Archive for the ‘19 Growing Up in Post-1965 Singapore’ Category

Growing up in post-1965 Singapore is a follow-up on s/pores Issue 16 Being young in the 1950s (published 30 January 2018).

For the former issue we were able to speak to only one person (born in 1940) on his days as a youngster in the 1950s. 

Those who were young children in the 1960s however are of an age where they can tell their story in writing about the transitions that they lived through with the country attaining full sovereignty in 1965.


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Standing Up and Being Counted: Lessons from my Childhood
by Kevin YL Tan



I never thought too seriously about my growing up years until I was invited to write this piece. All these years, I have always contented myself with the thought that I enjoyed a most fortunate and privileged childhood. But beyond that, I scarcely wondered how my growing up years affected the growth of my personality and interests. That’s partly because I am not a particularly reflexive person, and partly because I find that with hindsight, it much too easy and convenient to attribute, in Freudian fashion, all things – good and bad – to the experiences of our upbringing.


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Going to Where the Silence Is
by Fong Hoe Fang


[Title is taken from a quote by Amy Goodman, broadcast journalist, columnist, investigative reporter, author.]


The Child is the Father of the Man

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

My Heart Leaps Up
William Wordsworth

Fang Hoe Fang on His Motorbike

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A fierce Cantonese woman – growing up in Singapore in the 60s
by Chan Wai Han


Truly, Cantonese is my mother tongue, my heart language, as I grew up with my parents and Por-Por (my maternal Grandma) speaking to me in that dialect. My father, Chan Kwok Cheong (陈国璋) was born in 1925 in Sun Tak county, Guangdong province, China (中国广东省顺德县沙滘南村). He had come to Singapore as a stowaway at the age of 13 (according to Mother’s account), landing a job as a general help in an import-export company. Papa had taught me to write to Yeh-Yeh (my paternal Grandpa) in China when I had learnt enough Chinese vocabulary, so I had a special connection with the ancestral village and managed to visit it, first in 1986 and three times in year 2000 to arrange for the rebuilding of the ancestral home for my grandma and aunty.

Chan Wai Han Visiting China with Her Mother-in-Law in 1986

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