Friday, February 20, 2009

What lies beyond...

As a young child, visiting my maternal relatives in Loyang Village was a highlight during my school holidays. We were the city slickers and they were simple kampong folks. Mum made sure that I was presented as one, especially to her relatives: hair carefully parted at the side and heavily anointed with pomade. (Can anyone remember the brand?). "Don't forget to ask 3rd Aunty to blanco your Bata school shoes." Of course, the shoes became brown when I returned home. Nobody could stop a city kid from wallowing in the drain in search of those rainbow fishes waiting to be caught.

Loyang Village was then a small kampong with a community of Malay fishermen, Indian toddy collectors and Chinese gardeners. They were simple folks and living a self -supporting way of life. Until today, I am inspired by the kampong folks approach to life. Back in those days, people simply produced almost everything they need themselves. And what few things they didn't produce from their small vegetables plot, they procured by barter trading with someone in their kampong.

It was surrounded with coconut trees with pockets of small rubber trees holdings and fruits trees. The village centre consisted of a row of five or six corrugated iron roof shops and behind the grocery shop (Kek Ai Tiam) was a ramshackle collection of attap huts and wooden shacks, when I was a small child.

Gone were the days where I bathed with the slightly salty cold water drawn from the family well in front of my relative's house. Those carefree school holidays were also spent catching spiders and keeping them in match-boxes for spider fights, marbles and fishing in the water hyacinth pond.

By large, these kampong folks were living in a community that had evolved in isolation. "We only knew the people who lived in the kampong", I remembered my aunty saying. We seldom go to town and knew nothing what was beyond.

As a child, I would see a propeller plane flying in the distance and often ask myself, "where is the plane going". I'd like to visit those places one day. So I would look into the distance, as far as I could see, gaze at the vanishing plane, and wonder what lay beyond...


  1. I wear panda shoes instead...bata more high-end

  2. was the toa pek kong temple there already that time??

  3. Hi Danny,
    When I was young child, to have a pair of bata shoes was something value as we had not much else.

  4. Uncle Phil, I notice that you write mostly about how to dish up home-cooked food. I am not much into food as our family mostly eat out if my mum-in-law doesn't cook for us.

    I like articles about nostalgia and reflections like this post.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog.

  5. Hi Victor,
    Thanks for allowing me to include your name in my list of newfound Sg friends. Inevitably it has become a makan blog. I blame in on our national psyche on food that change the course of this blog. Haha.