Monday, November 29, 2010

Old Gramophone at Sungei Road

I spent last Sunday afternoon at Sungei Road thieves/flea market. Every visit to Sungei Road is always fascinating browsing through the many old, odd, quirky and at times offbeat merchandise that could have come from somebody's discarded rubbish after a spring cleaning.

Photo credit: Wikipidia
On this occasion I striked out a conversation with a Mr Koh Ah Koon who sort of specialise in sound systems like gramophones, turntables, amplifiers and speakers besides other odds and ends. Mr Koh was an event organiser. Not the type that does conventions and exhibitions but "pasar malam" (night market) or what is sometimes referred to as trades fairs. Due to intense competition in the trade fair organising business he started to deal in secondhand goods.

Among the items on sales at his stall was an old gramophone. It was a familiar one because my family had an identical one when I was a child.  This was an early 1930s portable wind-up phonograph from His Master's Voice. The familiar trade mark of the picture of a Jack Russel Terrier listening intently to the sound coming out of the horn of the gramophone goes way back then. EMI and RCA used to own the trade mark. It is now the trade mark of HMV.

Photo credit: Wikipedia
An item like that attracts a lot of attention without fail. And to add to the excitement of the moment was the sound of an old familiar Cantonese song from a 78 rpm record being played. The casing had some dents, but other than that it works fine. A short while after I took this video clip a Eurasian looking gentlemen bought it. He seemed to be a regular and a familiar figure with the stall holders. As soon as he appeared a number of stall holders greeted him and started chattering.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia;
The phonograph, record player, or gramophone is a device that was mostly commonly used from the late 1870s through the 1980s for playing sound recordings. Usage of these terms is not uniform across the English-speaking world (see below). In more modern usage, this device is often called a turntable, record player, or record changer. When used in conjunction with a mixer as part of a DJ set up, they are often called decks.


  1. When I moved out of my Farrer Road home in '86, I threw away many records. Mistake. Big mistake :(

  2. Same here. I guess we all appreciate something more only when we find out one day that it is gone. When my family moved out of our childhood home at Tanglin Rd in the late 60's, the old Clock, old Sewing Machine and old Furniture were all discarded. All bulky stuffs had to go.