Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Comestibles from ' Long ago and far away'

I think I have too much paraphernalia from the past - ranging from my school badges to a 'dutch wife' pillow from the Pasir Panjang kampung house.

As AsH I am only carrying on the torch for my father's proclivity - collecting and storing memories and history and stuff that are too precious to be discarded.  And am I glad that I'm an incorrigible magpie!

I remember one day when Abah, returning from his foray at Sungei Road  (Singapore's thieves' market ), plonked down 2-3 pairs of shoes for my sister and I.  We were aghast and horrified.  They were obviously shoes from the 1930s or 1940s with chunky heels and little straps for the ankles.  Our faces told Abah what we thought of his choice.  Didn't he realise we were in the 1960s, and that stilletto heels were the fashion?  Really!   Heaven knows what he did with those shoes.  If  mak had seen them he would be in real hot water!

Somehow, I think, at some time or other I might have made my nieces suffer the same fate - but they were too polite to complain.  Bless their cotton socks!

But now ... this I have to inflict on all those who visit this blog.  These pictures and texts are taken from "Look and Read", my Primary Two School textbook.  I love the drawings and the old-fashioned colour scheme.

 But most of all, they remind me of gentler days of long ago - of the Ice Seller and the ice-balls, the apek who sells fruit or the mamak/bai who comes to the door and rings his bicycle bell to tempt you with his roti at five cents a loaf! We were informed that English boys love sweets made from the sugar cane while we in the colonies suck the sugar cane.  How interesting!!

Also fascinating is how toddy is a substitute for yeast and cigarettes were sold at the Ice-seller's stall.  





Finally, boys and girls, which drink would you choose?  Teh Tarik, Sir.

Which fruit do you like best?  Durian, teacher.  But the durian doesn't like me!  BURP!!!

Which kind of bread do you like?  Do you mean dosh, Miss?  I only get 10 cents per day from me mum.

Teacher, did you know that  too much sugar gives you diabetes?   I discovered this while reading the Health and Scientific Review, Volume VI, No. 19.  It is considered a modern plague due to over-consumption and lack of physical activity.

Shut up and sit down AsH, sez Teacher!

                                R I N G !!    END  OF  LESSON


BaitiBadarudin said...

AsH, such priceless illustrations and info. 'Ais batu kepal' and 'kaya bun' remind me of Central and Kaki Bukit in the sixties!

Wan Sharif said...

Inflict on all those who visit this blog all you want.. I, for one, will be back and ask for more :).
May Allah bless your (2 of you) days ..

Anonymous said...

You are want of those who really cannot just let things go, arent you? Dont are one of the many millions of people with that "what if I need it someday" syndrom. That antiquated book you showed were used for primary 2? The english standard in Malaysia now is WAY below those in Malaya then! My primary 3 son's english text book has sentences like "This is Ali. He is 9 years old. He likes to play football." Notice the short - short sentences and simple words? It is a shame that the government has decided that teaching of math and science in English be discountinued. I am a strong supporter of the english medium because I believe it will bring up the standard of English in Malaysia.
Back to your "collection" story, I admit I also suffer from the same syndrom. Everything I have, I try to keep and not throw away. Sometimes because the things have certain memories behind them and worse still, when you classify them as "I will need it some day." I once learned of the 80:20 rule and tried to apply it...basically 80% of the things you have, you only use them 20% of the time. And the 20% of the things you have, you use them 80% of the time. The rule says get rid of the 80%! In theory it is easy to do...but I just dont have the heart to do it. I have come to terms with this disease and have, over the years, develop this pride that I do have that syndrom...what to do? Just blame my dad...I am just carrying on the family tradition!
ApD (Anak Pak Deris)

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Baiti Badarudin,

I've forgotten that 'kaya bun'. My mother insists on calling it 'sekaya'.

anak si-hamid said...

Dear Wan Sharif,

Bless you for your kind and generous thoughts.

By the way do you like old non-transitor radios from the late 50s and early 60s?

anak si-hamid said...

Dear Anak Pak Deris,

Welcome to the club. Let's just say it's not our fault - it's in our genes ha ha!

You know, it is a dilemma - learning English and upholding our mother tongue. If you take the Singapore example(I'm referring to the Malays) there's no doubt that their English is better but they have lost the use of their mother tongue and for MOST of them it's just Singlish.

I do feel ashamed that because of my colonial education my 'academic' and written Malay is very poor although I have not lost my use and instinct for my mother tongue. Sometimes the younger ones in the family correct my spelling and I need their help with some 'new' Malay words especially the language of administration.

But I can still tell off (but not in writing) some nasty people with a good tongue lashing in my language - just like my mum - who could not read or write.

Still, I believe in the power of reading and cutting down on TV. I know of a family in KL (a Malay family) who brought up their chidren without TV in the house! But they had lots of books instead.

Wan Sharif said...

Dear AsH,

I only saw a radio when I was in 1963 and that was also taken away by my uncle when he moved from the my grandma house where my family "tumpang for + 20 years".
So if you are getting rid of old non-transitor radios from the late 50s and early 60s.. I would be honored to keep it/them as souvenirs from you... although I am not much of a magpie! :)

cakarla said...

Wow, the illustrations brought back beautiful memories of childhood way back in the sixties when we were about seven/eight years old– our teacher shepherding us into the library and each of us will choose a story book in the English language. Teacher will lead us all to our favorite tree beside the school room and there we will sit and read. She will end the session with all of us singing our favorite folk songs.
Those were good times and those were good books!
And quoting Wan Sharif - “Inflict on all those who visit this blog all you want.. I, for one, will be back and ask for more”.

anak si-hamid said...

Dear Wan Sharif,

When we get back to KL let's get in touch You can take a look at the non-transistor radios, see if you can fall in love with it AND with your good wife's approval you can keep it.

You might end up another magpie eh???

anak si-hamid said...

Dear cakaria,

What a lovely story and what a wonderful teacher you had!

When I was at USM, a colleague (from another Department) asked me to help his daughter of about 10 to 'keep up' with her spoken English.

This child had just come back from schooling in England where her dad was doing his post-graduate studies. We sat and talked for several hours (all on tape). And her main complaint about her teachers in Penang was, "They are always so angry."

Finally, thank you for sharing your happy memories.

imsunnysideup said...

'I am Old Lob '
'This is Mr Dan'..

Thats all I could remember....

Thank you for reminding me of Sungai Road. Saturday afternoons wouldn't be complete without a walk with Abah looking at all the curios... ( maybe thats how we got to love car-boot sales, garage sales...just rummaging...not that we needed anything !) it 'C.C Junkstore also ?

Aida Marie Mohamad said...

Thanks for sharing. Love the illustrations. Wish my child can have books like these when she starts primary.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you sunnysideup for reminding me of CC Junk Store.

I really miss those days. And I can't stand the vacuity of the Shopping Malls.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Aida Marie Mohamad,

You know I am often surprised (happily) when young mothers like you appreciate those books from the old days.

Our young artists and educators should think about such books for the young ones.

Good luck with your book-search for the little one.

Ariffin Kg Morten said...


I remember my beautiful English teacher, with her beautiful miniskirt. From there on I love the English language!

She even asked me to read my composition in front of the class once - in a class full of English speaking non-Malay classmates. That definitely made my day.

anak si-hamid said...

Ariffin Kg Morten,

Thank you for your comment. I can see you have happy memories of your teacher - miniskirt and all ha ha.

I was one of those miniskirted teachers but I do remember to make it not-so-mini.

My teachers in primary school were very 'proper' ladies and they looked really beautiful in their cheongsams and the clothes of the 1950s.

But however they looked, whether in cheongsam, or sari or baju kebaya or baju kurong (with and without hijab) they should give their pupils happy and WORTHY memories.