Per my reckoning, blue denim jeans came onto the local fashion scene some time in the late 1960s. Soon it became the universal below-waist cover-up for every Ah Beng, Arun and Ali. The supposedly casual wear began turning up at every occasion, location and function.
The ladies were not spared this viral apparel infection too.
At my workplaces, even the managers and the managing directors wore denim jeans. Yes, everyone, with one notable exception – ie., this writer himself.
I have NEVER worn a pair of denim jeans in my entire life! “Don’t ask me why…how come I did not try…”
Perhaps, the thought of putting on some thick, canvas-like fabric, with a rugged weather-beaten appearance did not jive well with my personal grooming habits. More correctly, the thought never entered my mind.
My long-time dream of owning a German-made car came to fruition in 1998 – in the form of a 4-year old secondhand maroon-coloured VW Passat. Being in Singapore, I had paid S$76,000 for that SOB (“Son Of the Beetle”).
I loved the clean sleek design, and the feel of tight, precision Teutonic engineering. Driving it was sheer exhilaration. However, my joy was short-lived. Spare parts were extremely expensive.
Worse, after about 6 months, the auto gearbox malfunctioned – always jumping back from 4th to 2nd gear unexpectedly. The agent – Champion Motors – told me the fault could not be fixed, and I would need to fork out S$10,000 to buy a new gearbox!! So, I took the car to an outside mechanic who did a temporary fix – and then I sold it for S$60,000/= (the Asian currency crisis was in full swing then). Sob, sob.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?