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 ~