These three wooden slides found in the Methodist Children's Home Kindergarten at Journey's End in Sibu must be more than 35 years old. They are small(less than 5 feet in height) solid wooden ones and the joints which had been put together without any visible nail are still in perfect condition. They are exactly the same measurements as those in the the Kindergarten at Island Road. When I looked at them they reminded me of what my Goo Poh (the late Madam Tiong Yuk Ging) said to me from time to time a long time ago. They were my first "game rules".
These are the lessons I have gathered from playing on a slide with her as the quiet and soft spoken supervisor.
1. Go up the steps slowly and hang on to the side bars. Don't rush. Play safe always.
2.Take turns politely. Show that you are well brought up.
3.Never push your friend down.
4.Slide down with joy and pick yourself up.
5.Don't cry if you land badly. Smile. Pick youself up like a lady and hold your head high.
6.Do not dominate the slide. Join the queue.
7.Don't crowd around at the bottom of the slide. Give a clear space to your friend. Or else you will cause an accident.
8.If no one cheers you as you slide down, give yourself a pat on the back. That is a simple success.
9.When you are up there on the slide realise that there is always a downslide. Life is like that. Up and down. Accept both. Going down is great fun.
10 You can play on a slide alone. It is not lonely to be alone. You have the slide! And God is watching. In real life you are often expected to do things INDEPENDENTLY.
11.Happiness is accepting the challenge that you are going down because of gravity. The wind on your face is a bonus. You gain confidence along the way. And you slowly mature.
12.You may scrape your knees. But you have some marks and scars to tell stories with when you are older. So don't cry.
Years and years later I discover that it is always such a wonderful activity to watch children play on a slide. And more often than not they break the rules.
(I took this photo a little too early before the sun drench the yard...but it reminds me of the days when I sent my own children to Kindergarten...early in the morning ...)