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.
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.
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.
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”
My first encounters with dentures took place in the early 60s, when both my parents started to put on full sets of gigi palsu**. It seems in those days, dental health was a problem among the folks, and sooner or later, fillings and extractions became necessary. And before long, many teeth would be lost.
For those who previously had bad-looking teeth, dentures also provided a set of beautifully fashioned upgrade, enabling them to smile with brimming confidence.
In any case, many if not most wearers would remove their dentures for cleaning before they retire to bed, leaving them in a glass of water.
I think these days, full dentures are a measure of last resort. With modern dental engineering techniques, most of the defects and wear-and-tear could be repaired without having to do extraction.
* Pun on the Malay song “Burung Kakak Tua”
** Malay word for “false teeth”
Does it matter ? Yes, I mean in the old days, the shape of the bottom of your shirt (called “hem”, right?) determined whether or not your shirt should be tucked in.
If the shirt was a long-sleeved one, it came with a nice rounded hem, which must be tucked into the pants. For courtesy, modesty or formality, or all three, having an exposed rounded bottom was a frowned-upon “No-No”. But it was OK, if the shirt, especially a short-sleeve “hawaiian” type which always came with a straight bottom.
But times have changed. These days, we see our young men strutting smugly around town in shirts with exposed, untucked rounded hem (worse still, with a half-done tie, and shorts) going arm-in-arm with girlfriends dressed to the nines.
Tastes have changed too. Ironically, anything goes, just tuck it in.
A recent visit to my dentist to get a stainless steel crown done brought home memories of a time in the past when it was very fashionable for folks – especially the men – to have a tooth or two or several, capped or cladded in gold.
They were not the gypsies mentioned in “Love Potion No.9” but just ordinary (and rather poor) kampong dwellers. Am not sure how the golden layer was done, but it intrigued me. Perhaps, for most of them, they were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths, so a gold-capped tooth or two psychologically placed them on even footing with the richer compatriots.
Anyway, I have not come across anyone sporting such glittering dental ornamentation in the last few decades. I think the younger ones prefer to pierce their ears, noses, lips, etc.