Friday, October 13, 2006

Thinking about the past...

I have vivid memories of when I was younger. I can remember a lot about things that I experienced when I was 21, 15, 11 or even when I was 4.

I remember dirtying my school uniform everyday from ping pong when I was 17. I remember rough tackling another footballer when I was 14. I remember being the chopping king when I was 11. I remember saving my extra pocket money in small candy containers when I was 8. I remember walking through rays of sun when I was 4. I remember the soft toy dog that was inseparable from me when I was 1.

But I often wonder how life was back then... back in the 60s. Back in the 40s. Back in the 1800s even.

Being from the hometown of Melaka, I often wonder what my parents did when they were kids, what my grandfather saw when he used to drive his Austin through town. As I walk through old Melaka town, not much have changed during the old days in some parts of the town. People still transfer wood and bakau charcoal from the junks at the river port. As I chomp on noodles in an old coffeeshop, I can smell the spices from the nearby kedai runcit as the workers carried sacks of onion and ginger from the lorry to the warehouse at the back. The customers at this same coffeeshop a century ago would have smelled the same thing.

I never knew my paternal grandfather. He passed away in the 1950s; way before I was born. But I am indeed curious as to how he looked like when he was alive. How he sounded like. How my father reacted to him. How my father reacted to his grandfather.

I wonder about the millions of footsteps that caused the granite pavements to wear away as I step over them. I wonder what these people saw as I take a moment to scan the area.

Back then, there were no mobile phones, no TVs, no electricity even! Chinese New Year and Midautumn Festival would have been so different then. Red lanterns would have lit up the towns, giving the surroundings a warm red glow.

How many of you still remember the times when we didn't have mobile phones? I remember using the house phone to call up a girl I had a crush on when I was 17. It was always nervous times because I feared her father would pick up the phone. Or the excuses I would make just to call her up to hear her voice.

Interesting that without the mobile phone, we could go out all day and not worry about who came looking for us at home... our parents didn't think twice about where we were as long as we told them in advance.