Childhood Memories – Part 25


Read the series here

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(Long before mountain bikes, you still remember the BMX madness in the 1990s? I think  there should be a rule that all kids should be able to ride a bicycle at least one point of the childhood life. Image source: http://bicyclensw.org.au)

It was great to be back home – I missed my kids the most (the Big Boss had a tough time going to school knowing that I was coming back in the afternoon) and my car the next (haha, don’t worry, my wife understands me). And whilst I was away, my son have been busy – very busy indeed. I am not sure what prompted him but he has been checking out bicycles at the hypermarkets. He did that some months ago but he was not pressing for a purchase back then.

When he was small, we bought for him a 3-wheeler but he soon got bored with it. We decided to hold back from buying another bicycle until he has grown up to ride a proper bicycle and not another 3 wheeler (that is for babies, he once remarked). Lately he has been bringing up the subject on bicycles again – he got to know some of his classmates come to school on bicycle and that seemed to captivate him. He too has been toying on the idea of able to go to school on a bicycle – he said we can save on school bus fees but I think he knows that will not fly with us. There are too many junctions and heavy traffic between the house and the school for us to risk him with a bicycle (unless the school was next door to the house, of course). And we have seen him looking in envy at the kids with bicycle at the playground. The writing is on the wall for us to get him a bicycle – we just have been delaying this until we see him outperforming his “peers” in school (and from we saw and heard so far, he seems to be on the right track). My wife told me that he has even identified the exact bicycle that he wanted me to buy once I am back.

And speaking about bicycles, do you still remember your very first bicycle?

I don’t recall when I started to ride a bicycle on 2 wheels (instead of a 3 wheeler) – probably at my grandma’s house where there always a couple of old big bicycles laying around for us kids to practice (still remember those with steel brakes?) and where no one says “no” to any kids. But what I can recall was that I was able to ride on 2 wheels by Standard 4. We did not have bicycles at home so any chance of riding them was at my grandma’s house. There was also the place where I ride my first racing bicycle although I was too small to ride comfortably (I kept thinking I was going to fall over) – the change of speed gears was fascinating though.

Then one day when I was in Standard 5 (or so), my neighbour (lovely family from Sarawak) came over and asked if they can take me and my siblings for Christmas Open House at one of their relatives’ house. And there is where I saw it for the first time – a BMX bicycle. It was small, agile and it simply looked great. I saw some kids riding it and since we were kind of “out of place” in the crowd, I was only able to see it from far or so I thought. When one of the aunties, after seeing me sitting down bored at the living room, remarked to one of the kids that they should “invite” me to play along, I got closer to it and was happy when they handed me the bicycle to take it for a round. I was in heaven when I took hold of the bicycle and took it for a spin. We took turn riding it and I managed to put in another few rounds in it. Santa must have understood my wish back then.

When I got back, I mentioned that to my Dad but he only kept silent – a BMX bicycle was a luxury item back then. In a time when we had to rely on public bus, trains and my uncle’s car to move around, a bicycle was the last thing we need to strain our expenses. But not all was lost when we shifted house to another apartment block and we had one of the friendliest neighbour – a Chinese family and soon, 2 of the teenagers in the family (they were pretty much older than me) became more like big brothers to me. And one of them had a BMX bicycle. I did not dare to ask the brother for his bicycle – if anything happens to it, I don’t want to put any strain my Dad to pay for the damages. But the brother noticed this one day and asked if I wanted to take it for a ride. At first, I politely declined but he insisted (and soon his father who was inside the house asked me not to be shy and go ahead to take the bicycle for a ride). I took it for a ride and it was very smooth – I hardly hear any noise from the bicycle chain & sprockets.

The brother had greased the chains too well and it shows in the ride. I just took it for a ride around the neighbourhood and was worried if I had took it for too long – my parents would disapprove of this. When I returned, the brother was inside the house and when I called him, he looked surprised. He expected me to take another few rounds and returned it only when I had enough. He mentioned this to me and told me that I can take the bicycle for a ride at any time – he was getting too big for the bicycle and he hardly use it (his Dad got him a motorcycle for his commute to school). And if no one was using it, it will only collect dust. And soon I was using it when I had to go to the shops (which was about 1.5 km away) to buy things for my Mom and at the same time, taking the BMX for a longer ride. Riding fast on a BMX was definitely better than walking to the shops.

Although I was happy to be able to ride a BMX whenever I need, I was still apprehensive and shy of asking my neighbour to use the bicycle. At end of the day, it was not my bicycle. Further since my younger brother was also hooked to the BMX, we were worried that we may be using too much of a something that we did not owe. And my Dad knew about it but he kept his silent. But when I got top marks for my final year exams, something happened. Not known to me, my Dad has been making plans to buy a BMX bicycle for us (well, it is actually for me but my brother got his chance on it too – when I allowed him).

So on one fine weekend, my Dad came back home early and said that I need to follow him to buy something. Thinking that he is asking my help to carry some of the house sundry items (as how he often do when he gets his monthly salary), I was all up and ready to go after he had taken his shower. We walked but in the wrong direction of the sundry shop – clearly we were going to buy something different. I kept quiet as we walked – my Dad did not give any clue of what he was intending to buy and why I need to  follow him. Things got a lot clear when we reached the bicycle shop. We walked in and my Dad asked me to pick the colour (and the model) of the BMX bicycle and it will be all mine. It took me a moment to realise what was happening but then realised he was buying one for me (I later found out that my Dad had made arrangement with the bicycle shop owner to pay in instalments for the bicycle).

Finally I had my own BMX bicycle – it was maroon in colour and all shiny. And it remained in the “family” for the next few years until I started to lose interest on cycling and was more interested on motorcycling which was more high-powered and more expensive (where once again, I learned at my grandma’s house using my uncles’ bikes).

And now, it is my son’s turn to experience what I have gone through and I am very sure he is going to enjoy it.

Punch Gunalan: 1944 – 2012


(The very young Datuk Punch Gunalan. Image source: http://forzameyya.blogspot.com)

From the Star:-

Badminton legend Datuk Punch Gunalan passed away peacefully at 6am Wednesday. He was 68. Gunalan had been battling with liver cancer for some time. He had put Malaysia on the world’s map in the 1970s with his immaculate performances in the singles and doubles events – representing the country in the Thomas Cup, All-England and Asian Games.

He had also served with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Badminton World Federation (BWF), earning the respect of the world for his excellent administrative and communication skills and also for his warmth, kindness and passion for the sport.

The last I meet Punch Gunalan was in the mid 1990s when I attended the KL Badminton Association annual meeting with my company Sport Coordinator who was there to discuss on hiring some of the KLBA’s younger players as interns and to represent the company for inter-bank meets.

Unfortunately, the meeting itself was an embarrassing one. Before the meeting started, we are the buffet table and in the rush for food, someone knocked onto me and I accidentally spilled the chilly sauce on my rather “white” shirt. Just then, my friend called me and introduced Punch Gunalan. As I shook his hand, I noticed that he was looking at the rather messy spill on the shirt. Embarrassed, all I wanted to do was to go and hide somewhere far. But he did not comment on it and he was rather polite to us despite the VIP guests that were waiting to see him.

RIP Punch…

At the Playground


Read these first:-

(There is a reason why it is called children playground instead of fat bum adult’s playground. Image source: http://middleagedmary.blogspot.com/)

Last weekend, I had a damn good workout!

After a long gap, I had a good badminton session with one of the toughest opponent around – my son. Compared to last time, he can now serve and return some of my hits but conditions have to be just right – easy, slow, high shuttlecock. I don’t remember bending down to pick up the shuttlecock that many times in any of the badminton games that I have played before but I did not mind, it was a good workout to reduce the tummy size, so my wife says. We played badminton at the children’s playground where there were others playing badminton, basketball and football, cycling and walking at the same place – the number of kids in the neighborhood must have increased drastically in the last few years (hmm, some parents have been pretty, pretty busy).

It was a good 30 – 40 minutes of badminton before my son pleaded for a “5 minutes” rest which I also needed badly. We played for another 15 minutes before we took that “5 minutes” break. My son ran off to the nearest swing (a couple of buffaloes was sitting on them and refused to budge even though it was meant for children) whilst I walked around the playground and as I walked, I looked around and noticed something.

Despite the recent murder of a 5 years old girl, I was surprised to see many kids (some quite young) at the playground alone without their parents around. Ya sure, it was a gated and secured community (but then again, even gated & secured residential areas are not safe these days) and there were plenty of kids and parents around but still, anything can happen, right? I mean who would have thought a simple trip to the sundry shop to buy noodles & eggs within walking distance from the house would have ended in tragedy.

When we were were kids ourselves in the 1970s – 1980s, we used to play on our own too and without our parents standing next to us. In fact I still remember playing in the neighborhood (which was not gated or secured – most was not back those days) with my friends from morning till night without my parents getting worried. We used take our bicycles and ride around the lonely commercial areas or through dense jungles in remote areas without the need to worry about our safety. But time have changed – based on crime against children these days, it is obvious that the world have just gotten more dangerous.

(Unfortunately not all dogs are lovable and tolerant to small kids especially when the kids is a total stranger – Image source: http://www.thehealthage.com)

Then car stopped by the playground and a middle aged man came out with his young daughter. He then opened the back door and pulled out something – his burly, a large sized dog. It looked mean and nasty and that seemed evident from the thick, strong, thick leash that the man had on the dog’s collar. With his daughter running off with a ball to play, the man led the dog to the playground where a dozen or so kids were running and playing. It seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. I was kind of worried that the dog may start chasing and biting the small kids or decide to go for “a big dump” which could turn out to be messy (to those who stepped on it).

But instead, the man sat down on the grass with his burly dog by his side. No one ventured closely to them except for one small innocent, curious girl. I knew her father was standing nearby and was keeping a close eye on her. The dog stayed calm enough for the girl to stand next to the dog. The man talked to the small girl but the small girl seemed more interested on the burly dog and inched closer to the dog. The next thing I know, the father came in and took the girl to another side of the playground. I guess he was more afraid of the dog than the stranger and I would have done the same. Some people, it seems do not know when to bring their burly looking pets to places where there are plenty of children running around. And who know what is the state of mind the dog is in – what if it domicile one moment, vicious another?

From the other corner of the playground where a dozen or so kids was playing football, there was a sudden commotion. Instead of playing football, the kids stopped and gathered around two boys – one young and fat facing an older and tall boy. Each of them was shouting at each other although the older one was shouting louder than the younger one. They started with shouting at each other and then they began to push each other with the other kids trying to pull them away from each other. Then all the sudden, the older one (probably in Standard 4 or 5) started to use vulgar words – words that young children should never use or hear. If his parents had heard it, they probably would have whacked the kid to a pulp (although these days, I am not sure it will happen but in the early 1960s to 1980s, parents would not have hesitated to skin you alive for the smallest wrongdoings).

A couple of parents, who were at the playground, looked at the two boys with a sense disbelief and anger. I personally felt like walking towards the kid who uttered the vulgar words and wanted give him a couple of hard slaps on the face. But then the commotion died down – the younger fat kid backed off and walked away, evident that he has more sense and intelligence than the older one.

My son came back from his break although it took longer than 5 minutes that requested. By now there was not enough space for us to play badminton and it was getting late. We decided to call it a day and went back home but as I glanced back, there were still kids in the playground playing on their own and without any parents by their side.

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Funny Gym Attire


Here’s one for the weekend…

(It has been a while since I last went to a gym but I don’t recall when was the last time I heard someone was moaning in the gym. Graph source: http://graphjam.wordpress.com)

From Malay Mail:-

HAVING your gym membership terminated because of your exercise gear is probably the last thing you would expect to happen.

As ludicrous as it may sound, this was the exact bombshell that landed on a 47-year-old administrator by one of the largest privately-owned health clubs in the world.

“The staff, one of whom is the manager of the gym known as Maggie, stopped me and told me that they wanted to have a talk with me immediately. They then took me to a tea stall nearby where she bluntly told me I was no longer allowed into the gym as they have terminated my membership.”

LOKE says if her dressing is considered indecent, the fitness centre should have a dress code so that members know what they should or should not wear.

“I also would like to know which clause states that we must be silent during classes? In fact, the instructors encourage us to be more participative. I did not cause anyone any problems. It is very unfair for a loyal member to be treated in this manner.”

The gym center replied to the allegations in the paper and they seem to have valid points to terminate her membership but the really funny part was the readers’ comments at the bottom. Some of the classic ones are:-

If I were to tell you her ‘activities’, one whole day wouldn’t be enough to tell half. You might say I’m mean but when you have to exercise with such an ‘INTERESTING’ sideshow, your blood would boil or you might die from over laughing

You haven’t experienced the torment that we have suffered from all those years going to classes with her. I swear if murder was legal…

Moans during the exercise? Please respect the male members. They can’t work out if certain parts of their body obstruct the movement of the lower parts of their body

Can I have her number? Is she attached?

Damn, this is really, really funny!

Read Also

Handling Gym Equipment

Malaysia Boleh!


There is no better closing for 2010 than this…

Congratulations! Malaysia winning the cup for the first time in 21 years. Will we see the start of great things for Malaysian football? Photo source: The Star.

P.s.  Stupid of the government to declare holiday for the win – they never think before they announced? It had created havoc many of planning set on 31.12.2010. Damn!

Read Also

New Malaysian Football Age?

Malaysian Football – Lesson Learned?