Category Archives: lifestyle

Pouring Cold Water Onto Ourselves

Long before the fad of Ice Bucket Challenge came and went, kampong kids like me were already well into pouring cold water on ourselves to kick off an enthusiastic day.

True enough it was not ice-cold, but water drawn from a well in the pre-dawn hours was refreshing enough to get body and mind ready for school.   A cool start, perhaps.

We did not have tap water and electrical water heaters were unheard of.  No one caught a chill and no one fell sick.  Even my late granny did not use any hot water for her baths until she was close to 70. 

Looking back, modern folks these days are really too pampered.  On the other hand, they are missing out on a lot of fun from getting closer to nature.  

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On A Nutshell, We Had Fun

Back in those days of the 50s and 60s,  we kids had a lot of time to be just kids.  Though we had very few factory-made toys, that did not stop us from having a good time.  We laid our hands and feet on whatever that were available  and made them entertain us.

Coconuts were plentiful in my kampong as my house was in the midst of a coconut plantation.  

So, one of the favourite pastimes was to put a coarse string through two-halves of tempurung and then we stepped on the inverted coconut shells and walked with them.  The string had to be pulled up and gripped between the big toes and the 2nd toes, like how one wore a Japanese slipper.  Klok-klok-klok….

Well, in a nutshell, we had great fun on a nutshell !

All Routes Led To Puduraya

Of course this is an exaggeration (not all roads led to Rome, even in its heyday).  But this was the base terminal from which many express buses from all over the country operated.

During the 4 years of my studies at UM (1975-79), I called at this “mother-of-all-bus-terminals” at least 2 dozen times, as I travelled between Kuala Lumpur, and home in Penang.

Back then, it was already a hive of hyper-activity.  The upper floor which housed numerous ticketing booths and eating spots was always swarming with travellers of all shapes, sizes and colours, as well as hordes of bus touts crying aloud the names of almost every major town in Peninsula Malaysia.

The lower floor roared with high decibels of engine noise and fumed with diesel smoke from the arriving and departing buses. 

Those were the days – I have not been back there since 1980.

Feet Of Clay vis-a-vis Feet Of Clay

Folks of my age would remember the ubiquitous wooden “Meat Safes” where we kept our foodstuff, and also pots, pans, bowls and dishes.  While these stood on solid ground they had the proverbial “feet of clay” as ants could easily climb up and  somehow help themselves to the food.

So to counter this “ant-surgency” threat, the four legs were usually shod with Moat Bowls made of real clay (glazed and fired).  The moats were filled halfway with water.  These formed effective barriers which the pesky 6-legged fellas found it hard to bridge or breach.  

These clay moat bowls are a rarity now, being replaced by molded plastic ones in the later years.  The moat concept however lives on — those who have pets at home know what I mean.

The Big Picture

As CRT Television maxed out about 15 years ago (at 33″), manufacturers sought new technologies for larger screens.  One of them was the Rear Projection TV.

However to me, it was at best a desperate attempt to squeeze the last drop of juice from an antiquated set of know-how.  The screens were large, no doubt; with sizes going up to 60 inches diagonal (maybe even larger).   But they were huge boxes.  And the resolution, clarity and contrast were poor, to say the least.   Perhaps there was consolation to the owners who could demonstrably and unmistakably prove to their neighbours and visitors that they were people who could see the big picture….LOL.

I contemplated buying a set before, but the thought of having an Incredible Bulk of a box eating up half my living room was simply unbearable.

Come Rain Or Shine

These sturdy old-fashion Oiled Paper Umbrellas could be counted on to offer all-weather protection with 100% confidence.  The earlier ones were plain, with no decorations or colorful patterns.  Only the ribs were painted, with a dark green color on the outside.

[A far cry from flimsy modern double-collapsing or triple-collapsing contraptions, which are waterproof only if the rain is not serious, and threaten to be gone with the wind in face of strong gusts.]

But these were bulky and heavy and a hassle to lug around everywhere. The last time I used one was probably in the middle of the last century, when I carried one to school on wet days.   Two or even three children could easily be accommodated under one of these brollies.

Phantoms Of The Opera

My friends asked me whether I have watched The Phantom of the Opera – I said I started to watch only perhaps about 30 years ago, and ever since I have been watching it or them almost like once a week or so.   LOLX !

On quite many occasions, I got startled when the actress showed up unexpectedly as I walked into my bedroom or bathroom.    I fell off my bed during the first encounter.

Years later, ever since my daughter got out of school, I got to see more episodes on two different channels now……

In any case, I prefer the Contemporary to the Classic…hehehe