Monthly Archives: June 2016

A Vibrant Old Ferry Tale

The Grande Old Dame of the Penang ferries.  Built in Singapore in 1948, it was a one of a kind — it could dock at both the old terminals (Mitchell Pier & Victoria Pier) and the new (1959) terminals (Sultan Abdul Halim & Raja Tun Uda).

The Pulau Pinang was subtly different from the other 4, which were built in Hong Kong in 1959, viz., the Pulau’s Aman, Tioman, Langkawi and Pangkor.   It had wide gaping ‘mouths’ at both ends (maybe like Ronald McDonald’s) and, had only a single funnel (smoke stack). The other 4 had twin funnels (though one of the twin was a dummy).  

Compared to the current generation ones, this ferry was certainly more elegant-looking.

But for some uncanny reason, its engines seemed to resonate with the structure, causing vibrations that occurred every one to two minutes.  I remember this “vibrant” feature to this day.

Tanjung Pagar – Final Irony Derailed

Come 01 July 2016 and it will be 5 years since the last train operation ceased at this iconic station of British colonial legacy.

It also marked the end of an acrimonious bickering between Singapore and Malaysia on the relocation of the Malaysian CIQ.  And a happy resolution to the “one-upmanship” feud between LKY and Dr M.

In the preceding 5 years or so, a train traveler from Singapore to Malaysia had to “enter” Malaysia first before leaving Singapore 30 minutes’ journey later- a ironical (some say comical) drama of the immigration saga. 

Personally, this place reminds me of the day that my wife and I officially emigrated to Singapore in June of 1984.  With 2 suitcases and 2 carton boxes in tow, we disembarked from the Express Rakyat after a grueling 14-hour ride from Butterworth, tired but looking expectantly to greener pastures on The Little Red Dot.

Threw In My Vests, They Did The Rest

Well, almost … some time-honoured hand scrubbing was needed. OMO, FAB and BREEZE were the detergents of choice in the 50s-60s.

OMO was my earliest encounter. Not sure what OMO stood for; I thought it should have been OWO (one-woman operation) since my mum single-handedly did all the washing.

Not long after that came FAB – which could fabulously evict scums of any nature. Oh yes, later there was a solid-state variant called “Power Laundry Bar”, which came in the form of a blue  rectangular slab.

Finally came BREEZE which I suppose could make laundry work a breeze.

These old timers have long been overshadowed by so many other new brands, with offerings in both powder and liquid emulsified versions, including one that promises to make unsightly things (including your money, of course) VANISH.