Few modern inventions have attained a status as ubiquitous as the ballpoint pen. In fact, a “pen” has come very invariably to mean a ballpoint pen, bar none.
It was in my primary school days when ballpoint pens made their debut. The first ones were prone to leaking and often produced ugly ink blobs at the beginning and ending of pen strokes – resulting in smudges.
Then came along a brand call “BiC” which promised to produce neat, clean lines without blemishes. These pens had long, orange-colour bodies and caps that matched the ink colour. (I did not like the long, unwieldy body, which made it hard to “park” in a shirt pocket).
Not forgetting, of course, the catchy, “Bukan Blig Bukan Blok, ianya BiC” slogan. Wonder if anybody remembers.
Alas, today, BiC is lost in an ocean of also-rans.
When our primary school teacher told us to “graduate” from pencils to fountain pens, my father bought me a set of these made-in-China pens – they came in a nice gift box, a fountain pen and a ballpoint pen side-by-side. I was thrilled.
(In those days, China-made goods were of much higher quality, and they were very affordable).
The HERO fountain pen accompanied me through many classroom conquests, and was literally instrumental as my right-hand assistant in perfecting the “write” stuff, while its ballpoint sidekick slept most of the time at home in their satin-lined case. (In those days, schools forbid the use of ballpoints – something that I cannot understand till this day).
Alas, over the years, I lost these Heroes of my youth through misplacement, having succumbed to cheapie disposable ballpoints that came into the market.