The day someone said Cheebye on radio

I only ever listen to the radio while driving, or when one of our friends is hosting a radio show. But this year, the stations (except the lonely non-Mediacorp ones) have been constantly reminding listeners that radio in Singapore is 75 years old.

They’ve been airing radio DJs talking about their favourite radio moments, and one of these clips has Maggie of The Gold Breakfast Show reminiscing about a program for kids in the late 70s and early 80s called “Happy Talk”.

Happy Talk was hosted by ventriloquist Victor Khoo and his puppet Charlee, and every Saturday, thousands of kids tuned in, suspending belief, thinking that Victor Khoo actually bothered to put his hand up Charlee to manipulate him when no one could see him anyway.

They even had a live call-in segment, where kids could win prizes if they answered a simple question correctly. There was no pre-screening of the call-in, and everything was ‘live’.

So on that fateful Saturday, Victor (or Charlee, I don’t remember), asked a six year old boy the question, “What is the female equivalent of a rooster?”

The boy didn’t seem to know the answer, and was umming and ahhing a bit, so Charlee (or Victor) rephrased the question, “If the male chicken called is a cock, what is the female chicken called?”

The boy’s answer was the most triumphant Cheebye I had ever heard. Victor was gobsmacked, and if he had really been operating/manipulating Charlee, the puppet must’ve been slack-jawed in horror.

Happy 75th, Radio Singapore.