Friday, January 23, 2009




THROUGH OUT years of celebration, the oranges have been part and parcel. The stall above as at many strategic corners would would be selling crates of the same fruit. Chinese friends would offer them as token of friendship and a signal that the New Year is on the card again. Modern transportation has of course made export of the fruits from China especially easier and faster, enabling us to get the best of the season's fruit. A close look at the above picture would make any detective, investigator or seasoned traveller suspect when it was taken. Maybe it would not be that easy to say where it was taken. I could give a clue and say that it is south of the peninsular. The vehicle and at least its opened doors could give a clue.

Guessing from the previous posting one could say that it is somewhere in Singapore. True it was taken in 1963. Way back then we stopped in Singapore after a flight from Bandar Brunei via Labuan. It was the annual break and being Ramadan and AidilFitri schools had a long vacation and as teachers on secondment to the state we earned our annual leave. Flights from Brunei, North Borneo and Sarawak were limited to one or twice a day. No direct flight and we had to make a night stop in Singapore. This gave us the golden opportunity to visit and know Singapore besides indulging in some shopping. Being an entreport and free port Singapore offered good price and choicest items in its shops and complex. I know the ladies for sure would come to Singapore for quality batik imported from Indonesia and traded at Arab Street. Daily we recognized that people from across the causeway would would flocked to the island to buy their groceries. Never mind the custom check-point. Now it is the reverse.

THEN no visitor to Singapore would miss getting his way to 'Change Alley', a collection of shops and stalls close to the Singapore harbor offering all manner of goods from the pocket-size items to the largest of size. Bargaining was at its best and no right thinking person would buy any item at the first price quoted. No doubt much time was extended or wasted over arguing and practising the art of bargaining. Each would of course outdo the other hoping to get the best of price. The buyer wanting the best of price for the item while the seller hoped to reap the best profit. Of course all this has stopped. It's all fixed now.No wasting of time. It is easy for both the seller and buyer now. Time could be spent on more worthwhile task. No need to even carry foreign currency too. Your credit or debit card would solved all problems with regards to financial.

The two gentlemen were reporters from Utusan Melayu Press of Singapore. We had met earlier and I had the good chance to visit their office and the Utusan Melayu Press of Singapore. One guy with the camera would obviously make us guess he was a reporter. I supposed they had a good story from me regarding the 'Brunei Rebellion' which broke out on the very day I left the kingdom. Sadly I do not know if they are still in Singapore or have moved somewhere. Perhaps some angels could give an indication and I would be too happy to meet them again.

A Malayan Airways Fokker would travel from Singapore to Kota Bharu. Mind you the plane would call at Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang , Alor Star and Kota Bharu as its last stop. Passengers would endure the long flight while having the opportunity to see the landscape of the country. For one thing, no one was mindful of security checks etc. As this picture shows, it is an open approach to the apron.

The picture and the episode could certainly bring back memories of the time when I used to travel between Malaya/ Singapore and Brunei and stopping each time in Singapore for transit.

A closer look at the photo would show the price of items then. The price quoted oranges at 10 pieces for $1.00 Similarly grapes, apples were available at an outstanding price. Don't ever hope to get them at that price now. Of course an average take-home salary of a civil servant would hover around RM 350.00 to RM 600 per month sufficient for him and his family. Now your guess is as good as mine. The bustling atmosphere at Change Alley with people talking in all manner of languages made it a 'must visit' place in Singapore. Surrounded by modern arcades and complexes, Change Alley saw its last sometimes in 1989. Collier Quay saw its discontinuity too as a popular disembarkation center with the growth of Changi Airport and expansion of travelling by airlines.

This is Singapore in 1963 Morris Minor, Austin, Mercedes cars are on the road along the
the sea frontage close to Collier Quay. The stretch of sea frontage seen on the right has since disappeared
and the area reclaimed for beautification and development.

Other pictures of the time may help us to remember our experiences as much as the movements and our engaging episodes that saw us passed through the decades known as the glorious sixties.



Pak Non,

Minat orang2 yang dah lama ni sama saja.Suka roll back the time.Lagi lama lagi syoknya.

Pasai tu bila dah cukup tua,Allah jadikan kita nyanyok.Perangai macam kembali sebagai budak.Allah cukup kasih dan sayang pada kita.So, kalau lambat mati,we will achieve our likings.Masa tu tak dak dosa lagi.

Bergurau saja tapi benarnya ada.


Uncle Lee said...

Hello KotaStar, Wow, I love the pics here.
And yes, I noticed the camera, the hairstyles too, ha ha.
And I still remember 'Change Alley' very well...used to get hit on my head everytime I walked there as I am 6'1"...from the hanging displays.

Loved Haw Par Villa too or Tiger Balm gardens...Beach Road, Bugis street....those days it was cheap shoping in Singapore too.

Happy new year to you and family. Enjoy those oranges...oranges are gold, they will bring good fortune to you.

Al Khalifah said...

Salam Uncle Kota Star!
What a nostalgic pics you have there! Remind me of my dad's era ( he's 70's now, and recovering from stroke...)I used to flip his album and noticed lot of 50's and 60's pics when he's young...regret that he's not as active as he used to be (...due to stroke ). It's my turn ( and the rest of the family )to take good care of him..

aofuad said...

Pak Non,
Dok asyik naik basikal samapi blig pun ta ada masa na maiantain?
Bila na tulis on your new found love?

aofuad said...

Pak Non,
Sori banyak spelling mistake. Itu lah akibat over cycle.

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