2012 was not the Year of the Horse – but on 15 July 2012, suddenly a K-Pop music video galloped onto the world scene, gaining unprecedented popularity in a very short time.
“Oppan Gangnam Style”….. To be very honest I have never been a pop fan nor was I ever into any kind of dancing, in my whole life. Yet, that catchy beat, and amusing dance steps of PSY (that chubby-looking but extremely agile superstar that I had never heard of till then) got the latent horse in me prancing and trotting the very first time I accidentally clicked on that video on YouTube.
In the 2 years which followed, my wife and I were somehow so psyched by PSY, that “horse-style” became our photo wefie favourite pose.
By 21 Dec 2012, “Gangnam Style” chalked up 1 billion views on YouTube, and by 25 Jun 2015, 3.2 billion views were clocked.
When I was a kid, most people could not afford to own a camera. But that did not stop us from wanting to capture memorable fun moments of our lives.
Poor as we were, folks managed to have family outings at popular scenic and recreational spots such as the Botanical Gardens, Penang Hill, and even Batu Maung (where there was a horse for rent). Of course, there were the ever-present professional photographers with their cameras staking out at these places, patiently stalking their potential customers and their wallets.
A super-friendly approach and sweet persuasion by these pros inevitably ended in getting us shot a couple of times, and somewhat poorer. We then gave our addresses to the camera men for sending the finished photographs to us.
Back home, it was an agonizing two weeks’ wait for the postman to deliver the eagerly-awaited pieces of printed joy.
One morning, sometime in my 2nd year of stay in China, my wife and I hailed a red VW Santana taxi for a trip to downtown Shenzhen.
The agreed price was RMB80/=, and the ride proceeded smoothly, till we were about 5 km to the destination. Suddenly the car stalled. The driver told us to pay him the RM80, while he would call in a replacement car.
So I gave him a RMB100 note, but he quickly returned to me, saying it was a fake note. Stunned, I pulled out another RMB100 note for him, and the same happened. Incredibly, it happened a 3rd time.
After we got home, I discovered in my wallet three RMB100 notes with identical serial numbers! Oh Silly Me! That driver had swapped fake notes for my real ones.
A photo here from the graduating Class of 1979 — vintage year 2 score and no more (as of 2019).
Remembering the days, where we – the ‘Engin’ were the nerdy ones, and fondly (or perhaps disdainfully) nicknamed the ‘Apiahs’. (Am not sure what this last term meant)
While students from other faculties (most notoriously, the Arts) were having a whale of a time in their prime, we just did “eat, sleep, shxx, and study study study”.
Our favourite pastime was to “mug” in the campus library; our food hotspots were in Section 17, PJ; and our favourite PMDs (personal mobility device) were the Kapcai’s (Honda’s, Suzuki”s, Yamaha’s)
Most, if not all these classmates have had very successful careers and businesses after their graduation. Thanks to our lecturers for their teaching and guidance.
In public buses of the old days, there were a number of “Push Once” buttons placed along the length of the interiors.
Apparently, passengers were “warned” to push or press any of these buttons only once, to tell the driver that they wanted to disembark. And “dire consequences” awaited those who disregarded the warning.
But as these buttons were spaced out at quite big intervals, sometimes it was hard to reach anyone of them, especially when the buses were jam-packed with passengers.
Thus at a later time, newer buses with fitted with a kind of continuous “bell strip” that ran the whole length of the interior, on both sides. These were usually mounted above the window frames. With these strips, it meant that the bell could be activated by pressing anywhere along the central rubberized zone.
But the high placement was a problem.
Those schoolboy days
Of telling tales and catching snails are gone…
But in my mind
I know they will still live on and on..
But how do you thank someone
Who has taken you from crayons to Brylcreem ?
It isn’t easy, but I’ll try
If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters
That would soar a thousand feet high…
‘TO SIR WITH LOVE”
This photograph was taken with my beloved Standard One Form Teacher, Mr Francis Heng, at the 1st reunion dinner of the 1970 LCE-graduating batch of the Assumption Boys’ School, Butterworth. It was the first meeting after 45 years.
When wearing of helmets for motorcyclists became mandatory in 1973, business boomed for retailers of helmets. The headgear protected the riders, but also gave them a new headache – THEFT!
Folks who were naïve enough to leave their helmets attached to the side locks on their mounts would find them gone in no time. The alternative would be to lug along these cumbersome spherical “shells”wherever they ventured on foot, after dismounting.
I was not ready to be encumbered. So, I fashioned a galvanized iron cover to fit my trusty Honda C70 Kapcai (the cover had a hinge too), and then relocated the helmet lock from its default position to the side of the basket (that came along with the bike) to secure the cover.
I figured my “invention” would deter a potential thief as it would frustrate his efforts at getting the bounty.
Going to China to live and work there was the last thing I had ever imagined would happen to me. Yet it did.
In the autumn of 2000, I was hired by an American company, which despatched me to its China factory to start up an R&D department. Later two more portfolios, Quality Assurance and Project Management were added.
I soon discovered that besides work, the PRC Chinese also had a boisterous appetite for play. They would organize monthly dinners which always ended with karaoke sessions, and inevitably, the “expat” managers always had to oblige, by rendering their croaking at the microphone.
The big event was the annual CNY celebration. With 3500 employees — 90% of whom were females — I rendered one “女人是老虎” (Women Are Tigresses) in tribute to them at the 2007 dinner, followed by “Don’t Forget To Remember”. And they went gaga!