- The year was 1967, and Singapore started to print its own currency and made national service a compulsory thing for all young Singaporean men of lawful age. It was the year where fake eyelashes were rented out for S$4 per day; and prices of eggs plummeted to a new low that drove Singaporeans to form a lobby group on “chicken butchery” in order to reduce the supply of eggs. In the same year, “Vietnamese Rose” - a form of syphilis – came into Singapore and men who called on prostitutes shuddered at the mere mention of the name; It was also the year when Sakura and Rita Chao’s “New Peach-blossom River” was all the rage in the streets of Singapore.
There were three houses along a narrow bustling street on North Bridge Road, and there lived six families, amongst them were 6 youths of about the same age.
Lin Xiao Bei（played by Dai Yang Tian）is the only son of Lin, the tailor. He fights and gets himself into countless trouble and is a constant annoyance to his neighbours. Yao Jian Hong （played by Jeanette Aw）, who grows up with Xiao Bei, is the only person who could tame him. Jian Hong left school at a young age and with her father, they perform martial arts in the streets to sell medicated ointment. She is in the ‘turf’ for years, and is a candid and forthright girl with a sense of chivalry. Lin Xiao Bei likes her and the feeling is mutual. However she‘s unhappy with Xiao Bei’s frivolous attitude. She wishes that Xiao Bei would be down-to-earth and to succeed his father’s tailoring business. Xiao Bei doesn’t want to be resigned to running the little tailor-shop. He wants to venture into more ambitious grounds and yearns to strike it rich someday.
Another childhood friend of Lin Xiao Bei is Huang Zhi Hao (nicknamed “Tarzan”, played by Elvin Ng), who loves to day-dream. Often fickle-minded, he switches between dreams of being a car racer to a wrestler the next. Both of them are at loggerheads sometimes but turn into buddies in other occasions. Xiao Bei and Tarzan stick by each other through weal and woe. Like chopsticks, the pair is inseparable and can’t do without each other.
In addition to Jian Hong, Tarzan’s sister, Huang Jin Hao (played by Eelyn Kok), also likes Xiao Bei. She is a vain and materialistic girl with an naïve mindset. Despite not winning over Xiao Bei’s heart, she stays loyal to him as a friend. Jian Hong’s twin brother, Yao Wu Ji (played by Zhang Zhen Huan) is very timid. He likes Jin Hao but could only keep his true feelings to himself.
Qin Hui Min (played by Zhou Ying) is the only one among the few youngsters who is well educated. Though she is physically weak but with her unrelenting perseverance, Hui Min eventually became a lawyer.
The two generations of these families underwent 30 years of changes, entwined in a chain of love, hatred, bitterness, jealousy, magnanimity and forgiveness. That was their story which is also, Our Story as we, too, had been down the same path…
Singaporeans share countless common memories. Through the years of hardship when the country started out in the 60s; the oil crisis in the 70s and the stock-market crash in the 80s, Singaporeans have lived through it all. We’ve shared the joys and sorrows. With the onslaught of the current financial crisis, we are being put to test once again. And looking back at how we’ve rode out the storm over the years bears an exceptional meaning at this point in time.
Dai Yang Tian