PDF From the Blue Windows : Recollections of Life in Queenstown, Singapore, in the 1960s and 1970s

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Michael Reid. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Free delivery worldwide. Expected to be delivered to Germany by Christmas. Description Tan Kok Yang grew up in a small public housing estate in Queenstown during the s and early s. Queenstown is one of the earliest public housing estates in Singapore and over the years, has gone through immense changes. It was home to a group of low-rise government rental flats where the windows were fitted with unique blue louvers, hence the title of the book.

This account of the games, festivities, customs and lifestyle of the area as seen through the eyes of an inquisitive boy will arouse memories in many older Singaporeans. While the stories touch on the effects of race riots and student unrest during the s, their purpose is neither political nor academic. Rather they are a reminder of a simple but fulfilling way of life that has all but vanished from modern Singapore. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions Bestsellers in Development Studies. Poor Economics Abhijit Banerjee. Add to basket. The Divide Jason Hickel.

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There is contrast, too, between the back lanes, some of which reek of urine, and the front street that the general public usually sees. At night, foreign workers shower in the relative privacy of a dimly-lit lane in the Geylang area. Motorbike riders use the lanes for free parking, while residents and shopkeepers use them as storage space for stacks of chairs and other unwanted furniture. Icons from the past, like old Khong Guan biscuit tins, are recycled as letter boxes, for example. They are a striking contrast to the modern furniture inside some of these old houses, not a few of which are home to trendy young Singaporeans.

A walk down these streets is akin to a journey back in time, to a place that Singapore forgot, or would like to forget. Except, in some ways, these roads lead back to the very heart of Singapore, old and new. But a good proportion of them have never really seen the true Chinatown. Today, we take you on an armchair tour of the area.

Guilty, I thought to myself. I have lived all my life in Singapore, yet the guide was able to show me a thing or two. Playing tourist in your own city is easy. All you need is a couple of hours and a pair of sturdy legs. Start early in the morning about nine before the streets get too crowded and the sun too hot. Wear cool, comfortable clothes preferably cotton , sensible sandals, and be prepared to walk — for Chinatown can only be explored on foot.

The buildings here are over years old and the architecture is particularly interesting when you compare it with that of other Chinatowns. James Seah in Chinatown, New York. This photo was taken during my first trip to USA. Thanks to Facebook as a user-friendly personalised service to all Facebook users to share. Pls watch out for your favorite photos and share them on your FB timeline.

Chinatown in Singapore is more authentic with the feelings of an untouched places compared to Chinatown in New York.

From the Blue Windows: Recollections of Life in Queenstown, Singapore, in the 1960s and 1970s

They make their selectionsw here, from tanks filled with these creatures, and take them home alive in plastic bags of water. Some little old ladies in a corner ae even plucking the roots off bean sprouts. At the corner of Trengganu and Smith Streets, a crowd gathers to watch the butcher slaughtering pythons and iguanas. Turn left now into Smith Street, sort of the Harley Street of Singapore, with its varieties of medical herbs and weedsw. Here lies the cure for almost any illness under the sun, if only you knew the right formula.

Rabbits and guinea pigs are sold here too, mainly to school labes, and sometimes there are white mice. But what about the umbrella repair man? A colourful clog factory is here on the left, though, of course, no true Singaporean would be caught dead in a pair of Chinatown clogs.


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Still, they make original gifts for foreign friends. A most gloomy contrast to the splendid paper palaces across the street, with their paper limousines parked outside, and sometimes even a waiting Concord, also of paper. All to be burned at a funeral ceremony. Behind a makeshift curtain of flour sacking, the roadside hairdresser gets to work, styling a bun or pigtail with smooth starch, or removing facial hair with thread and powder.

You can tell these funeral parlours are in use when you see lanterns hanging outside. Opposite is a casket shop and a stall selling clothes for mourning. For many people, the highlight of the tour must be the Popiah Man. Swinging an enormous lump of dough, he presses it lightly on the charcoal hotplate in fron of him.

Just 30 seconds, and the paper-thin pancake skin is ready to be peeled off. Incredibly, the Popiah Man keeps up this rhythmic swinging-pressing-peeling all day long. Courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore.

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Tourists swarm the ultra-chic One Fullerton next door. The glittering roof at the Esplanade beckons from across Marina Bay. Clad in jeans as weathered as his bronzed wrinkled face, he still does what he has been doing for almost six decades. But this Saturday, when ferry operations move to the new Marina South Pier and Clifford Pier awaits redevelopment into a lifestyle hub, old-timers such as Ah Jiu would have to say goodbye. Standing at the mouth of the Singapore River, Clifford Pier used to be the landing point of immigrants. These days, Clifford Pier sees little more than a trickle of foreign sailors, tourists and the odd photographer.

But the pier is so quiet that at lunch time, Shenton Way-types go there for a quick siesta, sprawled on the benches in thier business attire. Twice a week, you will find year-old retiree K S Leong sitting on his favourite bench, reading, and nursing a cup of tea. He was the kind boatman who gave students cheap sight-seeing rides along the coastline on his sampan.

On weekends, anglers and families took the boats out for picnics at Kusu Island and Pulau Bukom. These days, Ah Bian still travels faithfully every day from his Jurong East flat to chat with his buddies at the ticket counter. They go back a long way. Most of the boatmen here hailed from the same region of Jinmen Island in China. Theirs was a camaraderies forged through hardship.