You Are Never Too Cool For Old-School 

 

Every generation has a unique set of heirlooms that they hold close to their heart. While our parents and grandparents will leave us with antiques like ornamental wooden cabinets and intricate jade pieces, our generation found meaning in quirkier, more amusing items. 

Compared to the new Generation Z (The “Post-Millennials”), who were born right into an age of high-tech gadgets and social media, the typical Singaporean Generation Y childhood was much less complicated. But that doesn’t mean that it was any less precious. 

If any of these make you think back fondly on the days gone by, visit Capitol Piazza on 23 April 2016 to celebrate all things Singaporean at HSBC’s Treasures of Your World Fair and find out more about items that collectively make Singaporeans who we are,

 

1. Bestman Balloon

 

 

This is, by far, my favorite childhood toy. And I’m sure many also hold fond memories of playing with Bestman Plastic Balloons.

It takes true skill to successfully blow a perfectly shiny plastic balloon with zero holes, with the little straws and tubes filled with clear plastic gel. You could do anything with these buoyant balloons: Bat them around, balance them on your finger, and even combine several to form your own heat-proof plastic “snowman”!

 

The fun doesn’t end once the plastic balloon deflates. Roll up the leftover plastic into a ball, find an unsuspecting sibling/friend, and then smash it into the middle of their forehead. Let the chasing ensue. 

Price: $1.20 – $2 per pack 
Where To Get It: Sin Tat Toys Import and Export Trading (cheaper) and Children Little Museum 

 

2. Styrofoam DIY Plane

 

 

Styrofoam DIY models were the predecessor to fancy Lego figurines, albeit stripped down and more affordable.

These toys come deconstructed, in flat styrofoam sheets, and you’ll have to carefully crack the different components out in order to begin assembly. 

They may not have a thousand and one different bits and pieces like Lego toys, but building these model planes ain’t no walk in the park either. It took a good 45 minutes to painstakingly get all the pieces out in one piece, and then to assemble the whole thing without snapping anything. 

Price: $2
Where To Get It: SKP Party Shop 

 

3. Lidded Enamel Mug

 

 

Instead of falling into the new fad of mason jar mugs (which every smoothie-sipping, tea-drinking “hipster” seems to own), why not bring back the Enamel Mug, for a blast from the past. Not only are they sturdier and cheaper, they look infinitely cooler to boot! 

Mix up a mug of hot Milo or Horlicks in one of these funky vintage cups, and reminisce about the good old days. 

Price: $3 – $6 
Where To Get It: Hai Seng Porcelain 

 

4. Old School Card Games

 

 

Many a recess period was spent on round after round of these card games. It might have been years since you’ve played Old Maid, Donkey, Happy Family and Snap, but you’d certainly remember the iconic brightly coloured packs!

Price: $0.70 – $1 
Where To Get It: Sin Tat Toys Import and Export Trading, Children Little Museum, Biscuit King 

 

5. Kopi Cup 

 

 

These kopi mugs are a quintessential part of Singaporean life. You can’t pass by a kopitiam without spotting these floral patterned mugs, which always come with a matching saucer. 

You might even remember the peculiar time-saving kopi hack of your parents time: Pour the steaming hot beverage into the saucer in order to let it cool to drinking temperature, and slurp it up from there! 

Aside from holding your morning brew, you can even turn this cup into a stylish planter! It would make quite a statement living room piece, that’s for sure. 

Price: $2 
Where To Get It: Hai Seng Porcelain 

 

6. Mini Kitchen

 

 

Even in the days before Gordon Ramsay’s ultra-popular TV series, some of us were already training to be  the next junior MasterChef. 

We learnt how to chop, mince, slice and dice with these colourful Mini Kitchen food replicas, which ranged from desserts to fast food. Some even came with a set of mini-cutlery and dishes for serving up the “food”, allowing your “patrons” to enjoy a complete dining experience. 

Price: $6-$9
Where To Get It: Sin Tat Toys Import and Export Trading 

 

7. Tiffin Carrier

 

 

Tiffin carriers have been a staple in Singaporean households for decades, and are the perfect symbol of a mother’s love. Who needs stale, plastic-wrapped sandwiches, when you can get a pipping hot feast of yummy home-cooked dishes, courtesy of your mum. 

They are much less commonly seen nowadays, probably because they’re actually quite cumbersome and heavy. Nonetheless, they make a great showpiece for your kitchen! If you’re a true old soul, swap out your plastic lunchbox containers, for a less bulky mini tiffin carrier. 

Price: $18-$24
Where To Get It: Hai Seng Porcelain 

 

8. Pop Bomb

 

Pop Bombs are the most effective, badass playground-war weapon out there, and were the ultimate key to winning all battles. Just step on the centre of the foil packet, wait for it to inflate, and then RUN. Once you had possession of one of these, everyone was sure to be sent scurrying for cover. 

They are pretty elusive nowadays, but not yet entirely extinct. Do be careful while playing with these “explosive” toys; don’t toss them into anyone’s face!

Price: $2 for 5 pcs 
Where to get it: SKP Party Shop 

 

9. Propellor Toys

 

Forget drones. These flying disk launchers cost a mere fraction of the price, and they perform impressively for something made out of plastic; some versions can even hit a height of up to 3 stories! 

Price: $3.50
Where To Get It: Children Little Museum 

 

10. Rainbow Slinky

 

 

The Rainbow Slinky was a toy box staple. Sold at all neighbourhood party shops, these plastic slinkies came in mini-sizes as well. You could do all kinds of things with them, such as letting them tumble down the stairs, and even attempting to play jump rope with them. 

For the truly fashionable, wear these colourful coils on your arm as a chic, super-cheap accessory. #fashionhacks  

Price: $2
Where To Get It: Sin Tat Toys Import and Export Trading 

 

11. Slap Bracelet

 

 

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These colourful slap bracelets were EVERYWHERE, and you could get a handful from the school bookshop with a $2 note. Even though this childhood craze has long passed, there was no deny the popularity of slap bracelets. 

The allure of snap bracelets stem from their versatility; you can convert these sticks into bracelets, armbands, and even anklets! With these stylish bands, accessorizing had never been easier. 

Price: Around $0.50 per piece 
Where To Get It: Can be purchased online at Aliexpress.com

 

12. Funky Gear Rulers

 

 

These plastic Design Rulers were the perfect cheat for drawing perfect circles in art and math class. The ingenious design even allows for you to adjust the radius of the circles. 

They were also great for whittling the time away during a boring lesson; you can keep yourself fully preoccupied filling foolscap after foolscap, with geometric patterns and shapes. 

Price: $2
Where To Get It: Children Little Museum 

 

13. Wallet Spring Keychain 

 

 

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If you didn’t own one of these Spring Wallet Keychains in primary school, you’d have classmates who did. Aside from being the ultimate wallet thief deterrent, they were the perfect solution for forgetful primary school kids who kept misplacing their wallets. 

They weren’t just used for keeping wallets safe either. Many would recall using these spring keychains as makeshift flails during play-fights; swinging them in circles and attempting to “attack” their friends with them.

Price: $5 
Where To Get It: Can be purchased online at Aliexpress.com

 

14. Tikam Tikam Board 

 

Tikam Tikam, roughly translated to mean “anyhow anyhow”, is an unforgettable part of every Singaporean childhood. 

This popular children’s “gambling” game was often played at housing estate provision stores and toy stores. You’d pay a small sum of money (usually around $0.20 – $1) to randomly pick a ticket from the tikam tikam board. Depending on your luck, you could snag a small consolation snack, or walk away with a big ticket item like a pack of trading cards. 

Tikam Tikam boards have faded out from the mainstream shops, but we managed to track down this collector’s item! 

Price: $50 with no prizes, $150 with prizes 
Where To Get It: Children Little Museum 

 

Old Is Gold   

 

 

In this new era of lightning-fast digital developments and material pursuits, it’s a wonder that these nostalgic items are still around today. 

Nothing gold can stay, but hopefully these old-school treasures do, at least for the time being. 

 

What will YOU miss? 

 

While we are able to indulge in gadgets like Macbooks and electric scooters nowadays, they are often not the most “precious” items that we’ll want to pass down to our children. Curious, we took to the streets to find out what Singaporeans treasure the most: 

One generation’s heirlooms differ greatly from another. While our parents leave us with old-fashioned trinkets like musical boxes and jewelry, our generation will find meaning in an entirely different set of things, like the old-school memorabilia in this list that unfortunately won’t survive the test of time. 

Note: Event is now over.

On 23rd April 2016, come down to Capitol Piazza to find out more about treasures of Singapore in HSBC’s Treasures of Your World Fair from 10am to 8pm. There will be displays of artifacts from influencers and everyday Singaporeans, as well as family-fun retro games that will help you relive the good old days, so you can go down and be a part of Singapore’s shared history! We’ll see you there.


This post was brought to you by HSBC.