Toys come in many different sizes, shapes and origin.
My first toy was a doll, with eyes which could shut and open depending on whether it was standing upright or lying down. Its hair was blonde and curly, very plastic, and definitely not made from real hair. It had a nice little floral dress with a beautiful ribbon for a belt.
My father must have bought this from the best shop in town called Hua Kwong Company, owned by Mr. Leong in Blacksmith Road. The doll was to be shared by my sister and I. We had the doll for a long long time.
We were all trained to be future oriented, to postpone our wants and desires. This was very Foochow and probably very middle class, western upbringing too. We could not have whatever we wanted. We either had to save our pocket money, or waited for the time our parents thought was timely for us to be "rewarded" by a toy.
Parents at that time did not buy toys to help with cognitive development of a child. Neither did they buy toys to express their great love for their children. They did not buy toys because their neighbours were spending a lot of money on their children's well being. We did not get Linus' blanket or Pokeye. We did not get a bear like Mr. Bean.
I would have loved a train set, or a farm set. But I did not get them. I did not get a Barbie doll because I was growing up into a young lady when Barbie was invented. (I will write about Barbie later). And most important of all, I wanted a kitchen set to play masak masak.
with so many children in the family I had one doll, a few handkerchieves to make more dollas and lots of exercise books. I had tin boxes to keep pretty pictures cut from newspapers and stamps which were given by uncles and aunties. I also had a good collection of rubber seeds and stones to play our childhood game of stones. and yes I had my bag of marbles, both glass and plain clay types.
But the greatest "toy" I had was my bicycle. It was a Raleigh and the joy of my life. It was my horse, because I could carry my mother's purchases on it. It was my camel because I could go far away from my home in Brooke Drive and have some kind of very imaginative adventures in some farms and even 21st Mile Oya Road, and the longhouses in Sg.Aup. I took my bicycle to Pulau Kerto, Sg. Bidut, and Chung Cheng School. These were all before the Communist period of curfew, road blocks and uncertainties.
Scrabble became very popular during my younger days. But not every family could buy a set. My first Scrabble game was played in the Methodist Youth Centre with Rev.Tomlinson as our advisor. Perhaps it was the Youth Centre which helped me develop that love for words so much besides the literature subject in school. It was because of scrabble that I develop that propensity to learn words, so that I could be a winner.
I could not be a winner in many other things - money - we had very little. Beauty - nope - I was not blessed with big eyes, nice legs , nice teeth. I was ordinary. Voice- nope - I never won a singing competition nor sang with a group in Sibu. Perhaps my only pride was the big vocabulary that I developed and a school mate in a desperation said to me one day, "May you choke on words...." because I won too many scrabble games.
Toys do help one to triumph over life's little "downs" and you can come up a winner in spirit.Toys are there to soothe your frayed nerves, to help you get through a rough patch. They are life's comforts when the mat under you is roughly pulled away from you. They are the hopes that you can cling on at times when clouds are dark and thunderstorms are brewing. Sometimes it is just that smile on the toy's face that brightens your life. It does not have to have a big price tag. May be a little soft rag doll from a flea market will do.
But at the moment I am wishing that I could have a cabbage patch kid. Need to postpone that desire.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Memoir by I Am Sarawakiana at 8:21 AM