Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hang Loose

Just made myself a hot drink and I am at the pc, trying to type out this post as quickly as I can because in a short while, I want to catch the spectacular fireworks display…a burst of sparkling magic in the night sky. I won’t be joining the boisterous crowd out in the open but I’ll enjoy the beautiful scene from my bedroom window. In the quiet of my home, I’ll watch and say a silent prayer for my country…..I will pray for peace, harmony, prosperity and abundance.

Happy 50th MERDEKA!

And for the long weekend, I’ll stay home and HANG LOOSE.

To de-stress and re-charge.

Have a great and relaxing weekend. Ya, just HANG LOOSE, friends!
posted by nyonyapenang at 11:35 PM, | 33 comments
Sunday, August 26, 2007

Some Things OLD

I was flipping through some old photo albums when a small angpow dropped onto the floor. Ooooh…..ang pow, huh? I cannot even remember how the angpow ended up among the pages of the album – opened it and found this :-

A ONE CENT note issued ‘IN THE STRAITS SETTLEMENTS AND MALAY STATES’ dated 1st JULY 1941… This makes it 66 years old!

And I found this too:-

A ONE RUPEE note issued by the GOVERNMENT OF INDIA dated July 1972....this makes it 35 years old. I remember this note and 2 pieces of unusual-looking plastic 3-D stamps from BHUTAN were given by a friend who was studying in Chandigarh, India at that time.

And I like to show this not-that-old ‘SA-PULOH RINGGIT’ note too. Just about 10 years ago or so, I was back in Penang to clear momma’s cupboard and accidentally found a small stack of 10 pieces of this red-coloured notes neatly wrapped in old and yellowed newspaper and hidden among her beautiful sarongs and exquisite kebayas. RM100 those days, was a lot of money and I guess momma saved and hid the money for emergency-use.

Momma passed on in the early 70s and for many, many years after that, I just could not bring myself to clear her possessions. Each trip I was back in Penang, I would unlock the cupboard, looked at the contents and then locked it back. And when Poppa finally left to join Momma in the mid 90s, I decided to do a thorough clearing of their cupboards….and more than 20 years after she left me, momma still had something for me. I miss Momma and I miss Poppa.

posted by nyonyapenang at 6:35 PM, | 60 comments
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Disney Dollars

The few times that I go overseas, the foreign currency exchange rate would somehow be at its highest and when I return, it would somehow be at its lowest. Dunno jinxed or what. So when I am back, those left-over foreign currencies would be chucked unceremoniously into the drawers and kept there until the rates improve to my favour, which usually takes a long, long time. The loose currencies just stay there until….until.... I completely forgot about it.

I was looking for my old passports the other day when I found an old purse and I was about to throw it into the bin but I decided to open it up to check and found this:-

Disney Dollars! Cute or not? ^O^ So colourful….so nice….I like it very much.

Ahhh…….another trip down memory lane. It brought a smile to my lips…the fun times I had with my friends visiting this magical wonderland many, many years ago. If I remember right, I think I got 10 pieces of this special American Dollar note. I was told then that it is legal tender but of course, I did not plan to use it at all. I did once showed it to a money-changer though, and he told me, “Tak boleh pakai.” No problems…I have no intention to use it anyway.

I had exchanged for it to be presented as a gift to a few of my friends and relatives and now, I cannot even recall who I gave to. Hope they are still keeping this lovely momento.

posted by nyonyapenang at 1:17 PM, | 61 comments
Friday, August 17, 2007

Chill Out

What am I doing now? I am chilling out listening to some golden oldies…..songs that my boys find not their cup of tea. Nobody is at home and I have the pc all to myself and I let the media player entertain me with beautiful music and songs… some of my favourites:-

I Left My Heart In San Francisco - Ace Cannon (On Sax)

Harbour Lights - The Platters

If I Give My Heart To You - Doris Day

Just Out Of Reach - Patsy Cline

Careless Hands - Dottie West

It Was Almost Like A Song - Johnnie Mathis

Green Green Grass of Home - Elvis Presley

Return To Me - Marty Robbins

Let Me Call You Sweetheart - Slim Whitman

Take These Chains From My Heart - Ray Charles

They soothe and calm my nerves, much frayed by quite a crazy work week. Thank God, it’s Friday. I need some time-out now…I don’t want to think of anything….I just wanna lie down and let the beautiful music bring comfort to my body, mind and soul.

Have a most pleasant weekend, friends. Miss you all lots.

posted by nyonyapenang at 11:04 PM, | 32 comments
Monday, August 13, 2007

My First Savings Passbook

I was rummaging through the drawers for some documents when I found this - my very first savings accounts passbook from BANK SIMPANAN PEJABAT POS, issued in Pulau Pinang, all yellowed and dog-eared. I flipped it open and oh my, the first entry was dated Mar 13 1973 and....and that makes this book 34 years and 5 months old! Oh my God, I cannot believe it…hahahah…some of my friends here are very, very much younger than my passbook. I showed the book to my boys and they remarked, “Aiyerrrr….so ancient.” Hahahaha

A look through the entries in the book – active movements from Mar 13 1973 till the last withdrawal on July 24 1981 and of subsequent entries of only interest payments till Aug 27 1991. Thenceforth, no further entries and I believe the balance of a paltry sum has long been transferred to the Unclaimed Monies Account.

I did go to one of the Bank Simpanan Nasional branch to enquire and was told that I would have to surrender this book, fill some forms and then wait for don’t know how long and then I only will be re-issued a new book and summore don’t know what else, I cannot remember now. Hmmmm….Too much trouble and I decided to keep this book as a momento and I am glad for it.

As I went though the entry one by one, it brought back so many memories – of how I diligently saved my pocket money each day and when I have a princely sum of RM3 or more, I would cycle all the way to the tiny Post Office 3 miles away to deposit the money into my account. Entries for the first few years were small amounts…I was in school then and as the years passed, the figures grew slightly bigger both for deposits and withdrawals; the dates corresponding with times when I got paid for giving private tuition to a primary school kid and also when I worked part-time during year-end school holidays. It was sooooo long ago but each single entry brought back memories so vivid.

I always believe in savings and I try to inculcate this habit in my 2 boys. Ancient or whatever, savings never go out of style.

posted by nyonyapenang at 5:20 PM, | 61 comments
Thursday, August 09, 2007


Past few days, I have only one pc working at home…the other unit decided to play some tricks every few minutes or so and this leaves 3 of us fighting over one unit. And this partly explains my lack of updates and non-bloghopping.

Last night, my no. 2 decided to knock off to bed early and graciously allowed me the use of his pc in his room. Yippies…..Late at night, and I turned on some relaxing golden oldie songs and then sat myself comfortably next to the computer to reply some emails and read some blogs.

A few feet away, that boy was tossing and turning on his bed…one minute he pulled the blanket over his head and the next minute, he pulled down the blanket and then covered his head with his bolster. He was so restless on the bed and then he stood up and reached for the volume control on the media player and turned it to ‘0’.

Me : Hey, what you doing?

He : Cannot sleep lar.

Me : Don’t bluff. You can sleep like a log with loud, head-banging music.

He: Ya lar…I can sleep with MY kind of music.

He : The songs you are playing now? **roll eyes** aisehman…so ‘slow-moe’ and so last century mia songs. **ting-tiang…ting-tiang..pee-pee…poorr-pooorr** your guitars and the trumpets and the singers…adoooi….how to sleep lidat?

Me : Funny fella you. My kind of music is soooo soothing and calming.

He : Okie, can you use the headphone, puleezzzz…?

Me : Cannot! Music coming to me through headphones are ALL HEAD-BANGING. Just like bashing my brains to a pulp….makes me all nauseous. I’ll go crazy lidat.

He lifted his sleepy head from the pillow, stretched to reach for the volume-control button and cranked it up to no. 1, pulled the blanket over his head and stuck out his hand like this, and said,

"shhhh....Pulezz don't bang so hard on the keyboard. Good Night!"


posted by nyonyapenang at 5:17 PM, | 48 comments
Friday, August 03, 2007

The BIG Hairy Tarantula 'Chiak' The Tiny Spider

As I read and re-read what I last wrote, memories of so many events and experiences of my childhood which I thought were lost in the cobwebs of time came flooding back. A smile and a chuckle as I busied myself clearing some papers in the office or while on the road to my next appointment. I feel so good.

I smile as I remember the old Indian barber on his trusty Raleigh bicycle who came around the kampong every 6 weeks or so. He would park his bicycle underneath the huge jambu tree just beside my house and then open up his small rectangular rattan chest containing all his tools of the trade. Mothers would then call out loud for their boys…."Kar thau morrrrCome quick…" and within minutes a small queue would form. Sit the boy on the wooden stool, tie a piece of white cloth over the small frame and Raju went **krricck…kricck…krricckk….** expertly wielding the manual clipper through the head of thick hair. Next…next…next and next…over and done with the kids, it would be the adults’ turn. As my buddies had their hair cuts, I’d be squatting nearby observing and sometimes, when curiosity got the better of me, I’d be poking my hand into the rattan chest - a treasure trove to an inquisitive 6-year old. Wow…such cool stuff in there…brushes, razors, and extra pair of clipper, combs, talcum powder, creams and some bottles with colourful liquid – those were cologne and aftershaves, I was told. “Ahemmm…..jangan…jangan…”, Raju would admonish me for meddling with his stuff. Finished with the haircut, my friend would reach underneath the leg of his short pants, untie the rubber band used to secure the coins in his pocket and retrieve the 30sen to pay Raju.

I remember following momma on her shopping trips to the ‘Mola’ (a localised variation of the Malay word ‘Murah’) Bazaar along Penang Road. I remember it as a very crowded maze…walk through the nooks and crannies to buy anything from ready-made clothes, fabrics, shoes, school bags, accessories, cosmetics, etc. etc. I remember momma’s favourite stall…the haberdashers. Momma was a fussy shopper and she took ages to select her threads, buttons and sewing supplies. I would be so bored and I would then amuse myself by running my hands through everything on display and then mixing up all the buttons on the trays. The shopkeeper would then smack his forehead in exasperation, Alamak…you got itchy hands…how am I going to sort out this mess huh?” I would do my famous ‘jeling mata’ and go hide behind momma. Hahahaha….

I smile as I recall joining the boys catching spiders walking through the daun kadok patch next to my house. Our trained eyes look out for 2 leaves stuck together and then clasped the leaves with both hands and walk out to an open area…ah…I’d gently ease my prized catch into and empty matchbox or an old tobacco tin. Uncle Lee was surprised I dare to handle spiders and he commented that it would be fun to have his hairy tarantula eat up my tiny spider. **bawlsss…..**….Uncle Lee bully kechik….bully kechik….” Hahahha…

Spiders and cockroaches – no problems at all. I can catch them with my bare hands and I was the official spider catcher at home. Remember those grey-coloured spiders with long spindly legs and sometimes carrying a white egg-case the size of a 20sen coin, crawling on the wood beams in the house? See one and my sis would scream and run out of the bathroom, nevermind the shampoo still on her hair. Hahahah….But worms, snakes and caterpillars…I’d run a mile. I remember the huge white powder-coated caterpillar found rolled in a banana leafeeekssss….and the other caterpillars of about 4 inches long and covered with long spikes, found camouflaged among the tree trunks and branches…. eeekksss..eeekks Also those clumps of thread-fine worms found along the ditches….some of my friends would scoop them into empty tins and taken home to feed their pet fish….yucckkss….

I remember once I followed my friends to go catch tiny fishes from the ditches. I had been warned by momma never to go near the dirty ditches but that particular afternoon, after much coaxing from my buddies, I went along. It was pure excitement just to scoop the fish using the small nets and then carefully empty the catch into glass jars we brought along. I was thrilled to bits with my fishes. I covered the mouth of the jar with a piece of newspaper secured with rubber bands and then poke some holes to allow the fish to breath. I hid my fishes in a shed outside the house and each morning I would peep at them before going to school. Wow…my fishes grew fast and after a few days, it grew legs…my fishes got legs!!!! "Those are tadpoles lar, bodoh.” my wise buddy laughed at me. My home-schooling science lesson.

I remember buying those tubes of resin for blowing clear bubble-like balloons. Wrap a tiny glob of the coloured resin on the tip of a small straw and blow…out comes a thin bubble balloon. Its fragile, but leaky ones could be easily repaired by sealing it with your lips. And there was another type of paper balloon…its folded coloured paper…just blow into the hole to fill it up. Besides, we also folded our own paper balloons and paper sampans to sail down the ditch whenever it rains.

I remember wearing 'kha kiak' at home – everyone had a pair. No thongs, please. Momma said the 'kha kiak' would mould elegant feet unlike the thongs which she believed would cause the toes to spread out. Hmmm…not dainty at all, like that. Until today, I do not feel comfortable wearing thongs…my toes hurt. And I have always kept a pair of 'kha kiak' for use at home, even now.

I remember listening to Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Elvis Presley, Robin Luke, Skeeter Davis, Ricky Nelson, Chubby Checker and many others in the 60s. My sister and her friends would play their LPs and EPs on the gramophone and they would dance the Cha-Cha, Rhumba, Jive, Twist, Rock-And-Roll and I remember seeing them doing the Limbo Rock too. And at Malay weddings in the kampong, my brother and his gang would be doing the ronggeng and joget.

Then my sister left for college and the gramophone became silent most of the time, unless poppa decided to play his favourite record or two once in the blue moon. Then a neighbour convinced momma to subscribe to Rediffusion, a sort of private radio channel which played from 6.00am till 12.00midnight 365 days a year…all for RM6 per month. Rediffusion introduced me to Mandarin and Hokkien songs and for a few years, I only followed Chinese songs. I was a bathroom singer and could sing many songs by heart.

And every few months some temples or clan associations would hold celebrations and there would be stage shows. Earlier days, it was the puppet show on a make shift wooden stage and later the singing troupe, ‘koe tai’ became popular. My friends and I were crazy over the ‘koe tai’ and each night, we would cycle on our colourful mini bikes for miles just to catch the shows. Show over and we would feast on the food sold by the roadside..’lin chi kang…lor bak…oyster porridge….kueh teow soup…laksa….muar chee…pohpiah…curry mee…**burrpp..** and then pedal home. On couple of occasions, we were stopped by the 'mata-mata' because someone rode pillion on the bicycle or if the headlights conked out. Once we were chased by stray dogs too.

Late 60s, and the inevitable happened. Development came to the kampong. All the attap houses squatting on the BIGtime landowner’s property were paid some compensation and told to leave. The bulldozers came and the old kampung houses subsequently demolished. The big hairy tarantula chiak the tiny spider……...

posted by nyonyapenang at 1:50 PM, | 46 comments