reminiscing the good ol’ days
by Zhou (Chew) Hong Jie
If I am able to travel back in time or choose the life I want to live in Singapore, I would choose to be born in the 1950s and be a young man in the 1970s to 80s. Lifestyles were a lot simpler and the pace of living a lot slower. There would be no Ipods and Ipads to distract the young and no proliferation of computer games to divide my children’s attention.
I can still remember the Identification Cards (IC) which my parents had, pieces of laminated printed paper that looked exactly like the above.
Or the numerous SBS (Singapore Bus Service) omnibuses that looked like the above, which did not have the luxury of air-conditioning and have windows that rattled and shook every time the bus moved.
The playgrounds in the heartlands looked like the above, with concrete contraptions and cemented grounds. Children these days are very privileged to be playing in areas that are cushioned with so many “safety” precautions like padded grounds and plastic contraptions. In the past, suffering a fracture or a concussion was a guarantee if you fall from a considerable height. But then again, children seemed to be tougher back then.
My primary school English textbooks look very much like the above, part of the Primary English Programme (PEP) started by the government.
…and my stationery cases were that of the above – “pencil boxes” which were multi-purposeful and had several compartments for rubbers, pencils, pens, rulers, sharpeners, etc. We would love to compare our “gadgets” with one another in school.
This was the video game console I was exposed to during my childhood – the Atari game system, unlike the highly advanced Playstations and X-Boxes we have today. My father later “progressed” to Nintendo, and that was that. He would occupy the console most of the time which meant my entertainment in those days was very much my storybooks…
…or the Mastermind game which required lots of logical thinking. Such games gave way to the mindless mayhem of the 21st century.
When I see primary school-aged children chatting away on their mobile phones, I am often reminded of the first time I owned a pager – and that was at 17 (I owned my first mobile phone when I was 21). And it was also at 17 that I started to use the computer…
…with floppy disks like the above to store data.
The world is so different now. There are some things which are for the better, like human and animal rights. There are some things which may not be for the better, like technology and social networking sites which have increased the opportunity for crime and moral decline. Although the Internet has transformed the world in ways unimaginable in the past, books are fast becoming relics as information can be so easily acquired in cyberworld.
What will it be like when my children grow up? What will it be like when I enter my senior years? What will it be like when I no longer exist?
Sigh. Only homo sapiens have this curse of being so self-conscious and self-aware of the present and of the future.
Thanks to Remember Singapore blog for some of the pictures above.