The best times of your life as a 90’s kid might be gone forever

The 90’s was an era where things were much simpler but with no lack of entertainment. Technology may not have been as advanced as today, but we were still happy and blessed nonetheless. There was no such thing as the iPad or the iPhone; instead, we spent more time outdoors running around playing games like block catching or ice and water. We were also born in a time where we got to witness the evolution of technology and the proliferation of the Internet – which is pretty cool, if you ask me. 😉 The 90’s brought us lots of fond memories, and here are 90 things from us that will surely resonate with the 90’s kids.

 Books

#1 Ladybird books. Peter and Jane were our childhood friends who taught us how to read when Mummy and Daddy were busy at work.

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#2 Enid Blyton books – hardcover books are the best!!!

Once, my teacher asked for the name of the most famous author around, and I excitedly shouted out “ENID BLYTON”. The answer she was looking for was William Shakespeare.

Unfortunately, her books are no longer produced in hardcover nowadays. 🙁

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#3 Bookworm Club. The stories may be short, but still made enjoyable with characters like Smarty, Mimi, Sam Seng, Simone, Fat Ani and friends. Bookworm Club representatives visited schools for storytelling sessions but never revealed the endings, because obviously you had to buy the books.

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#4 Goosebumps by R.L. Stine, which literally sent goosebumps down our spines.

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#5 Russell Lee and his True Singapore Ghost Stories that had us cowering in fear under our blankets.

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#6 Mr Midnight by James Lee  – not quite as realistic/ scary as Russell Lee’s, but still worth a read (and got you wondering if your classmates were real humans or monsters in disguise).

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#7 Roald Dahl books. Who could forget Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and her tyrannical headmistress Miss Trunchbull and The Witches and their square feet?

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#8 Sweet Valley High, which made us feel like lovestruck teenagers.

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 School

#9 Multipurpose pencil case — had secret compartments, sharpeners, and even a thermometer. Certainly felt like the Transformers.

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#10 Stackable pencil – which was really cool, until you lost one pellet and realised the pencil couldn’t be used anymore.

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#11 Those blue 50 cent notebooks from the school bookshop, which teachers made you write down your everyday homework in.

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#12 Autograph books, which were especially popular right before PSLE. Autograph books were exchanged and classmates you like would take a turn to write in your book, decorating it with poems. There was even a section where friends were ranked. Ouch.

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#13 Friendship bands, strings which girls weaved under the table to give to one another. Pretty similar to the Rainbow Loom bands kids are obsessed with nowadays.

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#14 OHP projector, which the AVA monitor was responsible for setting up. Remember the shadow puppets show performed using the OHP?

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Food

#15 Sng bao/ ice pop, icy goodness that cost only 10 cents. Simply snap it into half and eat it!

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#16 Finger snacks, they were cheap yet finger-licking good!

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#17 Fruity cream cone, where an empty cone is found inside the box with a tube of fruity cream. Squeeze the cream out into the cone and make it look like an ice cream. Probably doesn’t make much sense, but tasted good anyway. *shrugs*

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#18 Pola snack, which cost 20 cents at the canteen. There were also different animals on each snack.

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#19 Push Pops that came in various fruity flavours. Girls liked to use this as a ‘lipstick’ too.

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#20 Fake M&Ms. Didn’t taste as good as an M&M, but it was still fun to pop the chocolate out of the foil.

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#21 Haw flakes, known more affectionately as san zha. One is never enough!

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#22 Khong Guan biscuits that were sold by grams. The brand was synonymous with quality, with fancy gems being a hot favourite.

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#23 Wafer biscuits in bright colours that were easily available at bakeries.

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#24 Fish snack – it made a good snack to be hidden under the table and chomped on while the teacher is talking. Plus, your fingers remain spotless while snacking.

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#25 PEZ refillable candy. The candies were actually really meh. Guess the cute cartoon characters sat well with the kids.

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#26 Mamee Monster, the instant noodles snack you used to spam MSG with until Mom warned that MSG results in hair loss. *Gasps*

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#27 Piggy Biscuits – a must-have every Mid-Autumn Festival.

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#28 A&W Root Beer float, the good old days when A & W (and the cute freckly bear!) was available on our shores. Ah, that root beer float topped with soft serve ice cream.

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#29 Mini Melts, dispensed by a vending machine. It’s basically ice cream, but in a different form.

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Games/ Toys

#30 Bubble balloon – just blow them through the straw! You can even stack them or pop a hole in your balloon to continue blowing it.

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#31 Animal chess, also the kids’ version of the traditional Chinese chess.

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#32 Waterful ring-toss – sure looks harder than it seems. Warning: a sore thumb ensues!

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#33 Fashion Plates. Everyone can be a designer!

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#34 Barbie dolls, because it’s a must-have for every girl. Barbie’s other half, Ken, epitomises the Prince Charming every girl longs for.

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#35 Paper dolls – who needs Barbie dolls when paper ones suffice? Plus, they don’t take up as much space as that freaky Barbie.

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#36 Paper flipping game. Who says entertainment has to come at a cost? You could write different messages on it, or even try to decipher if your crush likes you! Can also be used to solve Multiple Choice Questions.

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#37 Card games like Snap, Old Maid, Donkey and Happy Family. Every kid knew how to play them!

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#38 Tamagotchi – cleaning up poop was actually… fun!

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#39 Game Boy. Blowing into the cartridge was the easiest fix ever.

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#40 Pokemon figurines. One used to cost about a dollar, and the goal was to try to collect ’em all.

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#41 Street Fighter. All the girls wanted to be Chun Li, and all the guys argued between Ken and Ryu.

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#42 Sonic the Hedgehog, guess it was only until we were much older did we know that hedgehogs aren’t actually blue.

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#43 Super Mario, who has a brother named Luigi and their mission is to restore Dinosaur Land’s order. Too cute 🙂 🙂

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Check out the other games kids played in the 90’s here.

Entertainment

#44 Trading card machines, ‘cos 20 cents can buy you happiness. If you’re pro enough, you can also cheat the machine into dispensing more than one card per spin.

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#45 Saga seeds. Kids would go to various locations to collect these pretty seeds and store them into glass bottles to be admired.

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Technology

#46 This message, ‘cos we actually bothered turning off our computers.

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#47 Computer screensavers. Watching the animation never failed to amaze (and make one get dizzy spells).

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#48 Old Nokia phones that we could play Snake on. Nowadays people download the old snake interface to play on their trendy iPhones. Lolz.

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#49 Sony Walkman, you get to listen to your favourite music anywhere, anytime! One drawback though, you have to fumble to reach out for another disc and pop it into the Walkman when you’re done with your current CD. So uncool.

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#50 Film cameras. So leceh, have to head to the nearest shop providing photo services to develop your photos. But hey, it also makes the captured moments more sacred with no retakes.

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#51 Dial up modems. Getting online meant having to connect the wires and ‘dialling up’ before you can get on the WWW. Getting connected on-the-go was a dream – even slow GPRS on mobile phones costed a bomb.

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#52 Video tapes, which you could use to record your favourite shows and watch it later. The best part is that you get to skip the boring parts or advertisements by fast forwarding.

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Online Games

#53 Neopets, where we spent hours playing games like Meerca Chase and getting a petpet for our neopet and a petpetpet for our petpet.

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#54 Habbo Hotel, where we asked about each another’s asl (age/sex/location). We also went for falling furni games to earn furni for our rooms.

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Messengers/ Social Networking Sites

#55 MSN Messenger. I’m sure all the 90s kids would sigh with nostalgia at this. Oh, the fond memories of MSN. Everyone had to have some kind of status message else they weren’t cool. You could even send winks! R.I.P, MSN messenger 🙁

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#56 Yahoo Messenger. Albeit less popular, it provided another platform for chatting with our friends. Yahoo’s even had a version of MSN winks called audibles and some of them sang. My favourite one was an audible that sang “See ya, won’t wanna be ya!”.

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#57 Friendster, where your popularity was determined by Testimonials. Kids would go around asking, “Write a testi for me?” (which is such a bad short form, by the way).

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Departmental Stores

#58 Daimaru. A Japanese retail superstore that came to Singapore in 1983 but made its departure in 2003.

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#59 SOGO, a 170-year-old departmental store cum supermarket shut its operations in 2000 after its parent company in Japan went bankrupt.

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Transport

#60 Sentosa Monorail that is now defunct. It looped through 7 stations around Sentosa and best of all, it’s free!

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#61 Non-aircon buses. Sometimes it would get so hot people would rather stand.

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#62 Fare cards, before the introduction of EZ Link cards. Bus fares used to be from 35 to 70 cents and you could even cheat by pressing the lower amount. Then, watch as the machine dispenses your ticket with the characteristic sound it makes. These fare cards make good collectibles too, ranging from those with your favourite idols to cartoon characters. Cheap thrills!

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#63 Bus tickets. Once upon a time everyone gets a bus ticket when commuting. It was commonplace to see folded hearts from ticket stubs stuck in between corners behind bus seats.

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Everyday Life

#64 No TV transmission time, ‘cos channels didn’t run 24/7. The 1KHz monotone noise forced us to flip channels or obediently go to bed.

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#65 Traditional calendar, a time when we used to count days down by tearing the dates off.

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#66 Public phones, before the proliferation of smart phones. Insert a 10-cent coin to make a call.

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#67 Phone cards that you use for public phones. When you’re done making the call, there will be a dent at the back of your card to reflect its balance.

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TV Shows

#68 TCS – you know what it stands for.

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#69 VR Man – beats 2025 hands down. Nicholas Lee might not be too happy about comparisons made between VR Man and 2025. But we still prefer James Lye.

#70 Triple Nine. Ah yes. Back in the days when Mediacorp had the budget for actual explosions. Also, watch James Lye in action again!

#71 Growing Up featured your typical Singaporean family – except that Irin Gan is hotter than your average girl-next-door.

#72 Under One Roof. Anything with Moses Lim is funny.

#73 The Unbeatables – Li Nanxing and Zoe Tay made poker cards cool.

#74 Stepping Out – a period of tumultuous times. Just the theme song alone would be able to tug heartstrings. And who could forget Cynthia Koh who shaved her head for this show and Mediacorp legend Xie Shaoguang?

#75 City Beat. Sharon Au was 阿好好介绍.

#76 Gao Xiao Xing Dong (Comedy Nite) – you know Jack Neo once cross-dressed as Liang Xi Mei, with his/her (actually we’re not quite sure) favourite phrase being “Aiyo, zhen de shi shang nao jing oh!”. Watch Mark Lee call Jack Neo toot toot and Jack Neo explain the difference between goondu and toot toot below!

#77 Don’t Worry, Be HappyThis light-hearted show with a catchy song certainly makes one reminisce – Lynn Poh, Lao Hero, and the late Huang Wen Yong are no longer in the scene 🙁

#78 Good Morning, Sir! The show that catapulted Chen Li Ping aka Aiyoyo to fame. Fun fact: Chen Li Ping was the one who suggested adding the line ‘aiyoyo’ to the show?

Children’s Programmes

#79 Power rangers – every girl wanted to be the Pink Ranger!

#80 Banana in Pajamas, with one named B1 and the other B2.

Their famous catchphrase was “Are you thinking what I’m thinking B1?”

“I think I am B2!!!”

#81 Magic School Bus, definitely not a boring moment on such excursions! One particular excursion entailed the exploring the human body until the human sneezed the school bus out.

#82 G.I. Joe, in which villains and G.I. Joes fire at one another but no one ever really dies.

#83 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – why settle for a pet turtle when you have turtles who are heroes?

#84 Powerpuff Girls! Sugar, spice, and everything nice… and Chemical X were the ingredients to create the perfect little girls, who always saved Townsville just in time!

#85 Pokemon, Pokemon! Gotta catch ’em all!

#86 Digimon – it made the Digivice cool 8)

#87 Slam Dunk – it used to be aired on Channel 8, before we were old enough to hiam about Mandarin dubbing.

#88 Yugioh – boys were so obsessed with them, they not only play Yugioh card games but even enter tournaments!

#89 Cardcaptor Sakura. Her weapon and furry little mousey companion was just too kawaii to resist.

Campaigns

#90 National Courtesy Campaign, with Singa the friendly lion gracing its advertisements. Courtesy is for free, courtesy is for you and me!

The 90s Kid

Most of all, we miss being a child…

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…when our only worries were trying to get that much-coveted toy or wondering what bedtime story should be read to us.

The 90s was a time when life was slower-paced. Kids were easily satisfied with some fancy gems biscuit; playgrounds were filled with the laughter of children running around in the evening; pasar malams could be found in the vicinity of our housing estate blasting songs from the 90s.

We were the last generation to play hopscotch, burn CDs and record shows using video tapes. We also remembered our friends’ numbers by heart – a chat meant yakking away on the phone for hours instead of sending back-and-forth text messages filled with emojis.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, why not relive the good ol’ memories from the 90’s by taking some time to bond with your family and friends over five stones, playing chess or even sharing some Khong Guan biscuits while watching old TCS shows on YouTube?

ARE YOU A 90’S KID?

What are some other fond memories that you remember? Share it with us in the comments section below!

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Featured image via Ghetto Singapore
With reference to Remember Singapore, Remember Singapore