Friday, 28 March 2014

Notes from a Bookworm

It has been some time since my last posting.  I've been caught up with a big kemas-kemas of my collection of books.  March and April have been ingrained into my psyche - for embarking on a spring cleaning of  whatever looks the messiest and this time I have targeted my most favourite hobby -   my hoard of books.

It started with this - plonking the books from the shelves on to the floor .....

....... of course I had some help from Comot, my 4-legged helper.

Between the two of us, we managed to empty some of  the bookworm's shelves.

After nearly two weeks of slogging, this was the result.

There's method in the madness seen above.  Top of the bill were the old geography, history, and language school textbooks - in both Malay and English - a fascinating insight into how we were taught  or brainwashed (?)  from the 1930s to the 1960s.  Next come the Annual Reports and Yearbooks.

Annual Reports and Yearbooks

The spouse (especially) and I scoured the bookshops in Singapore, Muar, Batu Pahat, Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Kangsar, Johor Baru, and England to put together this humble collection - a mix from the late 19th century  to the 1970s.  They are a fascinating source of information on what made Singapore and Malaya/Malaysia tick.

However I am most pleased with this little collection.  It's not much to holler about  but I didn't realise I had more than one book on Hang Tuah.

However I have to be be put against the wall for overlooking this particular book version of Hang Tuah.

I have looked after this book ever since we left our kampung house in 1967 and I didn't know until just a few years back - until after I turned over the front cover - that this was Abah's book.   It was published by MPH in 1938 when he was still a bachelor of 28!  Shame on AnaksiHamid for her carelessness.

My best and quite precious books are these two JMBRAS publications - which I pinched from the spouse's bookshelf.  When he complained about this and other pilferings from his library, I claimed that this was part of the dowry he had to pay when he married me!  

But a magpie like me, especially a geriatric one cannot resist looking out for books that bring back the flavour of happy childhood days.  Children today have their electronic toys to occupy them.  My generation used our fingers and thumbs to  leaf through books and to turn the pages - and of course we saved our parents a hefty electricity bill.  Comics and story books were our daily diet and even today,  I get no end of joy in touching and reading some remnants from days gone by.

My Dandy, Beano, Topper and Beezer Annuals.  Below this shelf is my coolection ( not a spelling error)  of Asterix, Iznogoud, Tin Tin, Lucky Luke, Oom Pa Pa, Peanuts , Snoopy and Lat - an addiction which has also infected CucusiHamid  and CicitsiHamid.
  But my interests are not totally prehistoric.  I do enjoy some of the modern Children's Books, especially the pop-up books .....

 ...... and the ones with a wicked sense of humour.

Right at the bottom of the book shelves I store the books that indicate the eclectic parts of me and the vinyls that keep my spirit in constant song.

I  must stop here and end  in a sonnet.  In 1977 at Jurong Secondary School, I wrote this sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning on the blackboard for my Sec. 4F English language students to read and analyze. Most language and literature teachers would think I was off my rocker to present them with this beautiful sonnet -  the kids from this industrial estate will just get bored and vexatious, I was told.
However these teenagers from Jurong and Boon Lay enjoyed it tremendously - the look in their eyes when they read it told me so.

Hence with this sonnet I express my love for Books.  Just change the word 'thee'  to 'my books'.  For this, I thank my father and my teachers.



firdaus.9898 said...

salam auntie

alamak, have a cat named comot with the same features, belang2 oren.
what a coincidence!

anak si-hamid said...

Salam and thank you firdaus 9898,

Glad to see you "got into" my comment page.

As for our Comots - how wonderful! They say 'great minds think alike'!

Our Comot is a very demanding and cantankerous mog. Hope yours is nicer.