100 Things We Love About The 80s (Part 2)

(You may read Part 1 here)

Due to overwhelming responses, I have compiled another 100 stuffs (thanks to the generous feedback and contributions from nostalgia-lovers in Part 1) that remind us of the good ‘old days in Singapore during the eighties.

Apologies for other things that I’ve missed out.. There were just too many of them. ;)

Books

1. Ladybird Storybooks

 

Ladybird is a London publishing company founded way back in 1867! Its classic pocket-sized hard-covered books were such a joy for kids in the eighties, covering many famous fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Little Pigs and The Magic Porridge Pot.

2. The Teenage Textbook (1988) & The Teenage Workbook (1989)

A set of popular novels by local author Adrian Tan in the late eighties, The Teenage Textbook and its sequel were about the life of a fictional girl called Mui Ee and her friends studying in Paya Lebar Junior College, and their encounters on Valentine’s Day.

3. Bookworm Club

The Bookworm Club was established in 1984 to encourage reading among the children. Many primary school students became its members, charmed by their short story series and the Young Generation magazines.

The company, however, experienced decline in the nineties and had to close down by early 2000s. Their poor business in later years, other than internet and competitive market, might be due to the fact that the bookworm image was too nerdy for the newer generation of kids!

4. Choose Your Own Adventure

Interesting game books that had charmed many in the eighties and nineties. With more than 40 possible endings per book, the reader could choose the development of the story he followed. Very often, he would need to flip the pages after he made his choices.

Entertainment

5. V-Sign by Chen Xiuhuan

Not many dramas about aliens were produced by SBC, but this one Flying Across the Galaxy 飞越银河 left a deep impression. Pretty alien Chen Xiuhuan’s 陈秀环 signature V-sign was imitated by countless of Singapore children, and maybe some adults, after the drama was telecast in 1989.

6. Old School Advertisements

Some old school advertisements gave us deep impressions with their catchy tunes, such as Myojo Mee and UIC Washing Powder. Others had classic slogans, like “不在乎天长地久, 只在乎曾经拥有” by Solvil et Titus, or Guinness Stout’s “你怕黑吗?黑有什么好怕?”

Well, I like the “胃仙U, 有效!” Just only five words! Veteran Hong Kong actor Wong Wai 王伟 starred in this advert for Weixian-U, a Japanese gastric pill, in the late eighties which left a lasting impression for viewers in Singapore and Hong Kong.

I also remember Fann Wong’s Oil of Ulan advertisement, but that was already in 1993. Looking back, the advert was quite corny, with the guy claiming Fann Wong was her classmate but instead Fann Wong said she was his teacher :D It did shoot Fann Wong to fame though.

7. SBC Magazines and RTV Times

There were not much choices in entertainment magazines in the eighties. At 50c, this would be enough to satisfy your need for gossip news. The English version cost 60c though, not sure why it was more expensive.

8. Match-Making Variety Shows

Who needs SDU (Social Development Unit) when you had match-making variety shows 天生一对龙凤配 and 金童玉女一线牵 in the eighties? Oh by the way, SDU was set up in 1984 to promote marriages among graduate singles, while SDS (Social Development Services) was formed a year later to promote marriages among non-graduate singles. Why did they have to emphasize the differences in education levels?

9. Veteran Comedians Wang Sha and Ye Feng

One was tall and skinny, the other was short and plump, veteran Teochew comedians Wang Sha (1924-1998) and Ye Feng (1932-1995) entertained us with numerous jokes on Channel 8 during the eighties. They were quite famous in Hong Kong and Taiwan too, having participated in several movies in the seventies.

10. No TV Transmission Screen

When you saw this screen, it’s either there was a lost transmission in the TV programs or it was time for you to sleep.

In the eighties, the main channels were not running on 24 hours. By the way, this screen came with an irritating monotone noise that was certain to force you to switch off the TV.

11. Ultraman Films

It was a popular Japanese production first made in 1966. The series were broadcast and repeated many times on our local channels in the eighties. Ultraman, nicknamed salted-egg in Chinese, always had unfinished business fighting against the rubbery monsters (with zippers on their backs) like Godzilla in an area full of miniature houses and buildings.

And not forgetting his stylo-milo cross-armed pose that would shoot out a powerful beam at those monsters.

Movies

12. Old Movie Tickets

In the eighties, the price of a movie was only $2.50 to $3, and that was inclusive of a 35% tax! Oh yes, in the cinema there was also an usher who would shine his torchlight to guide you to your seat.

13. Kacang Puteh

Before popcorn and hotdogs, there was kacang puteh for movie-goers in the eighties.Packed tightly in a cone, it came with a big variety of peas, peanuts or corns. Usually peddled by the Indians, there is probably less than a handful of them left in Singapore.

Food & Beverage

14. Ponggol End Seafood Restaurant

A favourite place for many, be it a birthday dinner or a celebration for striking 4D top prizes, in the eighties. Established since 1956, Choon Seng Seafood Restaurant was located at an ulu kopitiam near the Punggol end jetty, where a small bus terminal was situated. Famous for its mee goreng and chilli crabs, it has since moved to Changi.

15. Magnolia Pyramid-Shaped Fresh Milk

Magnolia launched its iconic pyramid-shaped Tetra Pak in the late fifties, which contained pasteurised and homogenised milk. The distinctive packaging was also applied to the soya milk in the early seventies. The brand enjoyed success throughout the eighties until the packaging was changed to the normal tower type in the early nineties.

16. Packet Milk For Students

In the late seventies to mid eighties, the government gave free packages of milk, in flavours of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, to primary school students. The nationwide campaign was to help in the physical development of those students who might be under nourished, with the aim of building a healthier nation.

17. Oldenlandia Water

A “cooling” drink from China since 1962. When young, I was “forced” to gulp down a bottle of Oldenlandia Water 白花蛇草水 whenever I was “heaty”. Still plenty of them available in the market today, sold in a different packaging.

18. Icee

American brand Icee was set up in Singapore in 1979, and was sold in many outlets at Oriental Emporium, old Cold Storage building, Thomson Yaohan and even the Science Centre. The brain-freezing icy drink with many flavours such as strawberry and grape was later licensed and marketed as Slurpee by 7-Eleven.

Personal

19. Singapore Restricted Passport

Navy blue passport for travel between Singapore and West Malaysia only. First issued in 1967 and stopped completely on the last day of 1999.

20. Old Singapore Identity Card

Big laminated paper Identity Card of the past, before the current credit card-sized plastic ones which are easier to fit into the wallets.

21. Library Passes

These library passes were used way before the electronic system came in place. Each person could apply up to four passes, which meant he or she could borrow a maximum of four books. When you wanted to borrow a book, you passed it to the librarian at the counter, and she’d retrieve the borrowing card attached with the book together with your pass.

School

22. PAP (People’s Action Party) Kindergarten

In the past, PAP = Kindergarten = two years before kids studied in primary schools. Nomiaomiao or doudou classes. Life was much simpler and less stressful for kids.

23. Primary School Scrapbook

It seems to be made of recycled papers, with brown covers and not-so-white pages. Usually there were two types: pages with straight blue lines for English lessons, and pages with square boxes for Chinese lessons (boxes for writing Chinese characters). By the way, that’s my primary school, which was defunct in the late nineties.

24. PEP Basic Reader

A reading material for all primary school students, produced by Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore (CDIS), in order to beef up the English standard of the children. There were many interesting short stories in these text books.

25. Science Club Badges

I’m surprised Young Scientist badges are still available for primary school students today, after more than two decades! Currently there are 16 badges for students to earn, if they complete the given assignments. During my times, I managed to earn only five badges: Zoologist, Ecologist, Botanist, Meteorologist and Ornithologist. A complete list can be found here.

Arts

26. Kalkitos

Kalkitos was extremely popular between 1976 to 1982. Children loved to customise their own worlds with these rub-on images of people, animals and objects onto the various types of backgrounds provided.

27. Plasticine

A necessary modeling clay commonly used in the Arts lessons. Came in different colours, they would leave a sticky, oily stain and smell on your fingers after usage. Plasticine was used in 1989 British short film A Grand Day Out, featuring Wallace and his dog Gormit.

Magazines

28. Educational Magazines

A series of magazines for students in the eighties, Student Times were published by the local Pan Asia Publishing Company.

Another magazine for the students in the eighties, the Singapore Scientist magazines were produced by Science Centre and talked about everything related to science. No wonder so many friends of mine during primary school times inspired to be scientists.

Zoo-Ed was a quarterly publication by the Singapore Zoological Gardens, sponsored by Shell, in the eighties.

Friendship

29. Friends’ Graduation Autograph Book

Towards the end of eighties, there was a sudden craze about writing autograph books, especially for those graduating from their schools. Short mushy poems were written such as “Roses are red, Violets are blue. I have a friend, the friend is you” and all those stuffs. Mushy it might be, it also represented the innocence of the students during that era.

Sports

30. Mini Tennis

Called Mini Tennis, it was a new sport introduced to primary school students in 1988. The players used a small racket with a soft ball instead of tennis ball, and the game was played on a badminton court. Mini tennis.. What a name! :D

31. Junie Sng Poh Leng

Junie Sng Poh Leng 孙宝玲 became instant Singapore hero when she won two gold and a silver medal in the 8th Asian Games (1978), at an age of only 14. In clinching the 400m and 800m race, Julie Sng not only beat the favourite Japanese swimmers, but also became the first and youngest Singaporean lady to win an Asian Games gold.

Swimming became a popular sport in Singapore after that, as many parents had their children signed up to learn swimming. :D Julie Sng would win another 10 gold medals at the 1983 Southeast Asian Games before her retirement.

Music

32. Sing Singapore Song Book

This song book was printed and distributed in 1988, and had many classic National Day songs, such as “Count On Me Singapore“, “Stand Up For Singapore“, “Five Stars Arising“, “Chan Mali Chan“, and their scores.

33. Harmonica

Just like the Yahama Soprano recorder, I never had much success with harmonica. Tucked away in the drawers after several unsuccessful attempts to make audible music out of it.

Everyday’s Life

34. Ma Biu Po

A heartlander living in a HDB flat during the eighties and nineties would know two identification codewords from two professions. One was the newspapers delivery man, who announced his arrival, armed with wanbao and xinming, by shouting “ma biu po (马镖报) loud and clear.

The other was the garang guni man, pressing his horn with a signature chant: “garung guni, buay bor zua gu sa kor, ley lio dian si kee (rag and bone, buy newspapers and old clothes, radios and televisions). The garang guni man is still making his rounds nowadays though.

35. Multi-Purpose Bamboo Stool

Commonly used as a sitting stool, it could also be used as a baby seat. Strong and durable, it came in different sizes too.

36. Darkie Toothpaste

Spot any differences between the toothpastes in the picture? Yep, the old name was Darkiewhile the new one is Darlie, and the face was changed from a black man to that of a white person. When Colgate bought over Hong Kong-based Darkie in 1985, they did the necessary changes which were deemed to be racist, but the toothpaste’s Chinese name remains as 黑人牙膏.

37. Old Logos

These are some of the most familiar logos and brands we see everyday in the eighties, versus present days. That former logo of PUB (Public Utilities Board) was one of the most recognisable logos in the eighties.

Culture

38. Centrepoint Kids

The mid-eighties saw the rise of the famous, or rather infamous, Centrepoint Kids hanging around Centrepoint after it was completed in 1983, replacing the old Cold Storage building. While many were just hanging around with hip outfits and loud hairstyles, some were engaged in illegal activities such as glue-sniffing, shoplifting and gang fights.

It raised the attention of the Singapore Police Force and many social workers and volunteers, who were keen to study and understand the rebellious behaviours of these kids, most of them not more than 20 years of age and numbered at 2000 strong. Other groups also included the McDonald’s Kids, Far East Plaza Kids and Marina Square kids.

How time flies.. The Centrepoint Kids of yesteryear would be uncles and aunties now. :D

Animal

39. Ah Meng

All children loved Ah Meng. She was the icon of Singapore Zoo and arguably the most famous animal in Singapore.  Although she was recused from illegal smuggling, Ah Meng, a Sumatran orangutan, was relatively approachable by humans. A popular “Breakfast with Ah Meng” event was organised by the zoo in the eighties.
Ah Meng retired from the spotlights in the nineties and passed away in 2008 at an estimated age of 48.

Shopping

40. SOGO

Established in 1830, this 170-year-old department store and supermarket, located at Raffles City, was forced to close in 2000 due to the bankruptcy of its parent company in Japan. SOGO has operated in Singapore since 1986.

Collectibles

41. Die-Cast Model Cars

Die-cast cars were favourites for many children last time, with the ones made in Japan being the best in quality. Some were also given free by Nespray or other dairy products.

42. Know Your School Sticker Book

A sticker book from a local publisher. You need to collect all primary and secondary school logo stickers to complete the book, and I never did so. A brief summary of each school was provided beside its logo.

43. Idol Cards

With the rise of Hong Kong and Taiwan pop idols from the late eighties to mid-nineties, their merchandise were also selling like hot cakes. Idol cards were one of them. If I’m not wrong, the idol card of Vivian Chow, every boy’s dream lover, was the hottest of all. :D

44. McDonald’s Figurines

One reason why McDonald’s has been so popular and successful is their marketing… And giving of collectibles per value meal is one good strategy. From the eighties to nineties, McDonald’s collectibles included figurines of Smurfs, Garfield, Pooh and friends, Snoopy and animals in the Chinese horoscope for Chinese New Years.

Mascots

45. Singapore Mascots

The respective government ministries and departments came up with these adorable mascots to promote the virtues of courtesy, productivity, sharing, caring and many more. Singa the Lion (1982), Teamy the Bee (1982) and Sharity the Elephant (1984) were some of these great works.

46. Fido Dido (1988)

Fido Dido was created in 1985 but did not appear in public until 1988 when the image was sold to PepsiCo. It became a popular mascot for 7Up soft drink in the early nineties.

Cartoons & Animation

47. G.I. Joe (1985)

Not surprisingly, this cartoon was about a capable American special force, out to defend humankind against evil terrorists, in full actions of muscle, weapons and courage. It did attract many boys to watch the cartoon series.

48. She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985)

While He-Man was for the boys, She-Ra was for the girls, although the skimpily dressed heroine was not that popular and successful as compared to her male counterpart.

Girls do not like blood and violence after all, and that’s a good thing.

49. Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983 – 1990)

This American cartoon was first created in 1958, but it was until the eighties that the series gained considerably success. It was three chipmunks named Alvin, Simon and Theodore, who loved to talk and sing in high-pitched voices.

50. Strawberry Shortcake (1980)

Cartoon and toys of Strawberry Shortcake were launched in 1980, and had been constantly popular among the girls. Many of the characters were all named after confectionery, other than Strawberry Shortcake, there were Huckleberry Pie, Blueberry Muffin and Raspberry Tart.

51. The Flintstones

Describing the life of a Stone Age caveman and his friends, this is an American cartoon series that has been popular since it was created in 1960. SBC used to telecast this cartoon during the eighties, and as a child, I always wondered why the Flintstones were running instead while driving their car.

52. Dick Dastardly and Muttley

Accident-prone bad guy Dick Dastardly and his sidekick dog Muttley were created in 1968. For those who remember this cartoon, you would either be amused or irritated by Muttley’s “wheezy snicker”, its trademark laughing at its master.

53. Spiderman And His Amazing Friends (1983)

Peter Parker had more help from Fire-Star and Iceman in the beginning of this short-lived cartoon series. Spiderman became a lonely hero just a year later, and never looked back.

54. Button Moon

Button Moon was a British children program in the eighties. The characters and everything in the program were made of things you’d find at home, such as button, broom, ladle, etc. Even the main characters were called Mr and Mrs Spoon.

A total of 91 episodes from 1980 to 1988, each episode only lasted 10 minutes, featuring Mr Spoon’s adventure to the Button Moon in his homemade rocket.

Comics

55. Dragon Ball (1984)

One of the most successful Japanese manga, Dragon Ball made its debut in 1984. Introduced to Taiwan and Southeast Asia in late eighties, its story took 42 volumes and ten years to be completed. I’m not really a big fan but many of my friends were loyal Dragon Ball readers.

56. Where’s Wally? (1987)

A real innovative puzzle book from the United Kingdom, Where’s Wally was released in 1987. Kids would spend hours trying to locate Wally in the pictures filled with red and white stripes. In the United States and Canado, the book series were called Where’s Waldo?

57. Asterix

A French comic released as early as 1959, the story was set in Roman Empire era, where a group of Gauls, in a comical way, resisted their enemies. One of the rare English comics, along with Tin Tin, available in Singapore in the eighties.

58. Slam Dunk (1990)

Just short of the eighties, Japanese manga Slam Dunk actually made its debut in 1990. Its Chinese version caused a stir from Taiwan to Southeast Asia, including Singapore, partially helped by the rising popularity of NBA during that time. Many students could be spotted reading this comic on buses. :D

59. Mr Kiasu (1990)

A creation by our local cartoonist Johnny Lau in 1990, the content was mostly in Singlish, which struck a chord with Singaporeans. The comic series would last a total of nine years.

Fun & Toys

60. Balloon Glue

It looked and smelled like superglue, you just need to squeeze a little of it onto the tip of short straw provided, and then blow it to become a big gluey balloon.

61. Mr Potato Head

I had a Mr Potato Head when young, and I actually felt it was quite a creepy toy, because you could detach the eyes, ears, nose and mouth, which might be the reason why I did not keep it to this day. The toy was invented in 1949 and sold to American giant toy-maker Hasbro, who initially used a real potato with separate plastic parts. At least the new version in Toy Story 3 looks more adorable.

62. Macross Robot

They called it Macross VF-1S Valkyrie or JetFire in Transformers. Whatever the name, this is really a cool toy in the eighties. It can transform in three stages: a fighter plane, a robot and a part-plane-part-robot.

63. Hungry Hungry Hippos

A noisy four-player tabletop game first released in 1978. The players compete against each other to see whose hippo eats up the most white balls. I think after two or three rounds, most would have gotten tired of the game.

Games

64. Zero-Point

A favourite game especially for the girls during recesses between classes. Made of many rubberbands interlocked together to form a long rubber “rope”, the game needed more than three players; two holding the ends and one attempted to jump over it, starting from knee levels, then waist, shoulder and finally head levels.

65. Pick-Up Sticks

Throw the plastic colourful sticks onto the table at random, and each player has to remove one stick at a time, not allowing to move or touch other sticks. Quite a boring game, ideal to play on a rainy day.

66. Styrofoam Airplane

A better version of a paper aeroplane, it could take a longer flight and had different designs printed on it.

67. Hantam Bola

As the name suggests, the game was using a ball to strike other people, usually a tennis ball. The victim, if fast enough, could pick up the loose ball and had his revenge to strike his “attacker”. A painful game for some, while others were able to train up their stamina and sprinting.

68. Tikam-Tikam

You spent 10c or 20c to play the tikam-tikam at the pasar malams, provision shops or the mama shops, hoping to strike the “big prize”. Very often, you just managed to get back some insignificant masak or candies, or lucky if there was cash rebate. Hugely popular from the sixties to mid-eighties.

69. Duncan Butterfly Yoyo

The butterfly-shaped (width) yoyo was invented by Duncan in the fifties, first made of wood, and then changed to plastic in later times. Yoyo did not really become a craze in Singapore, even though it was not unusual to see someone trying out difficult tricks in the public in the late eighties.

70. MasterMind Board Game

MasterMind is a two-player code-breaking board game invented by an Israeli Mordecai Meirowitz in 1970. It was quite popular in Singapore in the eighties and nineties, but like most board games, it has lost its charm to technology. A great brain-training game though.

71. String Game

Somehow this game was very popular, especially among the students, in the eighties. It was usually played by two person, each trying to solve and come up with new patterns. Some of the different patterns of the string using both hands were Cat’s Cradle, Mangle and Diamonds.

72. Road Safety Park at East Coast

Shell-sponsored road safety and traffic games had been organised since 1958. The park was initially located at Kallang, and had moved to East Coast in 1981. Students were encouraged to try out the games in order to raise their awareness on road safety.

At the park, they could play three roles: motorists (using peddled karts), motorcyclists (using bicycles) and pedestrians. I remember few would want to be pedestrians. :D The park is still operating today.

Video Games

73. Pac-Man and the 20c Arcade Games

Parklane, Hougang, Ang Mo Kio… Arcade saloons opened one after another in the heartlands of the neighbourhoods, and they began with an affordable price of 20c per game.

From the classic arcade games of alien-shooting, spaceships, Pac-Man of the eighties to the popular Daytona, Virtua Striker and King of Fighters in the mid-nineties, arcade games were profit-making businesses. They were also once commonly found at clubs, canteens and army camps. Not anymore now.

74. Konami’s Contra (1987) and Super Contra (1988)

A popular arcade and Nintendo game for one or two players. The player controlled a commando in a run and gun tactic, shooting at the enemies popping up from everywhere. A little trivia here: the two commandos in the game were modeled after actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

75. Nintento Game Boy Tetris

The game of Tetris was actually invented by a Soviet Union computer engineer in 1984, but it was Nintento Game Boy in 1989 that promoted the game to extreme popularity. Brick Game released their own version in the early nineties.
Towards the late nineties, simple mono-colour handheld games went into steep decline, with digital pet Tamagotchi (1996) perhaps the last of them to have recorded outstanding sales.

Technology

76. Pentium 486 and Window 2.0

A Pentium 386 (1985) or 486 (1989) (the actual names were Intel 80386 and 80486) were considered one of the most advanced CPUs (Central Processing Units) in the mid-to-late eighties.

Mine lasted until early nineties, it was still good enough to play games like CM (Championship Manager) Italia (1993). Technology certainly progressed fast, and it was not until the late nineties when I got my first 56kb dial-up modem. The unmistakable noisy dialing sound still lingers in my mind.

77. Dai Gor Dai

First launched in the market in 1984, the brick-like handphone was a bragging right, although later it would be demoted to something that was being heavily ridiculed, especially during a crab feast. :D Its image was perfect for a big boss or a triad leader.

78. Cassette Tape Recorder

There was a time when it deemed to be cool and stylish to carry a big old cassette tape player, powered by a series of large batteries, on your shoulders, walking around or lingering in the void decks blasting loud Western music. Not me, I never did that.

The even funnier ones put the player, a smaller one, in their bags and cut two holes for the speakers.

79. Old Electric Clock

Trusty old clock of the Diamond brand that ran on electricity. Accuracy of the time was almost guaranteed. The plain silver face with large black numbers made sure you noticed the time and would not be late for schools.

80. Polaroid Instant Camera

Made in 1983, it produced each self-developing film in less than a minute. With digital photography ruling the world now, Fujifilm is the only company left that still produces instant cameras.

Finance

81. Old POSB Bank Account Book and POSB Piggy Bank

 

Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), dubbed as the people’s bank, was restructured in 1974 by the Ministry of Finance to become a main deposit bank for Singaporeans. Children of the eighties were strongly encouraged to open an account with them. Notice the wordings (Guaranteed by Government) at the bottom of the booklet?

The idea of using piggy banks for saving purposes was actually came up by the prestigious Aw family’s Chung Khiaw Bank in the fifties (Aw family was the owner of Haw Par Villa). This POSB saving piggy bank was given away in the eighties to children who opened their account with the bank.

82. OUB Bank

In the eighties, there were certainly more saving and investment options in the number of banks for Singaporeans. OUB (Overseas Union Bank Limited), Tat Lee Bank, Keppel Bank, Chung Khiaw Bank were some of those that did not exist anymore today as they were being merged or took over by OUB (United Overseas Bank Limited) and OCBC (Oversea-Chinese Bank Corporation Limited).

Transport

83. Orange-Top Bus Stops

They were once abundant in Singapore. A dozen still can be found today among the 5200 bus stops in Singapore, but most have been upgraded since the 2000s.

84. Student Concession Cards

An annual pass made available for all students from the late seventies to mid-nineties, so they could get discounted fares when taking the public buses. Monthly bus stamps were also sold to those who needed regular bus trips.

85. Old Bus Tickets

The old bus ticket system was operated from the seventies to eighties, where a bus conductor would board the bus, collect your fare, punch a hole and pass you the ticket. This system would be replaced by the coin payment system, and later the electronic fare card system in the early nineties.

When the red Transitlink machines were implemented on buses, commuters were issued a small rectangular ticket after they pressed their fare values on the machines. One common practise was to press the cheapest fare, and alight whenever you saw the bus inspector boarded the bus. It was reported that this loophole cost SBS millions of dollars in losses per year. :D

86. SMRT and Transitlink cards

Public transport commuters used these thin magnetic cards to access MRT and buses from the late eighties to 2002, until the implementation of the EZ-link.

87. Non-Airconditioned Double Decker Bus

The first double decker fleet was Bus 86 kicking off at Tampines. In the initial weeks, Singaporeans were not willing to take the double decker buses as they were afraid the buses would topple. Later in the eighties, SBS introduced the Leyland Atlantean AN68 and the Mercedes-Benz O.305 models. The last of these non-airconditioned rectangularish double decker buses will cease operation in 2012.
My favourite seat used to be the front seat of the upper level.

88. City Shuttle Service

Started in 1975, City Shuttle Service (CSS) used to operate within the Central Business District (CBD). Receiving poor responses from the public, the service began to switch to regular trips from the new towns to CBD. By 1990, due to low ridership, the bus fleet was downsized and the service was finally terminated in 2007.

89. Area Licensing Scheme (ALS) & Restricted Zone (RZ)

A scheme to control traffic before the implementation of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). It was introduced in 1975, and was mainly applied to the CBD. At the 6-km-sq of CBD, as many as 34 blue overhead gantries were set up. The scheme was replaced by ERP in 1998.

90. Concorde Plane

Famous for its pointed front, sleek body and supersonic speeds, the Concorde was a joint venture between Singapore International Airlines (SIA) and British Airways (BA). The logos of both SIA and BA was painted on the tail, SIA on the left while BA on the right, and the plane started making flight services from Singapore’s Paya Lebar to Bahrain in 1977. However, this would last only three years to 1980 when all the Concorde flights were stopped due to low traffic and high cost.

Campaigns

91. Breast Milk Is Good For Your Baby (1980, 1985)

In 1980, Ministry of Health launched this campaign with the slogan “Breast Milk – Nature’s Balanced Food for your Baby” in order to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies. It was sponsored by Nestle. The second poster “Breast Milk is the Best Milk” was released in 1985.

92. Say No To Cigarettes (1983)

Another campaign by Ministry of Health, this poster was released in 1983 to discourage smoking. The slogan was “Never Say Yes To A Cigarette”, and it used the image of the popular Superman battling against an evil Nick O’Teen (derived from Nicotine). Creative indeed!

93. Say “Please” and “Thank You” (1985)

Smile, say please and thank you, a little thought means so much. These two excellent posters created by the Ministry of Communication and Information in 1985 aimed to build a polite and caring Singapore society.

Landmarks

94. Big Splash at Katong

Built in 1976, Singapore’s first water themed park with its rainbow coloured slides was the much-loved water park in the eighties. The slides were gone, and its name was renamed as Playground @Big Splash when it was re-opened in 2008.

95. National Library

It was once the favourite hangout for students, especially the eighties and nineties. The red building held many memories for those who would scramble to do their revisions before the exams. Despite repeated appeals, the nostalgic National Library was torn down in 2004 to give way to the construction of Fort Canning Tunnel.

96. Expo Gateway at World Trade Centre

World Trade Centre of Singapore was opened in 1977 and used to have large exhibition halls known as the Expo Gateway. The shopping mall was renamed as Harbourfront Centre in 2003 while the halls were demolished, allowing VivoCity to replace them. Meanwhile the exhibition facilities were shifted to Singapore Expo and Suntec.

97. National Theatre

An iconic building with a five diamond-facade and a crescent-shaped fountain that represented the national flag. It was demolished in 1986 after 24 years of concerts, plays and performances.

98. Van Kleef Aquarium

Singapore’s main aquarium featuring many marine creatures before the opening of Sentosa’s Underwater World. The decline of visitorship in the eighties sealed its fate, as it shut down in 1991 due to operational cost.

99. Big Fountains at Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh Centrals

When young, I was always fascinated by the big fountains located at the centrals of Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh. The Ang Mo Kio one was just beside the popular Oriental Emporium, while the Toa Payoh one was in front of the library, built in 1973. I could not remember when was the time the fountains stop functioning, its water dried up and suddenly one day they were not around anymore.

Army Stuffs

100. RPL to Tekong

For recruits who trained in Pulau Tekong in the past, booking-in was perhaps the most demoralising moment. And it was not helped by the slow RPL (Ramp Powered Launch) where thousands of soldiers board at the Commando Jetty. The trip to the island would take a long boring 30 minutes. Luckily this outdated mode of transport had ceased operation years ago.

Back to 100 Things We Love About The 80s (Part 1)

Published: 06 November 2011

Updated: 04 September 2013

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