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4 Things We Miss About Our Childhood in ‘90s Singapore

With the end of 2019 rapidly approaching us and the prospect of entering into yet another decade, this meme is currently trending and going viral online. How many of you belong to this impressive group, by no effort of your own? #millenials

childhood nostalgia

A trademark of Millenials is the fast-paced, multi-tasking habits and being addicted to our smartphones. Somehow this is even more apparent in Asian cultures where we have been taught to keep our heads down and focus on our education since young.

Playtime and running barefoot in the park is definitely more representative of a time in the 90s when the tearing down of old school playgrounds surrounded by sandboxes and the proliferation of smartphones, which had not yet come into existence.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and experience a wave of nostalgia with a list of things we miss about our Singaporean Childhood of yesteryears as we enter the new year 2020.

1. Growing Up (Literally)

childhood nostalgia

Source: National Library Board

Back when television was an actual thing and not streamed online via our laptops or smart TVs on-demand, we always anticipated our weekly TCS sitcoms, with the longest running Singporean drama being a nation-wide favourite, Growing Up.

Pictures and clips circulating on the internet now definitely tug at our heartstrings and makes us long for simpler times. Alas, now we have all grown up and become (hopefully) fully-fledged adults, just like Jamie Yeo! The darling of the TCS now has her own kids, the perfect family… still looking as good as she did on the show almost 30 years ago!

Let’s not forget iconic sitcoms such as Under One Roof, or Phua Chu Kang which become perhaps infamous in the region, for the “legitimisation” of Singlish.

2. Mosaic playgrounds and sandboxes

childhood nostalgia

Source: National Heritage Board

As the Singaporean landscape underwent major transformations over the last 20-30 years, we find old-school playgrounds disappearing and being replaced with unimaginative, exact replicas of coloured metal bars in slides. No longer is the intrigue of discovering a whole new world inside those steel balls or at the bottom of those reflective metal slides that borderline burn your skin off if you slide too fast under the hot afternoon sun.

Understandably, the rubber mats and plastic material used for playgrounds nowadays are much safer for children, young and old, but seeing these pictures still bring back memories. Thankfully, there are still some of these remaining playgrounds that you can view and visit here.

3. Payphones

childhood nostalgia

Source: Space President Peace Flickr

Going back to the topic on smartphones – before these gadgets existed, guess what we had to depend on to contact our parents’ pagers to remind them to pick us up from the library or playground after we got bored? When you get a mini panic attack when you realise you only had a 20c coin and not a 10c coin and didn’t want to waste the money calling them because the additional 10c could get you a flavoured ice-pop!?

Props to our parents for actually letting us run around with our neighbours with just some little change in our pocket and expecting that we turn up home in time for lunch.

4. Childhood snacks

childhood nostalgia

Source: Blogspot

Before the days of a salted-egg yolk crazy nation, we had simpler snacks for easily satisfied kids- as long as it was colourful and sweet. To be fair, many of these “old-school” snacks are still produced and sold today, in neighbourhood shops to upscale kopitiams with fancy packaging.

Perhaps it is just the feeling of being a kid again when you eat those colourful sugary Iced Gems, those legit tasty “Tasty” biscuits or those gold chocolates that taste slightly off, a nostalgic feeling that comes with the taste of your childhood snacks and memories.

Sometimes people say nostalgia works in a way that makes yesteryears seem better than it really was. Nonetheless, there is no harm to reminisce these special parts of our lives growing up in a really unique city-state.

Read also: 3 long weekends in Singapore 2020

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