Happy Birthday Singapore

1955, off the troopship and transported by truck to Singapore railway station, handed a Lee Enfield rifle and ammo, to board the overnight train, first to KL, then onwards up country. First immpression, what a strange on board WC cmpartment, two footprints in raised relief and a hole in the floor!
Did the journey up and down the peninsula a few times, travel warrants didn't cover sleeping berths so on the night segment we usually forked out for them. They were like the long compartments in 'Some Like it Hot' and you soon realise that Malays never sleep.
Didn't fancy eating on the overnight train so the NAAfFI kiosk set up on the magnificent KL railway station was a welcome call for breakfast before setting off on the day segment to Prai (near Butterworth)
KL station was said to be modelled on the Indian stations and built to UK specs so the roof had to withstand so many inches of snow !
Singapore station is, alas no more, the southern train terminus is now just short of the causeway. The building has not been demolished and hopefully will be preserved along with the impressive murals depicting colonial Malayan scenes.
The SIngaporeans are turning the now disused trackway down from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar into an Urban country walk running the length of the island- we were hoping to walk it last year but it's not completed yet, the government is first cleverly digging up the track path, installing a large water main and then covering it over to may the trail- thus avoiding major disruptions if the water-main went by a different route.
 

KnockKnock

Old-Salt
Did the journey up and down the peninsula a few times, travel warrants didn't cover sleeping berths so on the night segment we usually forked out for them. They were like the long compartments in 'Some Like it Hot' and you soon realise that Malays never sleep.
Didn't fancy eating on the overnight train so the NAAfFI kiosk set up on the magnificent KL railway station was a welcome call for breakfast before setting off on the day segment to Prai (near Butterworth)
KL station was said to be modelled on the Indian stations and built to UK specs so the roof had to withstand so many inches of snow !
Singapore station is, alas no more, the southern train terminus is now just short of the causeway. The building has not been demolished and hopefully will be preserved along with the impressive murals depicting colonial Malayan scenes.
The SIngaporeans are turning the now disused trackway down from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar into an Urban country walk running the length of the island- we were hoping to walk it last year but it's not completed yet, the government is first cleverly digging up the track path, installing a large water main and then covering it over to may the trail- thus avoiding major disruptions if the water-main went by a different route.
The train in 1955 from Singapore Station and 'up country', via KL, was more like you see in a western film, with open platforms at the end of each carriage where we were ordered to take turn on armed guard duty throughout the night, (at 20 mph, the jungle noises in full volume) with an armoured engine up in front of the normal engine.
Less than a day after getting off the troopship, and just before going on guard, the prospect of standing over the lavatory hole in the floor with my feet in place on the 'footprints', one hand holding up my trousers, the other hand (mine also) steadying against the rocking and rolling train, became less of a daunting prospect.
 
The train in 1955 from Singapore Station and 'up country', via KL, was more like you see in a western film, with open platforms at the end of each carriage where we were ordered to take turn on armed guard duty throughout the night, (at 20 mph, the jungle noises in full volume) with an armoured engine up in front of the normal engine.
Less than a day after getting off the troopship, and just before going on guard, the prospect of standing over the lavatory hole in the floor with my feet in place on the 'footprints', one hand holding up my trousers, the other hand (mine also) steadying against the rocking and rolling train, became less of a daunting prospect.
That's an interesting picture, you've painted, such precautions were certainly necessary according to this flag-waving report from that period (1952)
<<
MALAYAN RAIL SAFEGUARDS,

MEASURES TO FOIL,TERRORISTS,

FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT,KUALA LUMPUR, June 8,

Communist terrorists have made more than 1,000 attacks on trains, permanent way, and stations of the Malayan Railway since the beginning of the emergency. More than 175 trains have been derailed and 145 fired upon, and 18 members of the staff and 33 passengers killed, but the trains have continued to run and the wealth of the country -millions of bales of rubber and tin ingots is moving to the ports in an unending stream.

The maintenance of this traffic is part of a decisive battle. frequent and lengthy stoppages would be a major victory for the terrorists. Keeping the line clear for traffic is a military objective, a rallying cry for thousands of railway workers; and no matter how serious the "incident " the breakdown gangs boast that they can clear the line in 24 hours.

Often derailments occur in thick jungle country or beneath some dominating hill which first has to be cleared by troops. Machine-guns and mortars are as much part of the equipment of these gangs as the heavy cranes and jacks. To clear the line quickly, derailed locomotives are rolled down slopes and recovered later piece by piece. This is rough treatment, but railway engines are sturdy machines and all casualties are repaired in the company's workshops. These have only recently recovered fully from allied bombing during the war-6,500 wagon-loads of debris were removed before rebuilding-but Malayan labour with little European supervision has proved to be more than adequate.

Drivers are mostly Eurasian, many of them sons of Englishmen who drove the first trains in Malaya. Their training is extensive and their standards high, and they regard themselves as aristocrats of labour. They ride on armour-girded footplates equipped with wireless transmitters in contact with police headquarters; troops or police travel in armoured cupolas, or old armoured cars carried on goods wagons at both ends of the train, but none of these precautions is effective against derailment.

To protect night mail trains and the goods trains that follow, a patrol engine with two crash wagons weighted to detonate explosives leads the way. Mounted at the front is an armoured section with searchlights trained on the whitewashed fishplates. Should a tampered rail be seen there are powerful brakes designed to stop the patrol train within the length of the beams of the searchlights. At the back is another armoured cupola equipped with a searchlight, to cover the jungle front for terrorists. Wireless contact with following trains is maintained.

The mail train has a good chance of avoiding a crash if the patrol engine is derailed; its powerful transmitter can provide immediate information to police headquarters. Normally police parties and the breakdown gang arrive quickly. Terrorists do not confine their attacks to trains; bridges are destroyed and railway stations attacked and burned. But the company has never been lost for an answer. When track patrols fail to find explosives the breakdown gangs are ready with their equipment.

If a station is destroyed-19 have been burned,- pre-fabricated buildings are moved to the site immediately. Good organization, intelligent precautions, and personal courage keep the trains moving. Decorations have been awarded, but they are not a true measure of the railwaymen's courage. The manager, Mr. Sanders, said that acts of bravery are too numerous and fortitude too constant.
>>
 
Today is Independence Day in Singapore, island of my birth.

9th August 1965 Singapore got independence from Malaya.

View attachment 495655
Not to be a nit picker but Singers didn't get independence from Malaya as it was never part of Malaya, it was part of Malaysia (the "SI" being the contraction of Singapore into Malaya to make the new state's name).
 
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Mind you, you'd die ten stone overweight with the food out there.
Yeah you'd die 10 stone overweight and with an alcohol dependency problem to numb the overwhelming sense of boredom that would send you into depression after three weeks.

Singapore is Asia Lite, or Asia for beginners as I call it. The nice, squeaky clean bit of Asia denuded of all the smells, excitement, vibrancy and fun that make Asia what it is. It's Milton Keynes on the equator, and as dull as dishwater.
 
I saw this video for the first time last year at an exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore,
watching it again this morning, I find it just as powerful.
The most cynical tears ever wept on live TV, old LKY knew what he was doing, he was delighted to get out of Malaysia to set up his own private little fiefdom that his family have ruled over ever since.
 
I get your drift about '...stuck up and snobbish.
But the so called 'Virgin Soldiers', the many thousands of us sent there on National Service in colonial days, did much to represent a different more down to earth type. They all, Malay, Indian, Chinese, couldn't do enough for us and the dollars we spent, helped their economy
Did you meet Pte Norman Stanley Fletcher? I believe that he was a National Serviceman fighting CT's in the jungles of Malaya at the time.

Although a former Argyle SNCO claims he was serving as a Pte in the RAOC in a Base Supply Depot in Singapore and spent his time nicking War Department stores and flogging them on the black market to the locals.
 
Yeah you'd die 10 stone overweight and with an alcohol dependency problem to numb the overwhelming sense of boredom that would send you into depression after three weeks.

Singapore is Asia Lite, or Asia for beginners as I call it. The nice, squeaky clean bit of Asia denuded of all the smells, excitement, vibrancy and fun that make Asia what it is. It's Milton Keynes on the equator, and as dull as dishwater.
Each to his own. It was never dull for me and I would quite happily have lived there.
Ive done the exiting bits of being in places where you're not sure if youre about to be robbed or worse, so its rather nice to do a bit of monotony and not worry about your imminent future.
 

KnockKnock

Old-Salt
Yeah you'd die 10 stone overweight and with an alcohol dependency problem to numb the overwhelming sense of boredom that would send you into depression after three weeks.

Singapore is Asia Lite, or Asia for beginners as I call it. The nice, squeaky clean bit of Asia denuded of all the smells, excitement, vibrancy and fun that make Asia what it is. It's Milton Keynes on the equator, and as dull as dishwater.
Beer at £10 (2009) for a large Tiger, would make alcohol dependency an expensive pursuit. There is still an old single storey building housing numerous food stalls, all at very reasonable prices. UK TV recently noted how one stall holder now has a michelin star and the queue for his food takes a couple of hours. If you can find the old 15 storey Bank building, it's then easy to find with the great cooking smells.
 

KnockKnock

Old-Salt
Did you meet Pte Norman Stanley Fletcher? I believe that he was a National Serviceman fighting CT's in the jungles of Malaya at the time.

Although a former Argyle SNCO claims he was serving as a Pte in the RAOC in a Base Supply Depot in Singapore and spent his time nicking War Department stores and flogging them on the black market to the locals.
Sounds as If he had a good time.
 
Malaysia (the "SI" being the contraction of Singapore into Malaya to make the new state's name).
Not so, the name Malaysia had been in use for decades before as a name for the Malaysian Archipelago, comprising of Malaya, Singapore, Borneo, Brunei, Sarawak & Sabah.
Originally the politicians in KL saw the future federation as Greater Malaysia.
Even if Singapore had no part in the new federation, its name would still have been Malaysia.
 

KnockKnock

Old-Salt
You're him aren't you?
Sorry to disappoint you, was it Fletcher (with the keys) when in Porridge who went on about his National Service? My time like many thousands of National Service personnel was up country for 17 months. Trips to Singapore were for a week or so short leave. (R&R)
 
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Places of birth are my 'thing' when I'm checking passports. Whenever I see Changi I say something like 'Ah, a pad brat! What was the ol' feller in then?' I've had some interesting conversations when it's not been too busy. My other favourite is 'Wiltshire or Rhodesia?' I've had a couple of those.
 

merchantman

War Hero
Beer at £10 (2009) for a large Tiger, would make alcohol dependency an expensive pursuit. There is still an old single storey building housing numerous food stalls, all at very reasonable prices. UK TV recently noted how one stall holder now has a michelin star and the queue for his food takes a couple of hours. If you can find the old 15 storey Bank building, it's then easy to find with the great cooking smells.
Still lots of food halls around Singapore, Lau Pa Sat is probably the one you are thinking of. Photo taken in 2018 from my apartment window. The road at the side, Boon Tat Street, was cordoned off in the evenings and the hut structures used as BBQ's serving satay, lamb, prawn and chicken washed down with jugs of beer.

Lau Pa Sat.JPG
 
Bumped into a few of them a while back. Not very friendly.
Really? That surprises me, I mean I am not doubting how you felt about them I am just intrigued as to the circumstances in which you found Indonesians unfriendly.

Indonesians, and they are a huge grab bag of different ethnicities and cultures, have many faults but the one fault I have never heard ascribed to them is unfriendliness. Most people regard Indonesians as very welcoming, easygoing, funny and hospitable people. Their womenfolk are extremely easy on the eye and combined with the hospitable aspect among their many charms quite a few western blokes have thoroughly enjoyed their encounters with the people of the Indonesian archipelago over the centuries.

Was there some specific incident that led you to form your opinion as to the unfriendliness of Indonesians?

ETA: It has just dawned on me that you may have encountered Indonesians in a professional capacity back during Konfrontasi when indeed the Indonesians weren't being terribly friendly at all.
 
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merchantman

War Hero
You're a cad for showing that.
probably less than 20 yards from my front door, are there several times. There was a nice bar on the opposite corner of Lau Pa Sat, on the corner of Cross St and Shenton Way which was nice for Sunday early doors beers and watching the world go by
 

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