With my bottle recycling business in tatters, I found difficulty filling the Post Office card with stamps. Moreover, the number of boys and girls made to stand at the back of the classroom dwindled. There were only three of us left – all boys. Mr Sir seemed to overlook the girls and focused on the boys. I did not want to be the last boy standing (and all of you thought it was a new reality TV program).

There are a total of 50 such stories… regarding life in rural 1960s Singapore, Chong Pang Village in Sembawang outside the former HM Naval Base which was the Royal Navy’s primary military base in the Far East until 1972.

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*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2011 ***


  1. Perhaps oddly, I never thought about money much, and seldom spent time trying to earn any. I think I just lack the entrepreneurial spirit. Perhaps it is genetic. None of the Boswells as far back as we know the family has ever been financially successful. The story is that the Boswells who came to America were five brothers, all in debtors prison in England, and were released on condition they would go to Georgia colony as indentured servants. We have kind of kept that tradition ever since, I suppose. For myself, the only things I can do really well are the things no one would ever pay me to do. There is some evidence that two of my sons may have escaped this family character trait; no doubt my wife’s influence.

    1. Here’s another comment that I overlooked – I wonder was it because they came in so long after the post date but even then, that’s no excuse.

      Thank you for sharing and all good wishes,

  2. This is simply a lot of fun. I can’t remember thinking that a bank book would grow money when I was a child, but I still remember getting a bank book, a dark blue one with gold lettering stamped on the cover. Unfortunately, it grew money as fast as the bank book in this story. That was my fault, though. There was always something better to do with money than stick it into a bank that gave back only numbers stamped on paper.

  3. I grew up without any bank savings account. The allowance given to me was spent on breakfast and during recess. Extras were kept in the piggy bank at home. Only started having a bank savings account when I started working. Bankers told us we would get interest by putting our money in their banks. Now, they are paying us ‘peanuts’ . Money is not growing πŸ™

  4. When you are poor – money never grows. Like you see in the movies, even your last penny will roll into the “longkang” (drain). Poor Leigh, sigh !!

  5. Man you have a good blog!!!! I can relate to the money not growing. They told me when i was a child to save the money and it will grow, but it never did!! I really enjoyed your post and i checked out some of the other ones, very impressive!

    1. Thank you very much for your encouraging words, Scott. I reckon they all forgot to mention the fat-cat bankers πŸ™ Hope to have you back.

      All good wishes, Eric

  6. Hello Tony,

    Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. You’re perceptive.

    Mechanic Leigh is a composite life of all the people I grew up with. Last weekend, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary School Reunion – you can well imagine the overflow of nostalgia. At one level, Mechanic Leigh helps my friends and I to relive our past, albeit in a whitewashed canvas.My posts traces the time we were 7 years to 16 (1962 to 1971).

    At another level, it addresses in a subtle manner the ills of our society – something you picked up. As I don’t want to come across as preachy – I leave most of my intent to individuals to mould as they see it.

    I like what I see in your blog and will be following your posts.

    Peace be with you, Eric

  7. Hello, Thank you for the ‘like’. I dug your post. Expect nothing from bankers seems to be your message. I agree..those A______s made their greed clear. Take a look at the economy..or should I say..one cannot help but look at the economy..Peace Tony

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