Growing up in Singapore
Growing up is no bed of roses. Like what we saw in Riley’s memory bank from the movie ‘Inside Out’, both good and bad experiences since birth take up space and leave their marks in our memory. As a sentimental girl, letting go of my possessions has been a struggle since young, as if disposing them would mean bidding goodbye to all the memories they’re linked to.
With SK Jewellery being awarded a Top Brand in Influential Brands' 2015 survey in the "Gold Jewellery" category, we take a look at the mementos we grow up with. Some, like the 21st birthday key necklace, we start appreciating only as we mature, while others will always leave an indelible mark in our hearts.
To all you sentimental ladies, here are 10 prized possessions you might have owned at some point of your life that will bring back some good memories to reminisce about.
1. Chou Chou” - Smelly pillow/bantal busuk
Chou chous can come in different shapes and sizes, but they all share one very distinct feature - the smell. Possibly an au naturel mix of tears, drool and some sweat, the smell formed over the years is an acquired one that is hardly appreciated by anyone else besides the owner herself.
Even when going overseas, our chou chou was always on our to-bring-list no matter how packed our luggages are. After decades of chewing, sniffing and sleeping together, the smell of chou chous gives this sense of security and familiarity that many of us still crave even as grown ups. It’s the most intimate and ‘personalized’ possession you can ever own in your life, no matter how gross it may be.
Warning: These must NEVER, ever be washed, not to mention thrown away. Not by the mother, and not by the helper. Not even when they’re old, dirty and torn apart.
2. Flashy school bags
Carrying schoolbags twice our size up the long flights of stairs is one of the most dreadful things to do as a primary school kid. But what’s worse than the weight on your shoulder was seeing that one cocky classmate casually swinging his new flashy school bag before your eyes as he overtook you.
What follows is a burning desire to up your school bag game, which your parents might give in to - if you were lucky. I remember wishing day and night for this pink Sailor Moon trolley bag, but eventually grew out of it before owning one.
The luckier kids who got their trolley bags soon realised that dragging their new trolley bags up the stairs was much more troublesome than it looked, but the thrill of owning one made up for that. “I have the coolest school bag now. Everything else is irrelevant.”
Way before camera phones became ubiquitous and Instagram filters helped to beautify all of us, neoprint machines were the ‘in’ thing every girls’ outing wouldn’t miss out on. After 5-10 minutes of intense posing in the cramped photobooth that barely fits everyone, we would race against the limited time given to decorate those precious shots.
The gratification is instant - with a few taps on the screen using the stylus, you get bigger eyes, flawless complexion, and tons of cute stamps to play with. The session usually ends with cutting the neoprints into individual pieces and having a hard time deciding who takes the biggest one.
Till today, some neoprints are still stubbornly stuck to the inner compartments of my wallet. We might have looked too kawaii to be true in the photos, but who cares? They make an iconic keepsake from those teenage years anyway.
Before blogs and other social media platforms, every girl I knew built their own magical world using pen and paper. Happy or sad, rain or shine, diaries were a safe haven to scribble down bits and pieces of nonsensical writing from the mind of a child, which often includes top secrets like the name of her first crush.
The best kind of these quirky notebooks are the ones that come with lock and key to protect the princess’ utmost secrets from all potential intruders (aka parents), making it one of the most personal property a girl can own. I used to tuck my diary away in the cupboard and the key below my mattress to ensure security, only to one day misplace the key.
Growing up, we might realise that we were never the princess we had thought we could be. Alas, a girl can dream, right?
5. Childhood storybooks
Ever received a good dream from BFG? Having splurged most of my MPH vouchers on countless Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl storybooks, these authors used to be the mighty builders of the fictional world in my head. I sound like a complete geek here, but back in the days before the Internet age took over, the best kind of shopping actually happened at book stores’ children section.
They’re just quietly sitting on my book shelves now, but it doesn’t change the fact that they told the most intriguing stories that lit up my world as a child.
6. Handwritten letters and cards
I know, I know. Why make greeting cards when you can buy them, and why buy them when sending birthday wishes is as easy as clicking a button on Facebook, right? But having your phone vibrating non-stop with Facebook notifications of acquaintances saying “Happy Birthday!” honestly feels nothing like receiving cards handmade by your friends.
It doesn’t matter if these are the least expensive items on this list, because handwritten letters and cards definitely win hands down when it comes to sincerity and sentimental values. Fifty years down the road, you’d be surprised at how you'll find yourself smiling at the different handwritings in faded ink, struggling to remember who these names belonged to.
7. First handphone
My first handphone was given to me in Primary 5, eons before fancy Apple products took over the IT world. The now obiang looking Nokia 3310 once made me a cool kid in school. Besides the obvious novelty, what made us value our first handphone so much was also the level of responsibility it granted us. It wasn't something we were used to at that age, but soon learnt to enjoy anyway.
I remember feeling like an adult for the first time, though all I really did was play endless games of Snake and download more fancy polyphonic ringtones and pixelated home screen logos than I should have. Over the years, we've all become guilty of ditching them for smarter, sleeker iPhones, but nothing’s quite as nostalgic as pressing on those solid dial pads.
8. 21st birthday diamond key necklace
Fast forward a decade or so, and we found ourselves nearing the age of 21 more quickly than we hoped. Adulthood doesn’t exactly happen overnight at the stroke of midnight, but like a child looking forward to unwrapping his christmas present, we anticipate it like never before.
Remember that proud moment when you received your own set of house keys from your parents? The number of keys we own increases as we shoulder more and more responsibilities as we grow older.
While most keys unlock actual doors, the diamond key necklace you receive on your 21st birthday opens up doors in life. Stepping into adulthood for the first time can be overwhelming, yet the endless possibilities and freedom that follow are what makes the journey exciting. If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then this will be one of the first few besties you’d make - a precious one that will stay by you for life.
9. First lipstick
Every girl has played with her mum’s makeup once when she’s young, dabbing products onto her face without the slightest knowledge of what they’re meant for. Even now, my mum still laughs at my first time playing with her lipstick when I was 7; I held it like a crayon and ended up looking like a clown.
Candies and stationery designed like lipsticks kept me happy as a teen, until I decided to save up for a legit one. Unfortunately I had no taste back then and picked a shade that I wouldn’t want to wear now. But every girl’s first lipstick will always mark her first giant step towards becoming a classy, fabulous woman - everything Coco Chanel tells us to be.
10. Engagement and Wedding rings
A woman’s dream wedding band need not be the most expensive one or have the biggest diamond. Marriage is a lifelong story to be filled with remarkable moments and sewn together with love. And through the years, the lifelong celebration of everlasting love with your other half will be best witnessed by the wedding band on your ring finger.
Rings are common accessories for girls, but their significance becomes life-changing when they make their appearances in our lives as wedding bands. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, they’re also a subtle way of announcing “I’m no longer left on the shelf!”
Marriage is a huge life decision, so huge that it’s almost intimidating. A blissful marriage encompasses so much more than material things. Just like choosing the right life partner, it’s not about finding the best of the lot; compatibility and comfort are just as essential.
11. First designer handbag
"I have too many handbags," says no girl ever. It’s not so much of the brand, but the satisfaction of finally buying the designer bag we’ve been eyeing on, with our very own hard earned cash! It works like a well-deserved pat on the back, except it’s one that’s tangible and actually looks good.
The pinch of saying goodbye to our first paycheck is real, but if it’s in exchange for that chic Prada Saffiano Vernice Dote Tote or staple Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Tote, we’re in. If anything, learning to make worthy investments in yourself is definitely one of the most essential lessons of growing up.
12. Dowry and Betrothal gifts
From worrying about our puppy love in secondary school to panicking over our prolonged singlehood as we start attending our peers’ weddings, our parents are the only ones more concerned about our love life than we are. Fret not, dad and mum, your daughter’s finally getting married!
Parental blessings play a bigger supporting role in your marriage than most people realise, simply because they’ve been there, done that. And even with the modernization of many wedding customs, traditional dowry sets like Si Dian Jin and Jiu Bao hold irreplaceable significance in Chinese weddings.
Si Dian Jin (四点金), which translates to 'four touches of gold', is a must-have dowry gift for the bride-to-be from the bridegroom's parents in Chinese weddings. Consisting of a necklace, bracelet, necklace and a pair of earrings, the 4-piece set not only has an aesthetically complete look which symbolizes a sense of timeless union, but also speaks of full commitment and trustworthiness between the new couple.
In Chinese culture, pure gold is the best representation of utmost auspiciousness and blessings. Made of the highest gold purity at 99.99%, SK Jewellery’s exquisite collection features intricate designs that go beyond traditional motifs while retaining the significance of parental blessings. Every 999 Pure Gold Si Dian Jin tells a story, one that every woman would keep for a lifetime.
About SK Jewellery
At SK Jewellery, every piece of jewellery tells a story. Since April 2004, SK Jewellery stands out from the rest with its continuous efforts in combining art, tradition and technology to make a wide range of jewellery accessible for women of all ages. From ah girls to ah ma, you’ll be surprised at how SK can offer beautifully crafted pieces for every lady’s liking, whatever occasion it may be.
Voted as Asia’s Top Influential Brand in the Gold Jewellery category, SK Jewellery proves to be one of the most outstanding homegrown brands that every Singaporean finds close to her heart, year after year.
With such a strong brand presence, their parent company Soo Kee Group's recent IPO should come as no surprise - after all, it's the next step for any company to increase its growth. As Soo Kee Group's CEO said, with the IPO proceeds, companies under Soo Kee Group will be able to expand their product line, networks and also increase their capability.
Here's hoping that Soo Kee will continue to help Singaporean girls make memories for decades to come.
About Influential Brands
Influential Brands is a consumer insight driven awards programme which provides a platform for brands to celebrate their achievement; for consumers, businesses and stakeholders to recognise the brands’ efforts in arriving where they are today. The study conducted by Influential Brands is purely consumer driven and the Top Brands are selected by consumers through their perception and preference, demonstrating the level of impact and influence of the brands in each consumer’s life.
Influential Brands seeks to identify consumer preferences, their behaviours, values and to understand how the ever-changing environment affects consumer experience in the purchase journey. The programme is tailored to enrich the brands’ relationship with their consumers through ongoing meaningful conversations and engagement.
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This is part of Influential Brands 2015, where we highlight the most influential brands in Singapore.