Categories: Culture

16 Signs You Were Born Before 1990 In Singapore

Signs you were born before 1990

Images adapted from: Good Morning Yesterday, explore263, thepicker77, The Testcardiologist

You might use Instagram like a pro on the latest smartphone, or be totally lit at decoding millennial slang (no it doesn’t refer to lighting), yet we know you have a deep, dark secret. 

You, my friend, are not even born after the turn of the century. Nor were you born in the colourful 90s. Rather, you belong to the sacred tribe of the pre-90s, a time when DVDs reigned and phones were indestructible. 

Serenaded by the cries of “Omg, how time flies!”, here are 16 signs you’re a part of the ‘Before 90s’ squad: 

1. Your bus journeys started with this

Image credit: SMRT Blog

Whatever EZ-link, you ain’t got nothing on the satisfaction of feeding our bus cards into this iconic red machine.

2. This was how you made friends

Image credit: Wikipedia

Back in the mIRC days of “A/S/L?”, you used to slap people around with a large trout. 

/slap /slap /slap

3. Your phone never broke

Image credit: Know Your Meme

Nokia 3310, 8250 – we love these legends and how tough they were even when thrown from a window (tsk, cracked screen iPhones).

Also, the B&W days of Snake were the best. 

4. You were familiar with the dial up connection ringtone


This was the sound of nightmares, hopes and dreams and suspense all rolled into one. 


5. This was how you bid goodbye

Image credit: Remember Singapore

Today, we add each other on social media with the click of a button.

Back then, we told friends our favourite colour, birthday, hobbies, celebrity crush and wrote them mushy poems like “Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you”. Awww.

6. This was how you checked on everything

Image credit: Teletext

Bold primary colours, information on everything. Nope, that isn’t Google but the good ol’ information service Teletext.

Weather, TV programmes, stocks, 4D results… you name it, it’s got it. 

7. You were a pro at these games

Image credit: Elaine Wwsim

Zero Point. The game where you linked a million rubber bands into a “rope” and attempted to jump over it, from ankle level all the way up to your head level. 

Pepsi Cola – the game, not the drink – was also a hot favourite. All together now – “Pepsi Cola 1,2,3!”

8. You read these books

Whether it’s during silent reading or during your free time, you were more than acquainted with the likes of Smarty, Simone, Mimi or Old Master Q (Lao Fu Zi). 

Image adapted from: @sukoosuakoo and My Anime List

For more old-school books that shaped your childhood, read here.

9. You owned a pager

Specifically, a Motorola one. 

Image credit: explore263

The golden clip was the ultimate fashion accessory and later on, “51213143344” would become the ultimate declaration of love.  

10. You know what SBC and TCS are

Turns out the Singaporean love for acronyms has a long-standing history.

Before Mediacorp, there was TCS (Television Corporation of Singapore), and further back, there was SBC (Singapore Broadcasting Corporation). 

Sure, you knew this (it’s still on HDBs in Tampines)…

…But did you know about this clock?
Image credit: The Testcardiologist

11. You had to use this to make calls when you were outside

Image credit: Good Morning Yesterday

I’m at a payphone, trying to call home….Oh wait. Before Maroon 5, this was actually a thing. This orange, bulky coin phone used to be everywhere, and woe betide you if you didn’t have a ready supply of 10-cent coins.  

12. You pride yourself on being a young scientist

Image credit: thepicker77

First started in 1982, this badge collection programme had all of us identifying plants to be a Young Botanist, or drawing animals at the zoo for the Young Zoologist. 

The feeling of pride when we collected em’ all was like getting all 150 Pokemon – priceless. 

13. Cassette tapes and LaserDiscs were your BFFs

You might watch dramas on Netflix now, but in the past, huge LaserDiscs and cassettes were all the rage if you wanted to watch a flick or listen to music. 

Image credit: Sertanejo e Aqui

These were 6 times bigger than DVDs! 

And speaking of discs, remember how you used to burn them?

Image credit: Pinterest

Ok, not literally burn. It just meant that the data – in this case, music – is etched onto a CD so you can pass it over to your crush with a curated playlist that will express your lurveeee

14. You played games on these

The Atari 2600, NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), Neo Geo and Sega Mega Drive. These were the cartridge games of all yore that glued many people to their screens.

Image credit: Nintendo

Gamers spent hours on the titles like Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. And we’re still familiar with them today. 

Image credit: Nintendo

15. You were high-level with your stationery

Image credit: Of Kids and Education

Finland vs Singapore. This fierce battle was not played out in fields nor courts, but across primary school tables in the form of country erasers. 

16. You wore your bathing suits to these waterparks

Before Wild Wild Wet and Adventure Cove Sentosa, people were already bringing the whole fam to waterparks on weekends.

On the West side of Singapore you have Mitsukoshi Garden.

Image credit: National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

And in the East you have the almighty Big Splash, which had the tallest slide in the world back in the 80s. 

Image credit: National Archives of Singapore

Find out more about other old theme parks in Singapore here

The future’s here today

To be honest, I was surprised at how many things resonated when I looked at this list. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were reading those books and wielding our pagers? It goes to show that time slips by quickly, and I suspect it’ll get even faster as we get busy with the grind and adopt more responsibilities. 

Sure, we can’t stop the clock ticking, but what’s well within our control is to plan well for the future so we will arrive there triumphant rather than clueless. And one area we can do that is in the realm of financial responsibility. 

Take for instance, CPF. You hardly give it a thought because 1) it’s saved automatically 2) the savings are in your distant future so eh, it’s so far off. Else, you might think it’s something that only investment-type people look into.

Yet instead of going “YOLO!” and living purely in the here-and-now, a few minutes to understand how much you have in your CPF and how it can be best used would make all the difference when you’re a little older. 

As the wisdom of our childhood autograph books go, “Roses are red, violets are blue, time flies by fast, but I’m ready, are you?”

Find out how you can get ready for your future with CPF here!

This post was brought to you by the CPF Board.

Jessica Lai

I’ve been called basic, but I hold an advanced degree in Disney songs, pop psychology and losing things. 

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