Childhood Memories – Part 23


(Before this series gathers more dusts…)

Read the series here

Still remember the very first shoes that you wore to school?

Early this year, my wife and I went for shopping…for school shoes for the Big Boss. We had bought new uniform, bag, socks and shoes several weeks earlier but we had to buy another pair as the shoes “mysteriously” gets dirty within a day. As I walked past several racks of shoes, I was looking at the various “models” of shoes on display. One stood out – Bata – the one that most, if not all Malaysians would know from the early stage of their life. That brought back the memory when I was small and had to content with my own school shoes.

(The shoe box was a thing to see – the shoe’s features was akin to a car’s specs back then. Badminton Master 2000 – Image source: http://mohdfitri.blogspot.com/)

Our first preference when it comes to school shoes has always been Bata. There were no Bata shops nearby, the “nearest” would be the one near the Old Market (an ordinary shoe shop that also sold Bata brand shoes) and there is another shop in Brickfields – either way, we had to take the bus to the shop. In the early years, we did not opt for any specific Bata brands as long as it was one of the cheapest around (in those days even though it was cheap but it was very durable as well).

Then one day we saw an advertisement from Bata showing a new line of shoes – Badminton Master 2000. Back then, we never knew why they used 2000 but we gathered that it was a shoe of the future. And somehow we always thought that if we wear the shoe, we can run faster, jump higher and be active longer – ya, we saw the advertisement on TV. How silly we were!

(Simple and well made Fung Keong shoes. The only problem with these shoes was that there was more area to do the washing and whitening – Image source: http://boonchert.blogspot.com/)

As I was growing up and getting to know the rock culture of the 1980s – 1990s, my preference of shoe was changing as well.

Bata seemed to be made for well dressed, polite and good mannered school boys. Not for me – and wearing “well made for basket ball”, “not suited to run”, the heavier shoe seemed to be fashion of the day for any young rockers. Its high placed pad seemed ideal for cycling too. It was cheap and durable and despite the name, it had a long history to back it up (Fung Keong shoes have been made locally since 1939) – it was good brand indeed.

After sometime dwelling with the “rebel without cause” Fung Keong shoes, I was back to a more tamed designed shoe. Bata was alright but there was another “player” in the market back then – Pallas. There was Aliph too but they were more famous for their sports shoes. But more often, it was Bata.

Whilst we liked the shopping for new shoes especially when there are new designs out there, there is one thing we truly dislike when it comes to school shoes – washing and whitening them. And we had hard times back then. We had to wash all our shoes on the weekends and me sometimes doing extra, washing my younger siblings’ shoes as well. A situation my son is not facing at the moment, although we are trying to get him used to do the whitening of his shoes himself.

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Smelly Feet and Air-Conditioned Room


(Picture by John Shelley – source: www.jshelley.com/books/king.html)

We have gone through this at some point in our working life. Imagine this…

“You are doing work in your office, concentrating on a complicated formula on the screen and suddenly…there was a bad smell on the air.

You look up (to the air condition vent) and down (to your shoes, just to make sure you did not step on anything suspicious),

Nah..that’s not it. You turn to your left and you see your colleague have just opened her shoes and is working with bare feet.

Now, you know the source of the bad smell”

I do not know what others but I think it is really rude to be opening your shoe, knowing it is going smell bad in an air-conditioned room. I have never opened my shoes as long as I remember. Some feet just smell bad, sometimes worse than smell of a dead animal on the side of the road. Of course, when I “tegur” this people, they will say that their feet is sweating and that’s why they opened their shoes.

There are couples of things that people can do to avoid smelly feet, I do this and I dare say that I can open my shoes without people complaining about the smell:-

1. Wash the shoes and dry them out in the hot sun on periodic basis

2. If the shoes need not be washed (because it clean enough), just dry them out in the sun. A good sunlight kills the odor-causing bacteria. I will dry up mine once a week on Saturdays when I am not working.

3. For god-sake, go to a shoe shop and buy anti-bacteria spray. Some of it is less than RM10.00 and works well to kill the bacteria and also “perfumes” the shoes at one go.

4. For those who can spend more, just buy an activated charcoal or odor absorbing insoles as a layer to rest your feet. It absorbs sweat and bad odors fast. It also helps to extend the life of the shoe’s original insoles.

5. Change the “bloody” socks. I change almost everyday but I know some guys (some bachelor friends of mine) who wear the same socks for a week (and some beyond)

6. Although I don’t use talcum powders on the feet to assist in absorbing the extra sweat but I heard that it helps in absorbing the sweat.

(Scholl products pictures: http://www.drscholls.com/)

New shoes


My son is learning his “walks” and me & my wife thought that it is the right time for us to buy him a pair of shoes. So, there we were, last week at my favorite Bata shoe shop looking for new shoes. We got one good for RM19.95 – the one with the sound whenever he steps (my son liked the sound).

Initially he did not like anything on his feet but once he got used to it, all he wanted to do is to walk, walk, walk and walk.Me and my wife took turn holding his hands (although he wanted to go solo) and it was happy and proud moment to see him on his “own 2 feet”

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* His new shoes firmly on his feet

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* “Catch me if you can”