Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Winner Takes It All

It was a small oval-shaped “fruit” with a slightly pointed end and covered with a dark-brown velvety shell. The inside was a golden brown pulp that was rather sour, but tasty.  Plentiful during my primary school days, when it was sold in newspaper cones at the school tuckshop. I believe it is called Buah Keranji.

But the main event was slugging it out.  One would choose a “champion” buah, and then challenge an opponent with his “champion”.   The two buahs were butted against each other until one of them cracked open.  The loser would then be taken by the winner.

In the event that the opponent lost three times in a row, he had to give his whole packet of buah to the winner.   Those were the days of fun.

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The “Big Ben” of Penang

Probably everyone knows the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, but how about “the other one” atop the FMS Railway building — now known as Wisma Kastam ?  (They used to call the building “the railway station without a railway”)

As a mainlander in my childhood and youth days,  I knew of this one only.  Like a beacon, it  beckoned the arrival of passengers onboard the ferries.   I think sometimes we could hear the chimes, as the ferries closed in to dock at the terminal.

Those were the days when the skyline was reigned by beautiful colonial-architecture buildings and not uninspiring rectangular blocks of the later years.

One day I shall try to climb up the inside of this heritage-class icon, to see what makes it tick, literally.

I Snared A Rat …

This wire-mesh cage was one of the two fabled weapons used for snaring those sneaky pests in my old kampong house.

Fatal Attraction by the bait lured the victim into the cage, to tug at its last meal, thereby triggering the spring-loaded door.   The trapped rat would later be executed via drowning — with the whole cage submerged under water.

I have not seen this kind of trap for almost 4 decades now.   Not that rats have disappeared; in fact even in my ‘squeaky clean’ adopted country,  a resurgence in their numbers is seen in recent years.   Perhaps rodents have also become more promiscuous these days, in line with the New Morality.

But in Singapore, one has a new weapon, ie., Facebook.   One post is enough to send politicians scurrying for dear life.  Oops, smell a rat ?

Human Rides In Penang

My much beloved and most favored means of transportation during my kiddo days was the Penang trishaw.

Back then, Penang Road was the go-to place, and the journey from Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda would cost my late mum a grand 30 sen !  By comparison, the fare on the rickety City Council buses was only 10 sen (kids traveled free).  But thrifty mum could not persuade me to opt for the economy plan.

Alas, I had a very bad habit of leaving things (mum’s shopping trophies) behind on these trishaws — maybe the rides were so enchanting that I forgot everything else.

Well, human rides were also practised in other towns.  But Penang’s are the best — the customers come first, whereas in other places customers are cast aside (oops, I mean they ride on the side).