Thursday, September 10, 2015

Accidental Tourist of Singapore - Sep 2015: Singapore National Museum: 50 made in Singapore Products Exhibition

What does Mercedes-Benz, Bridgestone Tyres and Rollei Cameras have in common? Maybe brands like Star Brand (sugar), Woh Hup (Oyster Sauce) and Khong Guan (biscuits) are easier for those familiar with cooking / food items? Brands like Kwanpen and Bata pop up on the fashion front. On medicinal side, there's the Axe Brand (Universal Oil), Three Legs Cooling Water and all famous Tiger Balm.

All these brands have links back to our little red dot. For example,
  • Cycle and Carriage, renamed in 1899 by the Chua brothers, had its 1st Singapore branch in Orchard Road in 1916 and its Singapore HQ in 1926. 1951 was when it acquired the franchise of Mercedes-Benz.
  • The Singapore shores was the 1st overseas factory for Bridgestone Tyres back in the 60s.
  • One of Singapore’s largest sugar suppliers, Star Brand (Sugar) was started back in 1940s.

  • Woh Hup now known to be a sauce brand was back in the day also a noodle manufacturer.

  • Khong Guan Singapore was established in the 1940s.

  • Kwanpen was started in 1930s by Kwan Pen Seng who used to repair bags owned by the British in Singapore.

  • Bata opened its Singapore store in 1930s when the Czech brand was Europe’s largest shoe manufacturer.
  • Three Legs Cooling Water was developed using traditional Chinese herbs in 1930s to treat ‘heatiness’ related ailments.
  • Tiger Balm (known to me as Hor Yiu) is by far the most famous medicinal brands which started as a traditional ointment paste for aches and pains by the famous Aw Brothers who started its Singapore operations in 1920s. The same Aw Brothers started the Haw Par Villas (other blog entry).
I hope you will spare some time to pop in to the '50 made in Singapore products' Exhibition before it ends its run at the Singapore National Museum on 13 September 2015.
Till the next time, onto the world and beyond!

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