Mama shop in Kampong Kapor Road
The mama shop is a grocer, stationer, pharmacy, toy shop and snack shop, all rolled into one. As a kid in the 1960s, I couldn't resist patronising the mama shop opposite my flat daily, sometimes even several times a day!
Yesterday's mama shop (photo courtesy of National Archives of Singapore)
So what merchandise did the mama shop sell which got kids like me all captivated? I remember quite a few things - some are no longer available while some are still sold today albeit the packaging and the manufacturers may be different.
Here are a few things that we used to buy and are no longer available now:
1. A game of tikam tikam for 5 cents a try;
Photo taken from Laokokok's blog on tikam tikam
2. "Five Rams" batteries. Can't remember how much these cost per piece but they were definitely cheaper than EverReady ones. The former were yellow in colour with a picture of 5 rams (what else?) printed on the battery while the EverReady ones were silver in colour, I think, and had a black cat jumping through the loop of a blue figure "9";
3. Ready-made paper kites which were sold at 5 cents each;
4. Powdered drink satchets which cost 5 cents each. Sold in plastic packs of about 2x4-inch size, they came in orange, lime and melon flavours. Each pack was accompanied by a thin plastic straw. The sugar powder in the satchet was intended to be dissolved in a cup of water and consumed as a drink. However, most of the kids preferred to suck the powder straight out of the packet. As the powder melted in our mouths, it produced a very cooling and shiok (pleasant) feeling. We relished it so much that we usually finished the whole satchet this way; and
5. Chewing gum or rather, what was more appropriately known at that time as "bubble gum". I usually bought those packed in a tiny box containing 2 half-inch sugar-coated balls of various colours. Although Wrigley's chewing gum was available then, I preferred the balls to the long one (pardon the language). As the name suggested, I blew bubbles with them and made loud "tock-tock" sounds while chewing them. To me, it was fun but the noise irritated anyone who happened to be nearby. As almost every Singaporean knows, bubble gum disappeared here not so much because of the passage of time but more due to the passage of a law banning it in 1982. Hmm... I can't seem to remember how I disposed of the bubble gum after I have chewed them. Maybe it ended up in the hair of my neighbour's kid. Haha.
Wrigley's Spearmint chewing gum
Sigh, 5 cents could certainly go a long, long way in the 1960s - there are just so many ways to spend it! In comparison, with 5 cents today, you can't even visit toilets that charge a minimum of 10 cents, regardless of whether your "business" is a big or small one.
If you are around my age, could you remember some other things sold by the mama shop which are no longer available today?