It takes one TV interview and a short newspaper blurb before my mother discovers she’s Mr Miyagi’s mother. She’s just emailed me a warning that if ever she reads a joke about her goodself in this here blog, she will kill me dead. No matter if it was the church pastor who told her he read about this blog in Tuesday’s papers, and still no matter if he said it was pretty good stuff. She will still kill me dead if I joke about her.
So, no jokes about Mum. But plenty of leeway for blog posts about violence, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, or whatever it is that youngpeoplenowsaday listen to.
Speaking of youngpeoplenowsaday, a friend of mine told me she spoke with some of them, and all of them have no inkling about what Singapore was like in the 70s and 80s. TV serials like ‘Growing Up’ doesn’t help much to ameliorate the ignorance either. All you will get from watching ‘Growing Up’ is the idea that people in the 70s used to pout and frown a lot.
Like ferinstance, did you know it was illegal for males to sport long hair in the 70s? You either had to be a Sikh or get yourself shorn short back and sides if you wanted to walk down, say, any street people used to walk down in the 70s. Even male visitors, arriving at Paya Lebar (yes, there was an airport there) or any port of entry, had to have their hair inspected, and if it were deemed too long, officious immigration officers would also double as barbers. Clipped, on the spot, then off to the carousels to pick up your bags. No head massage, no shampoo, no fuss.
Did you also know about when it was actually really, really dangerous to go hiking or camping in Malaysia? A friend of my mother’s (Mum, this is not a joke) wanted to take me flying in his Cessna, but I wasn’t allowed to go, because there were Communists in the jungle and I’d be in danger if we crash landed in Taman Negara (and survived). From then till I turned six or so, I kept trying to draw pictures of animals with big mouths and sharp teeth and calling them Communists, because that was what I thought they were. It was only after I was told something something Emergency something Sukarno bomb McDonald’s House something Indonesia attack Singapore something Chin Peng something murderer, that I was enlightened.
Did you also know that ‘Enter The Dragon’ was banned in Singapore, ostensibly because it was violent?
Betcha didn’t know that before the New Paper, there was a tabloid called ‘The New Nation’, and that it was shut down?
Or that Sentosa, Singapore’s last resort island, was also home to Singapore’s last Communist-suspect detainee?
Or that 76 people died in the island’s worst industrial accident, which together with several other major accidents in the 70s and 80s, precipitated the creation of a proper civil defence force? (I was at home at the time the ship blew up, and nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard the explosion).
Didn’t know all that, didja? Didja?