This post was inspired by the above pic that was posted by Christina on Facebook!! :)
Pic was taken in 1983..when I was 14 years old!
From left : erm, no idea who he is, Bernard,Vivian,Christina,Pichai,moi,Kenn
I can’t help being nostalgic and thinking back of those fun times during my secondary school days. Have to blame it on Facebook since it helped me reconnect with some of my old pals…we may all have changed, most are married with kids..the men have lesser hair, bigger paunches and have mellowed quite a bit..the women on the other hand look about the same (based on their pics in facebook since most of the chabors in the group have moved out of Singapore).
Those carefree days were truly one of the most enjoyable phases of my life! I don’t recall studying at all so it was a miracle that I’d actually managed to pass my exams. My time in school was spent enjoying the various ECAs. I played netball, was in track & field (long distance) and in the school band too (I played the French horn heh). But the best moments were actually spent out of school – with the folks from Gardens (Serangoon Gardens). It was a motley bunch comprising of people from various school – Saint Joseph’s Convent, Saint Gabriel’s Secondary, Serangoon Garden Technical, Cedar Girls School etc..The common point we had was that we all lived in (or somewhere near) Serangoon Gardens. We were named the Kunjus ..we even had group bomber jackets - purple for the guys and pink for ladies!
I grew up in Serangoon Gardens (also known as Ang Sar Lee - Red Roof because many of the houses had red roof tiles), one of the oldest estate in Singapore. In fact, my family moved twice within Gardens. When I was much younger, we lived in Borthwick Drive, a quaint bungalow with a large garden where my mom used to plant her beloved blossom plants and orchids. We also reared many animals including dogs, cats, ducks and rabbits! Our second home at Gardens was a double story terrace at Jalan Pacheli, situated on the top of the slope of the road just behind my primary school, Cooling Close Convent.
My sis and I playing at the garden and the front porch of our borthwick drive home when I was about 4 years old..
The old CHIJ : Convent of Our Lady of Good Counsel
also known as Cooling Close Convent - photo credit : Fiona Chia Yeo
Serangoon Gardens in the 70s and early 80s was really different. During my time, there was a cinema (Paramount Theatre) where the current Serangoon Gardens Village Complex is situated. Apparently, there are plans to convert this into a mega mall soon. I can still remember watching those old sword fighting movies (Reincarnation!!) and ‘blockbuster’ hits like Grease & Staying Alive there! Just infront of the theatre, there was this drink shop that sold my favorite ong-lai (pineapple)drink . And around that area was a fish shop (I’d bought tons of guppies and fighting fishes from there) and a video arcade store where I was regular ‘customer’ after school hours, playing games like Space Invaders and Donkey Kong.Back then, it was so easy to rig the games. All you have to do is to go behind the console, switch on and off it quickly and voila, free game! Only problem is that your high score would also be erased :P Chomp Chomp was another of our fave hangouts after school. We would order our favourite ice kachang or chendo drinks at the dessert store located right at the far end of the food centre and park ourselves there for ages. My standard food order there will be prawn noodle soup from the aunty who wears very thick cake foundation and was always in a cheongsam! And back then, the hokkien mee stall was already very popular so it was one of our fave makan item too!
I was pretty wild as a kid..but not in a havoc way! I was a super tomboy then, believe it or not! Even though my parents were pretty strict with us (we had curfews), I could somehow, with the help of my siblings manage to slip out of the house to join my friends. It definitely helped that I was pretty agile and scrawny as a kid so I had no problems climbing over gates and squeezing through drains. The group would cycle to my place and whistle outside the gate and wait for me to ‘escape’ and then I will tongpang one of the bikes. We would spend the evening cycling around gardens, going to the park (no hanky panky – I swear!) and on some evenings, we’ll attend those house functions that was the rage then! One of our regular hangout was the Serangoon Gardens Community Centre’s library where we would ‘pretend’ to study for our test/exams but most of us will inevitably end up at the basketball court either playing ball or watching the guys breakdancing and the day will always end up with us at Chomps or Buddy's (a fast food joint)!
Man..those memories *sigh* Met up with some of the folks from way back recently…and we had such a fun time reminiscing the past. I gotta say that I’m glad that I had such an enjoyable ‘teenagehood’.
Found some really interesting pictures of Serangoon Garden in the old days..Unless you are about my age or older, you probably won't remember any of this but this was where I grew up! After we moved out of Gardens, I used to tell myself that if I had the cash, I would definitely buy a place there but oh well... Let's see if I strike Toto later heh.
This is the old Paramount Theatre...
(pic from goodmorningyesterday blog)
This is another pic of the cinema (u can see the old movie posters)
Coffee Bean now sits on the site..
(pic from jalankayatrail blog)
This row of shophouses is along Kensington Park Road (right opposite Chomps)
(pic taken from this album that features many of the old buildings/estates in Singapore
The old bus interchange along Maju Ave in front of the row of shophouses. I can still remember there was a bar - Captain's Cabin and my dad's favourite a zi char place called Hup Lee)..
I used to take bus no. 217 which circles round the estate.
One of my fave places back then...NIB, where they bought and sold second hand books!This was where I'd spent most of my pocket money at - those Enid Blyton books & slowly graduating to Mills & Boons and the likes of Sidney Sheldon..
The place is now where food joint Happy Daze is..which is run by my sec school mate, Anne.
St Francis Xavier Church..where I used to attend mass..
I'm not sure whether it has changed much since.
Okay..I looked really fugly in this pic!Actually, I could pass off for a boy most of a time and that was how the guys treated me like..a li' bro! Okay, they don't usually wear fatigues..this was for a party that we were attending later.I think someone lent me a kid's size kaki pants for the party :P
Daniel Gan(bottom left) was one of my best buddy! He was an elder bro I never had and I would always go crying to him when I had problems (usually when I get whacked by my parents lah). Whenever I *coff* ran away from home, it was usually to his place and my sister would always know who to call when she was tasked to bring me back :P
Kenneth Mark Yong.. the guy with the Rambo-like headband was another fun guy to be with. He used to have his own mobile disco so we'll always tag along for the house parties. I remember that he used to be a DJ at Sparks (former Fire??) He's now the GM for a chain of restaurants & a father of 3.
And George Gomez, the skinny guy in pic on the top right..was like the head pai-kia! He used to tease me a lot but then, he was also very protective of us..!
Us 25 years later..
Daniel hasn't changed that much..:)
Kenneth..he's now much more serious and matured!
George, on the other hand is no longer as scrawny as before *grin*
With Daniel's wife, Kat and his son Dylan :)