Superhero (Part 2)

As mentioned in Part 1,  my dad worked at Bank of America (BOA) in Singapore in 1970s. He started as a storekeeper for their 2 large godowns (warehouses) which were huge structures overlooking the Kallang River. The BOA was already advertising their presence as they painted huge words in front of each godown with “Bank of America Godown 1” and the other Godown 2, of course. You could see it clearly from afar when going along the stretch of road or if you were at the river area. Perhaps BOA did not intend to advertise but make it obvious for the delivery trucks to have no excuse of locating them.

As a storekeeper, my dad had to ensure the goods were placed systematically in the godown (which I will refer to as the warehouse from now on). It was just a large empty space like several basketball courts with a very high ceiling. I believe he would decide where the gunny sacks of spices would go and where the bales of cloth should be positioned and there were other goods as well. He would also need to know when the trucks would deliver or collect the goods so that the organisation would make it efficient for storage and removal of these goods.

You may wonder how I would be able to perceive this when my dad never really shared with me about his work. I was also too young for him to tell me such stuff. Well, my dad had to look after me during the school holidays and to keep me out of trouble (i guess) he brought me along to his work place which was the warehouse.

Some of you may squeal hearing this as why would anyone bring a little girl to a huge warehouse filled with heavy stuff and there would be trucks moving heavy stuff in and out as well. I never thought there was any danger at all and in fact, I considered the warehouse as one of my favourite playgrounds at par with my kampung (village). I recalled jumping from one stack of gunny sack to another and when I found any that had a tear causing the contents to come out, I would quickly scoop up spices such as cloves of garlic, dried chilli, star anise, cinnamon, etc, put them in a bag to bring it back to the kampung to share. My dad allowed me to do that as it would help clear up the mess from these `leaking’ sacks. I would load it in his favourite car (volkswagon beetle seen with him in the photo below) which he had for many good years.

Dad with Beetle (2)

My Dad with his trusty Volkwagon Beetle

As I mentioned earlier, there were bales of cloth too and my dad would bring back some that were left behind. Most of these cloths were for furniture upholstery or curtains and if there were any that was actually good for human attire, it did not make it to my wardrobe. My mom was not one who would waste these cloths so she would get a seamstress to make cushion covers, curtains and of course the good cloths would be for dresses for her or my sister. I refused to wear one so my mom decided to let the leftover tougher cloths meant for curtains to be my pants or blouse! You can see a specimen of this in the following photo where I was wearing one of such pants and it seemed that I was not too happy too 🙂

Parents and 2 girls

It is pretty obvious who is the Peanut fan.

So my dad allowed me to do whatever with the spices which brought delight to my grandma and my neighbours who all loved to cook and he would please my mom with the bales of cloth for her to go to the seamstress to come up with the latest trends for that season but little did she know that she had set a trend for me to have quite a weird taste for colors and clothes in my later years too… but maybe not. My dad chose lime green as the color of the volkswagon and it made quite a stir at the kampung and on the roads at that time. It attracted lots of attention whenever he drives it around and I think there were no other car like his in Singapore then 🙂

I was and still am proud of my dad for giving me such an interesting and amazing childhood that was filled with so much fun and adventure. When you read any posts on my childhood adventures or my growing up years, you need to remember who my superhero was and always will be.

Dad's 60th BD2 (2)

Dad’s 60th Birthday (1987)


Trio no. 4

Woke up to a crisp, bright morning which was unusual for a rainy season here in Singapore. The sun was glaring through the window louvers of our house and made it looked bright and cheery too. As a routine when it’s not my work day, I would order breakfast from the neighborhood market. This was done by our helper who goes to the market. She would buy my mom’s usual beancurd or fried carrot cake (chinese version), my usual roti prata (an Indian fried bread) doused with fish curry, or fried bee hoon (chinese vermicelli) and she would also add her own choice of breakfast too.

We would ‘chow’ down our breakfast as soon as it arrive and I must have coffee with milk to go with my breakfast. My mom has unusual combination of food as she will have her milk and cereal every morning but will still add her breakfast orders from the market. We let her have her wishes as she is a regal dame of 81 years. I have often referred her as the Queen when I talked to my sister about her as she is indeed important and should be given that position. By the way, her name is Daisy.

When there are any phone calls at home for her, it would be from her ‘mahjong’ friends who want to know whether she was game for it. Lately she has stopped playing as she felt that it had become too tiring for her to last for long hours which her friends preferred. Other than this phone call, she would also receive from her younger sister who had migrated to Canada many years ago and she calls her every now and then to check on her and get updates.

I recalled the time when my mom and dad were still working and I was in my early teens, they liked to bring the family out for dinners occasionally and western food was a highlight. We went to one popular restaurant called Jack’s Place and it was famous for their steaks. Usually this type of restaurant setting would be dimly lit as it was supposed to give a romantic ambience. So we all ordered our respective favourite item on the menu and we would happily gobble down our food when it was served. My mom preferred fish to red meat so it was probably grilled fish for her. She sat directly opposite me and would often say to us that vegetables are good for us and we should finish and not waste it (we children normally don’t like our vegies). So she would poke her fork at our plates to finish off the vegies that we won’t eat. There was a bunch of something yellowish on the table which she thought was probably our lettuce that fell off our plates when we were busy cutting our meat. My mom again chided us for wasting the vegies so she poked it with her fork and dipped it in chilli sauce and chomped it. Soon after that, she lifted up her head and there was a terrified look on her face.  Then she bent down her head and spitted out a blob on the table. Suddenly, I realised my crumpled yellow paper napkin was missing from the side of my plate and then I started laughing loudly and so did everyone else when I told them what mom just ate.

Ok, the Queen wasn’t too pleased with me that night so it was not a good joke to her at all but I really can’t help laughing everytime I see a yellow colored napkin at a restaurant.

Trio no. 4 -DP
Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must include a speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning. (Wildcard: you can swap any of the above for a good joke.)