Category Archives: lifestyle

GrabHair : Making Waves With A Clip

Lately, I came across one nostalgic “primeval-looking” gadget at a barber’s shop –  I believe the proper name is “Wave Clip”.

I remember hairdressers of old-time perm parlours used these to clip on bunches of hair on their customers’ heads, as part of the process to create wavy forms.  Oh yes, my late Mum also had half-a-dozen of these in a drawer of her dressing table.

It seems that these awesome (and fearsome-looking) grippers have fallen out of fashion these days, and no modern lady wants to be even seen in possession of the GrabHair thingy.

By the way, when I was much younger, my barber too used such a clip to grab a chunk of my hair at the sides of my head, so that he could do a clean trim. Maybe that was due to my “back-comb” style.

“Woo,…,Woo, My Wound Is Blue…”

In the rough-and-tumble kampong environment of our childhood days, falling down and getting lacerations on our knees, elbows and other parts of the body was part of life at play.

Back then, usually no one sought professional medical aid for these minor injuries.  At most, an antiseptic wash with a solution of Dettol was used, followed by a few dabs of a Blue Lotion. (cannot remember now what its proper name was). 

There was a van from the local hospital which visited our kampong once a week, and it liberally dispensed this Blue Lotion for treatment of all kinds of wounds.

However, this Blue Lotion did not seem to work for me. Instead, my wounded knee worsened, after applying the medicine.  And I had to be taken to see a doctor, who applied a different kind of medicine – in an ointment form.

Noob Guys Wear White

I was never a sportsman, not even the armchair variety. But I loved martial arts movies, in those younger days of testosterone rage.

Apart from Bruce Lee, I was also a fan of Chuck Norris (7 times US karate champion).  Thus inspired by the latter’s movie – Good Guys Wear Black – I decided to join my factory’s Karate Club.  Of course, the karategi was all white.  And, as a newbie, I had to wear a white belt as well (but dreamt of the ultimate black belt).

There were the punches, the kicks, the blocks and, not forgetting the classical chop-chop.  But I was a poor learner, almost causing my instructor to vomit blood (though I did not hit him).

One day, during a mock sparring session, I kept hitting my “opponent” below the belt, and my membership had to be chopped off.

Of Hen-Packed Love And Quacky Gifts…

During my pre-teen days, I used to accompany my late Granny on her bi-monthly trips from Butterworth to a small town called Padang Serai in Kedah, to visit her eldest daughter.  We would wait at the bus stop nearby for the red-and-yellow liveried Central Province Wellesley bus to take us on the 90-minute journey.

On each visit, Granny would pack at least one chicken (sometimes a duck as well) from her own hand-raised “broods” in our backyard, for my Big Aunty and her family.

Usually, the chicken was quite cooperative (legs tied, no doubt), but the ducky fellow could be quite an embarrassing nuisance with its non-stop quacking all the way.   Well, in those days, no one in the bus complained or made a hoo-hah.  It was an accepted way of life. (In these days of smartphones, the saga would have gone viral).

The Other Side Of Mid-Life

Crossing that half-way mark probably was nothing dramatic, like trying to beat the red light, but tell-tale signs of “successful” ageing were starting to show up. 

Rippling muscles of the Incredible Hulk were giving way to flapping blubber of incredible bulk, especially around the waist.  Once a 10-km jog at 5am seemed like a stroll in the park, but now panting started to set in after 2km – and that was, if the body was able to pick itself up at 7am.

Once I was able to sit up at the PC, work till 3am, went to sleep and get up again at 5am…..and still be fresh at work for the following 10 hours.  Now if I work on the PC up to 10pm, my eyes would glue shut till the next morning, as though Loctite had been applied.

Aiyoh, what happened?

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.

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.