Create your video by listening to and selecting any of the audio extracts from the fifty (50) oral history interviewees.

In this section, you will find interviews from the theme – Communities of Singapore.


SCHOON, Roland  [Accession No: 422] [Full interview]

Roland Schoon joined the Royal Air Force at Changi as a refrigeration mechanic before helping out in his father’s business. In 1973, he joined a company called Temenggong as a Purchasing Manager. Interviewee was also selected as the representative of the Singapore hockey team for the 1956 Olympics. He later formed the Singapore Olympic Hockey Club. Schoon also witnessed the Maria Hertogh riots, which took place in 1950.

1. That Goal, I Will Never Forget [ Download ]

2. Geographical Distribution of Eurasians during the Pre-War Days [ Download ]

3. Treatment of Eurasians during the Japanese Occupation [ Download ]


EE, Peng Liang (Dr)  [Accession No: 714] [Full interview]

Dr Ee Peng Liang was a member of the Chinese Amateur Orchestra and Cheah Keng Thye Orchestra, where he played the flute. He later joined the Straits Settlements Volunteer Force before being asked by his employer to join the Straits Chinese British Association (SCBA) in 1940. Interviewee also shared about how he became interested in social work when his life was saved multiple times during the Japanese Occupation.

1. How He Became Interested in Social Work [ Download ]

2. Why the Community Chest was Started [ Download ]


Gnanasundram Thevathasan  [Accession No: 345] [Full interview]

Gnanasundram Thevathasan was born in Columbo in 1918 but was educated in Jaffna. She married in 1939. She is an enterprising housewife who got involved in social work at Maxwell Road community centre and was appointed Justice of the Peace.

1. Lessons from the Japanese Occupation [ Download ]

2. Special Rice Preparation [ Download ]

3. Racial Harmony [ Download ]


LELAH, Albert Abraham  [Accession No: 296] [Full interview]

Upon returning to Singapore in 1938, Albert Abraham Lelah joined his cousin in the brokering business. He later opened his own shop at Middle Road and sold Japanese goods when Chinese businessmen dared not. When the Japanese declared war, he evacuated his wife and son to India. As a registered Iraqi subject, interviewee was detained at the Beach Road Police Station before being sent to Changi Prison for internment. He became a Singapore citizen in 1955. Lelah also shared about the Jewish community in Singapore and their various cultural practices.

1. Coffee Houses [ Download ]

2. Change Alley [ Download ]


Maarof Salleh  [Accession No: 2818] [Full interview]

The 7th President of Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), Maarof Salleh taught on a part-time basis at the Singapore Government Chinese School, before being posted to Swiss Cottage Secondary School, and later Jurong Junior College. He is also involved in community work for the Malay and Muslim community.

1. My Uncle, the Cultural Medallion Recipient [ Download ]

2. Childhood Memories in Henderson Drive [ Download ]

3. Joo Chiat and Tanjong Katong in the 60s [ Download ]

4. Cinemas at Geylang Serai [ Download ]


MARTIN, Mabel  [Accession No: 388] [Full interview]

Mabel Martin went to school at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. Her first job was in the East Asiatic Company. She then job-hopped before settling at Maclean’s Watson Company, where she worked until retirement in 1969. Interviewee was evacuated from home during the Japanese Occupation, and had to move to several places, seeking refuge.

1. Feng Curry [ Download ]

2. Change Alley [ Download ]


Mohamed Ismail Bin Haji Pitchay (Haji)  [Accession No: 1254] [Full interview]

Born in Paya Rumput, Malacca, Mohamed Ismail worked in the Civil Service for 34 years. For 16 years, he was the Registrar of Births and Deaths, which saw him issuing and certifying birth and death extracts from the registry during the 1950s. Mohamed Ismail retired in 1974 and was also a patron of Kallang Community Centre.

1. My Signatures for Births and Deaths Registration [ Download ]

2. Job Hunting in the 1940s [ Download ]

3. My First Interview Experience [ Download ]

4. A $300 Plate of Mee Goreng [ Download ]


PATEL, Rutton  [Accession No: 302] [Full interview]

Rutton Patel, a Parsi by race, was born in 1920 in Bombay, India. He received his early and tertiary education in India and graduated as an accountant. He came to Singapore to open up a branch office of the Indian Film Combine, an Indian Film distribution company, a job he held as director when interviewed in 1983. He was a founder member of the Parsi Association in 1954 and became President of the Parsi Association from 1980 to 1982.

1. Fire Temple of the Parsis [ Download ]

2. Being a Singaporean [ Download ]


SINGH BAL, Chanan  [Accession No: 1006] [Full interview]

A Sikh who left India for Singapore in the late 1930s, Chanan worked at the Singapore Harbour Board (SHB), which was replaced by the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) in 1964. Interviewee mentioned that Sikh watchmen often doubled as money-lenders, before diversifying into sports goods shops. Chanan stopped working as a money-lender in 1976.

1. No Kindergarten Days [ Download ]

2. Cooking not with Gas or Electricity, but with Wood [ Download ]


Choor Singh  [Accession No: 1323] [Full interview]

Choor Singh was a Sikh who co-founded the Singapore Khalsa Association in 1931. He served as its patron and the honorary chairman of the board of trustees. Choor Singh studied law at London University, and eventually became a Supreme Court Judge in 1980. After his retirement from the bench, he authored several books on Sikhism. Choor Singh also contributed to educational charities and other educational causes.

1. Who is the Kelentong Man? [ Download ]

2. Lighting up the Streets [ Download ]

3. Wrestling: Traditional Game of the Sikhs in the 1920s [ Download ]