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Friday, February 22, 2008
Recently, I visited the newly opened HortPark with my family. It is located at Hyderabad Road, opposite the Gillman Village. I think gardening enthusiasts would like this place. It is huge and divided into several sections each focusing on a different theme. You can see many types of gardening plants there. I think my friends John and Ann Harper would have enjoyed this place. Unfortunately, last November, when they visited Singapore, I didn’t know about this place yet. Anyway, I saw some plants there which brought back memories of my kampong days.
I like this picture (above) very much. It’s taken in the Recycling section. I wonder if young readers know what this container is. In Hokkien it’s called ‘tam pui’. British journalist, Neil Humphreys once joked that his Singaporean friends called him this name. In Cantonese, it’s ‘tam tong’. It is a spittoon. Older Chinese folks liked to use it. In fact, I read that President Nixon was surprised to find Chairman Mao Tse Tung using it during his historic visit to China. It also served as a potty for young children. In the old days, kampong folks often used metal containers and pails as flower pots. In fact, I am not surprised if some homes still do.
The second plant I noticed was an Elephant Climber (Argyreia nervosa). It has big leaves with silvery underside and purple flowers. I used to pluck the young unopened leaves to use as a book mark. We planted this creeper once and let it climb up a tall wooden frame at the side of our house. It served as a porch and garage for our car. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of this. But in the 1969 photo below of my father, you can see part of an aluminum porch on the left. This was built to replace the wooden one with this climber.
The third plant is a kind of pomelo tree - actually I am not sure of the name. Hope readers can help. Both the tree and its fruits are much smaller than the pomelo trees I have seen at a pomelo farm in Tambun near Ipoh. What I remember most is the nice smell of the leaves and the sharp needle-like thorns. We used to pluck a few pieces of leaves and place them in a tin box to keep our prized (fighting) spiders; which is called ‘pow fu’ in Cantonese or ‘hor sin hor’ in Hokkien.
The last plant that caught my ‘nostalgic’ eyes was the buah long long which Chuck blogged about earlier. Finally, I have a photo to show you what the fruit looks like.