Decades ago, life was a hard struggle for the villagers, who had to toil physically the whole day for some rather meagre incomes. The need for an escape path for mental and physical stresses was dire.
For many, this came in the form of a cheap illicit booze known as “moonshine” or in the local Hokkien term that I knew – ia kha chiew (meaning alcohol brewed under coconut trees). Apparently, in the depths of many of the cocounut plantations, something more exciting, more intoxicating and more profitable than going nuts was brewing.
I had a neighbour with a bicycle-repair shop front, but made most of his money selling this “comfort drink” for 20sen per small glass. Come evening time, many customers would leave the shop tottering in a happy daze with the moon shining on them.