I catch spiders too from the hibiscus bushes in my neighbor's farms or the nearby forest without worries of Aedes mosquitoes or dengue fever. The worst disease one could get was a *lock jaw* caused by a rusty nail.
In school, I trap giant black ants from the holes in the ground of my school compound by getting the ants bit at a fresh grass stem and pull them out of the hole. Later, I arrange for the ants to battle each other to their death.
Kite fighting was my favourite sport during the December school holiday when the monsoon wind was strong and gusty. I pound broken glass into powder and coat the string (thread) using horse glue. Only string tension is used to control the kite and the aim of a kite fight is to cut down an opponent's kite by pulling and letting go the strings to exert the right tension like a sword duel. The thrill of cutting down (defeating) an opponent's kite was like winning a 50 meters dash and losing was the reverse.
Young kite runners were aplenty with long poles and their eyes were fixed at the sky for a defeated, falling kite. Occasionally, I would join them and run with all my might over broken glass, nails, fences, and drains, chasing dogs and dangerous traffic risking limbs, bones and life for a mere 10 cents kite.
In the beginning, I bought my kites from a young Teochew man at his run-down shed for 10 cents a piece. After a period at observing his method of making a kite, I made my own kite, albeit crude using resilient bamboo and old newspaper.
In the forest reserves, I shot birds with a catapult made from guava tree branches for pleasure and with adults, I trap wild boars with shape bamboo spikes in 6 feet deep pits for sale in the wet market, denuded of all morality.
|A Kachang Puteh Man|
Eating chicken or birthday cakes was rare and was a treat during festivals or church celebrations.
|A Travelling Barber|
A crew-cut haircut by the traveling Indian and Hokkien barber was only 30 cents, all the way to the top. Reason:- easy to dry when swimming in the stream, river, or in the sea, mostly with no swimming trunks and completely naked.
We would buy only a piece of beef or chicken satay for 20 cents and finished the whole bowl of delicious gravy and another plate of union and cucumber for free. After a while, the old Malay satay man would chase us away and ban us from their stall.
Only on Chinese New Year, grandmother would give 50 cents for the night screening. Sometimes, one ticket admission for 2 people, or I would sneaked in with adults pretending to be their kids, without paying.
When I first time dancing with a girl at a friend's birthday party, my heart nearly froze; my heart went boom…boom….boom. At the start, I was sitting quietly at a corner waiting hopelessly for a girl to invite me to dance. She never comes until my friend pulled one to me. It was the only dance with a girl in my secondary school days.
We took aspirin, candy floss, fizzy drinks, and shaved ice with syrups, and diabetes was rare. Salt added to Pepsi or Coke was a remedy for fever. Tonic water was taken at the first hint of malaria and we plastered our rusty nail cuts with chicken fats, not tetanus injection.
|A nigh soil man|