Well, unless you’re my age, you won’t know what a Neoprint is.
Neoprint, in the late 1990s to early 2000s, was the Pokemon Go of 2016. Every day, students from all over Singapore would find a Neoprint booth and take a Neoprint—regardless of how many they’ve already got in their wallet.
These Neoprint booths were everywhere: outside a 7-Eleven, beside an NTUC FairPrice or simply 100 m away from wherever you were. And sometimes, there were even queues that lasted for 30 minutes!
Now, you could only find them in selected arcades, and people would think that you’re a weirdo if you enter a booth. But thinking back, Neoprint contains some of our best memories in our lives, and could well be the great grandfather of Instagram.
Neoprint with just a friend meant you’re BFF with him / her
There’s an unspoken rule: you could only take a Neoprint with either your BFF or your stead alone. The reason is simple: you’ll receive many of these stickers, and that meant you’ll be pasting them everywhere (you know, like posting on Instagram). You shouldn’t be pasting images of people whom you’re not close to around you, right?
Neoprint with a group of friends meant everyone will receive just one sticker
The machine will only print about six to eight pieces, so if there’re eight people in one booth, everyone can only take one. And if you lose it, GG: that’s it.
Outcasts like to take Neoprint themselves
Like, seriously. I’ve a friend who was an outcast and so, he took Neoprints of himself and pasted it everywhere. Ironically, he could well have been the inventor of#OOTD.
It’s damn expensive
I really can’t remember the cost, but it used to be at least $10. In the 1990s, when you were a student, $10 could get you five plates of chicken rice—that was a lot of money. Now? Instagram is free, so no one really takes the effort to take a good image #justsaying
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Our calculators were filled with Neoprints
When everyone did not have handphones, we resorted to sticking the Neoprints on our calculators instead. In other words, our calculators determined our social circle.
The music in the Neoprint booth brought only one memory
Cute. That’s all. Cute.
“Facebook Check-in” was done by Neoprint
First time to a shopping mall? You need to take a Neoprint there, because it then meant “check-in”. Usually, the cheapest machine would have the longest queue, because everyone wanted to “check-in”.
Drawing on the Neoprint
Being able to alter the Neoprint with a pen was so damn novel then—we would all draw Paint-style drawings, or write silly words, on the screen. And very often, one joker’s face would be covered by the drawing or words.
Coming out just for Neoprint
Nowadays, do friends come out just to take a selfie? No? Well, in the past, people did: just for a Neoprint. That was why friendship in the past was way more precious.
(Okay, I was corrected by my colleague who said that people do leave their house just to take selfies. Either I’m too old or she’s too young.)
The upgrade from a sticker to a card was magical to some
It was like seeing your Nokia 3310 being upgraded to an iPhone: who didn’t go apeshit? It was more expensive, but it was all worth it!
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