Singapore Seen: Old is Gold

And so I set off to look for an affordable, good condition and vintage typewriter that I may acquire in the future. As I look up on the internet and walk the ground, I realized there’s still much about this island state that I don’t know and have yet to discover. Sometimes we dream all day of traveling to a foreign country to live the city nomad dream without first knowing our own country. Sometimes we dream of stepping out to a foreign land when there’s a whole wide adventure just waiting for us right at our backyard. For the remaining time that I have for 2013, I am determined to know my own country better. This country has many hidden gems, and its secrets are only revealed to those who proactively search them out.

In this episode, I explore all things old in Singapore. Everything has a story to tell, especially all the old stuff. In a modern society where we are repeatedly fed with half truths such as the need to keep having ‘new’ in our lives – new technology, new gadgets, new vehicles, new everything, I find much comfort in feeling the wood and metal of all things old with my fingertips. It’s through the things of time past that we discover the cultures and strength of the country. Old is not outdated, old is not second grade to new. Old is gold. Without the old, there won’t be the new anyway. And remember, the old were once new too. (Both OT and NT are important, one can’t do without the other.)

Here are some images of the antique shops and its surroundings that I took on my trip, and oh joy it was such a great blast from the past. If you’re a backpacker, you should absolutely put these places under your radar. If you’re a tourist and am looking for a Uniquely Singapore experience and am game for quite a bit of walking, do come along too.




The Heritage Shop

#01-01, 93 Jalan Sultan, 6223-7982. Open daily noon-7pm

Undoubtedly one of the few remaining antique stores, this place is a treasure trove of antiques (or junk). The Heritage Shop fits the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to the tee. It’s the latter for me. In it you can find vintage food containers that the Chinese use back in the 70s, your favorite Coke bottles (Coke included) from the 80s, antique fans of all sizes, antique suitcases, rusty old keys, old tiles, vintage film cameras, preserved news articles of important events that rocked Singapore and more. I could take all day just trying to list everything from the store. But because this is one of the more publicized and few remaining antique shops still hanging around, prices here are pretty steep. Coke bottles go at $15+/ a-piece and film cameras go at between $200-$300. Typewriters here sets you back at around $200+/ onwards. And the condition is questionable though it is definitely old no doubt. Still, you could acquire some of the smaller items without burning a hole in your pocket. Do consider. Oh did I mention that you can rent their items at 30% it’s nett price?



World Savage by Stevie General Store

70 Bussorah Street
Singapore 199483

This place sells one of the largest collection of best-condition antique items under one roof. The folks at World Savage take pride in selling people pristine, mint-condition and authentic antiques, and I really do mean antiques. Hence, be prepared to spend if you are looking for quality antiques. The store run by two ladies probably not older than 30 are really passionate about what they do, they have been running the store for a decade or more! The typewriters they carry are made from a special type of plastic instead of metal, making them more durable. They aren’t light too. And they cost a bomb. But then again, you are paying for quality and durability. Be prepared to spend more than $800 for their typewriters. If you’re looking for a really good antique typewriter, head on down to World Savage with gusto, their antique typewriters appreciate even more over time.




Spoil Market

I like the puns intended. This shop run by some younger Singaporean sells very limited decent vintage stuff. Much of it is commercialized vintage. What made me like this store though is the operational and super good-condition old phones they have. Be it mass-produced or not, they look to be a fine buy to me, costing between $150 to $250. Plus they have the Mickey Mouse phone too. Oh, and the big ‘water bottle’ or ‘big brother’ phones too. This is not the place to go looking for a functional typewriter. They only carry pristine-looking non-operational typewriters. What’s the point of getting a typewriter if it doesn’t work? But I must say, the shop help is quite pretty. Good phones, air conditioner and pretty girl has it working for Spoilt Market.



The Antique Shop at Landmark Village Hotel (Opposite Raffles Hospital)

390 Victoria Street
Singapore 188061

The messy insides of antiques and vintage stuff piling on top of one another in the antique shop open for public viewing is an eye feast for all antique collectors. Just by standing outside, I have a good idea of what I did like to bring home if I have the spending power. I’m drooling over the Yashica Mat 124. Although I’ve been in there before some time back, the past both times I dropped by this week have been futile in gaining access into the shop. The owner doesn’t seem to be in good health of late, hence unable to man the shop as regular as before. Last time I checked, the film cameras here were around $80 if memory doesn’t fail me. So, the typewriters if they do have some here should be cheaper… right?



Goods of Desire Singapore

6 Eu Tong Sen Street #02-08 The Central
Singapore 059817

This is an over-commercialized store that sells Hong Kong themed products. Sure there are some pretty cool vintage looking stuff, but nah the vintage stuff is all mass-produced and made to emulate some objects and symbols of old. I prefer the real deal anytime. What worked for them is its prime location (located just beside Central at Clarke Quay) and the amazing lightings that draw me in like moth to white lights. I liked the Hong Kong decorated bed and decorations for the married couples which they set up in the middle of the store. Now you can be a Hong Konger too and emulate their wedding experience. This place is pass-able, come only when you have time or are dying from the Singaporean heat.


More images from the surrounding.












Places I am heading to next…

Roccoco Kent // Past Image // The Little Dröm Store // Artsyfact // View Point Trading & Collectibles

Stay tuned!

P.S. I took the routes less traveled so that you can too.