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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Childhood years

Last midnight, I was creating an album for pictures of these places related closely to me. When it came to the title, first thought on mind--'The place where I grew up', but then my fingers paused, in the end I changed it to just 'Home'. Think back of it now, the phrase actually DOES make sense, and I did not make it the title just because it isn't the place I first stayed in?

If I were to count I stayed here even longer than my 1st home, 10 years (and still adding) vs 9 years. Sometimes it's funny how we human are so tangled with childhood memories :)

I was born in Asia Clinic, Melaka but my hometown is Segamat, Johor. Well, apparently my parents and grandparents* thought that obstetrician in Malacca was more professional, and handing the birth of me to a trustworthy clinic was essential to ensure my safety, good look, future talents and intelligence. HAHAHAHAHA

*from my mother's side- applies to the rest of this post






Then I stayed and grew up in the 1st home in my life. It was a single-story shophouse in Pekan Jabi, Segamat. The whole row of shophouses on that street was wooden, I could hear every conversation of my next door neighbors, or even the arguments happened in the next next door. Living in a wooden house also means living in the fear that white ants would tear down the house one day. The front part of the house was a medicine shop founded by my maternal grandpa (he was a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner) and operated by my aunt; the middle part was 2 linked bedrooms (mine and my parents'); the back part was kitchen and bathroom. Only the floor of the room was covered by carpet, not the woolen type, it was no thicker than a hard book cover; but waterproof. Something like this:



The staircase was how our rooms were linked. Covered by soft carpet because I fell down and hit my head or knees or elbows here so many times. I think I am very blessed, very, because I hit my head almost everywhere and it didn't affect my brain. (er, maybe it did, we never know what would be the case if I never hit my head so many times... alright, I survived all the concussions anyway)



 
You can see how rotten the wooden part was (eaten by white ants).


My old neighborhood was a semi-village, behind my house there were ducks, gooses, chickens, pigs, dogs, peacocks, ostriches, etc.. There was even a small longkang (drain) INSIDE the back part of my house which provided entrance for centipedes/millipedes, earthworms, cockroaches and mice. About mice, we had 3 cage with spoiled food inside as bait, at least 1 hungry mouse would get trapped every 2 days. I could vividly remember how they screamed when my parents (either one) showered them with boiling water. I caught one bare-handed when I was 8. The little guy was running towards my mom and infant Donut who were napping on the floor, I quickly ran and caught him with hands. I ran outside to the shop and it bit/clawed my small finger. Due to the pain I loosened my grip and my aunt squeked when she saw the mouse rocket out from my palm. Lol


The mouse trap


Oh there was owl(s) too, which tore the wooden bird cage and released a bird I reared since it was an egg T_T bye bye bird, happy getting freedom if you're not eaten yet...

My grandparents were staying just down the street, we went there everyday for meals; which is a reason why my mum can only cook magee up till today, 'cuz grandma is the cook of our meals (which is also why I can't cook, because my mum can't hahaha).


Another kind of floor of my grandparents' house. I think it's cement floor painted green. I also think it was in close contact with the earth, it became damp during rainy days.


My father did not have his own workplace yet that time, he went to work by motorbike. This photo was taken during his lunch break at my grandparent's place.


Pole-dancer in the making...



Model in the making hahaha. Front garden, my grandma has green fingers. Clearly her 2 daughters do not inherit this gene, proven by the number of plants they killed...


Backyard. Tea leaves inside the container. My grandpa was a hardcore tea drinker (he didn't drink plain water). The leaves were plucked from the his tea plants. I was 8 and this was the fattest I had ever gotten in my life!!!!!


Tea plants


Later, my grandpa bought a 3-story house at Segamat Baru. My grandparents brought me to our new house several times before renovations when the indoor air still smelt like cement, and when we talked we would hear the same line twice because of the loud echo. My moved into this new house when I was 9.

After we moved out for a year, the old wooden house where I used to live in was burned down in a fire. Our old neighbors called and told us about it and we quickly drove there. I remember standing across the street with my family members watching our old place engulfed by fire. Our neighbors who ran the traditional grocery shop at the end of the row were trying to save as many things as they could, and then came a Malay youth on motorbike approaching the shop. Before we could stop him, he already ran away on his motorbike with a 50 lb bag of rice he stole from the grocery shop. In Chinese we call this 落井下石 – adding insult to injury as translated by Google.

After the fire, the whole row of wooden shophouses has been rebuilt using brick, hence no longer looks the same. All left are my childhood memories.




xoxo

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