Monday, July 21, 2008

New Road Names

I found it really irritating the other day driving around old town in Ipoh trying to locate Treacher street as it has been sometime since we went to that part of town. Hubby told me to look out for street names but to my dismay, I found them all with their new long winded names and I found myself a stranger in a city that I lived all my life as I didn't even recognise even one road name. God knows why street names which have been there for decades need to be changed. If the City council finds that they need to change the road names at least have the decency to have the original road names in brackets below the new names. How I wish the authorities can give us a decent explanation as to why road names have to be changed. If you get an address with an old road name, you will be totally lost coz you will not know where the heck the road is. No wonder so many of our mails go missing coz people are still writing addresses with old original road names and the postman will think it's somewhere in a foreign land and maybe the letter will land in the dead letter office coz all our roads have been renamed with local names. So sad to see that history has no place in a historical town like Ipoh. Let's pray they won't rename Ipoh coz if they do then we will have to rename the Ipoh tree something else too.

Games we used to Play

Remember the good old days when we used to spend so many daylight hours outside playing with friends. Most games we played were inexpensive and all we needed were a few friends and we will have hours of fun. This is remembering the good times we had as kids and children today are missing out so much on the fun they get outdoors, climbing trees and plucking fruits to eat off the trees. We found fun in everything, collecting stones, catching spiders and keeping them in matchboxes and stringing flowers to make garland. We had such a wild imagination then and everything was free. This poem is about some of the games we used to play besides the board games like Ludo, Snake and Ladder, Monopoly etc. If you recollect any other games, please do add a comment. How I hope these games will make a comeback as it's such a good way of bonding among families and friends and neighbours.

Games Children Played

As I look back to a time long ago

Long before computers and tv shows

There were simple games children used to play

Hours were spent outdoor throughout the day

There were seven stones, hop scotch and skipping ropes

Coconut fronds were used to slide down slopes

What fun we had when we played hide and seek

When others hide, one person counted and he musn’t peek

Skipping to ropes, there were so many rhymes

We’d skip and sing while counting to time

These skipping ropes were strung from rubber bands

The richer children used double strands

Hopscotch would be played before school began

Squares and circles would be drawn on the sand

Some kind of token had to be thrown

A string of beads, a bunch of shells or any old stone

With seven stones, we’d sit on the floor

A game you can play with one person or more

You toss one stone and pick up another

You would have lost if you dropped either

So many more I can’t recall

But any of these were more fun than the Mall

I think children had more fun in the good old days

The games were all free, there was nothing to pay.

~ Liz Sammy-Chin ~

Down Memory Lane ......... Po Garden Lane

This was a notorious lane between the side of the convent and Po Garden florist in Brewster Road. As a little girl, our house was at 7 Douglas road which was just behind the St. Michael's Institution and as my sister and I walked to the convent, we cut through the St. Michael's school field as it was a short cut to Brewster road. Going to school was fine as we entered by the main gate at Brewster Road but after school we all had to leave the school via the back gate, hence using Po Garden Lane was a short cut back to Brewster road.

Convent girls were told never to use the lane alone as it was really quiet and stories abound of the many psychos who pounced on convent girls who walked or cycled through the lane alone so to me the memories of Po Garden Lane has always given me chills. But nonetheless this is a tribute to the notorious Po Garden Lane as etched in my little girl's memory of walking to school with my elder sister.

Down Memory Lane

Way back in the fifties, my sister and I
Walked all the way to school till there were aches in our thighs
We walked past the St.Michael’s School and onto the river bank
And the nearer to school , the more my heart sank
Then we’ll cross the bridge at Brewster Road
Peeking into the river hoping to see boats
A mile more to go before the convent we’ll reach
And by the time we arrive we’ll be red as a peach
We’d walk on the five foot ways to hide from the sun
And sometimes if we were late, we needed to run
Shifting our school bags from our right hand to left
Giving each arm a chance for a rest
Then, we’d walk past the Po Garden Lane
To go through this lane alone would be insane
For this is a notorious dangerous pass
Girls have been molested late after class
And now the school gates are within view
The school bell hasn’t gone yet, we’re early; Phew!
Right after school from the back gate we’d leave
To the ice-cream seller we would proceed
We’d love to have “rojak” but didn’t have cash
So we’d just spin for the ice-cream and had to be rash
And through the Po Garden Lane my sister and I
Would rush our steps for bad people hide
On treetops and branches eyeing to pounce
On girls who are alone, their presence announce
So if you were wise, don’t ever pass
This lane alone if you’ve been late after class
And as we walked on, our throats started to dry
So to the tap at Borneo Motors as we had to walk by
It’s sweet cool waters tasted so pure
A long way from home, but now we can endure
And so the story goes for many more years
Until the day we had bicycles like the rest of our peers
That made the journey to school much easier then
This is our story from beginning to end
But now so much have changed
No girls would need to use the Po Garden Lane
‘Cause the area is now big, open and wide
No more places for bad people to hide
So ends the story of Po Garden Lane
But it’s memories and stories will always remain.

~ Liz Sammy-Chin ~

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cleaning up my Garden

My hubby just stopped work in May so I have an extra pair of hands to help me with the heavy flower pots that I have been meaning to give away. Was no problem actually coz my neighbours are all keen gardeners and was ever willing to relieve me of whatever potted plants that I got tired of. This is the advantage of living in a housing estate with friendly and helpful neighbours. In no time, the little patch of garden that I have, was cleared out and now I have so much more space to put a table and two chairs.

Few years ago I was very ambitious and had water gardens and decorated it with all kinds of garden ornaments but now that I am not that "kuat" anymore, I think water gardens are out of the zone coz it needs constant cleaning, moreover I also want the little bit more space for my hubby and I to have coffee out in the garden in the morning..........doesn't that sound fun? Wonder how many coffee mornings we will have before we give up on that.

We have pruned the cherry tree that gives us the shade but it got to be a little unruly and a little infested with fungus so we cut off most the infested branches and pruned back the leaves and now it looks neat and shapely. Two rather big pots of Anthuriums and a few money plants are all I kept and now the garden looks fresh and lively once more.

It always goes this way.......I enjoy the space after all the potted plants have been given away and agree the garden looks much better with less plants but before long I will be heading to garden centres and the buying starts again and very soon the garden gets overcrowded once more and all my neighbours will get to enjoy my generosity once again. lol ! What to do, this is a weakness I have !!! But in the meantime, I get to enjoy the space and will have coffee mornings in the garden. You are all welcomed so do come when my garden is still not overcrowded with newly aquired potted plants !!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Poem of my Lovely Old Home ............ 7 Douglas Road, Ipoh

Did I tell you that I write poems, or rather used to write poems. Have had no inspiration lately as I have been caught up with too many things like jewelry making and other children's craft projects. Anyway, thought that I will share a poem of my old home where I grew up with my 16 siblings.

7 Douglas Road
(The home where I grew up)

7 Douglas Road, what memories it brings
Of Papa and Mama and seventeen siblings
It was once a boisterous home filled with glee
Where all who visited would always feel free

It was a rambling place that we called home
With rambutans to pluck and bananas in combs
Ducks, chickens, cats and dogs were considered family
Everyone was welcomed to this wonderful fraternity

There were cannas, honolulus and magnolias too
Radiating a kaleidoscope of colours and hue
In a garden so lovingly tended, rich flora thrives
Thanks to my mom, who’s up before each sunrise

The Mango tree and the Durian tree
And the Bauhinia tree, so loved by my sister and me
Grows side by side, though in each own’s domain
The majesty of these old trees, unshaken by rain

The much-loved Neem tree with it’s bitter leaves
Has medicinal value so the elders believe
The gigantic “assam” tree near the toilet grows
Notorious for its supernatural powers and resident ghosts

The banana trees provided us with food
From the fruit to the trunk, to their tuber roots
The Guava tree, a favourite of mine
With its sturdy branches for us to climb

The coconuts were a source of income
When the pickers work in the burning sun
A time we siblings dread the most
Plenty to do, tempers flare, which makes it worse

The house itself was a horse stable once
But nobody will guess if we don’t announce
As a cosy little nest my mom had made
To bring up her brood and she’s done great

My dad passed on in our little homestead
Memories of him we’ll always spread
To our own young ones we’ll lovingly pass
So the stories of our childhood will forever last

The great big house we love is now torn down
And mom and dad are not around
Always shall we think back with nostalgia
Our humble abode will remain so dear.

An easy recipe for Kim to try.........corned beef curry

I was chatting with my niece, who is also my god-daughter, on MSN last nite. She left for studies and is now somewhere near London. Now she has to look after herself including taking turns to cook for herself and her housemates. Well I know that my sis- in -law took care of everything when Kim was staying at home so I was worried about her meals now that she is away from mom and home.

So Kim, these are some easy recipes that I hope you will be able to try out so you can both save on eating out, and also have nutritious home-cooked fare.

Corned Beef Curry

Ingredients :-

A can of Corned beef
One or two potatoes, cut into little cubes
One onion........ diced
Curry leaf..........if available
About 1/2 cup Coconut milk........... alternatively yoghurt or milk
2 or 3 pips Garlic ........... sliced
about 1 cm ginger .........julienne (cut into little strips)
1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder

Method :

Add oil to wok and fry potatoes till cooked. Remove from oil and into the same oil add onions, ginger, garlic and curry leaf. fry till aromatic, then add in the curry powder and coconut milk and a little more water and let it simmer for a few minutes before adding in the corned beef. Cook till the liquid has reduced slightly, add salt to taste.

Goes well with rice and any fried green veggy or very good with any kind of bread, capatis or tortillas or even baguettes too.

Note : If using santan (coconut milk) powder, mix with water first before adding to the wok. If using yoghurt, add water to the aromatics then lastly add yoghurt just before dishing out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Bird on the Grapevine

The bird, a yellow vented bulbul, just had a bath in the birdbath I erected in my little backyard and thereafter flew to the grapevine to dry himself. My son shot the photo of my cute feathered friend with the Sony cybershot digital camera he gave me. This little fella visits me daily, sometimes several times a day. I am glad I made the little birdbath for him to enjoy and also he feeds on the grapes from the vine. Yes there are grapes on the vine but they are actually quite tasteless but I am proud to have a grapevine in my little backyard where birds can come to enjoy.