Archive for the 'Old Things' Category

Big Brother Big 大哥大

How many of us still have such a ‘Big Brother Big 大哥大’ at home? Sigh…I don’t have one at all…. I’m referring to the first generation of those mobile phone – big bulky type. Later toy makers made water bottles mobile phones lookalike for children to mimmic.

Talking about such ‘Big Brother Big’ mobile phone users, probably because of the size of the phone, they were usually held on the hands and ‘displayed’ on the tables when the users were seated down.

Above Photo : Relatives ‘displayed’ their Big Brother Big mobile phones on the dining table during my wedding dinner on 19  Dec 1992.

Above Photo : A lady reporter from the Chinese media holding a ‘Big Brother Big’ mobile phone in 1992.

Take a look at how this man used the ‘Big Brother Big’ mobile;

Don’t you find the long antenna troublesome?

Such bulky mobile phones were popular during the 80s and 90s; and mainly from Motorola.

Do you still remember what brand and model is your first mobile phone? I don’t remember the brand and model, but I do recalled that the phone advertisement on TV showing it floats on a leaf. Do you know that brand for this ad?

That was my first mobile phone in 1991 or 1992 when I was working for a US MNC as a Product Manager. The phone was fully paid by the company then and of course the monthly bill too. Too bad the phone was returned back to the company when I left them. In 1991 or 1992, I do remembered that my boss was using the popular Motorola Micro Tac phone;

In fact, in the early 90s most Big Brother Big mobile phones were slowing fading off from the scene. The smaller version of mobile phones like the Micro Tac was surfacing then.

If I were to keep all my handphones since day 1, I really don’t know how many will there be? But it was easier to trade-in used handphones in the past, so I didn’t keep most of them. Below are only some of those that I have left;


Old Calendar

A very belated Happy 牛 Year to all (though I’m rather late in this greetings…the last day of Chinese New Year). Finally things have settled down and I managed to squeeze some time to blog.

This year the Chinese New Year falls in January, the first month of the year 2009. Before I could rid off my old 2008 calendar, the Chinese New Year is already around the corner and now the 2 days holidays were over.

Every end of the year, I will be looking forward to getting new calendars for the following year. Every beginning of the year, I will be deciding which calendar to use for the hall, and each room or to be given away if there is any extra.

Sad to say, nowadays the number of calendars are getting lesser and lesser probably due to poor economy. I personally preferred my Tampines Town Council table calendar. I’ve not used those olden times wall calendar for a long long time.

Some of the commonly used old calendars (some of which still using now) are:

1. Single Page Date Type.

I love this type of calendars especially now that my eyesight is failing haha. But I hate the hassle of tearing the paper daily. Some people will use the paper torn off to place those bones during their meal time (good recycle idea!). Of course most of these calendars were attached to an advertisement board as seen below and they were usually given free by the company.

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

You can even see that this roadside barber (below) also hang one such calendar on the wall. The setback is that one must usually put a nail on the wall to hang such type of calendar which is probably why most people are not using them now.

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, National Heritage Show

There were some type with a smaller size paper calendar as shown below;

Credit : Chinatown Heritage Centre

2. Horse Racing Calendars.

The other type of popular calendar is the horse racing type showing the dates of one whole month on one page including the horse racing dates.

Credit : National Archives Of Singapore, PICAS

I like this type too as I only need to tear off the page after 1 month and not on a daily basis. There is also a smaller version for those taxi drivers to hang in their cabs.

3. Swimsuits Type

These are very popular type among some shops like car workshops, furniture shops, etc.. where women in swimsuit type of calendars were usually hang on their shop walls.

Also in the past during the Chinese New Year, my godmother would like to hang a new Chinese Zodiac Signs type of calendar on the wall too;

Credit : National Archives Of Singapore, PICAS

With such a Chinese Zodiac sign calendar, we are able to roughly tell the age of a person if we know his/her Zodiac sign like Tiger, Pig, Rabbit, etc…

My Apologies;

Sorry for not blogging for a long while as I’m unable to do so. My father (only 78 this year) has suddenly turned from independent to dependent.

In December last year, he was having problems in getting up from his bed and finding difficulties in his movement. I thought it maybe gout and arthritis but after 3 weeks, he was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He was warded for a week, and everyday he was tested for what causes the sickness. He was diagnosed to have Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Frozen Shoulder and Mild Cervical Mylopathy.

There isn’t much the doctor can do except to give him some pain-killer and discharged him to do Physio Therapy at another step-down hospital. He was discharged a couple of days before the Chinese New Year and now it was almost 2 weeks plus. After he was discharged, I’m his caregiver and I need to attend to all his needs 24/7 including bathing for him, etc… I thought taking care of my kids from baby to teenager is tough but now taking care of my father is even much more …. not only physically taxing but also mentally taxing. I’ve finally managed to shed 4 kg off within 1 week! The only contention is after these 2 weeks of home therapy, he is improving on his movement.

Now I start to fear…will I be the same in 30 years time…when I aged.

For those that I’ve not reply to you, my apologies.

Guess What Quiz No.1

Most of the younger generation may not have seen this ‘Pass-Out’ shown in the below photo;

I’m only showing part of the whole photo above for this 1st part of the clue. I believe the older generation like Victor, Peter, Philip or Chun See may know the answer very well.

So Guess What is this ‘Pass-Out’ ?

Answer :

Philip got it right and Peek a boo came quite close to it but he is not quite definite about it. It is a cinema/theatre Pass-Out card for interval

Credit : Shaw Gallery at the Shaw Tower, Beach Road.

You can view the above at the Shaw Tower located at Beach Road.

But anyone knows why is it called ‘Pass-Out’? Have a guess.

My Pagers Collection

Anyone collect pagers as a hobby? I don’t, I just didn’t throw away my old pagers. I will not go into detail of the pagers as I have done it in my previous post here. When I asked my wife about her pagers for the filming of the documentary by Vertigo Pictures, she brought out 2 of her pagers too, so altogether we had 4 pagers in our collection;

Believed you can guess which 2 belong to my wife hehe. There are something I liked about pagers : they don’t need to be charged like our handphone, just change the battery (AA or AAA);

They are more lasting than the handphones as all my pagers still work well after so many years.

Do you still remember reading the news on Weekend Today that Singtel had ceased paging services on 9 July 2008?

Then later the VP of SunPage replied that Sun Page is still providing paging services to its clients;

Credit : Above 2 – Weekend Today and Today.

***For those who wish to know more about the evolution of telecommunications, catch the 1st part of the documentary by Vertigo Pictures on CNA this Thursday 20 Nov 2008 from 9.30pm to 10.00pm, titled “Giant Steps In Mobility” (Joined Rebecca Tan as she explores how our social behaviours and lifestyles evolved along with our communications devices). If you missed it on Thursday, you can catch it again on the next day, Friday 21 Nov on CNA from 12.30pm to 1.00pm.

About Old Photo Studios

When I was browsing through some old envelopes at my parents home, I came across 2 old photo studios envelopes. Nothing special it seem, but on closer look – I find that most photo studios at that time like to emphasize on “air conditioned”.

Looking at the postal code and telephone numbers on the envelopes, we can guess that it should be around 80s. The Golden Studio should be after 1985 since the telephone number is 7 digit while Serangoon Broadway should be between 1979 to 1984, as the telephone number is 6 digit (before 1985) and the postal code is 4 digit (after 1979). So I belived it should be early 80s or late 70s where photo studios started to have air conditioned in their setup. So they emphasized on the word ‘air-conditioned’ as maybe it was rare to have aircon at that time.

The other thing I remember about those old photo studios are the display photos they showed at their window outside their shop. Below shows a photo studio window display in 1982;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

At that time, I think oval-shaped photo were very popular and also maybe people like to have their photos imprinted on plates too. Also touching up of photos are usually manually by paint brush ;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

My BMT Companion

Most people may have thought that my 3 months of BMT (Basic Military Training) companion at ITD (Infantry Training Depot) is my rifle…but the answer is NO. My companion for that 3 months was my portable radio;

It was rather bulky and the tuning of the radio station was difficult with those dial face;

Though it’s called Solid State Radio but I believed it’s a mixture of ICs and Transistors.

Anyway, most of my bunk mates had one each though of different brands  and models. I remember I bought my at the Golden Mile Hawker Centre upper floor where they sold lots of army’s goods. Those army’s goods stalls are still there now. Well the radio was probably our daily night entertainment then while cleaning our rifles and boots.

Compare to my daughter’s MP3 with radio now;

So what is your BMT’s comapnion? Come to think of it, that radio was already 26 years old as I bought it around 1982.


When I was searching for some old documents in my drawer, I came across my old SRP. You may ask what’s “SRP”, it’s “Singapore Restricted Passport”. The younger generation may not be aware of it but it’s our blue passport for travel to West Malaysia only.

After Singapore separated from Malaysia on 8 August 1965, freedom of movement existed between the two countries for a short period of time. Later 2 checkpoints were built, one at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and the other at Woodlands Checkpoint. Malaysians entering Singapore had to produce their identity cards until passports were used on both sides in July 1967.

Thus from 1 July 1967, this Singapore Restricted Passport was issued to facilitate travel to West Malaysia only. So to travel to West Malaysia, the Singapore restricted passport and the Singapore Certificate of Identity was needed. The Singapore Restricted Passport Centre was set up in South Quay. It moved to Outram Road in 1976 and closed its doors on 31 December 1994. I believed the General Post Office was given the task to first issue this Special Causeway Passport around May to June 1967;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

A passport office was opened at Joo Chiat Complex on the fourth floor on 5 Nov 1984. This office issued both international and restricted passports and was closed on Sep 1999. Due to falling demand and the introduction of the new passport system, the SRP was abolished. SRPs were no longer issued from 1 Jan 1999 and were valid for travel until 31 Dec 1999.

When was the last time I used it? Nov 1988 and that was the year I completed my 6 yrs contract with the Air Force. Now I remember I first applied for this Restricted Passport to go to Malaysia when I was 17 yrs old. Probably had a trip there with some classmates after Sec.4 while waiting to go Poly.

This passport was also used when I drove in to Johore Bahru with my camp mates during my signed-on days in the Air Force. Rather convenient to drive to  JB from Tengah Air Base. The thing I hate most is filling in this card;

Why? Because I always have problem in filling the “Last place of embarkation” and “Next Destination”.

I remember my SRP was renewed once at this Joo Chiat Complex in 1985. But where did I get my SRP from in 1979? Is it Empress Place or Outram Road (which part of Outram, I really don’t know. Maybe Peter and Chun See will know)?

Below shows Joo Chiat Complex in 1985;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

For more details, read here.


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