This thread is not a duplicate of Caroline Gee’s ‘Chinese New Year – When I was a young girl’. There the topic focuses on how we spent our CNY when we were very young.
Here we’ll share our memories (as much as we can recollect) of the lifestyle we had from childhood to young adults. I reckon most of us will remember the Racial Riots, the Robinson fire and the itinerant hawkers.
I used to live in Tiong Bahru and it’s very close to Redhill. It was there when I came face-to-face with parang-wielding people of a particular race chasing after groups of people of another race. I was in the car of my eldest step-sister and we were en route to somewhere when we saw this incident. Needless to say, we were petrified at the sight of people being attacked! People were running everywhere, heedless of traffic on the main road. All the vehicles were cutting lanes and speeding just to get out of the melee. I was in my early teens and that is one frightening episode of a vicious fight between races I will never forget. *shivers*
Coming to food, we had this itinerant hawkers who carried their food on bamboo baskets on both ends of a hardy bamboo pole they heaved on their shoulder. As they pass the footpaths behind the flats they will holler the name of the food they sell. ‘Yong Tau Fooooooo’…..or ‘Lo Kai Yek’ often dragging the last word for impact. As children, my siblings and me will rush to the window whenever we hear the call of the hawkers. Sometimes my mother will buy but as children we got a thrill watching our neighbours ordering their food. For those living on the 3rd and 4th floor of the flats, they have to raise their voice to place their orders. Dialects were commonly used then so we got to know who speaks Cantonese and who speaks Teochew in our neighbourhood. The most interesting memory I have is the method of business transaction used.
All households in my neighbourhood will have a rattan basket with a long rope – one end is tied to the handle of the basket. The basket with money placed in it was then lowered to the ground floor. After the hawker has collected the money and placed the food into the basket, it was then hoisted up manually by pulling the rope. It had to be done slowly or else the basket might tip over and the food will be spilt.
Another fond memory I have is of the round ice balls. You know, the one where the Ah Poo Neh Neh (no offence to Indians) grabs a chunck of shaved ice, used his fingers to make a depression and filled it with boiled red beans and then add more shave ice and finally using both his palms to press the shave ice into a ball? He would then pour flavoured colourings round the ice ball and add condensed milk too, if requested.
The joy was in slurping all the sweetness of the flavourings in the ice ball and asking the APNN for more. Sometimes when he was in a good mood he would oblige but if not, he’ll cuss us in his language waving his hands to shoo us away. He could cut the ice ball in half so it can be shared.
There are so many wonderful memories all of us will have and it’s good to share before we forget them all. What we went through our children will never experienced even if they want to.
Oh! I forgot the water bombs! Hahahaha…Fill those plastic bags with water, tie up the end with rubber band, wait for courting couples walking on the street below and aim the water bomb at them after they’ve passed by. The intention was to shock not to drench them. Hehehehe
What can you remember? Perhaps we have similar experiences that are funny, naughty or plain nostalgic?