Monday, April 15, 2013

Chapter 15: Fun Games & Happy Times

School holidays were time of the year that was eagerly looked forward to by the kids in the village. During this period, kids could temporarily be free from getting up early, free from daily home work and school tests.  Besides doing the usual chores designated by parents and elders in the families, kids could look forward to spending time and playing all sorts of games together.
There was never a shortage of idea and creativity in coming up with games that thrilled and caused excitement among the kids. Some of the common games we played: the marbles game, rubber bands game,  rope jumping, 7-pebble game, 2-stick game, top spinning, stilts walking, tin can stilts, "aeroplane" jumping game (飛機) and the police & the thief game.


Sometimes, we also searched the streams and creeks for small fish, shrimps and crabs.  If we desired to catch snake-heads and cat fish, we would go fishing at ponds using home-made fishing rods.

A favourite past-time among boys was kite flying. The most preferred spot was the hill now occupied by the Istana (governor's house). At that time, the hill had just been levelled and was ideal for kite flying because of the strong wind and total obstruction-free open space. Kite flying was made more exciting when the fine thread attached to the kite was coated with glue mixed with finely grinded glass. The idea was to move your thread with an airborne kite close to that of your "opponent" and then tried to "saw" off his kite. We had this neighbouring boy nicknamed “Ah Yiam” who was most aggressive in "sawing" off your kite. Any time we saw him making a move, we would run as fast as possible away from him to avoid a disaster! What a fun time we had!

Another common game among boys was to compete who had the hardest rubber seed. To start with, the kids had to seach for rubber seeds that fell to the ground within the rubber trees estate. Then we formed into pairs of two each to decide who would first do the first pounding in the competition. The winner would place his seed on top of the loser's seed and pound. Of course, it was not necessarily the case that the loser's seed at the bottom would crack. It could happen the other way if the loser's seed turned out to be harder. This competition would go on until the very last seed remained unbroken and the owner would be declared the winner. The winner likes a cock fight champion would treat his winning seed like precious diamond and keep it safely in a special container!
Of course, not all happy times ended in a high note. Occasionally, when we over-indulged and forgot to go home on time or forgot to complete a designated task (laundry hung on lines that should have been collected but were wetted by rain), punishment was sure to be expected when we reached home. Caning with rotan or waist belt as punishment was something not uncommon!

But still, growing up in the village was fun!

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