Bus tickets among donated items linked to S'pore's past

Besides bus tickets, Mr Sim Soo Tee also gave his collection of movie tickets (far left) from the 1970s and 1980s, issued by cinemas such as Odeon, Prince and Jubilee.
Besides bus tickets, Mr Sim Soo Tee also gave his collection of movie tickets (above left) from the 1970s and 1980s, issued by cinemas such as Odeon, Prince and Jubilee.PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD

National Archives received over 400 items, including comedy VCDs and WWII medal

Winding bus rides from his Paya Lebar home to Capitol Theatre in North Bridge Road to watch movies, and to Chung Cheng High School where he studied, are indelible memories from his teens for Mr Sim Soo Tee, now 70.

A uniformed bus conductor, carrying a green bag with stacks of bus tickets, would take Mr Sim's ticket and punch a hole on the number of the bus stop where he boarded to make sure he paid the right fare.

"Back then, it was a sweaty and uncomfortable experience because the buses had no air-con and no hydraulic steering," said Mr Sim, a former container truck and lorry driver, in Mandarin.

Those fond memories prompted him to collect bus tickets in running order from the 1960s and 1970s.

Yesterday, he donated the tickets to the National Archives of Singapore (NAS), which held a public donation drive at the National Library Building for historical materials related to Singapore's past.

By encouraging the public to contribute, NAS hopes the community will develop an appreciation of the country's history and heritage.

The donated materials will add to the National Library Board's (NLB)collection of photographs, documents, collaterals and audio-visual materials.

Ms Noor Fadilah Yusof, assistant director of records management at the NAS - which comes under the NLB - said the bus tickets were "significant and interesting".


Besides bus tickets, Mr Sim Soo Tee also gave his collection of movie tickets (above left) from the 1970s and 1980s, issued by cinemas such as Odeon, Prince and Jubilee. PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD

They will join the collection of materials on the transport system here.

Yesterday, library staff quickly assessed if the offers of donation met their requirements.

Potential donors were also asked to give background information on the items.

A full assessment will be held later to determine if the items will be added to NLB's collection.

The donated bus tickets were not from rides that Mr Sim had taken.

While browsing at flea markets in Chinatown, Sungei Road and Boat Quay after work, he had found SBS bus tickets with special serial numbers of 0000 and 9999.

He also unearthed Singapore to Johor Baru bus tickets that were in running order.

"I have kept them for decades in my cupboard.

"On Sundays, I would take them out to have a look and they would remind me of my younger days and how the pioneer generation worked hard to get this country going," said Mr Sim.

More than 400 items were collected yesterday, including a medal awarded to a voluntary firefighter for his service during World War II, a 1920s photograph of Geylang Methodist Girls' School, and VCDs of shows of popular comedy duo Wang Sha and Ye Feng.

The donation drive was part of the NAS' 50th anniversary this year.

Materials added to the collection will be preserved and made available to the public for personal research, academic work, publications or exhibitions.

Those keen to donate items can write in to NLB at nas@nlb.gov.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline 'Bus tickets among donated items linked to S'pore's past'. Print Edition | Subscribe