Sunday, July 26, 2015

1965 - journey south - lion city

The Journey
On the first travel to Singapore, it was in standard two.
As it was a big event for a boy of eight, after 50 years has gone by, glimpses of the events on trip were still vivid.
The date written at the back of the photographs helped pinpoint the trip to the month of May. 
Though it would be 3 months before Singapore separated from the Federation of Malaysia, when we reached the Johor-Singapore causeway that morning, I remember Dad and Uncle Hia talking and if they needed documents to enter the island state.  As I recalled this conversation of the adults, I had thought that the trip was made post August 1965.  However, the date at the back of the photo, help to clear the doubt and point to May. 
The journey started the evening before by car from our hometown in Menglembu. We travelled in a Toyota owned by 5th uncle. 
The event for the trip was that 5th uncle’s second child, a son of a few months old was found to have medical problem and was recommended for treatment at the Singapore General Hospital.  He married in May27, 1962, and the first child was a baby girl. The mother would be flying from Ipoh to Singapore in a day or two.  Our contingent would travel down early so asto meet mother with baby when they arrived in the city state.
As dad was familiar with Singapore  as he had visited the city a number of times, 5th uncle had probably asked him to help on the trip. 
The members travelling by car were Dad and Uncle Hia, mum and 1st aunt, 4th brother and myself – 4 adults and two young boys.
As dad was managing the Shell petrol station business then, the car was checked and filled full tank at the petrol station early that evening.  We left after dinner and the journey took us 12 hours or so.
I slept most of the journey as we were travelling by night.  As we headed south, we had to cross the Muar river on a car ferry, as there was no bridge then. 
We are travelling in the dark most thro the night, and I recall on reaching Ayer Itam we came to a lighted multistory building, a sort of a land mark of sort at a turning where we turn right on our south bound ourney.
We arrived in Johor Bharu at dawn, and headed to the causeway to clear the checkpoint.  It was there where the conversation if a pass or paperwork was need to enter the city state.
Lion city
Among the places -
  1. Hotel at Tanjong Pagar
    We stayed at the 4 storey Tian Yi Jing Hotel 景酒at Peck Seah Street. The escalator had the double layer fence type gate.  The rooms had ceiling fans, and windows with half-curtain.
    I remember we left  piece of clothing behind at the hotel. It was my home made jacket by mum (冷衫).
  2. Kereta Ayer
    Recall that we had dinner at the open air food center at the  busy Peal Center area –珍珠坊.  A vagabond unkempt beggar with long hair was grabbing the leftover food in the next table with his bare hands.
  3. Haw Par Villa
    Among the many legendary and mythical figures from Chinese history and folklore that dad narrated.    I learnt of  Sumu tending to flock of sheep while in exile in Siberia, 蘇武牧, of Jiang Taigong fishing with the bait above water, 姜太公钓鱼。There was the infamous 18 levels of hell, punishment meted out according to the degree of severity of sins and immorality committed while in mortal life.
    The visit to Haw Par Villa perhaps planted the latent interest in Chinese history and culture in this young mind.
  4. Singapore General Hospital
    While the elders we at the medical center, we wandered outside the building.  I recall next to the ward was a steep grassy slope.  This was probably the next facing the sid of Outram-Tiong Baru.
Well, that was the first trip to Singapore 50 years ago in 1965. The next trip to the Lion City was eight years later in 1973.  It was a vacation trip organized by the school. This time around we needed a passport.
i) - Dad’s early travel to/thro Singapore
In June 1940, as a member of the Ipoh Yuke Choy School high school graduation class he visited Singapore and stayed at the YinWo Hakka Association.
In Oct 1948, on his journey with grandmother to Meixian, Songkou in 1948  to attend to grandfather’s late estate he would have transited in Singapore. A few years later and probably in 1951-52, he accompanied 6th uncle in transit at Singapore on his way to New China.
Perhaps his first trip was around 1928, when he was 4 years old.  He probably transited in Singapore while on his journey to the home village in China, with 2nd grandaunt. 
ii) Hotels in Tanjong Pagar
The Chinese hotels in Tanjong Pagar - 新亚旅店and were  trusted hotels the  family  stayed when they transit in Singapore on their way to China home village before the War. 
A record in granddad’s accounting booklet noted -
EuYanSang Ipoh,  Oct 1946 wired $750 Straits dollars Mr Huang Zhaomin of Xin Ya hotel in Peck Seah Street, Kerea Ayer, Selat for preparation of boat fare and other use.
Singapore was written as Selat 石叻 in Chinese then.
This was probably for the final journey of grandpa to China, after a sojourn of close to 50 years in Nanyang. Among the members of this trip were  sons, 4th uncle, 5th uncle , and  grandson – Brother Pang 鑫权.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

the menglembu football team

This photograph of the  Menglembu football team was taken on 12September 1967. 

As to the venue, it was most probably in an out-of-town match at the Coronation Park padang in Ipoh  -the current Taman Dr Seenivasagam.

Standing  - left to right: Sei-ngang-chai, Bat Zee, Ah Fai, For-che-tau, Ku-li (eldest), Fei-lou Zhong (the 2nd  brother), Ah-Boot (the 3rd brother), Fei-lou Keong, Ah Ket (cousin of Ah Fei) , Lau Zhong, Samy

Squatting  – left to right :Dai-gor Seng, Ah Chow, Hon-da-sport, Dai-nan Choy (younger brother of Dai-gor-Seng), Ah Hoi, Yee Chai, Ah Bai. 

In the 1960’s and 70’s, the padang in Menglembu, adjacent to the  Wan Hua Primary School, would be a hive of activities in the early evening from 5 pm.  Youngsters from around town, the re-grouping area and as far away as Bukit Merah would gather there for evening of soccer. 

Among this cohort, there were three brothers, namely   Ku Li, Fei Lou Zhong, Ah Boot. The eldest Ku-li was 20 years old, the 2nd brother Fei-lou Zhong was 18 and the 3rd, Ah-Boot was 16 years old then. The soccer kaki's would visit the home of the brothers and they were good buddies. 

Ku-Li and Ah-Boot went on to play for the Perak team. Both of them were in the Perak team that won the FAM cup in 1970, beating Kelantan 2-0. 

Ah-Boot made it to the national team.  In 1969, he played for the Malaysian team in the Asian Youth Football Tournament in Bangkok.  The AYFT was the beginning of the many travels that his football career would bring him to.  It was Tokyo in 1970 and Manila in 1971. 

In 1972 he was a member of the Malaysian football team to the Munich Olympic.  On his return from the Olympics, he proceeded to Hong Kong and started his professional soccer, first with the Caroline Hill Football Club .

Fast forward, 2015 –

The afternoon heat has mellowed. The padang is as verdant. The single story assembly hall is still there in the same location at the far end of the padang beside the road. 

Many of the garden houses 菜园屋 , next to the padang, ( wooden house with zinc roof surrounded with a small garden ) are still there.  They have stood there for 60 years and more, witnessing many a generation of youngsters playing soccer.

The goal posts are no longer around.  Where have all the youngsters gone?