ReTRIeVIA

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Archive for the ‘Year 2003/ 2004’ Category

Retirement

The William Farquhar Collection of Natural History DrawingsMay I thank all the colleagues who combined to give me the book, The William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings.

It is a wonderful coffee-table book – I envisage endless hours of pleasure reading it at home. Before this, I could only read the copy in our NIE Library.

This coffee-table book costs quite a bit. You can get an idea of the cost when I tell you that it costs more than my coffee-table!

Thank you, dear colleagues.

May I also thank the dear colleagues who spent many hours creating gift-books. One gift book from the NIE-TGIF Nature Walk group had photos from the many outings that we enjoyed.

In one of the photos were 2 staff members who are now married. I have been told that their love for each other blossomed during the nature walks – and to think that all the time I thought we were just admiring flowers and plants. I won’t invade their privacy by telling you who they are. I am happy that the Nature Walks have been so fruitful.

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

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Written by Ivan Chew

15 February, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004

Forty-one years ago

I have now worked for 41 years; yet it seems like yesterday when I joined Raffles Institution as a teacher in 1964.

How things have changed.

You might not believe it when I tell you that the price of a brand-new car in the 1960s was $5,100/-. (My salary was $755/-a month.)

Even more incredible was the cost of buying a house. I have lived in my present house since 1969. It is a 2-storey corner house in Teachers’ Estate with about 3000 square feet of land and the price of it then was $26,500/-.

The housing project, under the initiative of the Singapore Teachers Union (STU), opened for booking in 1966. About a week after bookings started, my wife and I went to the STU office in Onan Road to take a look at the plan for the housing project.

There were GREEN, YELLOW and RED pins on some house lots on the plan while the rest of the lots were empty. Naturally, I enquired about the different-coloured pins.

RED meant that someone had indicated an interest in purchasing that unit; YELLOW meant that a booking fee had been paid and GREEN meant that the unit was taken since the 10% deposit had been paid.

There was one corner unit that my wife and I liked but it had a RED pin on it. I asked the person in charge and he explained that RED meant someone was interested but had not paid a booking fee.

Naturally, I asked whether we could ‘book’ it and the reply was: “Sure, if you pay the booking fee”.

“How much is the booking fee?”and the reply was $50/-.

Yes, you read it right —$50/-(Fifty Dollars).We paid the $50 on the spot.

However, to convert this into a firm reservation, the rest of the 10% ($2600) had to be paid within a week. Well, we came back 3 days later and paid the $2600/-.

As they say, the rest ( the escalation in prices of houses and cars in Singapore) is history.

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

14 February, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004

Mother’s Day

Since Mother’s Day sentiment is in the air, I can tell this story again. This is a story I tell my students when Mother’s Day is around the corner. The title of the story is “Jimmy and his dear old mother”.

Here it comes …

It is the first Monday morning after the long school holidays and, of course, Jimmy is very reluctant to get out of bed. His dear old mother comes and knocks on Jimmy’s door.

Mother: Hey, Jimmy. It’s already 6.00 am. Time to wake up and get ready for school.

Jimmy: Oh, Mother, I am so tired. Can I sleep another 15 minutes?

So dear old mother goes to the kitchen to make bread-toast and Milo. After 15 minutes she goes up the stairs and knocks very loudly on Jimmy’s door.

Mother: Hey, Jimmy. It’s 6.15 am now. Get up or you will be late for school.

Jimmy: Oh, Mother. I don’t feel like going to school. The teachers don’t like me and the students call me rude nicknames behindmy back.

Mother: But Jimmy, you must go to school. You don’t have a choice.

You are the school principal!

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

13 February, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004

A fishy grandfather story

You know grandparents are very indulgent people; my wife and I are no exception.

My grandchildren stay over at my house every weekend and 3 weeks ago they asked whether they could have a small aquarium tank in the house. My wife readily agreed and we went to the tropical-fish shop and bought several small fishes.

Some months earlier I had also asked to put up a small aquarium but my wife told me not to give her more household chores! As you can guess, grandma now has the honour and privilege of feeding the fish daily, washing the tank weekly, etc.

Anyway what I want to tell you is that, if any children want to rear fish, the Guppy Fish is not only great to look at but it is also pretty tough –all 5 of them are still surviving and shimmering in the little tank. Of course, grandfather being a collector of stamps (and many other kinds of junk, according to you know who) I also have stamps of Guppy fish (below).

Retrievia Excerpts 2003-2004

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

12 February, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004

The first Prime Minister of Malaysia

Younger people may not remember who was Malaysia’s first Prime Minister. To jog your memory, here is a First Day Cover honouring him, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Retrievia Excerpts 2003-2004

Notice that the postal code on it is 15 which is a 2-digit number. Singapore postal codes are now 6-digit. What happened?

Old timers will remember that 15 was the postal district number for the Katong area. The Siglap area, next to Katong, was postal district 16.

When did we change our postal codes from 2-digits?

The first change, from 2-digit to 4-digit numbers, took place in July 1979.

Here are the stamps.

Retrievia Excerpts 2003-2004

In September 1995, postal codes used 6-digit numbers.

Retrievia Excerpts 2003-2004

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

11 February, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004

School days and old days

Like many old Rafflesians, I am proud of the fact that I was a student (from 1954-1959) and, later, a teacher (from 1964 to 1968) in Singapore’s oldest school known as Raffles Institution (RI).

RI was founded in 1823. Although it is the oldest school in Singapore, it has not been featured on a Singapore stamp.

Once in a while I meet someone who says, “I come from a school older than yours. And there are stamps of our school”.

The older school is the Penang Free School, founded in 1816. Old ‘Frees’ should be delighted that their old school has a special philatelic issue (Stamps and First Day Cover) commemorating its 150th anniversary.

Retrievia Excerpts 2003-2004

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

10 February, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004

Laughter is the best medicine

Some colleagues told me that they got a good laugh out of the previous retrievia about ‘NUT’ lecturers and students. These colleagues also reminded me that “Laughter is the best medicine”.

Here is a little ‘mathematical proof’ that connects this proverb to the other proverb, “He who laughs last, laughs best”.

He who laughs last, laughs best (Given).

He who laughs last, lasts best (1st construction).

He who laughs, lasts (2nd construction)

Therefore, since laughter makes a person last, Laughter is the best medicine. (QED)

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

9 February, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004