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89 things 1980s S’porean babies will remember

Posted on 31 October 2012

This list will make you cry. If you grew up in that era.

For another 90 things that 1980s Singaporean babies miss, click here.

#1 Kaka, MSG-laced snack from Malaysia.

#2 Sng bao or ice pop, only 10 cents.

#3 Hiro chocolate cake, comes in strawberry flavour too!

#4 Khong Guan biscuits from metal tin, in circle or rectangle shapes.

#5 White Rabbit candy, with edible paper wrapping.

#6 Soft drinks in glass bottles, collectible items these days.

#7 A&W Root Beer Float, went extinct in 2003.

#8 Hawflakes, compulsory treat found in all goodie bags in school.

#9 Kuti-kuti, a game where players tried to flip plastic coloured animals on top of each other.

#10 Classic board games, comes in paperback travel packs

#11 Hopscotch, where kids got active before Wii ruined them.

#12 Five stones, where the kid with the biggest hands usually wins.

#13 Chapteh, good for soloing if you’re the only child.

#14 Goli, or marbles, fascinated kids who wondered how the colours got inside and the stuff of creepy HDB ghost stories where imps are supposedly bouncing them at night.

#15 Playgrounds with sand, a place that will make do for pretending that you were at the beach.

#16 Panini stickers and sticker book, highly valued collectibles for bragging rights. Each packet of stickers used to cost 50 cents. Cool kids usually bought the whole box.

#17 Stamps, if you weren’t a collector, you might as well have admitted to being an outcast.

#18 Old notes, highly prized if they were in mint condition and still kept in plastic.

#19 Old zodiac coins, your parents have them and showed them to you. But they won’t let you touch it.

#20 Phone cards, the higher the value, say $50, the cooler you are if you have them. $2 value cards are for chumps.

#21 Pop pop, fire crackers that sound exceptionally loud when played at the void decks due to echoes. Banned by authorities subsequently.

#22 Transformer pencil box, the more compartments, the more you feel like Optimus Prime. Some even came with a thermometer.

#23 Flag erasers, used for fighting with your friends. Never used to erase anything. True story.

#24 Pen-spinning, because there was no WiFi or 3G in class.

#25 White school shoes, where kids were offered so many choices in primary and secondary school: Pick either pure white, solid white or completely white.

#26 Alien Workshop, baggy jeans were a must-have when pairing with Converse shoes.

#27 Orange-pointed combs, where kids used to get punished for carrying them in their back pockets in school.

#28 Velcro wallets, made a lot of noise when peeled apart.

#29 Casio watches, the Nokia of digital watches. Indestructible.

#30 English pop, synonymous with shoulder pads.

#31 Xinyao, acoustic pop with wistful lyrics about lofty dreams.

#32 Mando & Canto pop, Alamak Wasapa Pilipala Aipupa!

#33 Cassette tapes, an era where music actually costs money. And tends to get tangled.

#34 Yaohan, departmental store that sold stuff.

#35 Daimaru, another departmental store that sold stuff.

#36 Emporium, another departmental store that eventually went bust in the 80s.

#37 OG, the rare departmental store from that era that is still surviving after all these years.

#38 Scotts shopping centre, located in Orchard but is no more after it was demolished in 2007.

#39 NBA, shown on Channel 5 before.

#40 Air Jordon, shoes popularised by the coolest man in basketball.

#41 European football, also telecasted free on Channel 5.

#42 Malaysia Cup, where Singapore fans actually turned up in droves to support the local team when we were actually winning matches. And you actually know who Lim Tong Hai and Michael Vana were.

#43 Mexico 86, a time when you did not have to pay to watch people kick a ball around.

#44 WWF, when Hulk Hogan was actually an inspiration and you tried to tear your shirt like he did but your mother will scold you.

#45 Old-style HDB flats, where all of them looked alike. And were actually affordable.

#46 Table tennis table, a time when you actually owned a table tennis net. Now you only have Internet.

#47 Stone table, where the void deck was actually a void and you could play chess on a surface filled with cigarette burns.

#48 MRT birth, a time when no one wanted to go Hougang because it was always so damn inconvenient.

#49 Trans-Island Bus, were rickety and non-air-conditioned. Extinct.

#50 Yellow-top taxi, still plying the road, but most likely, you’ll see the newer, stouter versions.

#51 Sentosa monorail, a treat for kids by parents who thought they were giving the little ones the gift of a lifetime by bringing them to Sentosa.

#52 Old school car, gone and extinct because they’ve all been scrapped due to COE scheme.

#53 Motorcycle with sidecar, the three-wheeled slow coaches.

#54 Home phone, a time when phones were really phones.

#55 Pay phone, every coffee shop had one.

#56 Pager, possibly the most useless device invented.

#57 Personal computer, if you had one… well, most likely not. But this is Creative Cubic 99.

#58 DOS, where you had to key your own commands.

#59 Floppy disk, where you could store 1.44 MB of memory. What?! That is half a Justin Bieber song.

#60 Genghis Khan video game, so popular you must have seen it when you walked into a PC shop selling pirated stuff. Along with Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

#61 Role-playing game, such as Prince of Persia, made you feel like you’ve accomplished something in life.

#62 EA Sports games, marked the start of sitting on your ass all day.

#63 Handheld game, helped you pass more than a thousand hours of your life.

#64 Nintendo, Super Mario. Enough said.

#65 Casio Western Bar, another top favourite handheld game.

#66 Racing game, damn it this was damn fun!

#67 Enid Blyton, before there was 50 Shades of Rubbish.

#68 Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, going out of the house to solve mysteries.

#69 True Singapore Ghosts Stories, before there was New Nation, this was local fiction.

#70 Lao Fu Zhi, he made you chuckle even though you don’t read Chinese.

#71 Doraemon, you always wished you had a robot cat friend who had the coolest contraptions.

#72 Tintin, the most respectable English comic you can read in class in front of your teacher.

#73 Transformers, a time before Megan Fox made us only want to check out her ass.

#74 MASK, pretty sure you had the red flying car toy.

#75 Smurfs, yes, you found the female Smurf hot and you have always thought that is wrong on some level.

#76 He-Man, hahahaha. Now he looks so wrong, prancing around in his underwear and kitty cat.

#77 Care bears, they made you like rainbows.

#78 My Little Pony, you had the small figurines. And stuffed toys.

#79 The Centurions, you had their action figure with interchangeable weapons and exo-frames that you could build up and swap around. (Note: Previously, it was mentioned that Centurions had hologram stickers. That is incorrect. Hologram stickers are the purview of the Visionaries.)

#80 ThunderCats and SilverHawks, where people morph into animals and do stuff.

#81 Scooby Doo, where you can always tell who the bad guy is.

#82 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, your first foray into naming ancient painters and sculptors.

#83 Walt Disney, taught you its ok if you don’t wear pants.

#84 Gummi Bears, you so wanted to be part of their adventure.

#85 Hanyu Pinyin names, until today, I don’t know what the fuss was about.

#86 Speak Mandarin Campaign, a failure since the 1980s.

#87 Stop At Two policy, have lesser kids they said. It will be fun they said.

#88 Courtesy campaign, gave us Singa the Lion. Who is still alive today.

#89 Clean campaign, which we should still have now. Because people can be such pigs.

All images stolen from here.

No Bookworm Club you say? Check out this other list of another 90 things 1980s Singaporean babies miss.











This post was written by:

- who has written 2685 posts on New Nation.

Wang Pei can be considered a new citizen of Singapore. She has been here all her life, just that her environment's changed beyond recognition.

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  • kw

    doraemon not an alien

    • New Nation

      Ok fixed! Made corrections to Doraemon!

  • Will

    Yes, Doraemon is a robot cat that was sent back in time by Nobita himself. Not an alien, no.

  • Rtk

    #60 is Genkhis khan not rtk….

    • New Nation

      Thanks for spotting the error! Edits have been made.

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  • jypt98

    No one wants to go to Hougang now as well, because it is still inconvenient.

    • Lol

      The new Hougang is Sengkang.

  • soundwave

    #79 The Centurions, you had their action figure with hologram sticker. – it should be the Visionaries with the hologram sticker.

    • New Nation

      Alright fixed the mistake! Yes, Visionaries were the one with the hologram sticker!

  • Prometheus

    collecting comics? Instead of torrenting the softcopy now….

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  • Olden Time

    Nice summary

  • mannekenpis

    #72 Tintin originated in Belgium, it is NOT an English comics series though it has been translated into English. #75 Smurfs also originated in Belgium.

  • Jenny

    The AsiaOne article and pictures are in turn stolen from here:

  • armenium

    Thank you so much for the memories….this is probably one of the best blog post i have seen in 2012 ^_^ although i must suggest, for the buses, if you have a shot of the old SBS bus and the old ticket slips / thin magnetic stored value cards (or did that came in the 90s?), that would have been something. i was born in 1980 btw.

  • nothing

    Ahh.. such a nostalgic article.. on a side note “Old notes, highly prized if they were new and still kept in plastic.” Old notes can’t be new. Use the expression “mint condition” cheers and thank you ^^

    • New Nation

      Thanks for the suggestion! Changed!

  • Haldir Aiacos

    #36 is the same as Oriental Emporium right?
    Cause I thot they’re around till the mid 1990s before being replaced by Bestway in the late 1990s? LOL! The other day found a Big Plastic Bag from it from its final years in AMK.

  • trot

    Young Generation Magazine is missing

  • Pingback: Another 90 things 1980s S’porean babies miss | New Nation

  • Bob
  • Ezekiel

    What happened to bookworm books??? whahahahaha

  • Brendon Liew

    I teared at #63…..

  • Hilmi

    dont forget the pink color care & share elephant back then.

  • Anand K7

    #31, 32, 85, 86… not meant to be..

  • BS

    Noo… where’s the nintendo console and sega consoles that comes with cartridges which you have to blow into to make it work xD

    • 85

      not only blowing into the cartridge, there was also the correct way to push it into the 64bit…..

  • runningmanaddict

    oh man… those good old times…

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