Monday, November 19, 2012

Guest blogger - Grace Seah

My dad used to work at Malayan Guttas as the Bookkeeper/Clerk in their office.  
We seem to have an endless supply of Wrigley's chewing gum at home during those days but funny enough I never enjoyed them!  My dad used to call the base product that was manufactured at the factory as jelutong.

The Malayan Guttas factory with Princess Elizabeth Estate in the foreground.

The American bosses at Malayan Guttas were very kind to their staff.  
One story my father told me was that most residents at P.E.E. were from low income families who worked in that vicinity.  

When my parents first moved to the estate, they didnt have much savings and so my dad on his first day of work had no proper shoes to wear.  
Instead he patched his old pair of shoes by hand just so they wont fall apart when he walked, hoping to be able to afford a new pair by the next pay day.  
His American boss saw that and immediately arranged for a salary advance on his first day of work so that my dad could buy new shoes to wear to work.  

That story of kindness has stayed in my memory ever since. In fact I ended up being his boss daughter's penpal for many years. She lived on Staten Island, New York and we corresponded by letters for many years. 

My dad and his colleague working at Malayan Guttas.

My dad continued to work at Malayan Guttas after we left right up to the day he retired.  
(After moving out in 1968) he ploughed all the way there and back from East Coast Road to Bukit Timah and back everyday to earn a living for his family.

I would pine for my old school and I even begged my parents to let me follow dad to school everyday. But of course that would have been so impractical.

My mum would tell me that for a long time after we moved out of our flat, during lunch time, my dad would drive over to the green park just infront of our flat and sit under the beautiful flame of the forest tree and just stare at the balcony of our flat in silence, just reminiscing of precious days gone by. 


  1. Grace, your dad was right. When the Gutta Percha trees (Sapodillae) became scarce from over harvesting in this region, they substituted it with the sap from the Jelutong tree in making chewing gum.

  2. I'm the one who was chewing the Wrigley's gum until I got sick of them after sometime & have never touch them eversince.
    Footnote : I did not advocate the banning of chewing gum in Singapore.

  3. Ah ha! We finally know who the culprit who made Princess Anne Hill all spotty with black gum. You must have been spitting it over your balcony all those years!

  4. All my Dad's fault.........