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Autograph Books

Do you have an autograph book?

A rare occassion happened today. I was cleaning up my room and I came across my autograph books from ages ago.

These autograph books are from my late primary school years, back when writing pointless well-wishing messages for your classmates were still considered cool.

Looking through them brought back a lot of nostalgic memories. Not sure if kids these days still keep something like that. I suppose with Friendster or Multiply these days, it’s a lot easier to keep in touch with your old schoolmates. There’s no point keeping an autograph book now.

But before all these online social-networking sites were invented, this was what we do. Each one of us kept these fancy little notebooks with fancy little covers, and we passed them around among our classmates and wrote messages in them.

My autograph book has a Little Bobdog cover on it.

If I carry something around like that with me today, someone would report me for commiting a crime against humanity.

Having a Little Bobdog notebook is about as bad as me wearing Hello Kitty underpants to go out. Litte Bobdog! Can you believe it? What the hell was I smoking?

Normally on the first page of our autograph books, we would write some sentimental crap about how we’re all leaving school soon and how we should treasure our friendship together.

It’s very ironic, because I don’t even remember half the people who left messages. in my autograph book. Who the heck is Tan Yen Yeu? I don’t remember knowing anyone called Tan Yen Yeu!

You gotta cut my cheesiness some slack because these were written WAY back in 1991.

Thank goodness I don’t write like that now. FRANCE no longer stands for FriendshipRemains And Never Can End. France in 2006 stands for Our Football Captain Likes To Headbutt Foulmouthed Italians And Gets Himself Sent Off.

In 1991, I was a young and stupid 9-year-old who doesn’t know how to spell “friends” and wrote “souvenir” as "sasnival". What kinda word is “sasnival”? I must be writing in German.

It felt a bit strange to see people referring to me by my Chinese name. Most of my friends call me Kenny. I’m still not used to people calling me Tze Foo.

A friend of mine suggested that I might as well drop the “Tze Foo” and replace it with “Dot Com”. That way my full name will become "Kenny Sia Dot Com"

By this point, you must be wondering how much vocabulary a 9-year-old has to be able to fill up the pages of an autograph book. The answer is: not much.

Almost all the well-wishing messages written were tacky poems copied from somewhere, like this one.

Sometimes, I don’t even know if what they’ve written were meant to be well wishes. If it’s a joke it’s not funny at all.

In fact, I was so disappointed with the quality of messages left for me, that I myself wrote in my own autograph book.

I know, how pathetic right.

At least some of the poems still have potential give me a chuckle after so many years.

My favourite poem in my whole two books though, was this one. I saw this poem repeated several times. Seems like my classmates seem to have a penchant of wanting to marry me with a giant hairy ape.

Coincidentally I just came back from Hong Kong. But it’s 2006 now, so I’ve taken the liberty to “update” the poem a little bit.

Here’s how it should go:

Go To Hong Kong
Eat Until Song Song
Come Back Hong Kong
Become King Kong

"Remember The Bookworm Club" meme

I was following the conversation over at Jia’s post where she mentioned “The Bookworm Club”. The funny thing was that she only mentioned the Bookworm Club only in the title and nowhere in her blog post. However, the subsequent conversation was about the club (Kevin started it!).

My recollection about The Bookworm club isn’t very clear. I vaguely remember being in Primary school. Our teacher brought our class down to the science lab. There were lots of books on display. You could buy them. I must have bought something (cost about $2). Paid up from my daily pocket money. They must have given me a flyer or bookmark with this bespectacled round-headed orange worm as a mascot. That’s how I learnt about The Bookworm Club.

I found their website. Club was started in 1984. They seem to be still in business (although their site looks as if a revamp has been long overdue. Why don’t they start a blog instead?)

My hunch is that most Singaporean adult between the present age of 30 to 35 would remember The Bookworm Club. Out of curiosity, I searched for blogs that mentioned the club and here’s what I found:

  • Kei credits the Bookworm Club & the money his parents spent on books for improving his general knowledge
  • Yu became a bookworm club member at age 7
  • Newdaddy’s wife remembers the Bookworm Club song
  • TheVoiceInsideYourHead says the child of the 80s probably joined the club (item 9)
  • Same thing that Nuren says (oh yeah, Bookworm Club = Selegie Road)
  • SingaporeIdler & friends recounts the Bookworm Club from their childhood memories

I left a comment in Jia’s post, saying:
"Love it or Loath it, "Bookworm Bookclub" is something that will bring back memories of our generation. I remember it with fondness. Upon hindsight, I think they could’ve used a better name than to perpetuate the bookish-ness of reading by using the term "bookworm".

It really intrigues me how strangers & friends can be connected by a memory — of a bookclub, no less! (Now if a childhood memory can do this, then definitely a library…)

Ok, anyone wants to continue their reminisce of The Bookworm Club?

(Source: ramblinglibrarian.blogspot.com)

Some things I remember from the 90′s.

Grew up during the 90′s? I read a thread about the 90s in Singapore..and decided to come up with a list of things that I remember from my childhood. I’m sure you can identify with some of them. I had fun looking up forums and threads for ideas and pictures, and I hope you have as much fun reading the list.

 TV shows:

In a time where there were only browser-based games (think Neopets) and it took 5mins to load a webpage, time was much better spent watching the tube. It provided a common topic of discussion since everyone pretty much watched the same stuff from SBC/TCS aka MediaCorp. Only a handful had cable TV.

1. Power Rangers

Kids used to pretend they were one of the rangers and hop around screaming and whacking each other. My favourite was the blue ranger, and because of this, my favourite dinosaur was the triceratops. (Every boy had a favourite dinosaur back then)

 2. Saving the Earth was cool because of Captain Planet.

I vaguely remember this show. ‘Vaguely’ meaning remembering these two sentences: 

“Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart!” 

“By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!” 

I wonder what happened to the dude now though. Probably died of global warming. And the volcanic ash.

 3. Most of the kids (me included) would wake up at 9am every Sunday to watch the Digimon show on Channel 8, and it will be the topic of discussion the next day when school started. 

Yea, I remember this damn well. I watched every season of Digimon, except season 5. My favourite was Patamon (bottom left corner). I wanted to be different because everyone either liked Agumon or Gabumon (centre two, right to left). The least popular was Palmon (the weirdo plant-looking thing with a pink flower on the head). No wonder kids don’t like their veggies.

Oh, and, I thought Yamato’s hair (blondie in green, wearing gloves) was cool. I always wondered how long Tai (goggle boy) took to style his hair before each episode.

 4. Everyone knew the Guiness Stout advertisement where 林子祥 George Lam appeared and asked, “你怕黑吗?” 

I didn’t really get the meaning of the advertisement, but it still stuck anyway.

 5. Everyone also knew Aaron Kwok and his awesome song with the awesome trademark hand action and the awesome phrase “对你爱爱爱不完”.

He made every boy want a centre-parting I think. Here’s a youtube video I found of the MV. (look at those dance moves!)

 6. Monday blues were made slightly better because of 搞笑行动. There was 梁婆婆, 梁细妹 and “真的是伤脑筋”. There was also the 神经一法 segment, a spoof of 绳之以法.

Yes, I used to like watching it..until it got lamer..and lamer..and lamer..

 7. 城人杂志 was hosted by 王禄江,钟琴,黄素芳,欧菁仙. There was Miss Tan and 阿好好介绍.

We loved to imitate them, saying “下一位” and “我–什么–都会”. Sadly, I couldn’t find any pictures of the show or its characters, so here’s a youtube vid of MediaCorp’s anniversary show where they got some of the previous hosts back. 钟琴 is awesome because she was really into it! The other few just stood around like dead flies. Probably too old to shake their booty. I liked 欧菁仙 last time. Watch from 4:55 onwards if you want to skip to the 城人杂志 part. The first part is 搞笑行动.

 

Transport:

I hated taking buses because they took ages to arrive (they still do) and you were all hot and bothered by the time they did. What’s worse? They were all old and cranky, non-airconditioned, and the engine made a thunderous farting noise every time the bus came to a stop. But they were still important to our lives, just as they are now.

1. SBS buses used to be non-airconditioned only. The bus seats were made of wood and the cushion was red. The big red bell gave a loud BEEEP when pressed, probably so that everyone would wake up and no one would miss their stop.

I used to like pushing the windows damn wide and feel the wind on my face. It was horrible when it rained, coz you had to shut the windows (or face the wrath of the drenched person sitting behind you) and the bus would become really humid and warm.

2. Farecards! Every bus came equipped with this farecard machine and you had to insert your card at the top, press the fare you are paying, then the machine would make lots of weird noises before your card came out with a ticket from the bottom.

I remember every now and then new designs of farecards would be released and some people liked to collect them. The adult farecards had a blue back, children’s ones had a red back and the back of senior citizens’ cards were purple.

 3. For those who bought monthly concession stamps, you pasted them on your student pass and flashed it to the bus driver when you boarded.

Some people would just paste the new one over the old stamp, and accumulate so many stamps on the card that the stamps were thicker than the card itself.

 

Food:

Being a child was just about schooling, eating, playing, sleeping, and eating some more. You could buy a shitload of junk food with $2 then.

1. The rainbow-coloured Paddle Pops. All the colours made it look like you would die from all the artificial colourings, but tasted too nice for you to care. Who could forget those?

 2. Ring pops, then came push pops.

Or was it push pops first? Push pops were the best because you could eat a bit and pocket it for later. Anyway I remembered conservative Singaporeans complaining about them being obscene looking =/

3. There was this sweet which was a lollipop but came with some crystals in the packet. You would dip the lollipop in the crystals, and let it pop and spark all over your mouth.

 4. The ding dang chocolate balls+cheapo toy which sold for 50 cents.

The toy inside would change every week I think. They were all cheapo-looking toys which spoilt easily, but we were still happy with them anyway. Modern version=Kinder surprise, or whatever it’s called.

5. After a tiring session of block catching, getting your hands on an ice pop at the grocery store for 10 cents each was heavenly.

They were just frozen ice with colourings actually, but still tasted good. NTUC still sells them, but I don’t see anyone eating it now. 

 6. Itchy mouth? Nibble on these:

 

Shops:

1. There was Oriental Emporium and Yaohan. And Sogo.

I can’t find a picture of Emporium. But I remember it was a NTUC-wannabe and I used to go to the one in Pasir Ris and drool over all the toy samples.

 2. A&W restaurant!

The awesome root beer and onion rings!

 

Technology:

There was not much technology to speak of then. I had my first computer in P4, and was devastated when it broke down for the first time. Somehow, I got the hang of the tech stuff faster than my parents, and it stayed that way ever since. (They never did try, anyway.)

1. Almost every working adult had a pager.

I remember there was some nifty trick. You (the caller) would wait for 2 beeps, then press any numbers you wanted. The recipient (the person being paged) would then be able to see the numbers you pressed, and we were always amazed that the recipient could see the numbers you wanted them to see. (Hey, we were not desperate ok. That was cool until SMS came along.)

 2. Cool teens used ICQ, and IRC.

3. To get online you had to start the nasty dialup connection. You would hear the ISP’s server number being dialled, then a bunch of extremely loud and weird noises which made it sound like your computer was going to explode. Only then could you establish an awesome 56kbps connection.

I HATED the noises but never figured out how to make it softer. I hated it mainly because my mom would be alerted everytime I went on the net, and I only had 1 miserable hour of playtime.

 4. Everything (gameboy emulators, ROMs) you wanted to transfer MUST be below 1.44 MB. Otherwise it wouldn’t fit into these things called floppy biscuits diskettes.

 5. Every student was working part-time. After school, they tended to their shop in Neopets.

Who could forget the browser-based multiplayer game Neopets? Neopets took the world by storm. Suddenly I went to school one day and found out that the whole class except me had a shop. My favourite Neopet was the Kacheek. It was very creatively named Petball88. I wonder if it’s still alive. And I (willingly) got scammed into buying a Kacheek plushie at one of their local events. I still have it now.

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Leisure:

We were in the pre-Facebook and post-Marbles era. There was so much fun things to do, both indoors and outdoors, away from the computer.

1. If you’re with a bunch of friends, feeling bored and happen to be in a maze of HDB flats, never fear, coz there’s block-catching!

Yes I remember this. Void decks had a much more useful purpose back then, before they were primarily used by students for kissing, hugging and making out. Anyway, another version involved lifts. Basically you played catching within one block only. You formed a number of groups (depending on the number of lifts available, usually only 2) and hope to catch the other group by taking the lift to the same level, or something like that. Don’t try this now. The only people who will be doing any catching is the guys from the town council.

2. Another version of catching was “Iceman” or “ice-and-fire” or whatever you call it.

If anyone was caught by the “catcher”. they would not become the catcher, but be “frozen” instead, and had to stand on the spot striking some weird pose. Then other people would try to come and “unfreeze” you by touching, without being frozen by the “catcher” themselves. I preferred this to catching because whenever I was tired of running I could get frozen on purpose and rest a while.

3. Adults carried pagers. We carried beeping devices too, affectionately known as Tamagotchi.

I remember having one too, and treasured it a lot, since I hardly had any toys back then. After that, Tamagotchi was considered “girly”, because…

4. I was always getting into fights with other children I didn’t know–on my Digivice.

Yes, the Digivice was much more popular than the Tamagotchi. It was much cooler and your Digimon could fight and evolve, which beats staring at a chicken until it died. I got a white Digivice as a gift from my neighbour. The lazy kids would do some “code” and try to get an Ultimate stage Digimon without raising it from scratch. People used to cut the plastic farecards into a small strip for this purpose.

5. Playgrounds were filled with SAND, not rubber.

Yes, playgrounds were awesome then. I could spend hours there playing for free. My favourite was the swing because I loved feeling the wind on my face. Most swings were made of really huge black tyres or something like that.

Next was the slide. I remember this slide made of some marble-like material which was very “seasoned”. Children’s butts slid down it thousands of times every day, so it was really really really smooth. Which meant it attracted more children’s butts. Those slides which were less “seasoned” were less fun to play with, since you’ll probably get stuck halfway down and it takes the fun out of it.

There were different ways of playing the slide–you could play it the traditional ‘ass way’. If you were a bit more adventurous, you could lie on your tummy and slide down head-first. That basically meant sliding face-down on a surface seasoned by thousands of butts (and pampers) but it was much too fun to pass up. We used to queue at the top of the slide and every kid would slide down one-by-one, then go up to queue for another round. Some kids just sat at the top, torn apart by the fear of sliding down and yet wanting to have a go because it looked like tremendous fun. So they started crying, jamming up the queue and their parents would carry them away. Either that or he would be given a shove by the evil kid waiting behind and end up crying anyway, from both shock and excitement.

The sand was great for making sandcastles, without going to the beach. Kids would bring their own spades and shovels down to play. Otherwise you could just dig around for spades and shovels that other children left behind. But after that parents became concerned about the hygiene of sand at the playgrounds. There would be pee or poo in the sand, thanks to dogs and cats (and children themselves) who visit the playground. Today, only very little of such playgrounds exist, and the very famous dragon design playground can still be seen at Toa Payoh.


6. Who can forget Mimi, Sam Seng, Fat Ani, Smarty, and the rest of the Bookworm Gang?

 Although the short stories were too short for my liking, I still enjoyed them anyway. Never could explain why..I remember the books were damn expensive and damn thin…only a few pages. I always suspected the author of Bookworm stories was anti-teachers. Why else would he/she name the form teacher Ms. Goon?

And every year the Bookworm company would come down to my school to sell books and coerce us into joining the “Bookworm Club”. (I remember there was even a member card)

And everytime the Bookworm auntie will read us a story from the latest Bookworm book. But she won’t tell us the ending, and asked us to buy it. KNS.

This is what your bookworm book would probably look like if you had one today:

School:

And talking about school…it took up a large part of our time every day, it was horrible and fun at the same time, because everyone went through pretty much the same things. I put this the last because there’s just so much to reminisce about!

1. There was this Aces Day which was horrid because it was not a holiday, and you got a fugly cap and had to do this corny thing called The Great Singapore Workout.

Who would have fogotten the scissors kick? And the flushing and pooing action which got everyone giggling, coupled with self-added sound effects from the boys. In case you want to try this at home, here’s a super high-quality youtube video just so you can observe every action.

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Cool bright yellow outfit coupled with superb shorts! (and matching socks!!)

2. For some time, trolley-schoolbags were the in-thing. Until you realised your classroom was on the 4th floor.

Yeah well..that fad lasted a while. I got one too. but it was utterly pointless. The wheels were so noisy that our school said we couldn’t wheel them around the school..

3. It was called the tuckshop, not canteen.

 4. (Whenever teachers were not around) Class monitors liked to say, “You talk some more, I write your name on the board ah!”

Classic line..I wonder if they still use this today.

 5. English was fun because of PETS coursebooks!

PETS coursebooks were all the rage. There was a different animal each year, and they would be hidden in many of the pages. English lessons were never boring because you could always challenge those sitting around you to find the animal on each page first. After I bought my new textbooks during the holidays, the first book I would read was my PETS coursebook…to spot all the animals in it. Haha. The animals were: squirrel, rat, tortoise, rabbit, bird and monkey, from P1-P6. Sadly I couldn’t find pictures of the P1 and P2 coursebooks.

But the worksheets were weird. They were held together using some poor quality gum, such that when you tore out many pages of worksheets at once, large chunks of gum were left on the worksheets. But I hated the penmanship sections, especially the cursive writing!

And there was some poem in the PETS textbook about momo monster drinking hot tea. Cool!

 6. The worst punishment for not bringing your textbook is having to go to the neighbouring class to borrow a copy. And everyone would stare at you. Or even worse, being asked to borrow the OHP from them. But at least you share the embarassment with another unfortunate friend, and both of you would carry the friggin’ huge thing back to your class. And then back again, to return it.

7. Sharity elephant anyone?

8. “Everyone in class would tremble in fear when someone with a gauze stuck in the mouth came to your class and called out a name to go visit the school dentist.”

This was quoted from one of the websites I visited..it was simply too aptly phrased!

9. Everyone played the music recorder during music lessons.

Yeah, I hated it. I always pretended to blow when the whole class was supposed to play. I was afraid of blowing the wrong note, then having the people around you stare at you. And we were always asked to wash our recorders at home after the lesson. Not bringing your recorder on Music lesson day was like 2012, because you either had to borrow from the next class (ew.) or you had to use one from the filthy music cupboard (EWW).

10. ”You grew up brushing your teeth with a mug in primary school during recess time. You would squat by a drain with all your classmates beside you, and brush your teeth with a colored mug. The teachers said you must brush each side ten times. Not forgetting the silly red tablet which you know not the purpose for.”

Yeah, the dentist told me too. In the end it was counterproductive because so many classes had to brush their teeth, that we were always in a rush. We either ended up leaving before rinsing our mouths properly, or brushing before we ate for recess.

11. The most vulgar thing you said was ‘asshole’ or ‘idiot’. You just couldn’t bring yourself to say the hokkien relative.

Yeah well..not really true. When I just learnt ‘fuck’ and ‘nabei’ I kept using it until I got bored of it. I remember people kept trying to get others to say ‘chicken white’ though.

12. “You brought every single book to school, even though there was one thing called the timetable, written on the inside cover of your little blue notebook.”

Yes, I was one of those. Later on, it was cool to bring ‘book bands’ or whatever they’re called. Basically a strip of velcro that you wrap around a few books and carry in your hand. Usually bright-coloured.

13. Waterbottles, with your favourite cartoon character pasted on it, were a must everywhere you went, slung around your neck.

14. Boys loved to play soccer with ping pong balls at the basketball courts.

Well for my school at least. Hey, they were cheap and kickable. (For a period of time the bookshop enjoyed great sales of ping-pong balls) I think anything that could be kicked was used. Like pong pong fruits for example. But they banned that, coz it was poisonous or something. Probably the school was afraid the boys would get hungry halfway during soccer and pick up the fruit to eat it.

15. English was fun coz of PETS coursebook, but Science had the angsana and balsam plant.

Yeah, and the lallang. Oh, and Cupid’s shaving brush. Never got over that one.

16. Remember the blue “Young Scientist” cards? And the small badges you got for being a Young Zoologist/

Botanist/

___ist.

My first badge was the Ornithologist. I’m so proud that I know what that means. Had to collect collect a bunch of feathers for that one. I highly suspect they were all from crows (that was all I could got my hands on) but my teacher closed an eye and let me pass. People said the Young Zoologist and Physicist were free frags coz you could just buy the book that was always sold at the bookfair and copied everything inside. Oh, and Ecologist.

17. You never got bored of going to the Science Centre.

 18. Every Children’s Day and National Day you got cheap quality pens and pencils that were bound to spoil before the next Children’s Day/National Day. (so that you could use the new ones the following year) Either that or lame files printed with ”Happy Children’s Day 1998″.

Look! I still have mine from before I transferred schools!

19. You had to play buddy for the Primary Ones when you got older.

I remember this! I played buddy in P3 and we were supposed to bring them to buy food. Then my partner was my friend’s sister, and her partner was my another friend’s younger brother. So we cheated and swapped buddies and felt really good about it.

20. Whenever it rained, you went to school in a raincoat and slippers, then you found a dry spot in school to sit down and wipe your feet dry, before putting on your socks and shoes.

Raincoats! Nobody wears them nowadays though.

21. You freak out when your teacher told you to line up in two rows according to height and gender, then hold hands with the boy/girl beside you before walking off to the music room/computer lab/hall.

Yeah, those were the days. Now they can’t wait to kiss.

22. The worksheets were made of brownish, rough and poor quality paper.

I hated those. So much so that I always completed those of normal paper first and those of brownish paper last. I remember it was really hard to write on that kind of paper..the writing in pencil doesn’t show up well or something. Not to mention that they smelled awful.

23. The bookshop was always filled with people. To buy fancy notebooks, erasers, rulers, pencils, everything except books. It was cool to collect those stuff.

24. Talking about fanciful stationery, there were those fancy magnetic pencilboxes. At the push of some buttons, you had all the nifty gadgets like a thermometer and compass, tiny drawers or a sharpener. Basically anything you probably don’t need for school could be found inside.

25. The Shaker was the coolest mechanical pencil ever made. You were cool if you had one.

26. The only thing with pages that you bought from the bookshop was Young Generation magazine.

It was a monthly magazine at..$2 I think. I always tried to save up to buy it every month. There was Vinny the little Vampire, Suzy and of course Constable Acai. I loved sending mails to take part in the contests, but never won anything =/ Pity I couldn’t find a picture of an old issue. But it’s still being published now.

27. The school football field was hardly ever used for football. And the basketball hoops never had nets attached. Even if it did, the nets never lasted more than 1 week.

Don’t ask me what happened to the nets. But we didn’t play football at the field because firstly the school banned us from using it apart from PE and secondly we were using ping pong balls, remember? (can’t kick them in the grass)

28. Teacher’s Day was the day which we all did our best to show our love for our teachers, e.g. by making cards, gifts, etc. We would flood to the staff rooms and hand it to them personally. Children’s day was awesome because it would be the other way round.

I remember trying to come up with different designs of cards every year..And on children’s day we actually came to expect teachers to give us something. This included Yakult, sweets, chocolates etc. It was the only day we could eat in class. The most anticipated was my Maths teacher who always said she went to 牛车水 to buy us those sweets with a plum in centre. Either she was lying or she didn’t know NTUC sold them too. Anyway, we would compare to see which teacher gave the ‘best’ presents.

29. The telephone was our only source of communication after school. If we wanted to talk to our classmates at home, we had to pick up the phone and call. Which meant we could memorise the phone numbers of all our best friends.

I enjoyed chatting for hours with friends on the phone, only to get scolded by my parents later. And there were always long queues at the only coin phone in school, to tell your parents there was remedial that day, or ask them to bring the texttbook that you had left at home, to avoid the drastic consequences. (refer no. 6)

30. At lower primary, the boys’ shorts were actually open (no zip!) in the front.

I totally forgot this until I came across it in one of the forums. I think that was only for P1/P2 though.  Hahaha.

31. You either used a purse or a velcro wallet.

I hated those velcro wallets. You had to rip it open to get your money and the whole canteen would know you’re opening your wallet because of the noise. And for a while it was cool to have your wallet chained to your pants, using something that looked like a telephone cord with a hook at the end. It was usually bright coloured..to tell pickpockets where your wallet was, I suppose.

32. Teachers would paste coloured duct tapes around the corner of your workbook and that would be your group color for that year.

33. The longest queue is not found in the canteen but the classroom: we would queue up at the front to let the teacher mark our corrections before going back to our seats.

If your corrections were wrong you had to re-queue. I remember praying that my corrections would be correct so that I could go back to my seat ASAP to talk to my friends study on my own since the teacher was occupied with marking.

34. Everyone exchanged autograph books before we graduated. You wrote every little detail about yourself, including all your best friends and your ‘favourites’ list. The books were also were loaded with “Best Wishes”, “Forget Me Not”, “Friends Forever” and little poems like “Birds fly high, hard to catch. Friends like you, hard to find”.

This was why it was absolutely important to have a favourite TV show character, favourite Digimon, favourite drink..the list goes on and on. There was one more about “Roses are red, violets are blue.” Usually you started with your personal bio, then a favuorites list, a best friends list (people usually quarrelled about being included in the list or not) and concluded with some touching personal message to the owner of the book. You were cool if you could decorate your entry nicely. And even the relief teachers or teachers from NIE were made to write in our autograph books before they left. That’s for all the extra homework they gave us during their visit.

35. Well the last one..I thought it was particularly meaningful. I quote from one of the boards I’ve visited:

The 80s was when we see some classmates, during some course of our primary school lives (6-8 years), have black / blue patches of cloth pinned to their sleeves.
And, even back then, before days of National Education, we knew. We shared their sorrow.
We let them win in One Leg. We tried to avoid hitting them during Bola Rembat / Hentam Bola.
True Friendship.

Although by the 90s we were seeing less of this..but it was still in practice. (the cloth) For those who don’t know, this meant that one of the person’s close kins had just passed away. I guess this was what true friendship meant back then. It was our way of showing care for our friends, our concern for them.

In the best way we could think of with our little innocent minds.

I miss growing up in the 90′s. Don’t you?

These are the sites I visited for pictures, ideas etc.
http://sparklette.net/travel/singapore/80s-childhood/
http://sgforums.com/forums/8/topics/313832?page=19
http://www.cnngo.com/singapore/play/singapores-playgrounds-yesterday-483500
http://yesterday.sg/2006/06/lifeinthe80s/

(Source: jeremysng.wordpress.com)

INFOGRAPHIC: Singapore elections: What’s at stake

SINGAPORE - Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) faces its strongest challenge since independence when its citizens go to the polls on May 7. Eighty-two of the 87 seats in parliament will be contested, the only exception was the 5-seat constituency where Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, and four other PAP candidates were declared elected unopposed.

This infographic shows party seats in the outgoing Singapore parliament. With map of electoral constituencies and party logos. (Reuters News Graphics Service)

Data-Driven Documents

dont really know how this works but looks pretty cool.

10 significant visualisation developments: January to June 2011

The popularity of the data visualisation field continues at a real pace, with outstandingly innovative designs penetrating hitherto uncharted mainstream territories and thoughtful writing providing a binding narrative backdrop. Of course there continues to be many unanswered questions and challenging issues, not least in the form of the myriad examples of weak, misguided practice.

However, its the positives that I’m focusing on and I’d like to mark the half-way point of 2011 with a collection of the 10 most prominent, memorable, significant, progressive and (personally) appealing developments of the year so far.

There may be some surprising selections here, in some people’s eyes, but there’s good reason behind my inclusion of each one – they all contribute directly or indirectly, intentionally or otherwise, to furthering the progress of the field.

And so, in chronological order…

1. Mike Bostock’s D3

 

A great evolution in the development of visualisation programming tools, D3 is “is a small, free JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data“. Created by Mike Bostock, it is a successor to the popular Protovis and provides a fast, flexible and efficient visualisation framework for designing contemporary web-based visualisations.

2. Stephen Von Worley’s Data Pointed – US Population Growth Rings

If you haven’t seen these density maps showing the population growth (blue) and decline (red) across the US between 2000 and 2010 then you must check them out. Elegant, beautifully executed designs which provide real insight into the shifting population patterns of US cities, towns and suburbs.

3. LIVE Singapore

LIVE Singapore! is a really exciting project from the SENSEable City Lab and part of the Future Urban Mobility research initiative at the Singapore and MIT Alliance for Research and Technology. Researchers have collaborated on the development of an open platform for collating and publishing a range of innovative, real-time data visualisations about the city. So far there is a portfolio of six great visualisations which investigate different areas of interest and relevance to the city of Singapore.

4. Pete Warden’s iPhone tracker

I included this project by Pete Warden because it represented such a (relatively) simple, fast and effective way of exploiting the then revelation that iPhones were storing location coordinates and timestamps of owner’s movements. Rather than view this situation solely as a data privacy issue, the visualisation community typically saw it as a great opportunity to explore interesting patterns of their own geographical movements.

5. Flowing Data discussion – Business Intelligence vs. Infotainment

Over the past couple of months the blogosphere (hate myself for using that phrase!) agenda has been dominated by the relentless zeal of Stephen Few to challenge perceived bad practice, with David McCandless the apparent target of his ire. There has been a great deal of debate, disagreement and reaction to his series of posts, articles and discussions, with this exchange on Nathan’s FlowingData site being the highlight. Watch this space, though, because this will rumble on and on…

6. New York Times – Death of a Terrorist

Probably not a piece most would select, but I loved this interactive visualisation on the New York Times. It enabled readers to submit and classify their reaction to the death of Osama Bin Laden, based on a two-by-two matrix which plotted the polarity of emotional response with the perception of the event’s significance. This was such an intelligent way of deriving maximum value from what would have otherwise being a relentless stream of text based comments. Whilst it reveals patterns of perception it also reveals behavioural patterns in how we classify opinion, with the outer edges and diagonals noticeably hosting most of the reaction.

7. Call for higher standards in Infographics

At the same time as the Stephen Few debates were occurring, the visual journalism field was having its own high profile exchanges about the principles and practices of infographic design. It appeared that the breaking news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, and the accompanying infographic coverage (like the piece above) had pushed the effectiveness and discipline of infographic design into the spotlight. The Nieman Watchdog site published an article by Juan Antonio Giner (President of the Innovation International Media Consulting Group) and Alberto Cairo (Director of Infographics at Época) who proposed 6 key rules to protect the legitimacy and quality of infographic/visual journalism practice. This was met by a hugely favourable reaction and an impressive list of names and endorsements were quickly attached to this proposal. Another development to keep a close eye on.

8. OECD Better Life Index

This work would probably have made it on most peoples’ top ten list. A superb visual design and interactive solution, created by Moritz Stefaner, Jonas Leist and Timm Kekeritz, which enables people to explore the quality of life across the 34 member countries of the OECD based on 11 different customisable indicators. It has caught the imagination of the public with excellent visitor and usage levels, but it is no surprise as it perfectly achieves the critical balance between aesthetic beauty, intuitive engagement and accessible insights.

9. Data Without Borders

A recent launch that will develop more over the second 6 months of 2011, this is nevertheless an entirely worthy candidate for this top 10 list. Initiated by Jake Porway of the New York Times’ Research & Development team, Data Without Borders aims to establish a ‘data scientist exchange’, connecting the expert community of visualisation and analytical practitioners with non-profit and NGO organisations. It has received much positive coverage so far, building some great early momentum, which will hopefully translate into a successful implementation in the not-too-distant future.

10. Eyeo Festival

I wasn’t there, and neither were many. In fact I’m a bit grumpy and pained by this state of affairs. So why would I include it? Because it sounded immense. Those local souls who were in attendance seemed to rave about it with so much positive sentiment that I’ve rarely seen for any conference event of this nature. Those of us looking in from the outside were provided with a teasing glimpse of Eyeo’s leg through the prolific Twitter feeds that enlightened us with quotes, photos and live commentaries of some of the fantastic creative personalities and exhibitions taking place. You can read one of the many great accounts of the event here: day 1day 2 andday 3. Hopefully there will be an Eyeo II in 2012…

Special mentions…

Having struggled to keep this list down to only 10 (a list of ten items does make for a much more satisfactory headline!), here is the sub’s bench of special mentions who just missed out on a top 10 position:

Good Magazine – Are the richest Americans also the best educated? -  This generated a huge amount ofhealthychallengingtheory-based verbal energy about design theory and principles. Like some of the above listed milestones, only good can come out of these exchanges.

Visualising the seasons in Norway - Steven Kay’s beautful photo-visualisation collage of 365 individual images taken of the same garden scene throughout the year, revealing the seasonal patterns in nature, light and weather.

Food Consumed – Lauren Manning’s thesis project which explores multiple visualisation methods applied to one single data set. As of today this is still an ongoing project and it will be fascinating to see the results and conclusions.

13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

Not too long ago, we showcased the best infographics about social media that we could find on the net. This time round, we’re going to show you how infographics can enhance your knowledge of the interconnecting world of blogs which we call ‘blogosphere’. As the popularity of blogs increases, bloggers wish to know how they can draw more crowds to their posts or the entire site. Some may hope that they can earn more revenues from advertisers, while others are mostly concerned with the best method of sharing themselves with others. Regardless of the reason, it definitely helps to review information of your blog distributions, readers’ trends, the blogging economy, etc. There’s no better way to represent complex information like these in a visually pleasing infographic.

preview 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

We’ve compiled a neat list of infographics pertaining to blogging and the blogosphere, in the hope that bloggers (and potential ones) like yourself will acquire new knowledge about the blogging universe and perhaps improveon your site. At the very least, we hope these enticing infographics will make you feel intrigued about how far blogs have come along on the net. Enjoy!

 

The Evolution of The Blogger
If you ever wondered how blog started and become what it is now, check this out. You’ll be amazed to know how many different kind of bloggers there were in the span of two decades. (via Flowtown)

The Evolution of The Blogger 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

Who’s in the Blogosphere?
Numbers and more numbers… except that it’s presented in colored charts and bars. This infographic is a detailed breakdown of the profile of U.S. bloggers. (via Flowtown)

Whos in the Blogosphere 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

Anatomy of a WordPress Theme
This piece of infographic is your crash course on how WordPress works. If you’ve been so busy with blogging and don’t have time to figure out how your blogging platform works, just take a quick look at this. (via Yoast)

Anatomy of a WordPress Theme 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

State of the Blogosphere in 2010
Blogosphere represented as a universe of planets within a galaxy. Well-suited for the vast nature of the blogging community. (via Infographic Lab)

State of The Blogosphere 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

The Power of WordPress
A general introduction of how the WordPress has evolved over the past seven years as well as numerical and chart representations of various WordPress statistics. (via Testking)

The Power of WordPress 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

The Most Popular Design Blogs
A breakdown of a number of popular design blogs on how many Twitter Followers and Facebook Fans each one has. (via Testking)

The Most Popular Design Blogs 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

Search Benefits of the Blogosphere
A simple infographic promoting the benefits of the blogging community using cutesy birdies on a tree. (via Elliance)

Search Benefits of the Blogosphere 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

Self-hosted WordPress.org vs. Free WordPress.com
Potential bloggers: Unsure of what kind of WordPress platform to choose? This comprehensive comparison between self-hosted platform and free WordPress will help you in your decision. (via WPBeginner)

Self hosted WordPressorg vs Free WordPresscom 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

Ultimate Guide to Upgrade WordPress
WordPress bloggers will love this clear and clean flowchart detailing the steps to upgrade and safeguard their blogs. (via WPBeginner)

Ultimate Guide to Upgrade WordPress 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

Which Blogging Platform Should You Use?
A survey of bloggers’ preferences for blogging platform. WordPress emerged as the winner. (via WPBeginner)

Which Blogging Platform Should You Use 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

The Blog Economy
Substantial infographic that profiles the income levels of bloggers, blogging habits along with social media usages. (via Grasshopper Group)

The Blog Economy 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

The Blog Tree
Using a tree its leaves as a representation of popularity of a range of blogs, this infographic is indeed one-of-a-kind. (via JESS3)

The Blog Tree 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

Corporate Blogging: The Infographic
Infographics can do wonders like compressing a book like Corporate Blogging for Dummies into a flat piece of paper with all the key words atop. (via Marketing Technology Blog)

Corporate Blogging The Infographic 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

The Journey of a Successful Blog Post
A straightforward step-by-step process for any blog post to be get its well-deserved crowd. A must-see for all aspiring bloggers aiming to shoot his or her blog to fame. (via HowToMakeMyBlog)

The Journey of a Successful Blog Post 13 Infographics To Understand The Blogosphere Better

(bellefoong)

Colossal - Infographics!

hugeee collection of interesting infographics stuffzxzzz :D