Friday, November 28, 2008

The Old Oil Drum

The oil drum has always been on my mind as a good memory trigger.

It was a very important receptacle for rain water when I was young. A home in the Foochow villages would never be without one in the 50's and 60's before the diesel run water pump was invented and water was then piped into homes. Pipes then were heavy lead pipes and not the PVC pipes which we know now.

At the bottom of a staircase one could always find an oil drum full of rain water ready for feet washing before a person could come upstairs. This washing of feet was important because in those long ago days many would have been barefoot so before entering any one's home they had to wash their feet.

My mum as a young woman used to carry tins of water with her pian dan or bamboo pole to fill up one or two oil drums. Those water carrier tins were recycled from the huge cooking oil tins. My mother's family had always been frugal and innovative in every way. Thinking of this simply warms my heart.

Later on in my life I would always be on the look out to see how people use the oil drums. Those oil drums were free from Hock Chu Huo. Mr. Wong Liong Dick is still around to tell tales of oil drums and their usefulness. Do visit his petrol station near the Sarawak House.

Today we even have to buy an empty oil drum should we want to recycle it for our personal use. Of course different people have different perception of the ubiquitous empty oil drum.

This used to be a common scene in Sarawak. Floating jetties were ubiquitous before the fast river express boats swept them away in the 70's and road transportation became the common mode. These days you will see this in small rivers where people still need to berth their little long boats and bring home their purchases. Here use see oil drums as part of the floating jetty. Nice platform for river fishing. I was very happy to be able to capture this photo.

This is a photo I took recently of an oil drum used as water container like what I remember of the old days of Sibu riverside lifestyle. The oil drum had been used to collect rain water now it is a charcoal stove / oven for his roasted chicken and pork. Many coffee shops in Sibu have some of these drums standing at the back . This is a frugal way of saving rainwater for incidental washing of the drains etc. This would save on water bill which can be exorbitant at times. Sarawak is a land of rivers. Yet our water supply is one of the most expensive in Asia.

According to the shop owner once the oil drum started to leak he turned it into a fire place to cook his roasted chickens and pork. So in a way he will definitely make full use of the drum until it literally disintegrate with rust. No wastage at all.


Oil drum used to make briquettes from ground nuts . Source : Jakarta Post. This is a very interesting concept which is popular in Indonesia where many recycle the oil drum and use ground nut shells to make briquettes.

A bitter sweet beach scene - a rusty oil drum left on the shores. I have often seen oil drums floating in rivers and the sea but never took any photo.

Photo by Steve Ling of Sibu - a Sibu hawker selling chicken wings - roasted over a fire in a half oil drum!!

An ingenious Chinese in Beijing fashioned a stove out of an oil drum. He adds a bike to the stove and has a mobile kitchen in mid winter!!

source: - these oil drums are used to keep seeds and other stuff. A wood in England.

Although the world sees the oil drum as a serious pollutant many good people will continue to use it in as many different ways as possible.

1 memories:

Ben said...

nice post thanks you


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