Monthly Archives: February 2020

Carry On…Writing

Missing episode of the “Carry On” series?  🙂 As kids, we did all our writing with pencils, until sometime in Standard 5 or 6. 

Aaah! Each pencil had to be sharpened frequently with a “sharpener” (which seemed to have a voracious appetite for slender wooden things with a graphite core).  Every sharpening shortened the instrument by about 3 mm. Eventually the length was reduced to about 2 inches; then it became difficult to grasp properly in the hand and produce good handwriting.

Help came in the form of an “Extender”, into which the shortened pencils could be inserted and locked.  In that way, the short pencils were given a new lease of life, and we happily carried on writing, until all that remained of the pencils were stubs of half-inch lengths or so.

Are these Extenders still being used?

The Rides And Falls Of Our Times

Pampered kids of today have midget mounts with outrigger “training” wheels, but in our times, learning to ride a bicycle was inevitably a thrill-and-spill adventure on a huge “Grandpa” two-wheeler.

Grabbing the handle bar with the left hand, and the seat with the right arm, and right foot on the right pedal, one had to “half-push, half-pedal” to try and gain some speed.  After some trial runs, one would venture to also lift the left foot, onto the left pedal, and secure that elusive balance.   For a second or two, things got rolling,…and then gravity took over the game.   C-R-A-S-H !! 

A few bruises on the knees, elbows or palms perhaps, but no big deal.  We picked up our machines, and off we went again.  And there would be many falls before a bona fide ride was finally achieved.

1010 – For Starters

An anxiously-anticipated telegram in mid-1979 brought me one of the greatest joys in early adult life. Motorola (M) Sdn. Bhd., Penang, had offered me an engineer’s job @ RM1010 per month.  Wow! 

That was huge in those days, considering one other offer from a printing company coming in  at only RM800 and another from Singapore at S$850.  Without a second thought, I took the plunge into the electronics industry, though my training was in mechanical engineering.  (Money lah!!)

Competition for engineering manpower in the Bayan Lepas FTZ was intense in those years. Thus, neighbouring factories like those of Intel, Monolithic Memories, Mostek, HP, etc., embarked on a wage race to lure the nerdy ones.  Motorola responded by generously giving “market adjustments” of around 20% yearly, to everyone — on top of individual performance merits.

Those were the truly “GOOD OLE DAY$”

The Rust Was History

In the earlier years, motor cars were prone to rusting and were often seen with patches of the lower regions of body panels eaten through by rust.  European makes, notably Alfa Romeo, seemed specially vulnerable, though Japanese brands were not spared either.

Then circa the mid 1970s, a chemical treatment called “Tuff Kote” splashed onto the automotive scene.  It was touted as the wonder coating that could prevent one’s gleaming trophy on wheels from morphing into an unsightly chunk of brownish iron oxide. 

I remember salesmen of both new and pre-loved cars, quite persistently coaxed their customers to send in their mounts for this “extra protection” (of course they earned a commission).

Later on, as full-immersion cathodic protection technology became mainstream for auto manufacturers, Tuff Kote appeared to have a tough time selling their proposition. 

The Rust Was History,…..,maybe.