Childhood Memories of Growing Up in the 1950s and 1960s
Our best and happy childhood memories and early childhood social development are linked to better emotional, spiritual and mental health later in life.
Life really was simpler back then. Most children had a sibling or two in the family. There are always cousins and neighbors to play with.
Back in the day, children were sophisticated socially and learned to adapt and communicate well. Generally, we were a playful lot, and we accepted punishment and caning as a result for being naughty.
It is different today with very young children spending a lot of time on their devices. For young children and teenagers growing up with high and continued usage of social media usage, there are perils.
Most prefer to form online connections and have a certain detachment socially.
“It’s all about how life was – our best childhood memories. While we were growing up as little boys around the age of 7 to 12 years old during the late 1950s to early 1960s.
Those Good old days were best childhood memories
“Rose Chan was our favorite performer. Wong Peng Soon was our favorite badminton player.
We reared Siamese fighting fishes, the seller was our idol.
Driving license renewal was by pasting an additional slip at the back of a small red booklet.
Susu Lembu was house delivered by our big friendly and strong Mr. Singh, on his bicycle is a stainless steel container. And the container cap served as a funnel.
Kacang Puteh man came peddling, walking and balancing on his head 6 compartments of different types of Kacang and Muruku … and we barter our old exercise books for a paper cone of Kacang Puteh.
F&N orange was served in wooden crates and displayed on a table during festivals like Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, etc. Eating chicken was rare and was a treat during festivals”
M&M’s was called Treats…
“We always carry a one ringgit note at night in case we were stopped by mata-mata for not having tail lights on our bicycles.
Char Kway Teow was only 30cents and some brought their egg. One Roti Canai cost 15 sen and a Banana for 5 cents.
We bought Roti Bengali from the Indian roti man who paddled his bicycle around the neighborhood with the familiar ringing sound.
At times we bought Cold Storage bread wrapped in waxed paper. Spread the bread with butter and kaya, wrapped back with the same waxed paper and take to school.
A crew cut haircut by the traveling Indian and Hockchew barber was only 30 cents; all the way to the top. Reason: – easy to dry when curi-curi swimming in the river or in the sea. Mostly with no swimming trunks, only birthday suits.
On Sunday morning listen to Kee Huat radio facts and fancies and Saturday night Top of the Pops by DJ Patrick Teoh.
On Saturdays, we entertained ourselves with cheap matinees, usually a cowboy or Greek mythology movies like Hercules. Father gave 70 cents for the Cheap Matinee screening at 10.30 am on Saturday/Sunday; 50 cents for a ticket, 20 cents for return bus fare, Kacang Puteh or Kua chi.
Nobody pays 1 ringgit for the reserved seat.
Iced Ang Tau was 10 cents Iced ball was only 5 cents with half red sugar, the other half black sugar or Sarsi.
Never, never, never talked or mixed with girls until Form 5.
We learned the waltz, cha-cha, rhumba, foxtrot and offbeat Cha-Cha-Cha from a classmate’s sister.
The first time dancing with a girl nearly freezes; my heart goes boom boom…”
Fondest Childhood Memories – Our Parents Loved Us Dearly
“We survived with mothers who had no maids. They cooked /cleaned while taking care of us at the same time. We took aspirin, candy floss, fizzy drinks, shaved ice with syrups … and diabetes were rare.
Salt added to Pepsi or Coke was a remedy for fever. Tonic water was taken at the first hint of malaria.
As children, we would ride with our parents on bicycles/ motorcycles for 2 or 3. Richer ones rode in cars with no seatbelts or airbags.
The first time, well not all but mostly, used a modern toilet by squatting on it; only know the bucket system. Our children will not know the danger of visiting the outdoor toilet at night nor jumping in fright when the man collected the bucket when we were still doing our business.
Toilet paper was torn up newspapers on a hook which we have to crumble it first. White toilet paper is an unknown luxury.
Riding at the back of a taxi was a special treat.
We Survived Jungles
“We went to the jungle to catch spiders without worries of Aedes mosquitoes. The worst disease one could get was a lockjaw caused by a rusty nail.
With mere 7 pebbles (stones) would be an endless game. With a ball (tennis ball best), we boys would run like crazy for hours.
We caught guppies in drains/canals and when it rained, we swam there.
We ate salty, very sweet & oily food, candies, bread, and real butter and drank condensed milk coffee/ tea, Ice Kacang, but we weren’t overweight because we ran and cycled all day.
Some of us fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and we still continued the stunts.
Most of us, never had birthday parties till we were 21. Others don’t even know what’s do big about the 21st birthday.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and just yelled for them!
When parents found out we were caned in school, it’s certain we would get another round. Parents always sided with the teachers.
We flew kites with string coated with pounded glass powder and horse glue and at times, cut our hands on the string. Happiness was winning a kite fight with a local Samseng.
We also have to make our own kites to suit our fighting styles. We were the last generation to know how to use logarithm tables and slide rulers.” – The original Script
Social Development in Early Childhood
A tremendous amount of social and emotional development takes place during early childhood.
Much of the fun of the 1950s was family oriented and centered around the children of the post-war baby boom.
When we were kids in the 50s and 60s, the toys we played with were Hula Hoops, Barbie dolls and electric train sets.
People took their entire family to the movie theaters. Family members of all ages enjoyed dancing and dancing lessons.
Before the age of Television, everyone learned to amuse themselves by singing or playing an instrument. Guitars (the Kapok of guitar) are commonly passed around and someone would play and everyone joins in the singing.
As children with so much freedom to run around, swim and play, experience temper tantrums, mood swings were rare. The children of the 50s and 60s could relate to their expanding social world.
Most learn to “behave” or rather to control their emotions as well even though “caning” by mothers are a common form of punishments for being naughty.
The Best Generation Growing up in the 50s and 60s
AND I believe this generation produces the best parents because we remember the hard times.
CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the government regulated our lives for good!! And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.”
After a bit of research, I found Chung Chow’s blog which credited the original script to his colleagues’ friend, Mr. M. Jaykas.
While 90% of the blogpost is written in English, there are some reference with some Malaysian terms – that I may have missed in the glossary—please share with us in the comments below!