Once Upon A Time in Penang before the construction of deep-water wharves in Butterworth , the harbor waters were teeming with tugboats, each with one or two or even three “tongkangs” in tow.
These formed a vital sector of the marine transportation industry and was an iconic feature of life in Pulau Pinang in those days.
A crossing of the channel onboard a ferry would see me peering out of the windows, to watch intently how the poor little tugs labored in a gentle rock-and-roll fashion against wind and water, with black smoke spewing from their funnels as they hauled the bigger unpowered vessels.
These days, such a scene is quite rare; and when I come across one, it never fails to tug at my heartstrings.
Not that Petrol was too mainstream; the radiator had an unfailing tendency to boil over.
This cute vintage Fiat 600D was my first-ever car, acquired by my dad sometime in 1979. At the time of purchase, it was 17 years of age and having pre-loved umpteen times already. Nonetheless, I drove it to work in my first job at Motorola (Bayan Lepas FTZ F3) and proudly parked it at a prominent spot at the car park.
It had some quirky — or endearing, depending on how one looked at them — features that took some conscious effort to live with.
Water @ 10 miles per quart
Petrol @ 40 miles per gallon
Engine Oil @ 100 miles per pint
ENGINES : none in front — but there was one at the back
TOP SPEED : 70mph (ever attempted)
Far better than Pepsi-Cola : it was cool, refreshing and clear. And F-O-C and F-O-S too (free-of-charge,and free-of-sugar)
Just reminiscing my primary school days, when after a PE lesson or a game of football, we kids made a beeline for the solitary standpipe in the school compound, and got our thirsty throats quenched.
No SWEAT for us to gulp down this unadulterated H-TWO-O; just opened our mouths big big, and turned on the tap handle, and the thirst was history.
My late mum cautioned me against drinking straight from the tap for the fear of water-borne diseases. She always made me carry a bottle of boiled water from home. But….drinking from Paip Sekolah was a totally different experience. I never told her.