Homemade collections

Homemade collections
COOL: Bottles of Cooling Water (left) and different medicines are locally made.

Singaporeans might be familiar with products like Bata shoes, Knife Cooking Oil and Crocodile underwear, but not many know that these products were once, or are still, made here.

Singapore also used to assemble cars by Mercedes-Benz and Ford Motorcars, as Aiden Tan, 10, was surprised to find out.

He said: "I was not born at that time, and I never knew we used to make cars here."

His mother, Madam Gladys Ong, 42, shared his sentiment: "Some brands are familiar, but I would say the majority is a shocker because they are not in production any more."

The pair was visiting the newly launched 50 Made-In-Singapore Products exhibition, on display at the National Museum of Singapore's Glass Atrium until Sept 6.

The exhibition, organised by the National Heritage Board (NHB), showcases 50 local-made products, across six categories: transport, electronics, food and beverage, household, medicine and fashion.

The items, ranging from cameras, cooking oil, detergent and even traditional cane sugar (known as jaggery sugar) are accompanied by informative panels that detail their history in Singapore.

It also boasts products from lesser-known brands, like Lea Hin Butterfly brand kerosene lamps, Double Prawn brand herbal oils and Robertson amplifiers.

The exhibition, which opened to the public on July 15, is held in conjunction with Singapore's SG50 celebrations.

Deputy Director of Partnerships Norsaleen Salleh said: "Singapore has no natural resources but surprisingly we do have things that belong to us. We hope that this will instil a sense of pride in locally-made products."

Work for the exhibition started in 2012 and the NHB had a preview exhibition of 20 products last August.


Since then, they have reached out to more companies and collectors to hit the exhibition's aim of showcasing 50 products.

"It's a collaboration and most of it belongs to our partners. It is a community of people coming together," Ms Norsaleen said.

She added that the collaborative effort meant that NHB could gather the different stories from the products too, in line with NHB's aim of documenting Singapore's history.

The exhibition has not only been drawing Singaporeans, but tourists as well.

Madam Lyn Freeman, 70, who is from Australia, was surprised to see so many familiar products, such as Tiger Balm and Philips, hailing from Singapore.

"There are a lot of brands that we use back home too, I did not even know they used to come from here," she said.

"I am impressed".

This article was first published on July 21, 2015.
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