A very long time ago, when canteen food still averaged around 60 cents, and when drinks were 10 cents for half a cup of chin chow and 20 cents for a full cup, I used to collect paper. Way back when computers were the exception and when a school project meant that at some point, someone had to write (in pencil, if you were deemed too young to attempt the arduous art of writing in ink) whatever write-up there was, I collected fancy paper like these.
I would make regular trips to the neighbourhood book shops (Kawa Bookshop, for anyone who lives/lived in the west) and stalk their paper section. Each piece was about 20-40 cents, which was no small sum for a primary school student; every purchase decision was preceded by days of deliberation. I have this vague memory of just standing around the paper trays and pulling out the trays to see the paper designs over and over – I have, sadly, little doubt that this recollection is accurate.
And then, there was the Fancy Paper shop at North Bridge Road (right opposite Bras Brasah Complex, next to Straits Commercial Art) – an entire shop of fancy papers. I only found out about the shop later, when the obsession had abated and I was presumably old enough to travel all the way to Bugis, but I was still in awe when I first stepped into the shop. Rows and rows, shelves after shelves of paper. Papers in so many colours, of varying dimensions, of varying weight. Furry paper, paper intentionally torn around the edges, shiny paper. I bought paper that day, of course. It became my go-to place for specialty papers during the rest of my schooling years.
Before we visited the shop a few days ago, it must have been at least a good 3-4 years since I last stepped in there. Art students milling around shelves, feeling up (hehe) papers and deliberating their selection. Nothing has changed :)
In other HEY KUMO news, Sarah bought (lots of) paper for her project.