Thursday, June 26, 2008

Aluminium Basin

A photo by Stephenlnc.

This is a treasure from our Foochow past. A basin like this was multipurpose. First of all, it is very portable and could be carried any where in the house.Secondly, it is very light weight. Thirdly, it is long lasting and the basin in the photo must have been in Stephen's family for more than 30 years!!

The basin is used as a baby bath tub, a wash basin for clothes, and vegetables. My aunt had one and she used it to make all her preserved vegetables like Chow Chai (vegetables preserved in lees, or ang chow, and salt - keng chai).

Very often, this basin in the past,was used to "warm up water for the confinement lady who was sitting out her month". That was during the time when there was no electrical water heater or even electrical kettle.

And in the evenings, warm water would be poured into this basin to wash the feet of our elders. My great grandmother used to soak her bound feet in the tub in the evenings and she would take hours in the bath room. And later any one who used the bath room for a long long time would be likened to her.

And lastly if my dear readers can remember the olden days, our mothers used to "boil" our white cotton clothes , white bed sheets and white pillow cases,in this kind of basin every now and then to starch them and to make them very white. They also used some kind of soda to whiten the clothes. Today housewives are very fortunate in having all sorts of detergents to help them do their laundry.

And finally, if the basin became dented and full of holes our dear elders would fill them with soil and grow spring onions, and any other vegetables in the backyard. What a way to make full use of a household item. It was definitely reuse,recycle and reduce.

Thank you Stephen. A picture can churn up so many memories.

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