A bit of exaggeration perhaps, but the self-proclaimed “Famous Pink Tablets” were probably the most highly-favoured over-the-counter medication of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
It was like the grand-mummy of the present-day Panadol. As the claim went, 2 tablets of these pink tablets could quickly take the misery out of Headches, Fever, Body Aches, Influenza and Toothaches. I suspect women of those days must have used them for other needs too.
In any case, I must have eaten at least 10 dozen boxes of the pinkish stuff in my younger days, as usually we did not (and could not afford to) visit a doctor unless we were about to die.
These days, I think Vinac is not popular anymore; the familiar red-and-yellow packaging has been replaced by something nondescript. I have not seen a modern specimen in real-life.
Confessions first: am no Mopiko salesman nor itching to be one.
But true to its Chinese name – 無比膏 – it was and still is an Incomparable Cream, matchless in its ability to soothe pain, stop itch and ease off a host of other discomforts.
I first came across this ‘wonder’ stuff some time in ‘60s – back then its advertisements were blasted numerous times over the radio everyday, “Stop Pain, Stop Itch, Use Mopiko”. Since then it has been granted permanent residency in my household.
I understand that the “Indications” list on the packaging differs slightly from country to country. The one here from Singapore says it is also good for pimples!
Anyway, this medication is so effective that oftentimes, one look at a tube is enough to trigger an itchy spot on the body.
It was not quite as fascinating as Jason’s Odyssey but for an ancient set of walking fossils like me – or whatever remains of a body after 6 decades on planet Earth – these vintage Japanese analgesic plasters have provided legendary relief from the aches and pains all over.
For those who read Chinese, the name is “Tuo Ku Hai” – meaning escape from the sea of misery. What an insightful name !
Tokuhon came into my life at a very young age. After a game of badminton, or a day’s work of sawing firewood for the family, my arms would ache at night, and dad was ready with his favourite patch-up job using pieces of this Japanese wonder. From there, the old habits stuck on for life.
There were also other lesser known ones such as Tohtonku, but I remember Tokuhon best.