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)
It was 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).
Well, 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 drink in this unadulterated H-TWO-O; just opened our mouths big big, turned on the tap handle, and took a BIG GULP or two, and the thirst was history.
My late mum always 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.