This page was last updated on 20 March 2002
joined the Judo club in Raffles Institution (RI) during Secondary One
in 1969. As
I enjoyed the sport very much, I persuaded several of my classmates,
including Seow Yew, to join
during a new member recruitment drive at the beginning of Secondary Two.
After several months, most of them dropped out after having been literally
However, Seow Yew persevered and later represented RI on many occasions. I could still remember those tournaments held at Chung Hwa Girls' School at Bartley Road where many of us went there as spectators to cheer the Judo team. And there were many occasions when Seow Yew had to face opponents much stronger than him!
One of his
favourite throws was Uchimata in which you throw your opponent by reaping
your foot backward and up between his inner thighs. It is one of the more
advanced judo techniques that is difficult to master. He liked the throw
so much that he often used it during training and even during tournaments.
continued to pursue the sport during his University days in Japan. When he
came back to Singapore, he already achieved the well-deserved rank of
Subsequently, he participated in the 1981 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) and achieved the honor of winning a bronze medal for Singapore!
Seow Yew was
a man of many hobbies including reading, singing, listening to and making
music, strength training and even roaming the streets.
During our primary school days at Selegie Integrated School, we enjoyed listening to music together. For months, we gathered almost weekly at my home to listen to "Top Tunes of the Week", a programme that ranked the top 10 most popular English songs broadcast for the week over Rediffusion. We also participated jointly in the contest to pick the top 5 tunes for the following week. In fact, we guessed correctly a couple of times. Unfortunately, on those occasions, there were also many other winning entries and we had to split the prize money among all. That made each of us richer by a mere five to ten dollars on each occasion!
On almost every Saturday afternoon while we were in secondary school, we listened to Rediffusion's broadcast of the new countdown radio show "American Top 40" hosted by veteran rock jockey, Casey Kasem. On occasions, we also enjoyed special broadcasts of "Billboard's Hot 100".
primary school days, we played the harmonica together. Later, he even bought
a chromatic harmonica and managed to learn to play the sharps and flats.
When we were in secondary school, we switched to strumming the guitar.
Each of us purchased a Yamaha entry-level classical guitar at the student
rate of $50.00 thereby saving ten dollars, which was a lot of money at that
time. We mastered songs by the Beatles, Bee Gees and Creedence Clearwater
Revival, etc. We even joined other friends to practise at music studios
with full band equipment and also performed live at parties!
Secondary One, we both acquired a "Bullworker" each through mail
order. He paid $85.00 in cash while I had to pay a total of $110.00
through monthly instalments with assistance from my grandfather. The
"Bullworker" was a state-of-the-art equipment that allowed us to
train every part of our bodies without ever going to the gym. (Was there a
gym at that time in the first place? :-) With that,
Seow Yew trained hard and saw a lot of progress to his strength and
physique (while I laboured without any results). That helped a lot in his
the streets quite a fair bit. When we were small, we used to frequent the
Albert Street and Bugis Street area looking for delicious foods among
other interesting sights and sounds. He introduced me to one of his
favourite local foods, kambing soup. When we were older, we roamed
Bras Basah Road after school at the old RI (where Raffles City now - 2002
That wonderful place boasts numerous book stores from where we acquired
some interesting books for curious teenagers!