It was (and hope it still is) one of the most serene and beautiful places on Penang Island – The Air Itam Dam and Reservoir.
In the early 1980s, it was one of the favourite places that my GF (and now wife) and I loved to go there early on weekends, admiring the scenery (and each other) while soaking in the twin morning glories of fresh cool air and cozy gentle sunshine. Oh ! What A Feeling ! Those were most cherishable memories.
On most occasions, we drove via a small road through Air Itam village up to the Kek Lok Si Temple carpark, and then went on foot up the rather winding road to the dam.
After 1984, we only went back there once – in 2014. We were glad that much of the old scenery was still intact.
But they had the last laugh..all the way to the bank…after fishing out our hard-earned money while we ‘pretended’ not to know it. Apa nak buat ? Life was kinda tough in those days (as compared to today) and therapeutic hardship diversions were few and far in between.
As the poor folks soaked in their favorite reality-escape fixes and got their hallucinatory-cum-delusionary highs, operators in the backroom were busy spinning reels of film.
No regrets though, we enjoyed many epic movies that were screened in the Rexes, Capitols, Odeons, Cathays, etc, and many people went gaga over the movie stars, both males and females.
Those were the heydays of the big-screen duo, viz., Cathay and Shaw. Shaw was a much larger outfit, with dozens of many cinemas throughout Malaysia and Singapore.
No, it is not “birds of a feather flock together”.
When we were kids, we used to play with a simple toy – often homemade – which consisted of 3,4 or maybe 5 big feathers tied together and locked and glued onto a long nail that had pierced through several round pieces of rubber sheets. Big goose feathers from the wings purportedly were the best. In Chinese, we called it “Jianzi”, while I later learned that the Malay name for it is “Chapteh”
It was fun kicking it into the air and the challenge was to keep the toy airborne. In China, this game is still very much alive and there are great experts doing all kinds of stunts with it.