Monthly Archives: February 2018

‘Clanliness’ Was A Jetty-some Thing

Oh, what nostalgia for a Penang Lang !  Yes, the clan jetties that line the waterfront along Weld Quay ,Penang. 

Dating back to the late 19th century, numerous ones have been built and torn down, but today there remain 6 famous Jetties – 5 belonging to the clans of Lim, Chew, Tan, Lee and Yeoh, plus 1 Mixed Surname (aka “New’) Jetty.  Basically each consisted of two rows of houses facing each other, built on stilts that were planted into the seabed. A common wooden walkway was placed in between, and some, to the sides.

These places were not the among the cleanest or most hygienic dwellings, with the seawater underneath emitting some unwelcoming odours, especially at low tide. Also garbage jettisoned by the residents tended to accumulate under the structures.

In recent times, with some upgrading, these jetties have become popular tourist attractions.

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Back To The Drawing Board

Before computerization massively invaded the realm of design (circa early 1980s), all ideas for making a product, constructing a structure, an electrical schematic, etc had to be presented via a drawing, painstakingly hand-drawn on paper, mylar or other media. 

Each drawing was a personal masterpiece of draftsmanship, where the lines were drawn between concept and tangible creation.

And there was the indispensable supporting equipment to facilitate this task and impart the professional touch to the drawings – the Drawing Board.

The drawing boards evolved quickly into sophisticated equipment known as drafting machines, among which the brand Mutoh was my favourite. 

My career foundation was set on these, but with the advent of software like AutoCAD, Pro-E, etc, I found that I had to go “back to the drawing board” to re-chart my way forward.  But, no regrets.

When Blueprints Were Blue Prints

When I took my first rodent steps into the Big Rat Race, one of the first machines I encountered in my office was a huge beast which had the abnoxious penchant for emitting a pungent smell when it was called to work.

In those days, after the hand-drafted drawings were completed on mylar films, or tracing paper, the originals were passed through that stinky machine to make more copies.  The maximum size that it could accommodate was A0.  All the lines on the copies were blue, and the background also had a light bluish tinge.

Of course these days,  giant-size photocopiers have rendered the ammonia printers obsolete.  The copies are also no longer blue.

But the term “blueprint” is very much in use, especially figuratively in describing plans for making things in the future.

Of Side-Cars And Sidekicks

I wonder how many of us here remember, or have seen one, or have taken a ride on the “car side” of the three-wheel contraption ? I remember the last time I saw one was like 50 years ago – I think back then it was kinda chic with the better-off folks.

These machines had proper suspensions for both the side-car, as well as the motorbike itself, with creature comfort taken well into conideration. 

Well, in old war movies, this mode of transportation was popular with the German troops.  The side car of those times usually had a machine gun mounted in front, to take care of any unfriendly encounters.

Am not sure if present-day JPJ (Road Transport Department) approves of this kind of vehicle.   But never mind, let your memories flow….don’t forget to take your doggie along ….