|The young Johnny Two-Thumb
:-Mr Indra Bahadur
Mr Indra Bahadur in his 60s.
|The late Johnny Two-Thumb :-
Mr Indra Bahadur
|Johnny Two-Thumb's son :-
Mr Harka Bahadur (Richard Tat)
granddaughter :-Ms Sumitra ( Su
|From one generation to
|The sailors and soldiers getting inked by
Johnny Two Thumb in the 50s.
Johnny Two Thumb and His Legacy.
Singapore's first pioneer tattoo artist with a reputation and fame that spanned across the oceans.
Johnny Two-Thumb was his trade name given by British soldiers who were his clients and his real name was
Mr. Indra Bahadur s/o Ram Sing.
Of Nepalese origin, he was born in 1924 in Falam, the capital of Chin State in Burma (Myanmar). He learnt
tattooing from an old tattoo artist who became his guru somewhere in the north-eastern part of India across the
border with Burma during Second World War just before the Allied Forces pushed into Japanese-held Burma at
the Battle of Impal.
After the war, he opened a tattoo shop at Sule Pagoda in Rangoon the capital of Burma. Not very long after, he
left for Singapore which was still under British rule where the British Far East Command was stationed.
Sailors of the Royal Navy and tattoos always went hand in hand and the Naval Base in Sembawang made sure
that customers always kept Johnny Two Thumb very busy. In the Seventies, the Vietnam war made sure a
steady stream of U.S. Marines and sailors of the U.S. Seventh Fleet on R&R waited patiently in line at New Lucky
Store, Bras Basah Road from where Johnny Two-Thumb operated from.
By the Eighties, Johnny Two-Thumb had already become famous and his fame spanned across many continents
mostly carried on the lips of countless sailors from numerous navies of many nations that call upon Singapore, not
forgetting oil riggers and drillers.
Anyone with a keen eye in discerning various styles of art work and those well versed in appreciating the subtle
nuances of various great masters will be awed by the sheer simplicity of Johnny Two-Thumb's work.
His style in employing the minimum to bring out the maximum was the hallmark of his works.
Shadings were used sparingly and was very cleverly deployed in incorporating the blank spaces within to create a
sense of completeness as a whole. Each of his work became unique classics never ever replicated successfully
Johnny Two-Thumb passed away in August 1988 and his two sons, Singha (Singha Tat) and Harka (Richard Tat)
continued tattooing and brought the tattoo art to new heights and pushed new frontiers. This brought tattooing to
the level of social acceptance and became very popular among many who would have shunned it in an earlier era.
Today, Richard Tat the second generation of Johnny Two Thumb continues the trade in Body Decor Tattoo &
Piercing at The Singapore Shopping Centre with his protege Aaron Tay, and Ms Sumithra Debi ( Sutattoo) the
third generation of Johnny Two Thumb operates from Exotic Tattoo at Far East Plaza.