TNP event a walk down memory lane for some SG50 Jubilee Big Walk participants
For some, the Jubilee trail brought them back to the Singapore of old
For the older walkers, the Jubilee Big Walk was a stroll down memory lane.
It was a bittersweet moment for a first-time walker, Mr Gary Tan, 66, an airline official, as he passed the Singapore River.
"It's a good thing the river is all cleaned up now, but I miss the atmosphere of this place in the 1960s.
"It was bustling and full of life, with hawkers selling delicious food and sampans along the river," Mr Tan said.
Three generations of Mr Tan's family had lived on Tong Watt Road, a 10-minute walk to the Singapore River, until the family moved to Farrer Park in 1971.
Even when the river was polluted, he would still spot one or two children jumping in for a swim.
Once a week, Mr Tan would enjoy meals such as kway chap, porridge and noodles, which costs 10 cents a plate, along the river.
His gaze would linger on the Chinese coolies, who were mostly immigrants from China, as they carried huge rice sacks from the sampans to the warehouses nearby.
Mr Michael Chow, 73, a retiree who used to work as a clerk at Fullerton Building, also echoed his love for the hawker food there.
Mr Chow said:"It was so convenient as the food which was delicious and cheap was literally sold in front of the doorstep of the building."
Mr Tan said wistfully: "When I miss my old home, I would come back here and walk by the river.
"All those memories will come flooding back to me again."
Mr Hussain Jumaat, 68, a retiree, used to earn a living in front of the Central Fire Station.
Mr Hussain said: "In the 1960s, when I was still a bachelor, I sold Malay kueh in front of the fire station.
"Most of my customers were the Malay fireman, who bought my epok-epok and goreng pisang, which cost only five or 10 cents a piece."
Sometimes, they would ask him to buy nasi bungkus (rice packet), so while they manned his cart for him, he would run off to buy the food and charge them 10 cents for his service.
At night after work, he would sometimes watch movies, which were screened at the Old Hill Street Police Station area. Cowboy movies were his favourite movies.
For another retiree, Mr Salim Suri, 63, the Padang is a place of both recreation and pride.
In the 1980s and 1990s, he sometimes played softball there with friends as it was a popular social and recreational space for both locals and European expatriates.
But Mr Salim's best Padang memories are the times he marched in the National Day Parades in the 1980s as a member of the NTUC contingent.
"The atmosphere during the National Day Parades at the Padang was great as we were in the heart of the city.
"I feel proud of my country when taking part in the parades. The parades were also a chance for me to show my gratitude to Singapore," said Mr Salim.
Madam Bennet Salina Abdullah, 68, a retiree, and her late husband, Mr Mahap, enjoyed going to the National Museum of Singapore, due to their love of all things historical.
Three to four times a year, the couple and their four children would visit the museum.
When the children grew up, they continued the tradition.
Said her daughter, Madam Rita, 36: "It seems like our love for the museum is being passed down to our children as well."
Madam Bennet said: "Now, when I visit the Museum with my family, I'll feel nostalgic as my husband passed away three years back. But when I think of all the happy memories I had with him here, I don't feel so sad."
"When I miss my old home, I would come back here and walk by the river."
- Mr Gary Tan, 66
HISTORY: Participants dressed in historical policeman uniforms.
Participants from Jamiyah Home for the Aged took part in the event.
Participants dress up as the iconic Dragon Slide playground.
Mr Gary Tan grew up near the Singapore River
Mr Michael Chow remembers the cheap hawker food sold near Fullerton Building.
Mr Hussain Jumaat used to sell Malay kueh in front of the Central Fire Station
Mr Salim Suri marched in National Day parades in the 1980s at the Padang.
Madam Bennet Salina Abdullah (in green headscarf) and her daughter, Madam Rita (in pink headscarf), love visiting the National Museum of Singapore.