Category Archives: lifestyle

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.

 

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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. 

Be Done With The Stork

In the old days, having a baby delivered in a hospital was somewhat of a luxury, which the kampong folks could not afford, or maybe had a prejudice against.

Thus, the services of a “Bidan” or midwife were highly sought after.  In my kampong at Bagan Ajam, Butterworth, there was my neighbour Aunty Bidan.  She must have had a very busy schedule, as many of the couples back then had at least half-a-dozen children.

In fact, two of my cousins were helped out into this world by her skillful, loving hands.  No storks needed.

Aunty Bidan (she was a Mrs Tan) had also the distinction of being one of the two persons in the village to own a car (I think it was a Simca) and a telephone (which she graciously ‘shared’ with all her neighbours). I still remember that 5-digit number.

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.

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.