A Post About the 1960’s Where The Beatles, Traditional Food, and Haw Par Villa Rocks Your Socks Off!

This post is specially written and dedicated to my dad for Father’s Day and also for the Singapore Blog Awards 2013 themed challenge where we are to write about someone or something from the 60’s that inspires us.

As I thought about that one person from the 60’s whom inspires me, one person that comes straight to my mind would be my dad.

My dad is a very conservative and strict man and I likened him to the typical Regimental Sergeant Major in the Army. A man of few words, my dad always puts up a tough front but inwardly, he is actually a very caring and loving father. On most weekends, he would be at home listening to songs from the 60’s and when he dines out, he is usually on the hunt for some good local Asian food.

Found a really old Black Record with Classic Songs from The Beatles.

Posing with the rare treasure!

Like father like son, I gradually come to love the songs that he listens to and The Beatles is still one of my all-time favourite rock bands. One song by The Beatles that strikes a chord with me would be “Let It Be” and it is one of the songs that is found in the 12th and final studio album that was released shortly after The Beatles announced their break-up. I’m pretty sure most people would know this song but if you don’t, check out the song cover that I recently did:

Let It Be Song Cover

Very much like my dad, the hunt for good food is a natural instinct for me and when Jacqueline shared with me about a café that serves tasty local food, we drove right away to Old School Delights.

Old School Delights is located at 215M Upper Thomson Road [Singapore 574349], and they serve local food like Mee Siam, Mee Rebus, Laksa, Nasi Briyani, and many more. With a classic old-school kind of setting, the inspiration behind Old School Delights lies in the owners’ desire to serve home styled food which is prepared in a traditional manner with no MSG and artificial food enhancers used in the food preparation process.

Inside the cosy Old School Delights

When we were there, it was packed with diners and we highly recommend you to make a reservation if you’re planning to dine in big groups.

There are both indoor and outdoor dining areas and if you prefer to have a more spacious space for dining, we suggest that you opt for the outdoor dining area.

The props in the store were really old-school items that could hardly be found in modern Singapore and they even have old-school merchandise for sale.

Old School Props in the Store

Old School Merchandise for Sale

Interesting stuffs that we used to play with when we were still young.

While waiting for the food that we ordered, we were given a toy box which contained some classic games that we could play with to pass time. Some of the classic games include snakes and ladders, country eraser war, five stones, and happy family.

Wanna challenge me to a game of five stones?

Jumbo Otak [Side Dish]- $2.50

Best eaten hot, this large and sumptuous otak wrapped in banana leaf and made with fresh fish meat marinated with coconut milk and ground chilli is truly a local delight.

Choco-Teh-Cino [Beverage]- $4.90

A first for us, the Choco-Teh-Cino is a really unique beverage which tickles the taste buds and in case you’re wondering, the Choco-Teh-Cino tastes very much like hot chocolate and milk tea combined. However, we have to add that for the price of $4.90, it is quite overpriced.

Nasi Briyani [Main Course]- $10.80

The Nasi Briyani is only available during the weekends and I highly recommend it if you’re there on the weekends. Though it is somewhat expensive, the Nasi Briyani is probably one of Old School Delights’ signature dishes. The fried chicken is tender and crisp and accompanied with the fragrant basmati rice, the Nasi Briyani is a sure winner!

Mee Siam [Main Course]- $5.80

A 30-year old recipe comprising a secret blend of 11 fresh grounded spices, Old School Delights’ Mee Siam is a must-try for all Mee Siam aficionados. Personally, Jacqueline feels that the gravy is exceptionally tasty and flavourful.

Chendol [Dessert]- $4.50

We really like the Chendol because it completes our meal pretty well. No artificial sweeteners but pure 100% Gula Melaka and home-made, preservative-free Chendol worms are used to make the Chendol.

If you’re planning to visit Old School Delights, do note that their opening hours are 11:30am to 10:30pm, Tuesday to Friday, and 11:00am to 10:30pm, Saturday to Sunday. Old School Delights is closed on Mondays and if you want to make a reservation, you can ring them up at 64584518.

To walk down memory lane where nostalgia and comfort food are entwined, Old School Delights is definitely the place to consider and we guarantee that the experience will evoke some pleasant memories of your childhood.

Since we’re on the topic of the old times, Jacqueline and I made a trip to Haw Par Villa last weekend for some rediscovery of our childhood days and in fact, Haw Par Villa was an extremely popular theme park in the 1960s.

When we were there at Haw Par Villa, it really brought back many wonderful memories for the both of us and though many people would consider Haw Par Villa as one of the weirdest theme park in Asia, we guess everyone [more or less] would agree that it is a part of our childhood.

The park, originally called “Tiger Balm Gardens”, was built in 1937 by the Burmese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tiger Balm, as a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values. The “Haw Par” in the park’s name is based on the Aw brothers’ personal names – “Haw” and “Par”, which literally mean “tiger” and “leopard”.

A Photo with the Tiger Statue

A Photo with the Leopard Statue

Now, most of its compounds are either sealed off or not operational.

Wonder if anyone remembers what this place was used for in the past.

The park contains over 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese mythology, folklore, legends, history, and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism.

One of Aw Boon Haw’s famous Tiger Cars which still exists.

When I was young, I remember playing with the moustache of this statue.

This used to be the amphitheatre where people could catch performances.

The best known attraction in Haw Par Villa is the Ten Courts of Hell which features gruesome depictions of Hell in Chinese mythology and Buddhism. This attraction used to be set inside a 60-metre long trail of a Chinese dragon but the dragon has been demolished and it is now covered by grey stone walls.

To be honest, when we were inside the Ten Courts of Hell attraction, it still sends chills down my spine and that’s the reason why we didn’t take any photographs inside. However, if you’re wondering how the inside of the Ten Courts of Hell looks like, I managed to find a video on Youtube about it.

Our main mission when we were there was to locate the statues that Jacqueline took photos with when she was in her preschool years and boy, was it tough!

Laughing Buddha [Past], spot any difference?

Laughing Buddha [Present]

Wall Mural [Past]

Wall Mural [Present]

Journey to the West, Tripitaka’s White Horse [Past]

Journey to the West, Tripitaka’s White Horse [Present]

Journey to the West, Zhu Bajie [Past]

Journey to the West, Zhu Bajie [Present]

As you can see from the photos, some of the statues from the past are still around but much of the park has either been cordoned off or demolished. In fact, when I was searching for the Log Flume Ride that was a rather popular attraction in the past, it no longer exists and when I tried finding some other attractions that used to be rather popular in the past, it was no longer there and I kinda feel a tinge of sadness in my heart. Well, even though not much of Haw Par Villa remains, I believe that it will always have a special place in the hearts of those whom have had fond memories there.

If you’re interested to revisit your childhood days or just to check out Haw Par Villa, the most convenient form of transport to get there would be to take the train. The nearest MRT Station is Haw Par Villa MRT Station and the park is open everyday from 9am to 7pm. Admission is free but if you are driving into the compound, you will have to pay $5 per entry and there are carpark lots available for you to park your car.

With this, we hope that you enjoyed reading about the who and what [from the 1960’s’ that inspires us. Also, if you can, do cast your votes for us for the “Best Lifestle Blog” in the Singapore Blog Awards 2013.

To vote for us, simply register yourself as a voter via the following link: http://sgblogawards.omy.sg/2013/register/

Every voter can vote at least once a day till the 23rd of June 2013 and to reward you for voting, you might stand a chance to be one of the 5 lucky winners to walk away with either the JBL Charge Stereo Speaker worth $249 or the JBL Flip Stereo Speaker worth $195, all of which are kindly sponsored by JBL.

The competition is really stiff and every vote counts. We at A Winsome Life are counting on you to help us realise our dream of becoming Singapore’s Best Lifestyle Blog! Help us make it happen!


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