Saturday, 22 December 2007

Brand New

In 1981 when I first set foot in Singapore. I recall going into the Cold Storage supermarket to buy toothpaste. To my surprise there was a rack resembling the old-style Black & White Minstrel show with row after row of a toothpaste called Darkie.

In this politically correct day and age such a brand would not survive and as Toothpaste World reports:

Hong Kong’s Hazel & Hawley Chemical Co. would probably still be hawking Darkie toothpaste had the company not been acquired by Colgate. The Darkie brand’s Al Jolson-inspired logo, a grinning caricature in blackface and a top hat, was as offensive as its name. Colgate bought the company in 1985, and then ditched the logo and changed the product’s name to Darlie after US civil rights groups protested. However, the Cantonese name - Haak Yahn Nga Gou [้ป‘ไบบ็‰™่†] (Black Man Toothpaste) - remains.

Man's Imagination Knows No Bounds

We have just returned from an outing at Bugis Junction. In the old days, Bugis Street had rather a sleasy reputation but in typical Singaporean style it has been 'cleaned up' and sanitised into another shopping mall.

It was notable today that the place was packed with Xmas window shoppers. Not that many were carrying shopping bags and the younger set were there to see and be seen as well as going for the food.

Today's attraction to draw the punters was the "world's most expensive jewellery box" - all $2.37 million dollars of it.

You can see it in the foreground of the image at left. Unfortunately it was placed en-situ with an enormous, revolving mannequin. Most of the crowd were content to be photographed with the mannequin and missed the drawcard completely.

Also at the Mall I noted yet another stunning creation. This being the automated yakatori machine which grills satay-sized skewers of meat with convey belt consistency. It also is programmed to dunk variations into a marinade as part of the process.

Whatever happened to the satay vendor with the charcoal stove and palm fan?

The stall vendor got quite agitated when I used my mobile phone to take the photo at left.

Possibly this machine was a "rip-off" copy of a similarly patented device?

The smell of hawker-crafted satay on the evening air, once smelt, is never forgotten. But times change and the younger Singaporeans are more mall dwellers than their parents ever were.

The true satay stall is be coming increasingly harder to find as the old timers pass on and their children seek different employment.

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