|First published 1951. Fourth Impression 1956.|
|The above book published by Longmans catered for pupils in English Schools and non-Malay Schools. This was the period before Malay became the National language.|
These books have travelled with us from Singapore/Penang to Leicester where they took up a good deal of our living space for 17 years before we brought them 'home' to Kuala Lumpur. Whenever I get weary, coping with the twenty-first century, I retreat to these books for a good dose of nostalgia for the good days of long ago.
This chapter from Latehan Bahasa Melayu got me going on a magic journey on bicycles.
Page 50 is interesting because of the two bicycle brands mentioned - Raleigh and Hercules. Of course the Raleigh is top of the range and in 1952 a loving father had to part with about $160 to keep his offspring quiet and active on a Raleigh. As for the Hercules I was told by the spouse that the boneshaker bicycle he had been using was a Hercules! Here it is with my own nameless bicycle and Fido (the cat) who made it a habit to use our bikes as a launching pad to get up and down the wall.
And here's my frozen bike sans Fido.
That little bike took me on umpteen little journeys to the market at the City Centre. We took several sorties cycling in the posh parts of Leicester. When we passed through the working class area, someone threw a stone at me simply because of my colour. And there was the time when I was pushing my bicycle up a steep slope, and a mixed black and white little girl, aged about eleven yelled at me, "Chinkee, go home!"
As for that lovable little bicycle, Iain lent it to this little West Indian girl when someone stole her bicycle while she was delivering the papers in our street. Her father, much, much later, returned it to us but with the front wheel in a right sorry state. So there you are - "Neither a borrower nor a lender be."
I have always fancied a Raleigh. The Rudge bicycle that my two brothers and I shared was our pride and joy.
|Kampung Abu Kassim, Pasir Panjang, Singapore - 1956|
As for the Raleigh - sometime in 1993, when we left Penang after 2 years at USM, my mother gave us a prezzie of $1,000 because she thought it would be useful for us back in Leicester. Well, we bought two brand new Raleigh bicycles from Halfords. Everytime we took to the road and cycled on the tracks alongside the Canal, stopping to pick blackberries along the wayside and resting for a picnic we think of mak and thanking her for this joy.
I brought both bicycles back to KL with all our books and phonograph players and vinyls. I had to dismantle them for packing and they remain still in parts because I can't get any shop to put them - like Humpty Dumpty - together again. This is all I could retrieve - the sayap.