Monday, September 04, 2006

Toys Were Us (5): Carton Boxes – By Chuck Hio

This afternoon, after work, when I went for my regular brisk walking exercise at MacRitichie Reservoir with my buddy, Chun See, I saw some kids playing with something I used to do three-and-a-half decades ago.

Watching the kids laugh and squeal in excitement as they slid down the grassy slope in their carton boxes, my thoughts went back to those childhood days when I grew up in a kampong known as Tian Tor Long. Do you know where that was? I give you a hint – the name means Battery Factory in Hokkien.

Give up? It was a kampong located at the Princess Elizabeth Housing Estate, around the Hill View area, near to the Ever Ready Battery factory. The slope was just behind Princess Elizabeth Community Centre. It was around 1970, and I was about 10 years old at that time.

As the words of the Carpenters song go, “Those were such happy times, and not so long ago. How I wonder where they’d gone.

Sadly, we had to move out to make way for progress in the 1980’s. We moved to a flat in Hill View Avenue, not far from where we grew up. Today the place is an open ground awaiting development.

“Looking back on how it was
In years gone by
And the good times that I had
Makes today seem rather sad
So much has changed.”

(Carpenters - Yesterday Once More)


Lam Chun See said...

I suppose this is one of those rare games that have not changed over the years.

iml said...

Hey, I have not try this before. Must take a carton box the next time I visit McRitchie ;)

Anonymous said...

Many kids of yester years were quite materially deprived, making them more innovative as a result. Hence they spent more time inventing games with whatever materials that could be found.

Victor said...

There were some things common to almost all the games that we played as kids - they cost almost next to nothing but yet were extremely fun to play. I hope that the park wardens will not stop the children enjoying themselves just for the sake of keeping the grass slopes in pristine condition.

Lam Chun See said...

I don't think this happens very often so unlikely for park wardens to notice. Chuck and I go that at least 2x a week (to fetch my son from his kayaking training) and exercise. So far we never saw these kids. Must be the school break.

Chris Sim said...

This is to Chun See:

Are these your kids? Goodness! The resolution is worse the my army pic!

BTW, I think we should not be a prisoner to our past. Let's embrace the present.... and the future! :P

Lam Chun See said...

Chris - those are not my kids. If they were, Chuch would have said so. Chuck took the photos with his handphone camera.

Are we, me and Chuck prisoners of our past? I don't think so. My reasons for starting GMY have been explained before - so no point to repeat here. But Chris is still relatively young so maybe in a decade a so ...

Anyway, I enjoy writing about the past. When the fun ceases, I will stop.

Victor said...

So did Chuck ask the kids for permission first before he took the photos? Do not bully the seemingly naive kids - some of them have judo and karate black belts.

Anonymous said...

Hi Victor,
I did not ask permission to take the photos as I want to capture them on their natural self. It did not occur to me to ask permission as I was bought back 35 years ago by what they were doing. It was was so common back then. Now you hardly see any kids doing that.
IML, please bring the carton box and go enjoy the slides.. I am sure you'll enjoy it with your family.

Victor said...

Chuck, your explanation is accepted. Don't have to be so serious lah. My question was actually directed at Chun See who should know why I asked.

Anonymous said...

I remember sliding on cardboard boxes.
Yes, I agree with you that during our childhood days, we did not have to spend money to have much fun, catching spiders, catching butterflies, flying kites (with pounded or crushed glass chips or crystals glued to the string), marbles, hatam bola, etc.
By the way, sliding down a slope (with a real sled made of wood or aluminium, or plastic, or on a inner tyre tube or a sheet of hard plastic) with recently fallen snow (much faster after the snow has compacted or turned icy) is what children (and those never turned old adults) do in Toronto (and the rest of Canada).
In our neighbourhood, we slide down Riverdale Park. Climbing or running up is a more challenging task, worse on an icy slope which requires a rope anchored at the top of the slope.

Lynn said...

I used to live in the old black & white colonial bungalow on the corner of McNair and Balestier Rds. The end of our garden sloped up towards a large fence that separated us from the main road (Balestier). We used to love sliding down it on boxes and, more often, fallen coconut fronds from the 2 tall coconut trees. We also used to throw the baby coconuts over the fence and onto the road like grenades to watch passing cars drive over & smash them to smithereens!