Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Grain Reaper

I wonder how many people know what a sickle is. In our kampong house of the 50s and 60s, we had one of these menacing-looking grain reapers, which I understand were used by padi farmers to do their harvesting. But we were not into farming then.

I recall however, that in the coconut plantation where we lived, coconut harvesters tied these sickles to the ends of long bamboo poles and then used these extended-reach cutters to bring down clusters of coconuts.

The tool, with its curved shape, was also good for clearing lalang around the house, and hacking away unwanted branches on trees.

There were also macabre stories of other uses too….but these are too grim for discussion here.

It’s Only Words…

…and words were all you had, to take your thoughts away.  Oh yes, of course one had plenty of ‘Controls’ at one’s fingertips to tap on.

In the early 80s, Wordstar, and a later competitor, WordPerfect, brought about a quantum leap in word-processing that helped bury the typewriter, as well as turned every literate person into a typist.

However, with the advent of Microsoft Windows, the companion MS-Word, with its ability to embed pictures, and armed with formidable tools such as formatting, colors, word-count, thesaurus, search, etc, quickly dethroned and deposed the early pioneers.

Both WS and WP responded to the challenges, but they were too late, to the extent that today, it’s only WORD, and WORD is all we have, though there is no love lost (at least for me) for this rather buggy piece of software.

The Foot, The Fad and The Ugly

The horrific practice of feet-binding in ancient China must surely rank as one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind. 

As I put words for this post, it grieves and stupefies me – how could people crush and mutilate the feet of young girls, and grossly contort them by tightly binding up whatever were left, and then call them “beautiful” ?

My late grandma was one of the victims.  As a young boy, I listened to the story of her ordeal, and it made cry an hour. By that time, she had given up the bindings, and what I saw shocked me for life.

Despite her bound feet, as a young girl, she worked as a cowherd, walked miles in her village in China, and then later, after marriage, raised 4 kids and ran a sundry shop.

Every Seat A Window Seat

Haha, this “ancient” piston-engined, propellor-driven, 9-seater Britten-Norman Islander BN-2 had something to offer that no modern airliners can!  And best of all, if odds were in your favour, you could land up next to the pilot in the cockpit…and that is full frontal view.

Years back (I think in the 70s), MAS had 4 of these rugged flying workhorses plying the rural routes in Sarawak and Sabah.  I have heard of many interesting stories as well as some hair-raising tales about flights on this plane.  Folks originating from East Malaysia should have some fond memories to share.

I was told that all passengers (apart from their baggage) had to be individually weighed and allocated seats in order to preserve balance in the air.  Sometimes live animals would be among the payload together with the passengers.