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10 Things We Miss As A 90s Kid Growing Up In Singapore

Things that I miss as a 90s kid? Probably being able to appreciate my youth and the existence of real human interaction. I’m kidding (only partially).

Regardless, growing up in the 90s hold some of the best memories of my life, despite the significance of ‘the belt’ and ‘the cane’.

Here are some things that you might be able to relate to if you were a 90s kid in Singapore.

1. Neoprints

Aside from cheap eyeshadow palettes that existed then, Neoprint machines were the saviour for all of us who didn’t know how to use makeup properly.

This was the 90s version of Instagram or Snapchat filters. These tiny little photographs that we shared amongst our clique (or significant other) drained our allowances.

Credit – sharon-nadine.blogspot.com

No money? It’s cool. At least we had the opportunity to have a full-blown photo shoot with a coloured background and digitally drawn eyeliner.

2. MSN Messenger

Credit – NedMartin.org

Somehow, spamming your friends with repetitive WhatsApp or Telegram messages is never as satisfying as the annoying winks and nudges that MSN has. Does anyone remember the dancing pig? Or that weird kissing noise that still sets my teeth on edge?

Let’s not forget how us 90s kids set our MSN status to emo quotes directed at our crushes, going online and offline just to attract their attention or connecting our Windows Media Player to show them we had good taste in music.

Nothing worked. Still single. Oh well, at least we made the effort.

3. Flip Phones

Credit – Giphy

There’ll probably be a huge debate about this. Flip phones or the classic unbreakable Nokia?

Credit – ImgFlip

You can fling your Nokia if you’re annoyed. However, nothing beats the satisfaction of slamming your phone shut mid-conversation if you’re throwing a tantrum.

Sadly, we can’t even do either now. Try throwing your iPhone at a wall.

4. Autograph Books & Glitter Gel Pens

Credit – http://childrenofthenineties.blogspot.com/

I’m proud to say that I’m a 90s kid with my fair share of Happy House autograph books and “shiny” pens (as they used to be so commonly known).

Throughout my stint in a girl’s school, filling autograph books out was a thing. Also, no, you do not use your basic blue and black pens to write. It had to be the glitter gel pens which cost a lot more than we could afford back then.

How did we get them? “Ma, I need to buy materials for art class,” and then you’d shove a pack of glitter pens into the shopping basket. Don’t lie. This was you too.

5. Nike Sports Bottle

I say Nike sports bottle because every other sports spray bottle doesn’t squeeze the same. Fight me on this statement.

90s kids would be walking around school with one of these tucked into the side of our bags, upping the cool factor. Instead of actually telling your friend “why are you so lame, please shut up,” we just pressed this bottle in their face and laugh gleefully cause they’re now covered in water.

Nike does say ‘Just do It’ but, don’t spray your water from the top floor of the school and get caught by the discipline master. The cool factor doesn’t work in detention.

6. White Canvas Shoes

Credit – Singaporeschild.com.sg

I feel like every other girl in my school wore those white canvas ballet shoes. I, on the other hand, was stuck with the typical white velcro shoes from BATA until they allowed us to wear shoes that had colour but were still 90% white. Velcro was entertainment in itself.

Anyone remember playing with your friend’s shoes and crossing and uncrossing the velcro straps to make weird designs?

Credit – Adidas UK / Famousrockshop.com.au

The jump from velcro to laces were considered the best thing to happen to you as a 90s kid; until you had to run 2.4km and you found out you didn’t know how to tie shoelaces.

7. Void Deck Bubble Tea Shops

Credit – Eatwithroy.com

Blue coral ice blend, anyone?

One of my first unofficial jobs was at a neighbourhood bubble tea shop. It was the hangout spot for 90s kids back then.

I’d churn out cups of oreo ice blend and honeydew milk tea, brown bags of classic pandan waffles slathered in chocolate or kaya and a heaping pile of hot cheese fries. When the crowd died down, my friends and I would waste our 50-cent coins on the Street Fighter machine hidden behind the shop.

I miss having to pay just S$1 for bubble tea. Oh, consumerism.

8. Stackable Pencil

Credit – 90s Kids (Facebook)

Stackable pencils or crayons were the 90s kids’ idea of convenience. No having to get up to sharpen 2B pencils at the dustbin or carrying multi-purpose pencil cases (although these were so in back then too).

However, I found myself using my mouth to pull out each pencil bit because my fat fingers were unworthy. Completely hygienic and that would leave my pencils looking severely chewed up…..

9. Sand playgrounds

Credit – Frasersproperty.net

As much as I like the synthetic rubber (EPDM) flooring that most gyms and playgrounds are made off (cause I like to flick the little bits of rubber at people), the sensation of getting your toes stuck in sand playgrounds is irreplaceable. Old playgrounds were more rustic and challenged our imaginations more. We were playing “the floor is lava!” before it became a current trending kids thing. I miss the tyre swings, merry-go-rounds and see-saws made up of planks of wood.

10. Silicone coil keyring

Credit – AliExpress / Shopify

Here’s a throwback to when we all played hopscotch during recess. At some point, we stopped buying five stones just to play and had to improvise.

This union of silicone coil keyring and wallet (preferably the classic velcro wallet) would be our go-to instead. “Eh faster throw!! Orhhhh, your keychain over the line!” Yes, we made things more inconvenient for ourselves when we started using this combination.

If all else fails during hopscotch, we’d just swing this makeshift weapon around and hit our classmates.


We probably spent most of our 90s childhood trying to channel our imagination, use what we had available to have fun and occasionally, the simple things in life (like upgrading from velcro shoes to laces) made us cool.

If you were a Singapore 90s kid, what would you bring back? I vote MSN. It means one more way to pretend I accidentally sent that kiss nudge to my crush.


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Alfieyah Abdullah

I cried during the Lion King trailer.