This was the favourite board game of my childhood and the only one that I have ever mastered (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, please).
Unlike chess – both ‘international’ and Chinese types – very little (almost zero) cerebral prowess was needed to play this game. Just rolled a dice or two, and let nature take its course, as whether to climb up a ladder or be swallowed by a snake.
Maybe this game is too old-school and a no-brainer for the young folks of today.
In a way, it represented my working life. As I toiled to climb the corporate ladders, plenty of snakes – anacondas, pythons, etc – laid in wait to ensnare and pull me down, and tried to swallow me. Therefore I always had to watch out in all directions, at all times. Still, occasionally, the dice rolled unfavourably.
2012 was not the Year of the Horse – but on 15 July 2012, suddenly a K-Pop music video galloped onto the world scene, gaining unprecedented popularity in a very short time.
“Oppan Gangnam Style”….. To be very honest I have never been a pop fan nor was I ever into any kind of dancing, in my whole life. Yet, that catchy beat, and amusing dance steps of PSY (that chubby-looking but extremely agile superstar that I had never heard of till then) got the latent horse in me prancing and trotting the very first time I accidentally clicked on that video on YouTube.
In the 2 years which followed, my wife and I were somehow so psyched by PSY, that “horse-style” became our photo wefie favourite pose.
By 21 Dec 2012, “Gangnam Style” chalked up 1 billion views on YouTube, and by 25 Jun 2015, 3.2 billion views were clocked.
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.
It was not 500 miles from home, but at the Waterfalls (Penang Botanical Gardens). In 1963 or so, several of my primary school teachers took the whole class from Butterworth for a picnic there.
I had a most memorable experience then. When I came out from the water to get my bag, I found it had been opened by “someone”, and the packet of peanuts and the bananas were gone ! Worse still. my shirt inside had been ripped apart.
When we left the pool later that evening, I was too shy to put on a badly torn shirt, so I travelled without it for the journey back home.
I was fearful that my mum was going to give me an earful. Instead, she said, “Never mind, that monkey was very bad”
I have not visited the Botanic Gardens for ages.
note : The title is a pun on one line in the lyrics of the old song, “500 Miles”