Archive for November, 2007

STB To SingTel

Credit : National Archives of Singapore

This was the first type of phone my Godparents had in the 60s/70s. No choice of color for the phones back then, I think. Not many households are able to afford a telephone; my parents do not have one too.

I remember my Godparents got engaged those telephone cleaning lady to clean the phone every now and then. The cleaning lady would carried a hard bag like those cosmetic makeup bag, containing all her cleaning kids. She would changed the white color mouth piece ‘filter’ and then sprayed some ‘fragrance’ onto it. And they wore those gloves when doing the cleaning of telephone.

So what does STB stands for? It stands for Singapore Telephone Board. And its logo back then has a swallow bird – don’t know why?

Even the telephone carried the logo, as shown on the telephone above.

Back then the bills envelopes are like this;

See the above envelope. So in 1971, it was still STB and the postage back then was 6 cents!

OK, Singapore had its first telephone service in 1879, almost 128 years! The British were providing the telephone services until 1955. In 1955, STB was formed.

TAS (Telecommunications Authority of Singapore) provided overseas services while STB on local services. In 1974, both merged to form Singapore Telecom.

So when did we first have our push button phone? That should be August 1970. By early 1980s, all rotary phones were replaced by push button phone. Regret didn’t keep one of those rotary phone or the first generation of the push button phone with the Telecom logo at the bottom.

Here is the First Day Cover for the 100 years of Telephone Service in 1974;

So what will be the next change be?

Five Stones

Credit : National Heritage Board, Singapore

I remember when I was in Primary School, the girls in my class were playing five stones whenever the teacher was missing in action. I have never tried playing them as I thought it was more of a girls’ game. So until now, I’ve yet to play them.

They seems to have disappear from my memory until recently this year I saw them again at the National Heritage Fair at Suntec. Likes see how it was played;

So why was it called Five Stones since the pyramid bag contained either beans or sand. It is because Five Stones was originally played with real stones or pebbles. To play the game, one has to complete a series of complicated movement by tossing and catching the stones without missing them. The movement becomes more complicated as one proceed on.

Merdeka Bridge (独立桥)

My dad always mentioned to me a certain place near 独立桥, and I stopped to ponder for a short while – where is this 独立桥..or Merdeka Bridge. Not many people nowadays talk about this Bridge. It’s not mentioned for quite sometime and even I also have to ‘rewind’ my memory to recall where is this Bridge haha.

The younger generation may ask where exactly is Merdeka Bridge in Singapore? In the 50s to 70s, this bridge was commonly known as 独立桥 (Independence Bridge) by the Chinese. ‘Merdeka’ is a Malay word which means Freedom or Independence.

In fact from 50s to the 70s, Merdeka Bridge was mentioned frequently by the people. As time goes by especially in the late 80s onwards, Nicoll Highway was mentioned instead of Merdeka Bridge as Merdeka Bridge is just part of the Nicoll Highway.

Where is this Merdeka Bridge then? This Bridge crosses the mouth of both the Rochor River and Kallang River. This Bridge was built in 1955 by PWD (Public Works Department).

It was named Merdeka probably to symbolise the people’s pursuit and spirit for independence. The bridge was constructed to link two stretches of the then new Nicoll Highway. It was built at a cost of $9,500.000. It was declared open by the then Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock on 17 August 1956. It was the longest prestressed concrete bridge in South East Asia then (mid 50s).

So why is this Bridge built then? It was built to ease the traffic congestion during peak hours at Geylang Road/Kallang Road then. It was part of the Nicoll Highway which the bridge linked.

It should be 50 over years old by now.

The main icons of the Merdeka Bridge should be the 2 Stone Lions guarding each side of the bridge. They have since been removed, first to Airport Road, and are currently placed at the SAFTI Military Institute in Jurong.

Below shows 2 photos of the Merdeka Bridge after its completion in 1957;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS.

You can see from the above 2 photos that there were a lot of undeveloped areas in the 50s. Probably we cannot recognise it haha. The stadium was not built then. Now, the National Stadium is going to be teared down…

This is how the bridge looked like in 1978;

Photo Credit :

Here is another view of the Merdeka Bridge;

Photo Credit : Penang Antiques

Here are some old postcards of the Merdeka Bridge;

Note : You may wish to take note of the street lights design on the bridge was totally different from now.

Take a closer look at the Stone Lion;

Another view;

Photo Credit : Nusantara

My First Nintendo

Those who have read my previous post on the old Casio Calculator Space Invader game, may also like this.

No it wasn’t the Nintendo Game Boy my son is playing, it was a very simple handheld single game type! Called it “Game & Watch”;

It’s not so expensive though but the LCD screen resolution and color is a far cry from the games nowadays. Each set has 2 games : Game A and Game B – Game B is the same but at a faster speed. At that time (in the early 80s), a lot of youngsters were addicted to this game set! Almost everywhere you can see them playing as there were many different games. Among them, my favourite was the Octopus one;

The battery was not those rechargeable type like the GameBoy now. To change to a different game then means to buy another new game set.

My son’s GameBoy – what he called the SP Advance was so expensive when we first bought it few years back and now, the price dropped like hell. It even has a carry pouch;

Even the external appearance is enough to attract one to play;

It’s resolution and color of course were much better than my old “GameBoy”;

Now to change game is easy, just buy a new cartridge (expensive though).

Any place still sell the old Game & Watch?

If you can’t find them anymore, fret not. Play it online here at Retro Remake.


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November 2007