Sunday, 17 May 2015

Enjoy Your Life with C3A

Council of the Third Age (C3A).hosts the events for three days at the Singapore Expo and Suntec Expo every year for ageing people above 50 year of age around the world even locals, expats, and visitors. It provides free admission for all and those who registered would get a free 'goodies bags' upon registration and they also get a chance to win 'lucky draw' after the end of the event.
50Plus Expo 2015@ Suntec
This year Council of the Third Age (C3A) hosted 50Plus Suntec Expo (Jubilee Edition) this month on the 15th to 17th of May 2015 (3 days event) for SG50. I did my registration earlier in April 2015 and need not to re-registered for the month of May because it postponed due to the passing of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's state funeral from 23rd to 28th April 2015. I had been to C3A events yearly and my nostalgic friends are the selection of the participants of the 'Forum Talks' and others like Dick Yip who hosts for his 'Ukulele' sings along and teach visitors how to play and encourage them to join their singing sessions. It's never too old to learn things while you can as long as your heart is still young.
Enjoy section@50Plus Expo 2015
My hubby and I were specially invited by James Seah even though I missed the chance to register as it is FULLY BOOKED!! Yet I thanked James for allowing me and my hubby to access to shoot videoing for him as he wanted me to help him. This is not the 1st time I helped him though, I giggled.
Before we reached to the Suntec Expo for C3A forum talks, we went for our lunch at the 'Kopitiam' at the basement of Suntec Convention at 1 plus in the afternoon as James Seah's forum talks starts at 3pm but we have to meet him at 2.30pm earlier to prepare my gadgets.
James Seah's forum talks is about 'Reviving Memories of Singapore through Blogging' to encourage people from older generations to blog and share their old memories of the good old days to their children and grandchildren. It's never too late to learn things as long as they are still alive and healthy.
Dick Yip, Me and his Friends of Yesteryears
The Ukulele Team
We went up to the 4th level to look for my Foyers where he and his team played solo songs using his Ukulele to strumming away. To attract more people to come forward to listen his songs and learn to sing with him. I thought I was one of them and listening to one of his favourite songs, I giggled.
Learning Calligraphy
Many old folks and even older generations came despite of their busy schedules with their families for as long as their children would bring their aged parents/grandparents along to attend the event once every year. There are lots of games, free courses to choose from, learn calligraphy, Clay Art, foodfare counter to try to taste the 'free' dishes e.g. kueh and fried rice specially cooked by well known chef.
Foodfare counter
At foodfare counter, you can try the food samples.
Mini Clay Cupcakes
Mini Clay Fortune God
The free courses for seniors are part of the SG 50 Seniors package, a package presented by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing.
Ryan Sim and James Seah
Upon checking the time, oh my gosh, it's getting late. As we had to meet James Seah and Ryan Sim (Staff C3A) at 2.30pm at level 3 before the start of the talks so that I can set up my 'video' camera with a tripod for recording of his talks on stage.
Set up for videoing 
After setting up, I have to sit on the chair, just in front of my 'video' camera facing the stage. My 'video' camera started on recording for about 45 mins. Actually each forum speaker is given an hour talk on his/her topic.
James Seah at Forum Talk
Gain insights and knowledge on topics most relevant for active agers with a series of educational and informative forum talks. Admission is free but registration is required at Forum Registration Counter (next to Meeting Room 323, Level 3). For the First 100 persons attending (each session) will receive a goodie bag at the end of the talk!
Forum Talks on One of the topics
My nostalgic friend, Mr James Seah invited me and my hubby for his talks and reserved seats for us. And I helped him to record a video for his talks using my Sony camera at 3.00pm talks. You may wish to listen to his talks if you have missed it. Click to "Forum Talks".
Reviving Memories of Singapore through Blogging
Mr James Seah
Blogger in pursuit of active ageing
Mr James Seah will share ideas on how to start a nostalgia blog – by tapping on online resources to post old photos as 'memory aids' and share collective memories.
Chen ShuCheng and the host
After the end of the talk, we got the free "goodies" and went up the 4th level to look around again and spotted the local MediaCorp Artiste - Chen ShuCheng" on the stage and the host.
Sing along "Singapore Cheer" with Shu Sheng
Minuties later, a local MediaCorp artiste "Chen ShuCheng" joined them sang a song along with senior citizens, visitors, young or old alike. The song as below:
Singapore Cheer
(clap-clap) (clap-clap-clap)
(clap-clap-clap-clap) (clap-clap)
(clap-clap) (clap-clap-clap)
(clap-clap-clap-clap) (clap-clap)
Say it loud, make it clear
Shout the Singapura cheer!
Go Singapore!
S (clap) I-N (clap) G-A-P-O-R-E! (clap-clap-clap)
S (clap) I-N (clap) G-A-P-O-R-E! (clap-clap-clap)
We are Singapore! Yeah!

There were other local celebrities like Mark Lee and Suhaimi Yusof (17 May - 3pm).
So get up close and personal with local celebrities and join them in the Singapore Cheer!
Chen ShuCheng and Me
Luckily, Chen ShuCheng and I posed for the photo on stage! 50plus EXPO 2015 was celebrating Singapore's golden jubilee!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Gillman Barracks' Vision

Gillman Barracks in 1957
(Photo Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore)
A vision of its own, a large greenery space along Alexandra Road, a small road named Lock Road where there were once British military camp that housed the British army - Gillman Barracks. Gillman Barracks was named after General Sir Webb Gillman, a well-known officer of the British army. In 1927, Gillman spent over 3 months in Singapore, leading a team of three artillery and engineering officers in a commission sent by the War Office, he was to prepare a report on the defence requirements of the new naval base in Singapore. He died in year 1933 in London.
Gillman Barracks
Gillman Barracks built in 1936, a site that was once a jungle and swampy area. It built including barrack buildings, married quarters, messes, regimental institutes and sports facilities. The camp later became home to the 2nd Battalion, the Loyal Regiment after the 1st Battalion. The site was once a fierce battle between the regiment and the Japanese invaders during the three days before Singapore fell in February 1942. It was one of the last British posts in Singapore to fall to the Japanese.
Bailey Bridge or Bridging Gap
The ravine along Alexandra Road, was where SAF combat officers practised constructing and demolishing a Bailey bridge - a portable wood and steel bridge that, when set up, could even carry tanks. The 'disused' Bailey aka Gap bridge that I used to walk across sometimes to the Gillman Village Food Centre years ago and it has now barricaded for safety I believed. The bridge which has been covered by tree and its branches in the centre of the bridge that prevent visitors or public to walk across.
Below is the news about Bailey Bridge and his combat training, the reporter interviewed one of my nostalgic friends, Mr Lam Chun See. He sent private message (PM) to me and others about the news  and immediately I bought the newspaper. Thanks to him.
Chun See's name on Straits Times (Home Section)
One of my nostalgic friends, Mr Lam Chun See who appeared under Home Section, Straits Times dated Friday 15th May 2015, he recalls his army daze in 1977, for a four-month combat engineer training course during his national service. He (Chun See) said "The spot, referred to by trainees as "The Gap", brought back bittersweet memories. "The bridge we had to construct was designed for larger British soldiers to carry, so it was very challenging for us, with our smaller Asian builds," he added.
SAF - the School of Combat Engineers and the SAF 3rd Transport Battalion, moved into the camp and held a passing-out parade there two months later. After the SAF vacated the camp in the 1990s, the buildings were used for commercial purposes, with the change of name to Gillman Village in 1996.
Gillman Baracks in 1957
(Photo Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore)
The SAF Combat Engineers army vacated the camp from 1971 to 1984, was bought from the British after the war for just $1. In 2010 after renamed the original Gillman Barracks, the area developed into a cluster of restaurants, bars and furniture shops frequented by office workers and expatriate families from nearby areas.
Gillman Barrack Blk 9 in 2015
These tenants moved out in early 2011 to make way for the government’s remaking of what is known as Gillman Village into an arts centre.
Art After Dark
Art After Dark is an event that takes place once every two months. It was launched in January and has drawn more people, not just art buffs. Galleries launch new shows at the event and extend their opening hours. Special programmes are put together and pop-up eateries provide food for visitors. Art After Dark is a Gillman Barracks open house held in conjunction with the launch of the Singapore Open Media Art Festival (SOMAF), which celebrates 40 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Korea on 29th May 2015 from 7pm to 11pm. The 3-day night festival presents over 40 videos and media installations by Korean, Singaporean and European Artists on screens dotted all over Gillman Barracks. 
Actually I love the arts and crafts when I was in my secondary school days in 1970s and my class was 'Art' and 'Social Biology' class after completed 'Technical' class in Sec 1 & 2. I used to draw and paint the objects that placed on the table to determine what colour and tone, just feel the imagination of the living objects to look original and alive. Well, it's been 35 years since I drew and painted the objects in school and I still remember the stroke of paint and drawing.
I missed the guided tours on several occasions due to my busy schedule and overseas trips. When I browsed the site and found that there was guided tours at Gillman Barracks on 'Art & History' and I was thrilled and booked it. My hubby and I joined the tour and he was eager to see the old Gillman Barracks which he heard and knew about this long time ago and he told me that the place was once British military camps back then.
Blk 9 Lock Road, Gillman Barracks
So we went there earlier to look around before the start of the tour, actually the place is accessible for visitors. We are supposed to meet the guide at Blk 9 Lock Road at the entrance where the staircase leading up to the 'Artwork' displays. It is now home to 15 international galleries that are housed in conserved colonial barracks.
There are two types of tours - The Art & History Tour is for all art enthusiasts looking for a unique encounter with art and a dose of the Barracks' history. For history buffs like me, a dedicated History & Heritage Tour focuses on the Barracks' evolution from a British military barracks in the 1936 to today's contemporary art enclave of Singapore. The Art & History Tour runs weekly while the History & Heritage Tour was launched on Saturday 2nd May 2015, in conjunction with Singapore HeritageFest 2015 and now it runs monthly.
Trained Guide from Friends of the Museum (FOM)
There will be a short briefing introduction and short talks about history of the buildings where the site of the jungle and swampy area located. The guide gave a brief talks the former sites of the buildings that was once British military camps and now turned into Art Centres and major renovations due to poor neglect after the WWII.
Jiang PengYi: Intimacy at Blk 9
I enjoyed the walks from one gallery to one another to look at the artworks displays at each block on such a hot and humid weather but worth it. To be closer to art and colonial architecture is a challenging for us, is that appreciating contemporary art may not come easy for everyone to gain entry of one of the block where the artwork displays. Every block of artwork displays is an air-conditioned mall where visitors retreat from heat weather for a while.
Jiang PengYi(b. 1977) works and lives in Bejing and Hangzhou and his artworks are great. In the centre of picture - 'Intimacy' is a story, an allegory on Light. For more information, you may find here
'Like Leaves' from Syzygium Grandis
In the exhibition, there are 'leaves' on displays that came from each of the book that dried up. The leaves are shown cut into squares and pinned (shown above picture) and all the leaves are come from the same species of tree ' Syzygium Grandis' which commonly knowns as Sea Apple or Jambu Laut that can be found throughout coastal areas in various parts of South-east Asia. This is to show that it is important of consequences for our understanding how ecosystems work.
I remembered in my school days, I plucked each of the 'fresh' leaf from different trees and tree branches, put it inside the Textbook for a few days and it will dry up and turned 'dark and light' brownish in colour for my science laboratory in school. I recalled that the leaves would break easily if you are not taken care of. Leaves would shrink when they dry out, I recalled. I brought my textbook to school with lots of dried leaves, carefully not to drop off from the book, I said in gleefully. I believe even if the leaves dried up but the leaf veins will not die and it still can grow into another fresh leaf despite of the weather where I saw nearby my place. There was a fire at the forest close to the former Japanese Garden (Ridout Tea Garden) a few years ago and the forests sprang up from dead leaves/grass on the ground into beautiful leaves with branches on the ground again.
Rattan & Teakwood Chair
As I walked passed after took a shot of 'like leaves', on the left side of the hall, there is a chair made of 'rattan & teakwood' I found and am surprised to see another one at Gillman Barracks, almost identical one from my blog, at the old City Hall and Supreme Court, I went on 2nd May 2015. But it is of different model of the chair.
Straits of Malacca
One of the artwork shown on the wall - Getatin Silver photograph was taken by a small fishing boat on a Straits of Malacca. This is one of the artwork that inspired me to look into the deep sea with deep thought while looking at it and felt silly when looking this dark cloud as if it's going to rain. But I love it.
Old Waterhose
Not to include more of the gallery paintings, I merely walked while they talked about the arts and history. At the corner of my eye, I saw a rusty water-hose out of nowhere, I would point out that a 'tall' rusty waterhose would be of half a century old, looked neglect over time. I would presume that this waterhose was there when the British built buildings along the sites.
Bodhi Tree (Buddha tree)
Opposite of the old 'rusty' waterhose, there stands a 'Bodhi' tree at the edge of the grass beside road-path and it must be around many years or decades ago which I believe it is around at that time when the British military barracks was built.
NTU Centre for Comtemporary Art Singapore
After went through series of art galleries, we finally landed at one of the Art Galleries - NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore locates at Block 43 Malan road, the door to the entrance shown 'Hugging The Shore' by Simryn Gill, was born in Singapore and lives in Port Dickson, Malaysia and Sydney, Australia.
Simryn Gill - Hugging The Shore
Inside the gallery, there are lots of photographs of the ancient buildings and even abandoned buildings on the wall. Simryn Gill presents her first major solo exhibition in Southeast Asia, featuring three photographic series: Standing Still, Dalam and May 2006, and introducing a new work, Like Leaves (picture no.12).
Graffiti - Upside Down Spiderman
In between the tour, I took a snapshot of one of the graffiti on the wall of one of the blocks - Upside Down written words sprayed on the wall added with a 'cute' cartoon - A Spiderman sprayed with a short sentence "Art Is Not Always High". I find it amusing. I wonder who could have this creative art to come up with a funny and yet cute. Is this an art or graffiti? You decide.
Graffiti - I'm Following You
Another graffiti is more cuter one...It says "I'm Following U" by cartoon using slingshot to shoot a mocking bird. I said with a laugh.
Wooden Signage
One wooden signboard is placed in the middle of the road with a road name "Lock Road" that looks countryside, a type of wood with a paint. Well, it looks fine to me as if the time turns back the clock. Worth a visit to Gillman Barracks.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Vanishing Trade - Hairdressing Salon in 1950s

Decades ago, there was once a hairdressing salon back in 1950s where my mum used to work with before she set up of her own salon later that year after she was married. Even though she is skilled in hairdressing, makeup artist and making clothes (garments) too. She loves hairdressing more than other things as she has worked through her glorious years since 1950s till now. Before in 1950, Singapore didn't even have postal districts till 1970s.
My Mum (right) at 'Kampong' Lorong Tai Seng 1950s
When she was a teenage around 18 or 19, started work at hairdressing salon soon after she completed her course of hairdressing in early years. She worked at Lorong Tai Seng where there was lots of kampongs/huts built by wooden and straw over the rooftop around at that time and her "working" salon was nearby. I believe what she mentioned the place was Kampong Yew Keng which was near Lorong Tai Seng. Sadly the road to the huts were no longer exists today.
My Mum's Salon in 1950s
You must be wondering what was the hairdressing salon shop looked like back in old good days! I remember there is one old hairdressing salon near my mum's place at Commonwealth Drive which she mentioned that it is also the same old salon that she worked as the door indicated in Chinese character '電髮' or 'Din Faat' that used in Cantonese, not Mandarin/Standard written Chinese and of course she can speak Cantonese too! But now, the door of the shop at Commonwealth Drive is no longer the same as my mum's salon.
My mum's Hairdressing Salon in 1950s
Ever wonder what was it like back then 1950s? This is the photo of my mum stood at the door entrance of the hairdressing salon in 1950s. The salon shop was a 2-storey shophouse. And I believe that the salon was occupied with other shop next door that was once a dentist shop - 'Mah Tai Dentist' which is no longer exists.
Inside of the Salon shop
Peek into the salon of the old, messy surrounding of the salon products and tools that hairdressers were used in good old days. On the left side of the photo, was the staircase leading up to the open space for the patrons to wait for their turns. Even the shop has it a 'Earth' god (below foreground) on the floor to pray for prosperity and their safety of the shop in running smoothly.
Upstairs of the Salon Shop
The 'Upstairs" Salon shop was where many customers sat on the 'old' metal chairs (photo behind where my mum stood) reading some magazines before their turns, those chairs were used by the salons in early years. She and her colleagues would shout to the customers for their turns.
Barber's Tools
I recalled that was in 1980s, there was a barber (mind you - it was not a barber shop) that was operated at HDB nearby. In those years, my mum knew the owner of the barber who was also a Chinese that lived since 1960s. My younger brother was there for his haircut when he was a kid back then. The owner of unit had this business for decades when they first moved in early 1960s. They used the one of rooms for haircuts as long as I could remember because I was there with my younger brother!
I would sit on the stool outside of their living hall. Their 'old timer' customers were mainly from neighbourhood blocks who came for a haircut. In early years, the cost of the haircut was about 50 cents to three dollar and now it will cost about ten to twelve dollar per cut without washing hair.
Old Hairdressing Towels (Suave)
These iconic white cotton towels with 'Good Morning' printed in red at the edge were often seen draped over the shoulders of hairstylists. My mum and I have been using this towel for decades till now. Now this towel with logo 'Suave' (USA) with Chinese words together with 'Good Morning' is no longer exists as told by my mum. You still can find those white towels with red wordings 'Good Morning' from the old shops within Singapore. There’s one thing that would symbolise Singaporean hard work, it’ll be the Good Morning Towel - the ubiquitous accessory of our forefathers.
Many customers, young or old alike came for a haircut or perm hair, Their busier days were on Chinese New Year eve and many 'regular' customers (young or old) came and the business was good.
Hairdressing Magazine in 1973
Have you wonder what the Hairdressing book looked like on those years in 1970s which I believe not many salons have these books and especially one of the books was from Malaysia where she bought it in 1973 before she set up her own salon in 1970s in Singapore. My mum had on her own skills in 'Make-up' & 'Braiding' for the Chinese ladies of all occasions or even Wedding/Reception occasions for the Brides. My mum also knows how to make 'Beehive' hairstyles that was in 1950s till early 1980s for the ladies with slim slender that looked best in their styles.
The Hair Fashion Magazine for Perm Hair (1976)
This magazine "The Hair Fashion Magazine" for PERM HAIR for Chinese ladies, young or old alike. It was printed in 1976. My hair is usually cut according to the books I choose and sometimes I will tell my mum what styles would I like. I have lots of photos of myself with different hairstyles in early 1980s till now. In this book, there are lots of "Perm Hair" styles - Changable Straight Plank, Boomerang Perm, Phonix Perm and so on. Both the Magazines were the sources for the hairstylists to learn from stretch based on the books and also the customers can choose the hairstyles of their choice.
My Mum's own salon in 1970s
In early 1960s, the hairdressing salon where my mum worked, had stopped working soon after she got married. Eventually, later in 1970s, she set up of own hairdressing salon together with a partner, her sister-in-law from one of her younger brothers. Their new salon was located at Rochor Centre that was built in 1977 where there was NTUC supermarket and the salon was just above it. She couldn't remember her salon name when I told her about it and I believe that this was done by her sister-in-law (my aunt) who was also beautician back then. She has a friend who owns beautician shop in Bukit Batok area. That was where I had a facial wash before I were getting married. My mum was also skilled beautician/Makeup artist who can 'touch-up' or 'makeup' of other people's face since young. When I was young, I saw her 'make-up' of her own face! Even now, she is still does  her makeup before she goes out despite of her old age, she is still young at heart.
Later in a few years, her salon at Rochor Centre was closed because her sister-in-law stopped continuing at salon as she has other business of her own which I presume. My mum has no choice but to close down. And all the salon products and furnitures brought back to her home, to start of her own later the same year 1970s.
The fact is that Rochor Centre will soon be demolished in year 2016 after they moved out to a new location. Sadly, such historical places are only the memories that linger in their minds from the older generations who lived through the years.
Old Salon's Chair
Barber's Chair (push up wheel)
Little did she bring back the salon's furniture including rubber string metal leg chair with handrail of old which dates back in early 1960s that used for the salons before invented new salon chair with push-up (as above). In early years, the 'push-up' chair and its cushion was black in colour back then.
Hairdressing Products
My mum's Old Hair Dryer
Styling tools may include Hair irons (including flat and curling irons), hair dryers, Hairbrushes (both flat and round), hair rollers, diffusers and various types of scissors , you may find in salons of yesteryears and my mum uses till today.
Old Hairdresser's tools
Her hairdressing also include the use of product to add texture, shine, curl, volume or hold to a particular style too.
Hairpin and Cutter
Wave Hairpin for old granny/woman
A hair pin or bobby pin is a long device used to hold a person's hair in place that my mum has been using this since. Hairpins made of metal, ivory, bronze, carved wood, etc. These wave hairpin is for old woman/granny with short hair (roundcurls).
Plastic Rollers of different sizes
There are two types of hairstyles tools that are used for perming - Plastic rollers are the tools determine the size of the curl and the larger the tool you use is, the larger the wave that will be put into the hair. And the hair must be wound around the tool with some tension in order to get a good curl, a weak wrap on the tool will result in a looser wave for as long as the rollers and clips are plastic they should present no interaction problems.
Perm Rods and Perm Wraps (white)
Perm Rods of different sizes and shapes for - Inverse or straightening perms that diffuse natural curls. Perm rods come with perm end wrap papers. Perm wrap is one which one end paper is place under and another is placed over the strand of hair being wrapped. Perm Wraps also known as 'End wraps" absorbent papers used to control the end of the hair when wrapping and winding hair on perm rods.
In fact, sometimes, I usually go to my mum's house for haircut or perm hair done by my own mum whenever she is free and even she dyed my hair too.
Her hairdressing skilled is often wide known to all young hairdressers as she has been doing for over 6 decades till now. I have learnt a lots from her since I was a teenage and sometime, I help to cut or perm her hair whenever she calls me up.