Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It was a big deal back then

Back in the 70’s, if you’ve got a Colour TV with remote control, you will be beaming with pride when you invite your friends to your home to watch Channel 3, 5, 8 or 10.

In the 80’s, you will probably have the same “kick” if you can afford those Humongous $2000 or more VCR player to invite your friends over to watch “Men in the Net” or the “千王之王”.

I supposed the 90’s was those ear drums shattering Karaoke Laser Disc Machine complete with Home Entertainment System.

Nowadays, we have tons of other stuff to show off and everyone will have something to show off to somebody.

As long as you are the privileged few to own something before the rest does, you earn yourself the bragging rights.

So what do people living in 1930’s Tiong Bahru showed off back then?

Let’s travel back in time to the 1930s.

Imagine you got yourself invited to your friend’s place at Tiong Bahru.

After settling down in the small living hall, your friend volunteered to take you around the home.

Everyone jumps up in excitement and followed the host around.

He takes you to the light switches and starts to turn on and turn off the lights!

Wow! Everyone gasped with envy.

Then he brings you to the kitchen and turns on the tap.

Clean water comes out from the faucet immediately.

By now, everyone was starting to drool like the taps already.

The tour probably ended in the toilet.

All eyes were probably trained at the hole in the ground.....with lots of excitement in the air.

And when your host pulled a cord to flush the toilet, everyone was ecstatic and probably clapped!

We may think it is funny right now but that was how things were back then.

People were using the bucket system to clear their waste, candles or kerosene lamps to light up their evenings and water collected from some far away water points or wells for their bath or laundry.

Such modern amenities were probably only confined to the upper class.

I felt compelled to blog about this because many people kept asking me why can’t the architect for the Tiong Bahru Estate build more toilets in the first place.

If we understood under what circumstance these flats were built, we will understand why even ONE toilet in each home was already a DAMN big deal already.

I took this picture at the Zoo. Apparently, snakes like to hide amongst the waste buckets as it is dark and damp. So it may not be a relaxing activity in the past.

I should have poked my camera into the hole to show you the bucket.


Taoism said...

So out of curiosity. I know how nostalgic you are. Case in point, you blogs about the old windows. Would you mind if a new owner buys this flat and replaces the old toilet. I know if I were to buy that unit, the first thing I would do would be to replace that toilet. My legs are just not strong enough☺

SGalf said...

That toilet will be the 1st thing to go. I hate that stingy needle and pins feeling.

As for the windows, if they are still in a good condition, I will still try my best to kep them.

kelvin said...

I only know that my mom said that Tiong Bahru folks were rich - in that they can afford to eat eggs! She used to have a rare chance to visit classmates home here, and got to eat an egg (omelet i guess) as part of lunch or dinner with friend's family. That was a BIG thing.

SGalf said...

I think this post was inspired by the Heineken Walk In Fridge advert:

peter said...

squatting toilet is correct for former SIT flats but the flushing cistern is very modern. The cistern was very high up near the ceiling and water flowed down a pipe.