Category Archives: lifestyle

Chill In From Down Under

It is now unimaginable for anyone buying a car – new or preloved – that it would come without an airconditioner built-in.  Yet, up to the very late 70s, airconditioning was an optional item.

And so, my very first full-size car (a 2-yr old Mazda 323 Hatchback) did not have one.  After sweating it out for a couple of months, and with my hair blown into a bird’s nest after each ride (windows had to be down), I decided enough was enough.

A trip to a workshop, and about RM1,400 poorer, ah ha, got me a brand new Sanden kit installed, with the blower/evaporator unit mounted under the dashboard.  Cool !  Wow, “to chill it out” had taken on a new wonderful literal meaning.

The first stop after that was to go over to my GF’s home and pick her up in cool comfort.

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Stripping To Look Good

Disclaimer : This is not about flaunting of private assets in public.

In the late 70s through to the late 80s, it was fashionable to affix a thick strip of rubber, called “side molding” to both sides of one’s car doors.  These supposedly protected the sides of the vehicle against accidental knocks by the doors of other cars parked adjacent to one’s mobility pride.

More importantly, I suspect that these side moldings endowed the stripped cars with a perception of added strength and a touch of machismo. 

Thus, when I got my first ‘proper’ car in the form of a second-hand, first-gen Mazda 323, the first thing I did was to drive it to an accessories shop for a stripping job.  It looked great afterwards.

I think these days such side moldings are no longer cool or chic.

Going ‘Overseas’ To Study — Every Weekday

Never mind if it was actually over the sea. Just let this old man reminisce the thrills and spills of the days (1971-72) when he had to make the {12~14km} or so trip from Bagan Ajam to the Technical Institute on the island for his studies.

At first I tried cycling – getting up at 5am, I pedalled all the way to the ferry terminal, got onto the lower deck of the ferry, and then out onto the island….finally arriving at Jalan Ibbetson where TI was located.   School dismissed at 1.50pm and by the time I got back home it was around 4.30pm.   Alas, after 1 school term, I was reduced to just skin-and-bones.

My parents then ordered me to take the public buses.

Finally, in 1973, our family moved over to the island, in preparation for my Lower Six. Thus ended my odyssey over the sea.

“Ride Goes Before A Fall”…

In the old days, mini bicycles with tiny outrigger “training” wheels were unheard of.  So we kids who wanted to learn to ride bicycles had to take on full-size (often ‘grandpa’ type) machines.

The way to go was to grab the handle bar with the left hand, and the cross-bar with the right arm, and with some pushing along, tried pedalling, steering and balancing all at the same time.

Needless to say,  for the first few times at least, the bicycle did roll forward for a short distance before L-rider and machine crashed to the ground.   No problem – maybe a couple of bruises to the knees, elbows or palms.  We just brushed away the dirt and off we went again, and again, until finally, we tamed the two-wheeled beasts.

Joyful pride came after the falls.  

Yellow Old Foggies

In the late ‘70s and through the ‘80s when the industrialization process was taking off in Malaysia, motor cars became a telling symbol of “I have arrived”.

This old fogey remembers many young-blooded hotshots would proudly roar in and out of town in saloons that had been “macho-transformed”….with sports rims, extra-wide tyres, throaty-exhausts…and invariably one or several sets of halogen fog lamps in front !

Never mind that a fog in Malaysia is as rare as a blue moon, these lamps emitted a piercing yellow beam that was quite menacing and even hazardous to oncoming traffic.  I guess the idea was to tell the lesser beings in the oncoming vehicles, “look, tai kor (大哥, ‘big brother’) is here”.

I believe such lamps might have been outlawed, as in recent years I have hardly seen any vehicle with these mounted.

Happy Ending To An Unhappy Call

It must have been like 10 years ago (as of 2018) when a Korean-made product “Happycall” made its debut onto the local kitchenware scene.  Widely touted as the wonder non-stick pan, it promised to keep all flavours in, and cook everything to perfection.

I quickly tried out every Flip and Flop – from antiquity to modernity – to make it happen. Sadly, nothing worked out. (The fish that I was trying to fry turned out half-cooked and looked more like an aircrash victim). Or that I was a culinary catastrophe.

My old faithful old Wok-horse was still the best.  Disappointed, I decided to go for Amicable Separation after the Un-Happy Call.

It took one yank from a small screw driver to unhinge everything – and then, voila, I had two non-stick pans, and all parties were a lot happier afterwards.

Cepat Dipasang Sedap Dibuka*

These snappy fasteners had already attained a star-studded status way way before Maggi Mee made its debut as a mainstream staple.

In my baby years and teenage era, when my late mum and many other aunties and kakaks were expert seamstresses, Press-Stud buttons were a common sight, found in the needle boxes and drawers of Singer sewing machines.  

They were favoured for their ease of use – just press to close and pull apart (the clothes) to open.  I remember all our pyjamas had these fasteners.   So were a lot of ladies’ blouses.

I think these days, a lot of these buttons have been superseded by zippers (I could be wrong) – as the latter seem to provide a better insurance against “wardrobe malfunctions” (intended or otherwise). Labour-wise, attaching zippers lends itself much more readily to automation.

* Pun on Maggi Mee’s tagline : “Cepat Dimasak Sedap Dimakan”