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Saturday, April 29, 2006
Of Childhood, Exploration and Literacy

Little Miss Otto peering into the drawer.
What treasure will she find today?

My favorite pastime as a child was exploring the cupboards in my parents' old house in Tampin. They were teachers posted to S.M. Pulau Sebang, where father taught in the mornings and mother in afternoons. I can remember vividly all the hot afternoons spent searching for treasures in the two bedroom wooden house on stilts. It resembled a traditional Malay wooden house, with a verandah before the front door and a kitchen down the steps at the back of the house. The bathroom was located next to the kitchen but the toilet was about 20 feet away from the main building.

I remember my best friend in kindergarten was a boy named Kenny (am quite sure it is not the famous Kenny Sia). I can't remember how he looks like but I remember playing with him in the playground a lot. One day, I brought him some sweets and we ate them together. It was super delicious! He had a mouthful of them.

Later that evening, Kenny's mother drove over to see my mother. The house was surrounded by a small garden, with a rambutan tree and a mango tree out in the front. Beyond the trees was the gate and that was where my mother and Kenny's mom stood and chatted. Very seriously. Being an innocent 5 year old, I looked from on top the verandah, the conversation between the two adult mothers. Kenny was sat in the car, waving his hands frantically and jumping at the backseat. They drove off after some minutes and mother walked back to the house.

"Otto, what did I say about those sweets?" Mother said, sounding dismayed.

Oh oh, mother was not supposed to know about the sweets, I thought to my young self. Kenny the betrayer!

"But I didn't eat it. You said I couldn't eat it, so I didn't...." I said, defending myself. My mother said that I was always destined to be a lawyer, being so quick with my tongue.

"Why did you give them to Kenny?" Mother asked.

"You didn't say I couldn't share with my friends and Kenny is my best friend," my voice trailed off. I sulked.

A few days before this, my mother caught me eating a pack of sweets behind the second bedroom door. She rushed me to the doctors, asking for my stomach to be pumped. She was horrified and petrified what would happen to her 5 year old daughter. And a little embarrassed when the doctor said that I would be fine and that she should keep those sweets far away from me.

So she kept them right on top of their wedding cupboard. It was a monster cupboard, with five massive doors, which was part of my parents' wedding room. It was more than six feet tall and that was how tall I managed to climb to lay my hands on the prized sweets. My mother used to worry for my safety when I was very little because I was extremely naughty. I was every mother's worst nightmare come true. I opened the cupboard door, took a step into the cupboard and just climbed upwards till I tapped the top drawer and found those strips of sweeties.

Oh the delight I felt as I packed them to school. Sweets for my favorite best friend! I shared the sweets with Kenny and received a good scolding for sharing. Now what logic is that for a young child? Inconsistent teachings at home can really confuse a child, ok.

I thought sharing was caring. Well my mother taught me that anyway. So what is the big deal about sharing the sweets?

At the doctor's I sat crossing and swinging my legs on the patient's chair. My mother's shadow fell on me and on the doctor's face. The rather good looking doctor smiled and patted my head.

"Is my daughter alright?" my mother was panicking.

"She is fine. At 5, she is still very young and those pills do not affect her at all," the doctor said.

That was a few days before the "OMG! Kenny Swallowed The Whole Strip" incident but to a young child, those few days felt like forever. And on that day when my mother standing at the gate with Kenny's mother, I remember my mother being flustered. I did not know what was the fuss about delicious sweeties, shared between a 5 year old girl and her best boy friend. Maybe they wanted a share of those sweeties. Adults, pppffff!

It was years later, when I was fully grown, did I realize that I had given Kenny a few strips of contraceptive pills. About that same time, I was still going through bags and boxes of things laying about the house and especially on top of the huge cupboard. I was down with German Measles and was the queen of the house for more than two weeks. One day I found a book and several picture magazines that changed my life forever. Randy the Handy man, fixing more than a leaking tap in every apartment... And Playboy magazines.

I was quite literate as a child, you see.

But back to the childhood photo above. The blouse/shorts was white with red dots. There is a plastic toy on the top of the TV. It had a puppy's head and various body. Made of solid colours of red, yellow, green and blue, the interchangeable toy could be stuck together to be a puppy, a giraffe and an elephant, I think.

Classic photo of myself in my childhood actually. I was a very naughty child, far naughtier than my two brothers and quite proud of myself, as you can see. Other photos are of me and the various toys I had as a child. Not the usual toys you find these days in Toys R Us.

What was your favorite pastime when you were a child?

Small Talk
Do visit Grey Boy With A Leap if you think my MiniBoyFriend, R is cute.... or you can just click to view some of his artwork in the coming days.



Contraceptive pills? Hahahahaha... omg, way to go girl!

8:11 pm  

Checked out the site. The artwork looks truly wonderful. I'm not even an arty person.... but I really enjoy the paintings.

1:56 pm  

I KNOW! hehehehehehehe.....

That will make two of us appreciating R's gift!

You don't like my childhood photo ar?

3:25 pm  

My favourite pass time? I like playing with toy swords...

The funniest thing I can remember is that, I started to like girls when I was in kindergarten. There was this girl name Angeline Tan, I liked her so much I actually ran after her, and kissed her on the cheek! (no kidding!) I can still remember the teacher scolding me :P... haha... I was like errr....5 years old? somewhere around there...

But comparing to you... sharing contraceptive pills to best friend, I admit defeat! you win liau lor...


6:24 pm  

You remember a lot from your childhood too?!?!

Isn't it quite amusing how we realise about male-female relationships and sex very early in life...?

You don't want to know the time I discovered condoms.......

9:53 am  

Yeah, I do kinda realise about male-female relationships quite early in life. for as far as I can remember, I've always like different girls in each stage of my life....

but for the sex part, I think I learned about it quite late... I can still remembered when I was in primary school, I still thought kissing cause pregnancy..... -_-"

haha...I would love to hear your story about how you discovered condoms......

4:52 pm  

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