Thursday, April 9, 2009


It's funny. We're living in a technologically-advanced era. Almost everything is computerised. We communicate by email, faxes, phone, etc. Our cameras and gadgets are sophisticated. People get smarter and smarter by the day. We face new inventions that change our lives each second. Deep down, though, although I appreciate how modern our lives have become, a little part of me craves for the old school, the vintage, the bygone years.

I get excited when I see an old turn-table at a flea market. When was the last time I'd played records on one of those? Probably when I was a kid about 9 years old, when my Dad still kept his old turn table and evergreen records. How about a gramophone? You can practically stick your head into one of those, they're so huge. And dial phones? The old types where there is a small, bell-shaped receiver. How about a heavy old iron, where you need to put in hot coals in order to smooth out your clothes? And my favourite- old black-and-white box televisions! I love how things were so simple then. One knob does it all. It's amazing.

I took a walk down memory lane a few months ago when I was at my Dad's. He was doing some spring cleaning- moving his study room from upstairs to down on account of his age, he gets tired walking up the stairs all the time to use the computer and Internet. A few months were spent picking out new bookshelves and cabinets, and new comfy chairs. The nightmare, however, was transporting his books and files etc downstairs- there must've been at least, at least, 5000 or so. A huge portion of those were mine, though- and Dad wanted me to pick out what I wanted to keep, and he would discard the rest or give them away.

A bookworm. That's what I'd always been. My husband thought I was a geek when he met me, on account of my love for reading and poetry. He almost fainted when he saw my book collection. When we got married later, we used to squabble everytime I went to a book sale, because I'd end up getting at least a 100 books or so, with no proper place to store them all. It didn't help that I finished reading those 100 books within a month or two, I was voracious for them.

Anyway, I was at Dad's and almost fainted when I saw the mountain of books in his new study, all yet to be shelved away. I foraged through some plastic bags and found cards and drawings I had done for him since I went to kindergarten, I kid you not. My brother was home for the weekend, incidentally, and we had a good laugh over our badly drawn stick figures and childish quotes. My primary school text books had already been thrown away, I told Dad I didn't want to keep them. But I insisted on keeping the English, Geography, History and general knowledge books and textbooks from secondary school, and my college notes from A-Levels, study cards on Wordsworth's poetry and Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey (English Lit) and my legal notes from university. I even have a whole hard-cover book from the 1960s entitled "How to make soap".

But the coolest discovery of all- has to be these....

A 6-book limited edition hardcover pictorial on World War II, which is probably worth heaps now
Dad's pile of books from the 1960s

Women's Weekly- December 9, 1970!

Yoga- through the ages, popular even in the 60s and 70s

An old telephone directory from January 1956. Back then, it was still called the Federation of Malaya

Dad's sprawly cursive handwriting in one of his old high school exercise books!

An entry in the exercise book - the date was 10/3/1960! Dad's handwriting remains unchanged till this very day

Dad's old exercise book from when he was in Form 5!

Isn't this all super cool? I know, though, that storing these old books are going to be quite a chore, seeing as the 'library' in my house isn't even completed, or rather- that I had not, in the years since we'd moved in, taken any effort to clear and keep decent.

Our past is so important, to help us understand ourselves in the present. I can't wait to show my daughter all these when she is a little bigger. She will see then, how life carries on, and how a little piece of each of us makes a difference in one another.

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