Author Archives: happyrecall

About happyrecall

Just a very plain old man, with some knowledge of English

Gripped By Vices

All vices will have a grip on you, but not all of them are evil. In fact some types can help you hold a job steady while you work on it !

My first encounter with a vice was in my Form One Industrial Arts class in 1968. That was a massive chunk of cast iron, bolted onto a sturdy workbench.  We gripped pieces of metal between its jaws, whereupon we did our manual sawing, hand filing and even welding.

Later on, in my studies at the Technical Institute, Penang, there were more occasions to “indulge” in  vices of all sizes and configurations, while the class underwent training in metalcraft at the Engineering Workshop.   I enjoyed these lessons very much, as I was and still am a very much “hands-on” guy.

I bet many younger folks have not seen one.

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Of Fauna, Flora and Bola…

This article may rile some folks.

Football (aka Soccer) is a game that is accorded a near-cult status these days – with the players almost being worshipped like gods. 

But strangely, to me it is nearly impossible to understand what is so exciting about 22 specimens of living Fauna chasing after 1 spherical piece of dead Fauna (footballs used to be made of leather), on a flat patch of Flora (the field).

My psychologist told me that perhaps it has to do with my childhood encounter with the game.  My skin was (still is) allergic to grass – once the bola* has touched grass and hit my legs, an unstoppable itch developed.  Haiz, this particular Fauna indeed has an aversion to some Flora.

So since that first day of Standard One in school, I had to avoid contacting grass, even in PE lessons. 

*bola = Malay word for ball

Butterworth’s Very Own T-Rex

Haha, a precious photo by one “Rod Farquhar”…. taken probably in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Well, Theatre Rex was not quite as jurassic as its cold-blooded carnivorous counterpart – Tyrannosaurus Rex — but by now it definitely is a dinosaur in its own right.

In its heyday, thousands of warm-blooded “Butterworthy” inhabitants flocked into its cool cavernous interior whenever they needed a quickie hallucinatory diversion from their daily grind of life.

In those days, when I was not so old yet, I did enjoy many Shaw Brothers movies at this iconic cinema, with my friends and family.

Ticket prices ranged from 40 sen (3rd class) to RM1.40 for “Dress Circle” (or upstairs) per seat.  But poor kids like me sometimes just bought one ticket and used cute persuasion on the ushers to let in a friend, FOC.

Psyched By PSY

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.

Getting Shot In Public

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.

 

Taken For A Ride

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. 

Of ‘Apiahs’ And Nerdy Memories…

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.