More Singapore Nostalgia

I fell in love with Singapore on my first “overseas” posting when I was a young researcher working for Chong Lee Sah at Frank Small & Associates in 1978. Shortly after arriving I had the good fortune to meet the affable Ronni Pinsler who introduced wide-eyed arrivistes to the joys of Chinatown temples.

Ronni posing with Opera star

Singapore was just starting to boom and the mantra was modernity. Land was being reclaimed, high rise buildings were planted and much of Chinatown was being demolished. Son of Romanian Jewish parents who moved to Singapore, Ronni Pinsler was a legend then as a young photographer who presciently began archiving Singapore’s heritage which he knew was fast disappearing. He captured Singapore life generally but was an expert in Chinese opera and Taoist rituals.

His photographs and films of old Singapore bring a tear to all of us who had a pleasure of living here almost four decades ago. In 2010, Ronni was honoured by the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) for entrusting 15,000 images (shot on Kodachrome of course) to NAS on permanent loan as well as 30 films. Visit <; to see some of these exceptional photographs.

To hitch an early morning ride on a lorry to North Boat Quay in 1981 go to <;

This was posted by Michael Rogge and the next bit is Michael’s introduction “Ronni Pinsler filmed Singapore when it awakens and its hard working people get out of their beds for their daily tasks. In this case it is the well-known Goh Seng Lai firm employees that start constructing a platform at North Boat Quay for a forthcoming celebration. The lorry’s journey starts at Duxton Hill where the restaurant Broth is, turns right to Duxton Road where there’s an open air carpark on the right & a Chinese hostess/KTV bar on the left. It continues down Duxton where there are tons of pubs, a 7-11 on the left & Berjaya Hotel on the right before exiting Duxton at its intersection with Craig Road where you can see the bottom of a block of flats where Toof dental clinic is now.”

Boat Quay 1981

For more nostalgia take a trip to Remember Singapore. A superb blog…<;

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