Stamps in memory of Singapore's Street Scenes

July 1st, 2014

This stamp issue features familiar street scenes of yesteryear - wet markets (S$1.10), transportation (S$2), Chinese Opera or Wayang (S$5), and night street markets (S$10). The complete set of stamps is priced at $18.10.

Open-air street wet markets were a common sight in Singapore in the 50s and 60s. They were a source of fresh produce such as live poultry, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, as well as household items. Often, mothers carrying baskets and with their young children, and grannies with hair tied in a bun would be seen haggling with stall holders over prices. One could also see domestic helpers or amahs in their traditional white blouse and black trousers (popularly known as Ma Jie) doing marketing.

A long forgotten relic of the past, electric trams were one of the earliest modes of public transport in Singapore. Trishaws were a common form of taxi service. The trishaw riders could ferry passengers sitting in the sidecar, which was attached to the bicycle, to their destinations. Bicycles were the mode of transport for man on the street then. One could see peddlers carrying their wares in wares in innovative ways while skillfully weaving in and out of traffic on the streets on their bicycles.

Chinese street opera, popularly known as Wayang, was a popular source of street entertainment in those days. Built on a makeshift wooden stage, performances were largely enacted in dialects such as Cantonese, Teochew and Hokkien, and traditional instruments like Erhu, Chinese drums and cymbals were used for the music. It often drew a packed crowd.

At night, the streets came alive with night market offering a range of goods and hawker food in push carts. Step into the night market, you could be greeted with mouth-watering world of local delicacies like Char Kway Teow, Bak Kut Tehs, satays, and Indian rojaks. These gastronomical affairs often began right after the street closed and lasted into the wee hours of the morning.

Tags: #Singapore