the pages are joined in this manner;

Nowadays I don’t think the school is still using such Chinese Composition exercise book. My Sec.2 son’s Chinese Composition paper is in the form of foolscap paper type;

Of course I prefer the new type which is more convenient!

Remember That Ten Years Series

How many of you still have those old Ten Years Series in the 60s and 70s? Yes they are the so called official compilation of past years examination papers for the GCE ‘O’ Levels and ‘A’ Levels. But whether these are approved publication by the MOE and University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate, I’m not sure.

How much was it then?

See who is the publisher;

See above, I drew a picture of the Jaws on it! Probably influenced by the Movie Jaws then…haha…

Those ten years series in the past were really “No Frills” type of books – simple cover designs and even the inside will make you fall asleep;

Of course when buying the Ten Years Series, we must ensure that it comes with the answers found at the back;

Above all photo credits : Scholastic Books and Publications

Now even the Pri.6 PSLE also have the similar type compilations of past examinations papers but only 5 Years Series. And now it’s by MOE, Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board.

Credit : MOE and Hillview Publications Pte Ltd

Not to mention now we have too many types of assessment books and those past years examinations papers from top schools sold at the road side stalls or push carts for Primary to Secondary schools.

My Old Singapore Road Maps

Below are the oldest copies of the Singapore Street Directory I have in my house…until what I have found at my mother’s house at Haig Road on last Sunday. Ha I believed Peter and Chun See may even have older copies than this since they are at least 10yrs my senior. Frankly buying the Singapore Street Directory is like buying First Day Covers issues, every now and then new edition come out due to more new roads being built.

Credit : Singapore Government, Chief SurveyorOn the left is the Chinese Edition (1976) which is based on the English Edition (1975) and on the right is the English Edition (1988).

Now I have another even older map of Singapore from the Shell. The year 1959 was written on the inside cover of the map;

Credits for all the Shell Map Reproduction: Shell, Singapore Government Survey Department.

So this map was prepared by SIT (Singapore Improvement Trust, which is the ‘ancestor’ of HDB) in 1956;

Let’s take a look at this old map;

Only this part of Singapore was reproduced in the map;

Below are some of the Places Of Interests in the 50s where a number of them were no longer around now;

Now let’s take a close up view of this old map and see what’s in 50s;

You can see the Singapore Airport at the Paya Lebar from the above map, but has it been completed then? Guess… Of course all the expressways like PIE, ECP, etc.. were not built then. Also Singapore size then was much smaller before the major land reclamation from 60s to 90s.

 

Primary School Atlas

The above was the atlas I used in my Primary School in the 60s/70s. It was published by Macmillan and Co. Ltd in 1965. Of course during my time, studying of atlas was important. Simple tests were conducted to see if you studied;

Similar test also in English for English School. Here is another old map of Singapore in the 60s;

You may note that the word ” 星” was used instead of ” 新”.

OK, here is another interesting Products of Singapore atlas. There seem to be plenty of Pineapple farms in Singapore then. Note also the Granite quarry in P. Ubin and mainland;

Here was the Population Distribution in Singapore in the 60s – it was densely populated in the South-East location then;

Now in the 21st century, the population distribution has changed as seen in my son’s Primary 4 Atlas book;

Note that the above atlas – the SE location is no longer densely populated!

Also note the new Atlas book used by my son when he was in Primary 4 in 2004;

Of course, the atlas was used in his Social Studies lesson instead of Geography. It was printed by Times Printers Pte Ltd.

Not forgetting one of the best classroom games played in my times was to find the location/country listed by one of the classmates and finding that within a stipulated time on the atlas book. Of course, some of the countries’ names have been changed now.


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