Monday, 14 May 2012

the good old days

Why do we start hankering for the good old days when we get older.  I hear plenty of people over 45 start a sentence with "when I was young" or "remember when"
Why do we do it.  Why do we sit and reminisce about the past as if things really were better.  We had no cell phones, no Internet, flying to London took us 24 hours instead of the 13 odd hours it now takes.  There was only one screen for everyone to watch one movie on the plane too!  Television was minimal, there were no cable channels, Singapore radio was bad,  it still is bad but at least we have more than one station now, even if they do play similar pop tunes.  There were only a handful of shopping centres, now we have a zillion malls. The buses were rickety, dirty old bone shakers and never came on time.  It took ages to get into town (Orchard Road), now there are highways and an underground train system. 
What is it about days long gone that we fondly remember.  Is it just that we were younger and we weren't in the rat race yet and we viewed the world though innocent eyes.  Do we only remember the good things in our past?
I have been revisiting the old places we used to go and in a fast developing country like Singapore it is hard to find places that haven't been torn down or redeveloped.  I was born and brought up in an area called Serangoon Gardens.  it was developed in the 1950's by the British and my grandfather bought a house there in 1955.  My parents bought a house there in 1971 and that is where I grew up, with cousins living round the corner from us and of course the Grandparents.  I went to primary school there, and the school is right in front of grandparents home.  The school is still there but has had a make over, my mums brother bought the house from my grandfather and he still lives there and my mum still lives in the house Dad and her bought in 1971.  The houses have been re done, the estate keeps getting re done and I look around and things are starting to look unfamiliar.  Is that what we hanker after, the familiarity?
Mum told me a couple of days ago that her old hair salon is going to close down soon, as the landlords are not going to renew the lease as a bank has offered more money.  That's whats been happening to the area, the old mom and pop stores are all gone ( except for one) and the old unique businesses are disappearing.  in its place is the usual banks, fast food places, restaurants and bars.  Gone is the corner shop where I bought second hand books, its where I bought and devoured silly mills & boon romances, gone is the old man who sold just about everything in his store, gone is the stationery shop called Popular store and no it isn't the chain stationery store that you find in every mall now.  There used to be a Garden book shop that sold all the teenage magazines that I used to buy.  Gone is the old man that used to sit in his shop repairing watches and clocks.  In its place are wine shops, restaurants, a mini mall all with cookie cutter stores like   McDonald's, Sushi Te, Cold storage, Harrys, to name just a few.
Its become quite soulless, devoid of character and atmosphere.

I cant find any old pictures of the estate, so I am going to wander around for the next month or so, taking pictures of the old untouched houses, shops and general areas. With this and my kitchen re modelling, so much to do, I just may be able to stop thinking of him and the failed attempt of a relationship.

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