Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Back to my parents' house recently, I found this house-shaped-display-shelf. Made it few years ago during semester break, back when I was still a university student. My brother had already placed it in the attic, to house the spider webs where it doubled as dust collector.

I remember wanting it white, but since not enough white paint left to cover the whole surface, I continue using my brother's watercolor and planned to spray it with clear varnish, like what did to this rock... I'm pretty sure that I stopped after realizing that it looked terrible!

I clean it up with soapy water, and leave it under the hot sun to dry. I already took it home, and looking forward to continue working on it.

I also took a picture of the surviving section of our old house where I was brought up. My father plan to completely demolish it. It was built by my grandfather, maybe 50-60 years ago. This house reminds me to our poor life when I was a kid, but it also gave me lots of good memories. I remember when I was 10, I use palm oil to substitute butter, banana to replace mixed-dried fruit, milk powder to replace fresh milk, and use my mom's large wok to steam cake because we can't afford to buy an oven. Butter, mixed-dried fruit and fresh milk are expensive and we need to go to the town to get them. I wanted to make fruit cake, instead, I got sticky, steamed banana pudding.

Now I realize, I got my early introduction to creativity from Hard Life. An inspiring teacher of all times.


Bee said...

Melan,I can still remember your old house. I kinda missed it. You remember that jalan tepi sungai that I always 'redah' because it's a short cut to my grandparent's old house? I have a rather terrifying memory there. You see I always got scolded by grandma for not wearing my umbrella walking back from school. Our school was very far and the sun was so hot, since we were walking on foot she was worried that I would get sick. The problem is, I always forgot to use the umbrella. So when I got to the jalan tepi sungai, I would suddenly remember the umbrella and use it just so my grandmother thought that I had been using it all along.

One day when I was making my way through the overgrown bushes at that route, I noticed that my umbrella was a bit heavy... I looked up and realized that there was something on top of my umbrella. I tipped the umbrella a bit and then ... plop! fell a very big black snake with a slightly yellowish belly from the top of my umbrella! It landed right at my feet and slithered away into the bushes. I was so shocked I ran as fast as I can dragging the open umbrella behind me. When I got home I notice my umbrella was all broken up and I didn't have any umbrella for a few months after that because my grandmother was mad at me and refused to buy me a new one. She didn't even believe the snake story.

Everytime I remember your old house, I would be reminded of that incident. I am very proud of growing up with less because in a way it shaped me to be the person I am now. Both my older brother and younger sister, grew up pampered and doted on. At times I would get jealous because they never had to ask for anything. While I, growing up with my strict grandparents had to learn to live life the hard way. But as I got older, I see where all the hardship took me and I am grateful because it made me a better person.

I wish I could take a photo of my grandparents old house. It's the place where I grew up and it's good to have a reminder of where I begin. People always grew up and forgot where the begin... Working in this place, I see this happen every day. I hope I don't end up that way.

mangosteenskin said...


Heheheehehehe....Yes I remember. Everytime you don't arrived home at expected time, your grandma went to see my mom---asking whether she had seen you around, or whether I have reached home too. Hey, funny lah those days.

Oh! Snake! Yeah I remember noticing that you didn't bring your umbrella to school for quite some time...so that's the reason. You never told me that. Hehe. So Umbrella = Melan's house = snake. Haha!

Sometimes I am sad when I think of my childhood. I am not sad to think the way we have been raised in poor family, but I am sad to think all the sacrifice made by my parents.

Yes, Jurah. I agree with you. I have no regret to come from a poor family, kampong people. There's nothing to be ashamed of coz that is what shaped me into a person I am today.

Bee said...

Yeah, I had two umbrellas that I remember fondly, one is the one that got all broken up because of the snake on top of my umbrella incident... and the other one was the Orange umbrella with cat head's carved on the handle - I remember throwhing one of my famous tantrums of the century just so my grandma would buy me the umbrella. The first day I took the umbrella to school, Cikgu Ismail used the umbrella to knock on Dg. Asmah's head because she was stammering and couldn;'t read her sentence right. When I told my grandmother that my teacher used my umbrella to ketuk on his sister's head, she forbade me to bring that silly umbrella ever again.

I wonder what happens to Dayang Asmah now. I haven't seen her in ages.

Notice how I could still jump from one story to another in a blink of an eye... Old habit dies hard. Come to think of it, all our chattings were the reason we always got home later than everybody else... haha.

Bethany said...

Oh my gosh, it's beautiful. How amazing your stamps will look on that house shelf and what a bittersweet story. So glad you found it and cleaned it up.