Most households in our kampong kept dogs, and we were no exception. Our first dog was a brown coloured mutt by the name of Ah Wong. I was too young to remember much about this dog, but I recall seeing him swim across the fish pond once. According to my father and older siblings, Ah Wong was a ‘champion’ fighter. Those days, dogs got into fierce fights during the mating season.
After that we had three dogs by the names of Puteh, Hitam and David (pronounced ‘Debit’). No prize for guessing the colours of the first two. The third was light brown in colour and had a short tail. How it got such a short tail is too gruesome to describe in this blog. I also mentioned earlier that we had a neighbour by the name of Tao Kua (bean curd) Kuan, who reared pigs and let them roam about. Often his pigs came to our compound and deposited their dung all over. So whenever we kids see the pigs, we would hurl stones at them and shout and chase after them; at the same time setting our 3 dogs at them by shouting’ “Oosh! kar kar!”.
Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of these 3 dogs. At that time, we did not have a camera. Or perhaps our films were too expensive to be ‘wasted’ on animals. I think Hitam died from wounds sustained in one of the dog fights. But Puteh and David died of old age. In fact my elder sister, Pat still remembers vividly how Puteh died. One morning, it was drizzling slightly when it just fell into a shallow drain around our kampong house and never got up again. Later when we removed its body to bury, it left a dry patch on the drain.
Our next dog was called Nappie. We named him after the hero of a popular spy movie/tv series called, The Man From UNCLE. The hero, Napoleon Solo was played by Rober Vaughn. His sidekick was a Russian by the name of Illya Kuriakin or something like that. He was played by a handsome blonde British actor, David McCallum. Like Orlando Bloom, this chap was very popular with the girls.
A photo of me and Nappie taken in 1967. Handsome isn't he - the dog, I mean. The car behind us in my 7th Uncle’s first Toyota Corolla.
I remember vividly how Nappie died. In fact I can tell you the exact spot where he was knocked down by a car in front of the bus stop in Lorong Chuan. One morning he followed me and my brother out to the main road and in spite of our repeated attempts to chase him back, refused to return home. Thankfully, it was not very bloody. I think the car hit his head and there was only a bit of blood from his mouth. I can’t remember if any of us cried. Maybe my sister.
Our last dog was called Barney. I cannot remember how he got this name. This was around the late sixties when we bought a new Minolta camera. So we had many pictures of him. Unfortunately, we had to leave him to the care of our cousins, the Ngs when we shifted to our new 5-room HDB flat in Farrer Road in 1974
My younger brother James with our dog Barney
Me with our dog Barney on the steps of our kampong house. The chap behind is my elder brother Chun Seong (David – the one who stepped on the rusty nail)
Me and my brother James forcing Nappie to pose with our cat Mimi, another interesting pet. I will blog about her when the Year of The Cat comes around.
We are seated on a coconut tree trunk. Behind us is a soursop tree – very fruitful. Sometimes the fruits were so huge our whole family cannot finish. I often make soursop syrup with it.