Press Materials

Bestselling author and co-creator of Mr Kiasu James Suresh produces a SG50 illustrated book ‘Singapore in the 60s’


Bestselling author and co-creator of comic icons such as Mr Kiasu and Kopi Tiam, James Suresh writes an illustrated book ‘Singapore in the 60s’ which touches on life in the 60s when he grew up in a rented flat in Queenstown.

The book, supported by the SG50 Celebration Fund, is a recollection of childhood memories illustrated by his long time friend Syed Ismail who had also illustrated his previous books including ‘When I Was In Uniform’ and ‘On a Street In Singapore’ which has won two awards namely the Sunday Times Best Seller and Reader’s Choice award.

‘Singapore in the 60s’ is a personal account of sights, scenes and even smells of everyday life in Singapore 50 years ago. James hope to give young Singaporeans a glimpse of what life was like for children growing up in the 60s before the advent of mobile phones, computers, the internet, social media and cable TV.

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The author James Suresh remarked ‘When I tell my children that there were cows grazing on the grass outside my flat in Margaret Drive, they look at me with disbelief.  I realised that there are many Singaporeans who may not know what life was like in the 60s”

James believes the book will appeal to both young and old readers for different reasons. With his personal account of childhood experiences growing up in Singapore’s first satellite town and his description of lifestyle, recreation, people and practices, the book will trigger interest among young Singaporeans to learn more about what Singapore was like 50 years ago.

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“In the absence of electronic gadgets, the internet and endless TV programming, we spent many hours outdoors creating our own toys, climbing trees, exploring the forests, catching fish from the drains and generally pursuing a more adventurous and creative pastime’ James added.

Dr William Wan, Secretary General of the Singapore Kindness Movement, who wrote the foreword, describes the book as ‘evoking wonderful memories of people, places and practices of the era.”  He added ‘any reader old enough to remember the sights and sounds of the 60s will find this work most nostalgic.

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Radio personality Brian Richmond who spent his teen years in Queenstown describes the book as an accurate and amusing walk down memory lane.

The book which is divided into 6 chapters covers topics such as the neighbourhood and the kampong spirit that prevailed, the travelling hawkers and tradesmen, recreation, significant events, public amenities or the lack of it and Iconic places past and present.

With the assistance of the Character and Citizenship Education Department at the Ministry of Education, 4500 of the 5000 SG50 sponsored books will find their way into school libraries with 10 copies of the book made available to each school library in Singapore.

The author intends to donate the remaining books to his former primary school, secondary school and other institutions where he pursued his studies.

Some of illustrations and stories from the book are also being used by MOE’s student Development Curriculum division as teaching resources for teachers as they engage students in lessons leading up to National Day.

50 copies will be made available to the public through a social media contest to be announced at a later date.

Suresh with his family.
Suresh with his family.

Synopsis of the book

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‘Singapore In The 60s’ will be a personal recollection of experiences seen through the eyes of the author James Suresh who grew up in a rented flat in Margaret Drive, Queenstown, one of the first housing estates in Singapore.  The flats have since been demolished but the memories of life in the sixties will help the young to appreciate the past and the older Singaporean to recall and reminisce about days gone by. Through comic illustrations and humorous anecdotes young readers will get a glimpse of what life was like for the Singaporean child, teenager or adult 50 years ago. The book will provide a view of life in the heartlands and focus on everyday events like schooling, recreation, family activities, community interaction, entertainment, and major events that took place in the 60s

About the Author

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The writer of the book is co-creator of Singapore’s comic icon, Mr Kiasu, Kopi Tiam and other comic creations, brings with him a comic approach to storytelling. His recent book ‘on A Street In Singapore’ was listed on the Sunday Times Best sellers list for 5 weeks and was also awarded 2nd prize in the Reader’s choice award organised by Popular Bookstore.

 

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