Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Rediffusion And Lor Arh

Rediffusion And Its Glorious 63 Years

Rediffusion has officially walked into the history books as the midnight struck on the 30th of April 2012, bringing down the curtains of its glorious 63 years of operation.


It was 1949 when the first office of Rediffusion was set up here at Clemenceau Avenue. Rediffusion first started in London in 1928, before expanding to Asia after the Second World War, establishing in then-British colonies such as Hong Kong, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang) and Barbados.

During that era, the radio broadcasting technology remained largely at AM (Amplitude Modulation), which was often disrupted by noises and interferences. In contrast, the crystal clear sounds provided by the Rediffusion cable radios proved to be a big hit in Singapore. Thousands subscribed to its monthly rate of $5, a considerably large amount by the standards of that era, to enjoy radio programs in English, Malay, Indian and several Chinese dialects.


Legendary storytellers such as Lee Dai Soh 李大傻 (Cantonese), Ng Chia Kheng 黄正经 (Teochew), Ong Toh 王道 (Hokkien) and Chong Soon Fat 张顺发 (Hakka) helped Rediffusion cement its leading position in radio broadcasting from the fifties to seventies. Lee Dai Soh (1913 – 1989), in particular, mesmerised countless listeners with his charming narration of classics such as Monkey God and Return of the Condor Heroes. The programs in dialects were so popular that by the seventies, Rediffusion’s subscription rate hit almost 100,000.


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My First Contribution to the Singapore Memory Project

Joo Hwa Gateway Arch at Yuhua Primary

I have not updated the blog after the Sembawang Hills porsche post more than a week ago and, thinking blogging activity would be quite dead for a few more days, was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from NLB.

It was regarding a short post I wrote after visiting Yuhua Primary for a project where I found a cute Chinese gateway arch (above photo). NLB is working on an exhibition as part of Yuhua Open House Carnival in May and thought stories and photos on Yuhua would be useful. Examine the characters and lettering in my photo carefully; the name 'Yuhua' does have a longer history than most people realize.

They intend to show an excerpt of my story, which I have edited slightly for consumption by a wider audience. The whole story is also on SingaporeMemory.sg portal as they have done the uploading for me. Read it here. Hooray, my first contribution to the Singapore Memory Project though it was contributed not under my account.

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Singapore's Tanjong Pagar railway station to become an events venue?

Don't let this be the end of Singapore's Tanjong Pagar railway station; have a say in its future.

When Singapore's historic Tanjong Pagar railway station closed its gates on June 30, 2011, the question on everyone's mind was: what happens next?

According to a report by Channel News Asia (CNA), authorities are considering using the former station as an events venue, and possibly allowing site tours to be conducted.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) told CNA that it would work with relevant authorities to consider suitable uses for Tanjong Pagar and its sister station, Bukit Timah.

"As for the interim use of the Spooner Road apartments (former quarters) and the two railway stations (Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar), URA will work with relevant agencies to consider suitable uses," stated a URA spokesman.

"The idea to use part of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station as an events venue and to allow tour groups to visit the building can be considered together with other possible interim uses for the building."

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The Changi Museum Chapel, located at the open-air courtyard of the relocated Changi Museum, is a representative replica of the many chapels that were built during World War II. The relocation was done in February 2001.

The Chapel is dedicated to the memory of all POWs and internees who were incarcerated in Changi during 1942 to 1945. The Chapel was hand-built using Tembusu wood as the main material.

Taken On : 27 Nov 2008

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Lor Arh (braised duck)

Today's gourmet has to travel to a food centre or an eating house to eat lor arh or braised duck. In the 50s and 60s the reverse was true. The itinerant lor arh hawker would come to your door announcing his braised duck "lor arh, lor arh!".

Recently, a fellow blogger Jame Seah and I had the opportunity to act a lor arh hawker and his customer as in the old days, for a tv documentry on Heritage Food. The scene acted out was nostalgic and unique because only the lor arh hawker would play a game of dice with his customer, giving him a chance to win the braised duck instead of buying directly from him.


Lor Arh vendor and a customer getting ready for action


Sound, Lighting, Camera & Action!



Itinerant hawker acted by James Seah
Customer played by Philip Chew

Above picture shows only the main stuff - braised duck, egss and dices in a bowl for the game.
The Dice Game (4,5,6 or si go luck in Hokien)
Three dices are used. The customer throws the dices first into a bowl and let them roll. The dices must resulted in a paired number (say two 3s) and a single/challenged number (say 4). When there is no paired conbination, the player must continue to play the dices until there is a result.
If the 3 dices show number 1, 2 and 3, or a pair with the challenged number 1, the customer loses outright. That is the odd against him. If he wins the first round, he has to continue playing until he wins the best of 3 games to claim his prize of 3 eggs.
He could return the 3 eggs to play for a quarter duck, and then to half a duck and finally the whole duck. For each bet he must win the best of 3 games.
The basic price per game was 30 cents for the prize of 3 eggs. A customer could pay more to play for a quarter duck instead of starting with the basic 30 cents for 3 eggs.