Chronicle of Singapore – Fifty Years of Headline News


If you have not read this book, this review may just change your mind.
 
This is a thick 379-page coffee table book (plus a CD included) and definitely not one to bring about. In fact you can’t even read it in bed as it weighs close to three kg. In it, expect to read headline news like the cable car incidence, the Hotel New World Collapse, Adrain Lim’s murder etc.
 
What I especially like was the little non-headline news. Still, the nitty gritty news may had affected many lives then. If you were a teenager in 1962, wouldn’t you cheer (if you read newspapers) to read "No Twist ban while it remain a dance"? Many Twist movies were banned due to their ‘sexual or moral depravity". You can’t watch the movie, but you can still twist in the dance. 
 
During the 60s, the government was busy clamping down on sex and the ‘yellow culture’. Men woke up on New Year’s Day in 1960 to learn that Playboy and it’s calandar were now banned and despite Penguin Books cancelling all the orders on 27 Jan 1961, one can still read the parallel imports of Lady’s Chatterley’s Lover.
 
Kidnaps were rampant in the 60s and many prominent businessmen and their heirs were kidnapped. C K Tang in 1960, Shaw Vee Meng in 1962, and Rubber magnate Ng Quee Lam before him.
 
Some news brought back fond memories.
 
On 16 Jan 1974, it was reported that a hippo, two honey bears, an orang utan and a cow eland escaped from the Zoo. What startled Singaporeans then was the escape of a black panther. Because of this, Grandma did not allow my youngest aunt, a brownie with SCGS then, to attend a school camp. I can’t believe I can still remember that.
 
On 4 December 1977, a hijacked MAS plane exploded in mid-air, killing all on board, including my classmate, who was returning to get her PSLE results. Our teacher broke the news to a shock 6D class when we went back to school to collect our PSLE results.
 
on 30 Nov 1978, SAP school plan was created, with the objective of helping the top 8% receive bilingual education, and also to stamp the declining enrolment of the nine Chinese Schools. I was in sec three when the first batch of 八巴仙 came in and we all looked in awe at the smart girls. I think my sister was one of them, although she could have been promoted to 八巴仙 only in sec three.
 
On 20 Sept 1979, 400 Expat teachers were recruited to teach English. At Nanyang, we had about two or three and they were a novelty. We immediately took a liking to one Mr Easthope. There was another we nicknamed 地中海 because of his bald patch. (Can’t even remember his actual name!)
 
On 11 Oct 1985, when I was in year two at NUS, SDU was formed and I was among its first members. I remember there was a computer matching program and I was matched to an Indian Architectural student. We met once for tea and although we chatted like old friends, the friendship did not continue.
 
On 27 May 1987, Singapore hosted the Miss Universe Contest and the winner was Miss Chile. Singapore’s own Marion Teo was a semi-finalist, a courtesy awarded to all host country(I was told). She entered the Science Faculty in July that year and created a buzz. The honours year students (my class) were the lab tutor for year one students and my classmate, the best looking guy in my class then, had the previlage of being in her lab. The girls in my class quizzed him about her, and he was flippant – "Not pretty lah" as if to comfort his ordinary looking classmates.
 
19 March 1987 saw the re-structuring of three schools as they embark on their journey to independence. My project tutor, Prof Lawrence Chia, was seconded to ACS(I) as its first principal, so he was only part time in NUS, perhaps a reason why I did not do well that year, or perhaps not. I can’t believe I went full circle and am now complaining about that school again.
 
It is often asked, can you remember what you were doing when major news happened? (Like when Princess Di was killed in 1997, or when Michael Jackson died last year). Perhaps this book can help jolt that memory, like it did me.
 
 
 
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About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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