Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"Remember The Bookworm Club" meme

I was following the conversation over at Jia's post where she mentioned "The Bookworm Club". The funny thing was that she only mentioned the Bookworm Club only in the title and nowhere in her blog post. However, the subsequent conversation was about the club (Kevin started it!).

My recollection about The Bookworm club isn't very clear. I vaguely remember being in Primary school. Our teacher brought our class down to the science lab. There were lots of books on display. You could buy them. I must have bought something (cost about $2). Paid up from my daily pocket money. They must have given me a flyer or bookmark with this bespectacled round-headed orange worm as a mascot. That's how I learnt about The Bookworm Club.

I found their website. Club was started in 1984. They seem to be still in business (although their site looks as if a revamp has been long overdue. Why don't they start a blog instead?)

My hunch is that most Singaporean adult between the present age of 30 to 35 would remember The Bookworm Club. Out of curiosity, I searched for blogs that mentioned the club and here's what I found:
  • Kei credits the Bookworm Club & the money his parents spent on books for improving his general knowledge
  • Yu became a bookworm club member at age 7
  • Newdaddy's wife remembers the Bookworm Club song
  • TheVoiceInsideYourHead says the child of the 80s probably joined the club (item 9)
  • Same thing that Nuren says (oh yeah, Bookworm Club = Selegie Road)
  • SingaporeIdler & friends recounts the Bookworm Club from their childhood memories

I left a comment in Jia's post, saying:
"Love it or Loath it, "Bookworm Bookclub" is something that will bring back memories of our generation. I remember it with fondness. Upon hindsight, I think they could've used a better name than to perpetuate the bookish-ness of reading by using the term "bookworm".

It really intrigues me how strangers & friends can be connected by a memory -- of a bookclub, no less! (Now if a childhood memory can do this, then definitely a library...)

Ok, anyone wants to continue their reminisce of The Bookworm Club?



  1. Back then the Bookworm club had nice reads... especially Young Generations. I remember characters like Sam Seng and Vinny the Vampire too. Still, thinking of inflation today and the cost of living back then, I agreed with parents that the management behind the Bookworm Club was charging way too much for subscribing their children publications. They had a good product, but I had the sinking feeling they were scamming me of my Char Kway Teow (which was like 50cents in the tuck shop!)

  2. Hey... Gotta admit that it was an arresting header, even though "Bookworm Club" wasn't mentioned at all in the body! hehe... I don't think only pple betw 30-35 wld remember it.. it was popular even for people who are in their 20s now.

    The PR team for the Bookworm Club must be applauded for their success... they were somehow able to sip into every corner in my Primary school; they gave stage performances/story-telling, had promoters to set up booths in the tuck-shop, and even the bookshop was selling their story-books ONLY.

    Those were the days, man... =)

  3. I'm 23, and the Bookworm Club came to my primary school regularly while I was there. But little was heard of it after that. I can't honestly say I liked their books much, especially once I discovered that a book I'd bought from them was almost identical in content to a Usborne book I already had, only the names had been changed and it was completely re-drawn. Still, I guess it did get students to read - though as I recall, few of us needed much motivation. We would even produce lists of books that we had at home and circulate them around the class so we could borrow books from one another!

  4. Loretta11:50 am

    I live in the States now and teach elementary school, My first graders love singing the Bookworm song. I have a reading challenge in my class and it all revolves around a bookworm. I remember the Bookworm Club very well. I was not a member then but I do remember all the stuff they did in my primary school. :)

  5. Anonymous1:31 pm

    Hi! Looking for a copy of Bookworm's "High Tea". If anyone has it, and wants to sell it, please please pleasseeee.. email me at madsprees(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank u v much! :D

  6. Paul Hong11:06 pm

    The Bookworm Club has closed down. I tried the website, but it's down. I was a member back then..Have quite a few copies of the Short Stories series and other publications. Interesting reads they were. Actually, it was not suprising that Bookworm Club closed down. Like Kevin said. Their peak was during the 90s. Died down during the 2000s. I stopped receiving email from them like, 5 years ago.

  7. Do you've any ideas on where to get the series?
    I wonder what really happened to the company. Does it still exists in Singapore?

  8. No idea, Vaarman. But would be an interesting topic to pursue if I had the time. i.e. who started the Bookworm Club and what happened in the end.

    1. Tosman Tham12:50 am

      Bookworm Club was established in 1984 by Mr David Chong and i dont even know that they had closed down. I missed them now.

    2. Hello Tosman, hope you're reading this. Would you happen to know Mr David Chong or any of the original associates who started the club?

  9. I want to know too!!! You can find quite a collection in used book stores. The Salvation Army Thrift Store in Upper Serangoon has shelf-loads of it (when I last went). I would've bought them all if I had enough money that day (they only accept cash from what I recall).

  10. Anonymous12:39 am

    i used to work in Bookworm Club and organised bookfairs, showtime during weekly assembly and stories telling. The club was started by David Chong. I was with the Club for about 3-4 years (think its from 1989-1991/1992). i have lost contact with my ex-colleagues too and i would like to get in touch with them too..Poky, Fat Ani, Sam Seng..where are you.

  11. Hello! Wow, you were one of the organisers! May I get in touch with you? (email RamblingLibrarian@gmail.com) Perhaps I can enlist the help of the Singapore Memory Project to broadcast your call for your ex-colleagues. Would be awesome to find your ex-colleagues. And I think the many ex-Bookworm club members would love to meet the REAL people behind this famous made-in-Singapore literary icon. Hope you're reading this!


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