This post is written in partnership with NDPeeps.
The more we age the more we love reminiscing the good ol’ days. It’s almost as if we don’t want to grow up (some of us really don’t want to). Even the older generation tend to go on about their kampong days.
As such, we asked millennials to recall their favourite and most Singaporean childhood activities from when they were in primary school. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most memorable activities from childhood!
1. Taking Neoprints
When camera phones were luxury and polaroid cameras not a trend yet, Neoprint shops were where we flocked to for group photos and entertainment.
Not only was it fun to be able to doodle, add cute stickers and other fancy effects on the photos, it felt like magic to see the photos drop out of that little collection slot. For primary school kids who were getting $2 to $5 worth of pocket money from our parents, Neoprints were affordable thrills.
2. Chatting On MSN Messenger
Who can forget MSN Messenger? We sent annoying winks and spammed nudges when someone went AFK and we repeatedly go online and offline just to catch our crush’s attention.
Way before we had Skype, Friendster, or Facebook, MSN Messenger was our social media. It was where we put up our display pictures, wrote our song lyric statuses, had our first group chats, and even played two-player games online.
3. Block Catching
Like catching but 10 times better, block catching was 10 floors (or more) of hiding at HDB stairways and screaming as we ran along the corridors like we were being chased by monsters, oblivious to how much of a nuisance we were to residents. The best thing is, we didn’t have to pay a single cent for so much fun.
4. Playing Other Social Games
Back in school, we had our own imaginative ways to fill our spare time. Be it over recess time or after school, all of us have played those hand clapping games like “Pepsi Cola 1 2 3” (our version of Thumb war), “Sally Sally Lom Chiam Pass”, “Vampire, Vampire, Vampire Cheh”, and “O Pillar Caterpillar”.
There are those that incorporated our whole body too, like Pepsi Cola 1 2 3 (leg version which required us to oust each other by stepping on another person’s feet), the Scissors, Paper, Stone game with legs stretching, Ice And Water, and Crocodile.
Then there are those we played with the use of some ‘props’, like the Cat’s Cradle String Game, Monkey, Poison Ball, and Flag Eraser Game. For the luckier kids, we had Digimon fights, Beyblade battles, and Tamiya races.
5. Creating Polyphonic Ringtones
While mobile phones were indestructible, we didn’t have the luxury of setting our favourite tunes as ringtones. We could, however, create our own polyphonic ringtones. Many of us end up mashing random buttons trying to create a tune that may sound remotely decent. More often than not, we end up with some weird Hotel-California-on-reverse kind of melody.
6. ‘Slacking’ On Special School Days
Whether it was Sports Day, Teacher’s Day, Children’s Day, or any other ‘special’ school days, we loved that we got to enjoy some official school hours on non-academic activities. It didn’t matter that we weren’t in any sports team or in any part of the performances, we were just thankful for the ‘break’.
7. P5 Camp
For a kid, P5 camp was freedom (away from the watchful eyes of our parents) and a taste of adulthood. It was probably also the first time many of us got to kayak, conquer a high elements obstacle course and flying fox, attempt rock climbing, went on a night walk, and had a campfire experience.
8. Doing Nothing After PSLE
There was that few weeks where we had no academic agenda after PSLE and being able to go to school without having to study at all was the best time ever. Some of us watched movies in school and others played card games. Lucky for me, my cohort got to go for field trips and we even got to stay overnight at Underwater World!
9. Writing Autograph Books
The post-PSLE period was also where many of us started our autograph books. From our birthdate and zodiac to our favourite food and pet peeves, autograph books were our way of remembering each other.
10. Watching NDP Rehearsals Live
Besides the P5 camp and special school days, one other memorable school activity was being able to catch the NDP rehearsal live at the Padang. Watching it on TV was one thing but it was a completely different experience when we first heard the roar of the airplanes flying overhead and seeing the fireworks live. As kids, we loved that we had a reason to dress up in red together with all our friends. It also felt like we were part of something bigger than we were, especially when we did the iconic Kallang Wave. Not forgetting the NDP fun packs filled with various snacks, noisemakers, and toys that make the parade that bit more fun – it was even a ‘thing’ to be carrying around the fun pack bags after.
Remember Our Past, Strive For Our Future
As we progress further into the digital age, let’s preserve all these truly Singaporean activities that were such a big part of our lives when we were kids.
And as we countdown to yet another year with Singapore’s birthday, let’s not forget all the little things that make us Singaporean. Instead of letting controversial events divide us, let’s stay united and help shape Singapore together for future generations.
What are some of the most nostalgic things you did in your childhood? Share them with us in the comments!