William Farquhar — The Other Founder of Singapore

Everyone knows Stamford Raffles as the Founder of Singapore. But in all his life, he only spent 8 months at the longest stretch on our little island. Raffles may have had the grand plans, but it was William Farquhar who stayed on and ruled in Singapore. He worked with the people here and took Singapore from the…

Singapore’s Bumboats

Once upon a time, the Singapore River was crowded with bumboats. They carried goods such as nutmeg and pepper between the ships moored out at sea and the warehouses, which were also called godowns. Back in the day, bumboats came in all colours, shapes and sizes.

Childhood Favourites – White Rabbit Candy

You can buy lots of sweets and candies in the shops these days. And there are huge shops selling nothing but candy too. But can you imagine that not that long ago, such a sight was not to be seen in Singapore? Many of the sweets we take for granted now — like the different…

How To Play Five Stones

This is one of the most well known games during the early days of Independent Singapore. Almost every school girl would have a set of five stones in her pocket or bag, ready to play with friends. You’ll need: At least 2 players, a flat surface to play on, and a set of five stones.…

When Singapore Queued For A Week

Queuing is a very Singaporean trait these days. We like things to be done orderly, and queuing is the fairest way to take turns. You’ll see Singaporeans queuing at food stalls, at the cashier, for buses, etc. But from 25 to 28 March 2015, Singaporeans queued like they had never queued before! You’ll see a…

Once Upon These Crops

Did you know that once upon a time, Singapore grew lots of important crops like nutmeg, rubber and even pepper? Singapore even became the centre of trade for some of these crops in Southeast Asia!

The Forgotten Opera House

Have you seen The Majestic in Chinatown? You can see a picture of it on page 16 of The Little Singapore Book. It is a very pretty building near the bustling Chinatown MRT station, with a beautiful tiled frontage. But you may easily miss it when you walk past, because hardly anyone ever walks in…

Singapore’s Philanthropists: Hospitals for the Poor

Over a hundred years ago, many immigrants in Singapore had to work really hard. Some became rich and were very generous with their money. Instead of keeping it to themselves, they shared their success by building hospitals and schools so that others, especially the poor, could make use of them and make their lives better too. These generous people…