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memories of the good ol' days :)

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,Kenneth,Ian,Francis,Kari

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 :)

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( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 6th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Frankly, I dont know which one is u in the pic ??

Pic 1-the one in grey sweater ??

Pic 2- ?????
Feb. 6th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
alamak!!! I thought you should be able to recognise me from the smile hehe

HOI!! There's only 1 girl in PIC 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Feb. 6th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)
Ehh! You still tilt your head in the same way :P
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
yeah..i realised that! i smile the same way too!
Feb. 6th, 2009 05:40 am (UTC)
Wow! I was really trying to picture the old Serangoon Gardens from ur descriptions... it's really changed alot man... but I can still recognise the Happy Daze area.... and some other parts..

Such an interesting post! Thanks for sharing... I really din know Serangoon Gardens was so different in the ol' days....

And it's so cool that u and ur frens are catching up again! :)
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
yes..the gardens in the past is very different from what you see now! I somehow feel that Gardens has lost some of her charm after it was refurbished!

heh..it is always fun catching up with old pals..and seeing how much they've changed.
Feb. 6th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
I couldn't recognise you except by elimination!
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
huh? do i look *that* different then?
(no subject) - l1sh - Feb. 6th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angeliatay - Feb. 6th, 2009 06:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
the picture of the "army boys", you mean...that was you in the light green shirt, short hair? really? if you did not say i really thot that was a "lil boy" haha!! :D you sure had a fun "teenagehood" :)
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
actually it was an orange teeshirt (looks green because the pic is old and faded hehe). I know i know..i was really a tomboy then hor! Why do you think I'm keeping my hair long :P
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
I'm from SJC and OLGC too! I never knew what Ang Sar Lee meant, now i know! St Francis Xavier has changed quite a bit too although the bell tower is still there. and it's now fully air-conditioned. My earliest memory of Gardens is of the arcade and the electronics store (where Coffee bean is now).

I couldnt recognise you in any of your old pictures by the way!
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
you're my junior!! :)

Yeah..I can't exactly remember what it was after Paramount Theatre was demolished..it was an indoor disco skating rink for a while. I had spent many afternoons there too hehe..Then yeah, an electronics store and oh boy..i truly cannot remember already!

aiyoh..i thought i still look somewhat the same...
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
So nice to see all your old photos as well as your narration of what you did when you were young at "gardens". My really good friend lived there (still lives there) and I used to hang out there on school hols and weekends. Really loved the community feel.
Feb. 6th, 2009 08:07 am (UTC)
Yes, Serangoon Gardens had a rustic and unique charm to it..! I really enjoyed growing up there!
Feb. 6th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
I think FB is making us dig out all our old photos :) Somehow the ladies don't look much different after 20 years but the guys are quite unrecognisable...
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:55 am (UTC)
i concur..most of my ex-classmates from SJC hardly aged..the guys however..*coff*
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC)
Ehh? Didn't know I had so many admirers :-) Why the heck did I leave Sing.... ?
You made a great description of past, I can only say that those were really the good ol days! WE had so much fun! Thanks for sharing!
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:43 am (UTC)
Re: Sunkid
u had lah..just that most of them were scared away by Gabriel *grin*

Yeah..we did have one heck of a good time eh..we were so innocent and carefree then :) Thanks for sharing those old pics man!
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:27 am (UTC)
i remember the 2nd hand bookshop! our clinic is along kensington park road. i wonder if in the picture, the clinic was already there. we took over from someone who has been there for ages!
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:41 am (UTC)
is your clinic near the hairsalon..Jason's & Sally or the one in the middle? If it was the latter, it was Dr WeiMin's clinic and the one in the middle was Dr Lau's clinic (he was my family doctor).

Edited at 2009-02-06 07:54 am (UTC)
(no subject) - vixette7 - Feb. 6th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angeliatay - Feb. 6th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vixette7 - Feb. 6th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angeliatay - Feb. 6th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vixette7 - Feb. 6th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolitapop - Feb. 7th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angeliatay - Feb. 8th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolitapop - Feb. 8th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:08 am (UTC)
heh, at that time, we called it the boombox! it was during the breakdance era so it was quite common to see guys carrying it around since some of the guys would always ending up breakdancing on the streets :P
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:11 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing Angelia! The photos really brought back a lot of memories :) Especially, NIB! I snapped a couple of photos the other day of the current "Paramount"/NTUC before it too will be torn down and fade into memory once more. Cheers, Dom Chia.
Feb. 6th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
I had fun writing this blog entry..and there was so much more I wanted to write abt i thought i shouldn't bore u all..I had a hard time looking for pictures of serangoon gdns the 70s/80s though. Was supposed to go Daniel's home to ransack his photo albums since he took quite a bit of pics then!

NIB! Yeah..my fave hangout..can still remember their distinctive chop. found this on FB! Do you still have any of the old books? I wish I kept some of it for memory sake..

kopped this pic from the 'i miss the old serangoon gardens' group on fb hehe

Edited at 2009-02-06 02:20 pm (UTC)
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)
...btw more pics on serangoon gardens (or singapore for that matter) can be found here > http://picas.nhb.gov.sg/picas/public/internetSearch/advancedSearch.jsp?thesaurusFlag=Y&simpleSearch=serangoon+gardens&photographOption=1&Submit=Submit
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:58 am (UTC)
thanks..i did end up on that site before but alot of the pic are of politicians gracing openings/tree plantings..not much pictures of the old serangoon gardens itself!
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:41 am (UTC)
this is such a nice post.

i could immediately recognise u in the first pic coz i tot i saw aidan in you! hehe. not really in the 2nd pic and only by elimination. the way u pose lah~~~

your primary sch is no longer around, right? i have never heard of it!
Feb. 6th, 2009 11:00 am (UTC)
oh still around..Cooling Close Convent is the short form..
The long form of the school is :
CHIJ - Convent of Our Lady Of Good Counsel

Edited at 2009-02-06 03:18 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 6th, 2009 01:21 pm (UTC)
hehe yeah..i did look like a boy..an ugly one to boot!

i had really long straight hair when i was in Sec 1/early Sec 2..After one of my escapades (i think i came home really late) and there were boys calling me at home, she decided to make me really ugly by having it cut really short! I cried heaps!!
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