Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Kacang Puteh anyone?

February 19, 2009

During my school days at SJI (now SAM), scatter a handful of peanuts and the pigeons comes fluttering to feed. This was quite a scene at the courtyard of former SJI (St Joseph’s Institution) now known as SAM (Singapore Art Museum). At one end of the school’s tuckshop sat an Indian man selling kacang puteh. In front of him was an array of plastic containers containing a variety of nuts. Cashew nuts, peanuts as well as the  sugar-coated ones, chick-peas, green peas and a variety of other nuts of sorts that catered to our likes. With his paper-cone ready, he will scoop your favourite nuts with a spoon and pour it into the paper-cone filling it to the brim. At only 20cents, you get to munch to your hearts content…and perhaps scatter a few pieces on the courtyard for the waiting pigeons. A familiar sight of the kacang puteh seller were also seen at the lobby area of cinemas. Cinema patrons would buy their favourite nuts and munch away while watching the movie. You may occasionally hear the crunching sound from the cinema patron seated next to you as one grinds away. Mostly plied by the Indians in the earlier years, the kacang puteh seller is now becoming a fast disappearing trade.

^ A kacang puteh seller dressed in white shirt and sarong plying his trade. (Photocredit: National Archives of Singapore, circa early 1990s)

If you happen to travel along Selegie Road, you may still catch a glimpse of the kacang puteh seller. Mr Nagappan, who has been selling kacang puteh for more than 15 years, sits at his pushcart in front of Peace Centre selling your favourite snack.

^ Below is the article published in The Straits Times seen in the above photo displayed on Mr Nagappan’s pushcart.

The Straits Times, Saturday May 21st 2005, by Lin Zhaowei

Sell kacang puteh? It’s a tough nut to crack.
For nine hours everyday, Mr Nagappan Arumugam faithfully stands at his little stall at Peace Centre shopping mall in Selegie Road, selling kacang puteh. His small metallic pushcart is stuffed with plastic bottles containing more than 20 varieties of peas, peanuts and beans. True to tradition, his one-dollar snacks are served in white paper cones.

His day begins at 11.30am, and when he gets tired, he pulls out his plastic stool to sit on. There is no signboard to indicate his presence and many people simply pass him by without a second glance. Mr Nagappan, 62, has been selling kacang puteh for about 15 years. Before he moved to his present location eight years ago, he was plying his trade at the old Hoover cinema in Balestier Road.

Before popcorn invaded cinema here, people picked up cones of kacang from sellers like him to munch through a movie. At that time, these kacang puteh sellers, dressed in their white shirts and sarongs, would roam the streets calling out to customers. They packed their nuts in bags, arranged them neatly in a wooden box and carried it on their heads. They sold the kacang in cones made of carbon-laced newspapers or torn pages from the Yellow Pages. Time has seen their numbers dwindle, as tastes change. The few existing sellers no longer peddle their goods on the streets.

It seems that tougher times are ahead for Mr Nagappan. “Business has gone down in recent years. I used to make about $700 to $800 a month. Now I make only about $200 to $300 monthly.” Mr Nagappan prepares most of his nuts himself in the rented flat he shares with a friend in Geylang Bahru. The rest are bought off the shelf.

He has a wife and four grown-up children in India, but could not convince them to live here with him. He visits them about once a year. He forsees the demise of the kacang puteh trade in around 10 years’ time. “Kacang puteh doesn’t appeal to the younger generation.”

If you still savour munching your favourite kacang from the paper-cone, perhaps this is one place you may still get to relieve the memories of your younger days…kacang puteh anyone?


Jeff Dunham the ventroloquist

June 6, 2008

It’s Friday and perhaps the performance of stand-up ventroloquist comedian Jeff Dunham gives you a well deserved break for the weekend.

The recent runaway success of this shrewd, contemporary, and cutting-edge comedy team has now moved Dunham and his three-foot tall sidekicks out of comedy clubs and into sold-out concert halls and performance arenas across the country. Dunham’s team consists of ‘Peanut’, a frenzied and fast self-described ‘comic genius’, who claims origin from an uncharted island in Micronesia. Then there’s ‘Walter’, an everyman-curmudgeon whose opinions on any person or any subject spew forth in a delightfully unbridled fashion; ‘José Jalapeño’ avoided his destiny to be eaten when he teamed up with Jeff after an accident in his home country of Mexico, which permanently placed him, ‘on a stEEK!’; There’s ‘Melvin’, a mild-mannered, no-real-power superhero who wants to save our country from evil, meanwhile he keeps getting locked inside the suitcase; And finally there’s ‘Achmed’, the dead terrorist…Yes, the dead terrorist. Did we mention this show was cutting-edge?

Here’s a bit more of Jeff Dunham from Wikipedia as well as his site at

Dr MM blogging too

May 2, 2008

Even bloggers now include politicians. Referring to an article published in TODAY newspaper, former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has created a blogsite. Here’s the article from TODAY.

How Dr M got his groove: Blogging
Ex-PM is newest politician to use Web to spread views KUALA LUMPUR – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad started his own blog yesterday, joining a growing band of politicians who are using the Internet to spread their views. In keeping with his vehement criticism of successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Dr Mahathir’s first post questioned the government’s recent decision to set up an independent commission to appoint judges. During his 22-year tenure from 1981 to 2003, Dr Mahathir was criticised for suppressing press freedom and clamping down on dissenting voices through strict laws. In his introductory note on the blog,, the former Premier said the site was “dedicated to publishing my writings as and when I am able to pen my thoughts and opinion”. “Che Det” was Dr Mahathir’s nickname as a child and his pen name. In his post, Dr Mahathir said the Constitution would have to be amended before a commission could appoint judges, which would require a two-third majority in Parliament, which the government does not have. His foray into the blogosphere follows similar moves by opposition leaders – the most prominent among them is Mr Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party, who was one of the first politicians to harness blogs and websites to reach voters. Mr Abdullah has admitted that his biggest mistake in the recent disastrous elections was to ignore cyber-campaigning. It was not clear what prompted Dr Mahathir to start his blog. But it could have been spurred by the fact that the mainstream media may be ignoring his bitterly critical remarks about Mr Abdullah. Mr Ahiruddin Atan, one of Malaysia’s most prominent blogger, lauded Dr Mahathir’s blog yesterday, saying: “Blogosphere will never be the same again.” — AGENCIES.

Queen of Striptease

April 29, 2008

For the older folks who lived through the 1950s and 1960s, the name Rose Chan is popularly well known in the cabaret circuit of Malaysia, Singapore and beyond. A cabaret girl which eventually become the Queen of Striptease when this happened…

While performing at the Majestic Theatre in Ipoh, her brassiere snapped. The enthusiastic applause from the audience caught her by surprise, and set her thinking: “Here I dance all night and sweat so much, and nobody claps. My bra breaks and they clap”.

Thus began the career of Rose Chan which incorporated striptease performances with a python coiled around her body among other stunts she performed on stage.

In an article published in today’s My Paper, movie director Eric Khoo is just looking for that person to take on the role of Rose Chan in his production Chinese Rose. “Do you have what it takes to do a Rose Chan?”

Wiki on Rose Chan.

Related links: Unforgettable Rose Chan

$3.40 for a 14 year old virgin

April 18, 2008

Bidding starts at $3.40 for a 14 year old virgin. The highest bidder can have her for as long as he likes – several hours, days, or even weeks. This is caste-based prostitution in the town of Bharatpur, India where the girls born from the Bedia tribe become prostitutes in a rite of passage into “adulthood”.

Read the full story.

What priced a girl’s virginity? For some, it is something sacred and holy that should be reserved till marriage. For some, perhaps it could be rite of passage into “adulthood” given the circumstances.

N/B: This post is meant to be an enlightening read and not in anyway aimed to degrade virginity to a traded commodity nor to degrade women.

F1 Pit-Stop Crew – 7 seconds

March 15, 2008

As the F1 cars arrive at their respective pit-stop during a race, the crew team will converge on the car and thus begin a simultaneous series of well-coordinated actions to refuel, replace tyres and all that is necessary to keep the car in tip top condition to continue the race – all in 7 seconds.

scan.jpgClick to enlarge

Samsui women

January 15, 2008

samsuiwomen31samsuiwomen34samsuiwomen95samsuiwomen98 Photocredit: National Archives of Singapore

“Samsui” in Cantonese means “three rivers” referring to the three rivers in Guangzhou (China) merging into one. This was where these Samsui women came from. In the hope of seeking a better life from their poverty stricken province, these women sailed the ardous journey from Guangzhou to Singapore in the early 20th century and became the women workforce in Singapore. Mainly working at construction sites and attired in their iconic big and bright red hats and blue-black samfoos, these women lived a simple and thrifty life living in the housing estates of Redhill, Tiong Bahru and Eu Tong Sen. Their dependable and resilient character were highly regarded. Who are these Samsui women?

An article appeared in today’s Straits Times describing The Samsui women of today. View the Photo Essay of Samsui women by photographer Sim Chi Yin.

Read, read, read

January 14, 2008

Read and read and read. A need to have a good command of the language for now and in the future through reading. No longer will the process of regurgitating information by rote learning. That was what the principal said to parents when I attended my child’s Sec 1 Parents Info Night. Read, understand, identify key points, analyse, explore alternatives, arrive at your own judgement. This is how the approach to learning will take place. Story about the Top PSLE student at Channel News Asia.

Singapore funny man

January 2, 2008

This videoclip appeared in Digital Life.

A place called “HOME”

November 28, 2007

Came across a fellow soldier’s webpage. It brought back wonderful memories eventhough it has been more than 20 years ago when I was in that Home