Remembering childhood in Singapore (part 2)

Xavier Lur
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Do you remember the days when you played hopscotch with your friends in school during your recess break? Or the times when you were reprimanded by your teacher in thick black-framed spectacles as she wielded a feather duster?

If any of these seems familiar, you are probably a Singaporean who had your childhood in the 80s or early 90s.

Yahoo! Singapore has collaborated with Remember Singapore to come up with a compilation of some of the things you would have probably encountered, played, watched, ate or read during your childhood. Enjoy!

Flag erasers

Flag erasers


(Photo courtesy of dove's erasers)

Priced at 10 cents each in school bookshops, these 2.5cm by 3.5cm erasers feature the flags of almost all countries in the world. In the old days, it was a common sight to see Primary School kids playing the "flipping your eraser over your opponent's" game during recess. They also inserted staples into them and challenged their friends to the eraser spinning game.

Yamaha Recorder

Yamaha Recorder


(Photo courtesy of Harpreet Music)

Introduced to Primary School students in the 1980s, the Yamaha Recorder was a compulsory music instrument that students had to purchase and learn to play simple songs with during music lessons.

Feather duster

Feather duster


(Photo courtesy of Judy Chow)

The old-fashioned feather duster cane was commonly found in classrooms, and used by teachers as a disciplinary tool on students who misbehaved during lessons.

Multi-purpose pencil case

Multi-purpose pencil case


(Photo courtesy of Sakurako Kitsa)

Before Quicksilver, OP and Billabong pencil cases gained popularity here, most students owned the plastic pencil box that featured many compartments and performed various functions like a sharpener, compass and planner.

Sticker book

Sticker book


(Photo courtesy of hownowdesign)

Remember the days when your teachers or parents gave you stickers for acing well in your studies at school? And those stickers were usually of cartoon characters.

Trolley school bags

Trolley school bags


(Photo courtesy of Citistar Oxfords)

Trolley school bags were the in-thing during the 1990s and early 2000s, and the wheels would make a lot of squeaky noises. But at least it did your back and shoulders good, especially when you had to bring many textbooks to school.

Bookworm Short Stories

Bookworm Short Stories


(Photo courtesy of jkaiser05)

Bookworm Short Stories is a series of Science Fiction storybooks that was published in Singapore during the late 1980s, and they were extremely popular among children then.

D-3 Digivice

D-3 Digivice


(Photo courtesy of Butterfly-Goddess)

The D-3 Digivice is a data holder for the Digimon, and there is a card reader to "evolve" or "power up" the Digimon. You would have to shake it for a progressively ascending number of times to reach the "Boss" of a zone. Then you fight it by pressing one of the buttons. Evolution in a battle is done by shaking a lot of times.

Five Stones

Five Stones


(Photo courtesy of DebbieK1970)

The game of Five Stones is played with five small triangular cloth bags filled with seeds, rice or sand. Each player has to throw a bag into the air, and then quickly grab another bag on the ground before catching the first one on its way down. The game continues as the player repeats the action by grabbing two bags on the ground, and so on.

Goli (Marbles)

Goli (Marbles)


(Photo courtesy of Eastbtm)

One of the most popular games for the male students in the eighties, goli was a game involving skill and accuracy. Typically played on sand, the marbles were placed in a drawn circle as the players stood behind a straight line drawn several meters away. Every marble that was knocked out of the circle was a victorious claim. The game was even sometimes associated with gambling to bring the excitement to the next level.

Hopscotch

Hopscotch


(Photo courtesy of SL McAtee)

Often during recess time, you would see students crowding around the hopscotch area. The outlines are usually drawn with a chalk, and a stone or a bean bag is used as a marker during the game. Each player must skip through the course, with one leg, without touching the lines or the marker.

Animal chess

Animal chess


(Photo courtesy of Tropical Passage)

A traditional Chinese board game, the Animal Chess is simple enough to play. The objective of the game is to get one of your animals into the opposing side's den while avoiding enemies' traps and defeating animals along the way. Interestingly, the Rat is the only one which can swim in the river and also eat the mighty Elephant. The game is over when one of the caves is conquered.

Aeroplane chess

Aeroplane chess


(Photo courtesy of StillLost)

Each player (blue, red, green and yellow) begins with four seeds. With die thrown at each round, the aim is to get all four seeds to land on the finishing point at the center of the board game.

Beyblade spinning top

Beyblade spinning top


(Photo courtesy of Nirbendra)

Based on the popular cartoon Beyblade V-Force, the Beyblade is a high-performance spinning top toy. Each player counts to three, then they shout "Let it Rip", which is also the game's slogan. A Beyblade spins at rapid speeds, and collides with one another to produce loud noises and slow each other down at the same time. The person whose Beyblade has stopped spinning loses the battle.

Don't forget to watch out for part three of our series. Or check out part one.