Monthly Archives: October 2019

GrabHair : Making Waves With A Clip

Lately, I came across one nostalgic “primeval-looking” gadget at a barber’s shop –  I believe the proper name is “Wave Clip”.

I remember hairdressers of old-time perm parlours used these to clip on bunches of hair on their customers’ heads, as part of the process to create wavy forms.  Oh yes, my late Mum also had half-a-dozen of these in a drawer of her dressing table.

It seems that these awesome (and fearsome-looking) grippers have fallen out of fashion these days, and no modern lady wants to be even seen in possession of the GrabHair thingy.

By the way, when I was much younger, my barber too used such a clip to grab a chunk of my hair at the sides of my head, so that he could do a clean trim. Maybe that was due to my “back-comb” style.

“Woo,…,Woo, My Wound Is Blue…”

In the rough-and-tumble kampong environment of our childhood days, falling down and getting lacerations on our knees, elbows and other parts of the body was part of life at play.

Back then, usually no one sought professional medical aid for these minor injuries.  At most, an antiseptic wash with a solution of Dettol was used, followed by a few dabs of a Blue Lotion. (cannot remember now what its proper name was). 

There was a van from the local hospital which visited our kampong once a week, and it liberally dispensed this Blue Lotion for treatment of all kinds of wounds.

However, this Blue Lotion did not seem to work for me. Instead, my wounded knee worsened, after applying the medicine.  And I had to be taken to see a doctor, who applied a different kind of medicine – in an ointment form.

T-Square Knight Of The Drafting Table

In Form One, 1968, we were introduced to Technical Drawing, whereby we learned concepts such as 2D projections of 3D objects, cross-sections, dimensioning protocols, line types, etc. 

Looking back, it seemed that I took to Technical Drawing like a duck to water.  Everything was like second nature to me, as I drew lines and curves with pencils of various hardness grades.

One basic tool used in drawing practice was the indispensable T-Square, which served as the movable horizontal datum, upon which set-squares were placed, to produce lines which were to be at 90/30/60/45-degree angles to it.  And of course, that wooden “drawing table” which supported the drawing paper.

Later on, in the Technical Institute, Penang and even in the University of Malaya, many hours would be spent hunching over the Drafting Table, with T-Square sliding up and down.

My Hang-Ups About Rolling Off

I remember in my parents’ wardrobe there were a dozen large wooden clothes’ hangers. 

The upper frame was a gently-sloping bar, while the lower member was in the form of a long wooden rod, attached to the upper piece by stout wires at both ends. 

The interesting thing was that wooden rod could roll without much effort. This feature enabled a pair of suspended pants (or other garments) to be pulled off without fear of abrasion damage by friction.  However, it also meant that anything suspended on it had a tendency to slip off at the slightest provocation.

So, usually we used those trusty wooden clothes’ pegs to clasp the hung-up items, thus preventing any unscheduled “wardrobe malfunctions”.

I believe these hangers are no longer manufactured. But then these days, who wants to have hang-ups about rolling off?

Noob Guys Wear White

I was never a sportsman, not even the armchair variety. But I loved martial arts movies, in those younger days of testosterone rage.

Apart from Bruce Lee, I was also a fan of Chuck Norris (7 times US karate champion).  Thus inspired by the latter’s movie – Good Guys Wear Black – I decided to join my factory’s Karate Club.  Of course, the karategi was all white.  And, as a newbie, I had to wear a white belt as well (but dreamt of the ultimate black belt).

There were the punches, the kicks, the blocks and, not forgetting the classical chop-chop.  But I was a poor learner, almost causing my instructor to vomit blood (though I did not hit him).

One day, during a mock sparring session, I kept hitting my “opponent” below the belt, and my membership had to be chopped off.

“Squeezy Does It”

Some senior folks may remember the pre-machine days, when we had to use a manual scraper to forcibly “evict” coconut meat in strips and bits from its tempurong encasement.  “Easy does it”, you may say.

Next, if we wanted coconut milk from the scrapings (nowadays we call them “grated” coconut), we would put several scoops into a piece of tough cloth (in those days, usually from flour sacks)  and, then bundle them up and use raw muscle power to twist and “perah” the package.

With hands firmly gripping two ends of the package, a powerful twisting action was applied and, out flowed  that white, delectable and lemak santan.  “Squeezy does it” !

A tribute here to womenfolk of those days, whose hands were often roughened and toughened by work such as this.  I was glad to have helped my mum.

note: “perah” means “squeeze” in Malay language. “santan” means coconut milk

 

Close Encounters Of The Detestable Kind

I remember when we were kids, one day my cousin was taking a bath and suddenly she let out a terrifying primordial scream and the door crashed open and out dashed she in her birthday suit — all because of one roach that crawled out of the drainage hole and started to fly…….

OMR – Oh My Roach!

Actually cockroaches can be used for medicinal purposes. In my very young days, when kids sometimes got a boil (bisul) on their bodies, the parents would go and catch a cockroach, twist its head off (but leaving its entrails stuck to the head) and then apply the entrails onto the sides  of the boil.

Within minutes, the entrails would become bloated, and the swelling and redness around the boil would be alleviated. That was another kind of TCM (Traditional Cockroach Medicine).