Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Slide on My Mind

A young girl on a see saw. Black and White photo circa 1972.

Notice the puddle and the few drops of water in this very artistic photo. You feel the loneliness of being abandoned by a loved one.

This is a good model. Try to build your own garden see saw.

Asian children enjoying a good day out.

A double swing - you can share so many moments of happiness, may be just mother and daughter time, two good friends together, or now two old retirees sharing memories of the good old times.

Another see saw. A comment - Life is full of ups and downs - We tell our kids that we are happy when we are up and sad when we down. Now prices of things are going up and up.....we need to look at "up" in a different way.

Hope you like these pictures, mostly taken from various websites available in the Internet; why I never took photos of Sibu children's playgrounds with my box camera is still a mystery even to myself. I live to regret that as I have so many good memories of my childhood days in the playgrounds. But I am sure many of my readers have these pictures in their minds. Playgrounds have meant a lot to most of us when we were growing up as kids were meant to play happily and safely in the playgrounds where see-saws, swings and slides were made available for them by the local government authorities.

Children's playgrounds also bring to mind one unforgetable teaching experience. Many years ago I was teaching a "special class" English writing. I had a great deal of fondness for this bunch of kids because they were very honest, straightforward and most of the times, amusing. They were not those who eventually became doctors, lawyers and engineers. Each day offered fresh experiences to me.

And one of the gems that I gleaned from their writing was this piece from the many compositions I received on "My Wish". Each student was allowed to choose a picture to "inspire" them to write their composition. We had the usual brainstorming session for a good vocabulary list. And then we helped each other to put up some examples of sentence patterns. It was quite a fun way to start writing.

This particular naughty boy at the back grumbled a little, saying that his wishes would never come true. Some of the girls giggled. A few boys glared. And when he came to choose a picture, he took the last picture - that of a slide. And he looked at me,

"Teacher, what bad luck I have!! I have this lousy picture. Others have such nice pictures of film stars, singers, houses!!"

I comforted him by saying, "You can wish to become a builder, a contractor, an engineer, and inventor!"

He looked so sad and forlorn. And I thought he would just scribble anything and hand in a messy composition.

But I was wrong.

He wrote: " ...My life has been going downwards like the slide. Nothing but bad luck all the time.

When I play in the playground and sit at the top of the slide all I can see are happy families. A father is at the bottom of the slide to catch his son. How happy. How secure. If I have a father waiting at the bottom of the slide for me,I will then not be afraid of a fall.

But. I have no father to scoop me up and laugh happily with me. My mother is so sad, sitting on her swing, waiting for my sister to finish her time on the swing.

I play alone most of the time.

My greatest wish is that in the future I will make my mother and sister happy.

And I want to be the best father in the world if I cannot be much else."

Every day after I marked his composition I would look out for him and wish him well.

And as I write this little memory of one of my greatest lessons in life, how to be a great mother, and take my children to playgrounds and catch them when they come down the slide, I think of this poor boy. I wish too that he is a great father today.

But most important of all, I wish there are lots of safe playgrounds for children to play, to develop and to enjoy PLAY in the real sense.

I enjoyed the swings in the playground of Old Street while waiting for my grandmother to come from Sg. Maaw by the motor launch. And as I grew older, I continued to sit on the swing and ate the kompia I could buy from the last shop ,a biscuit shop on the street. The first shop,near the temple, was called Hock Chu Huo.

There were only two children's play grounds in found in Old Street and the other one at the junction of Archer Road and Tun Haji Openg Road. Other playgrounds are part of the various school compounds which had the extra space. Apart from that there were very few other actual playgrounds that I can remember. One fairly good playground was the one in Sungei Merah.

More readings:

2 memories:

Arani Jantok said...

thats a very nice photo of you.

Sarawakiana said...

ooops...thanks for the compliment.


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