Article provided by National Library Board

Where can I learn about the favourite pastimes of yesteryears?


It is hard to imagine life without our electronic devices today, but people had just as much - or perhaps even more - fun unwinding in the pre-Netflix or Xbox days.

The National Archives of Singapore's Favourite Old Pastimes collection on its Blast from the Past microsite offers plenty of proof through a diverse array of videos, interviews and photographs.

Simple pleasures (Audio Interviews)

A common game during the kampung days, kite-fighting sees players competing to fly their kites the highest while attempting to cut others' kite lines with their own.

What was rare in those days, though, was going on family movie outings. Instead of popcorn, cinema-goers then often complete the experience with snacks bought from the kacang putih (nut snacks sold in paper cones) man. Once a common sight around cinemas and markets, these men who typically carry their wares on a tray perched atop their heads are a disappearing sight today, with few sellers continuing the trade.

For the adults, Mahjong (a Chinese tile-based game) and Chee Kee (a traditional card game) with neighbours and relatives were the games du jour that were enough to keep them entertained for hours.

Archive videos & photographs

Audio-visual recordings and images reveal other recreational activities that both young and old used to enjoy. For instance, long before Universal Studios Singapore, classic theme parks like Gay World and the Wonderland Amusement Park were crowd magnets that offered thrills and spills for the whole family.

  • For more fun facts, head to NAS' Blast from the Past microsite and take a ride down memory lane!

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