The record-breaking Kandang Kerbau Hospital babies of 1966!

One day in Nov 2007, probably buried under marking, I went though a typical bout of displacement behaviour by creating a facebook group called The record-breaking Kandang Kerbau Hospital babies of 1966!

I remember a plaque on a wall in KKH somewhere, possibly decades ago, that announced this pre-family planning record. Internationally it actually lasted a decade but will probably never again be exceeded in Singapore.

Since I had didn’t have the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records in which the record apparently first appeared and their webpage is surprisingly unhelpful (only a small number of records are listed), I did a search of the internet that afternoon and compiled the “long story” for the discussion board, which I reproduce below.

The facebook group isn’t wildly popular obviously and a peek just now saw 8 members listed. Since the record was set by 39,856 babies, that leaves quite a few more to go! *The Infopedia article cites a different number; I am using the number in Tan & Chern (2003). I have written to NLB’s ASK! to help find out the real number.

20080731-KKHUncredited photo in Tan & Chern, (2003).

From the discussion board of the facebook group, “The record-breaking Kandang Kerbau Hospital babies of 1966!” – The Long Story (all content from the sources listed below):

“In 1966, Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) or KK as it was popularly referred to, saw 39,856 deliveries and entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest number of births in a single maternity facility anywhere in the world!

Then, “more than 85 percent of all births in Singapore took place in KKH, where over 100 babies were delivered daily.”

KK held the record until 1976.

The same year, “the National Family Planning Campaign was launched to curb a projected population boom. The new “Stop At Two” (children) policy’s slogan was “Girl or Boy — Two is enough”.”

“The campaign was so successful that the Government later realized that Singapore would not be able to replace its population in a generation. In 1986, the campaign tack and the slogan became “Have three or more, if you can afford it”.”

Kandang kerbau means “buffalo pen” in Malay.

In colonial times, local people often used landmarks as place names. Due to a buffalo pen located there at that time, the district around the cross-roads formed by Serangoon Road, Selegie Road, Bukit Timah Road and Rochor Road was known as “Kandang Kerbau” district.

The hospital located within this area was variously the (Singapore) General Hospital (1858; leaves for Sepoy Lines in 1882), the Pauper Hospital for Women and Children (c.1905) and eventually the “Kandang Kerbau Hospital” or KK.

The name “KK” become synonymous with the hospital and was retained when the hospital was renamed “KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital” after its move to its present location at Kampong Java Road in 1997.

Sources (all secondary; accesed on 29 Nov 2007):

  1. “Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH),” by Naidu Ratnal Thulaja, 2004. Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board.
  2. “About Us” and “Why KK?”
    Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital webpage.
  3. “The Wonder Years.” Singapore Magazine, Jul – Sep 2007. Singapore International Foundation.
  4. Tan, K. H. & S. M. Chern, 2003. Progress in Obstetrics from 19th to 21st Centuries: Perspectives from KK Hospital, Singapore – the former world’s largest maternity hospital. The Internet Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2(2).

I liked the comment my buddy Chien left at the site – “I have always felt that there was something special about 1966”!

Olivia Ong’s a capella rendition of Majulah Singapura (2004)

I wrote about this in 2006 after an enthusiastic post by Ivan Chew [link]. At the time I had not heard of Olivia Ong but my Toddycats knew and a couple of them and myself bought her albums. An album is still in my handphone and keeps getting played by accident in all sorts of situations!

The relatively long blog post got cited and expanded on by one of our Wiki authors in the entry for Majulah Singapura under the “Use of the national anthems: Occasions” section.

Subsequently the video clip that Ivan and I had linked to in YouTube was removed (due to “terms of use violation”) but another clip surfaced in 16 February 2007. So here you go:

Olivia Ong sang at UCC, NUS in December 2006 [I was on the ship] and my kakis Kenneth and LeafMonkey went for the show.

She is apparently back in Singapore performing with the Olivia Ong Quintet. Second-lifer Rinaz chanced upon her at the Esplanade in Mar and Boon Yang caught her at Dhoby Ghaut in June.

Who tried to kill the iBook?

I heard a slight noise this morning, not uncommon with cats in the house and it didn’t sound like a warm body so I only investigated hours later. Turns out it was the 14.1″ iBook landing on its side, ouch! Since its screen was open when it fell, it now bears a crack where it impacted the magazine rack!

This refurbished iBook (thanks to Adrian Lim) has been a boon for the road and at meetings, workshop demos and talks – it’s because it has a super-duper battery life (~5 hours) which frees me from looking for a power source or screen dimming, links to wireless networks in strange places effortlessly and mirrors LCD screens perfectly without scaling problems – such a relief during demos.

The screen was flashing RGB colours before going dark after a restart so I shut the screen to let it settle down. Seems illogical but having gone through an array of battered devices, let’s call it experience. True enough, the Leopard desktop appeared hours later, yaay! It’s still useable for all the purposes I mentioned earlier. I hope the damage is contained and that the battery isn’t affected by the knock. I’ll just have to ensure the cats don’t get to it again.

I think the iBook fell when the feline culprit launched himself off the small table it was placed on. Of course when I checked on the three boys, they all looked very innocent. I guess this is something even Catnip couldn’t prevent.

My (fresh)waterproof Iomega thumb drive

My 1GB Iomega (micro mini) USB2.0 thumb drive is small enough that it has a permanent place in my wallet’s coin compartment. Twice since I bought in Dec 2005, it was carelessly slipped into my pocket and went MIA. In both instances it ended up in the washing machine for a wash, spin and rinse.

And survived, heh-heh.

When I bought this in 2005, it was about $90. Now you can get a 1GB flash drive for little over $10. I have not seen Iomega thumbdrives around for a couple of years though. My recent acquisitions were 8GB Imations which cost about $50. Not planing to put those through the washing machine anytime soon, of course.

Podcast by email (Posterous)

I’ve been giving Posterous a whirl at I am doing this mainly to suggest this tool to tech-challenged users but its proving to be a definite challenge this WordPress account. After coming back from Pulau Tioman, I conducted a workshop for some of the Sungei Buloh staff. In the midst of demonstrating emailing (posting) multiple photos, I discovered that while I had been away, a new feature had been introduced – one click to download the entire photo album. Very useful!

And those Posterous cats still aren’t snoozing. The lads have just introduced podcast by email – see their latest post. Posterous is getting better by the day and its fun to be on this journey.

Meanwhile since, Buloh staff are trying it for SWAP and Cheng Puay’s students are trying it for
their Callophylum ferrugineum project.

Watch this then go hug your cat (or friend)!

The 2:28 annotated video of Christian the Lion’s reunion with his former caretakers, c.1970.

I was reading today’s Today when I heard of this. Christian’s Wikipedia entry and links therein will reveal more.

“Lion hearted video charms millions.” Today, 25 Jul 2008. Thanks to the Internet,clip of pet lion embracing his former owners has been immortalised:

LONDON — The “Christian the lion” video, which shows a full-grown lion hugging and kissing his former caretakers in a heartwarming reunion, has become an Internet sensation, logging more than 4 million views on YouTube by Thursday afternoon.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the video has all the right ingredients of a smash hit: The lion’s menacing slink towards the camera, then the look of recognition on its face as it lunges towards the young men to embrace them, with Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You playing in the background for full sentimental effect.

But the video is attracting even more attention because of its back story, which first appeared in the Daily Mail last year.

The two men in the clip are Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall who lived in London in 1969. They bought the lion, then a 16-kilogramme cub, from Harrod’s which then sold exotic animals. The department store had acquired the cub from a zoo but wanted to get rid of it after it broke out of its cage one night and wreaked havoc on a display of imported goatskin rugs.

The men named the cub Christian and kept it in their living room. They became local celebrities of sorts, the Daily Mail said, parading the cub around London, taking it to restaurants and even playing football with it.

But Christian soon grew to 84 kg and his food bills became exorbitant, so they were forced to move him to a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya. After visiting him periodically for several years, they found out that he had already adapted to his new environment and wanted to return for a last good-bye.

The men were told the lion would probably not recognise his old caretakers. But as the video shows, Christian not only recognised them, but ran to them and hugged them.

“Christian stared at us in a very intense way,” Mr Rendall was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying. “Then, as if he became convinced it was us, he ran towards us, threw himself on to us, knocked us over, knocked George over and hugged us, like he used to, with his paws on our shoulders.

The next day, Christian walked back into the bush, where his lionesses and cubs were waiting. He was never seen again — but the power of the Internet guarantees that he will never be forgotten.

I met a blogger once

When I first started reading and following blogs, many writers were uncomfortable about revealing their identities, writing semi-privately, and even disguising critical phrases from search engines.

However, if you followed a writer long enough, they’ll slip. Not that readers like me were trying to find them out, but it was hard to prevent the wonderfully effective subconscious from piecing together fragments over time.

One time, I posted a notice in my old blog about an attempt to roundup stray cats. I received a query from a reporter within minutes and realised the reporter was reading my blog. The incident was resolved without a story though but I guess it was just one more fragment.

A year or two later, a reporter I had just filled during an exhibition launch turned away to head for an individual I had pointed out. In that instant, I inadvertently blurted out the name of the blog. A startled grin rewarded me – the timing had been perfect to catch the blogger off guard. It was not my intention to do so. Just that the old subconscious had been putting pieces together – an unaccounted familiarity, style and manner of talking (related to the writing style); all this had been crystalised by the view of that turning angle which must have been used in some image once.

I suppose Singapore being a really miniscule place helped, of course.

I’ve been more conscientious about guarding against fragments since but its really not up to me!