I received the below article from a friend. The origin is likely from Malaysia but the experience and how we grew up were very similar. I took liberties to change a few words here and there to localise it into our context with some Sinkie names added. It wasn't too long ago when we were all like dat.
Dedicated To All those Born in 1940's, 50's , 60's
Without any maids, our mothers cooked, cleaned and took care of the
whole family. They still had time to chat with neighbours. They were
Everyone had candy floss, fizzy drinks and shaved ice with syrups. Diabete was rare and aspirin/panadol cured all illness.
We rode adult bicycles to school, straddling one leg to the other side.
Sitting on the seat would mean unable to reach the pedals. Hercules and
Raleigh were the top brands. The richer ones had their own mini-bikes.
Ironically, we all had problems with our brakes and loosen chains, and
after running into the bushes a few times, we learned how to solve the
Prefects were a fearful lot ...more fearful than the teachers. Detention
class was like going to prison for a day. We had "public caning" in
NO ONE ever won the big prizes on "Tikam". It was a scam but it did not stop us coming back for more.
Motorbikes were ridden without helmets. It was rare to ride a private
taxi. Taking a bus was luxury - we either cycled or walked everywhere.
We drank water from the tap or any source that looked clean, NOT from bottles. Our tummies were coated with steel.
We spent hours in the fields under the sun, playing football, hantam
bola, or flying kites, without worrying about UV rays. It did not affect
us. Our skins were tougher than cow hides.
We roamed free catching spiders and did not worry about Aedes
mosquitoes. We kept our spiders in match boxes and ready for a fight
With a mere 5 pebbles, girls played endless games and with an aged tennis ball, boys ran like crazy for hours.
When it rained, we swam the drains & canals to catch rainbow fish, none of us were dissolved in rain.
We shared one bottle of soft drink with friends, NO ONE actually worried about catching anything.
We ate salty, sweet & oily foods, bread had real butter and
sometimes condensed milk. We enjoyed very sweet coffee, tea, and "ice
kacang" but we were not obese because....... WE WERE OUT PLAYING ALL THE
We left home in the morning and played all day till hunger drove us back
home. When needed, our parents knew how to find us. NO ONE actually
watched over us and WE WERE ALWAYS SAFE.
WE DID NOT HAVE HANDPHONES BUGGING US. Very few had phones at home. We
rode bikes or walked over to a friend's house and just yelled for them!
We did not have Playstations, X-boxes, Nintendo's, multiple channels on
cable TV, DVD movies, no surround sound, no phones, no personal
computers, no Internet. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found
them! Our TV was black and white.
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and we still continued the stunts.
We did not have birthday parties till we were 21, which was when we started to take notice of girls.
We had not heard of the word "Bumiputra". We only knew our friends by
names. Their parents were Pak Cik and Mak Cik or Uncle and Aunty.(This
para is the tell tale sign of the origin of this article).
In Badminton, we did not change the shuttle as long as it was in flight.
Regardless of how many feathers were left in the shuttle, our game
continued... but still Wong Peng Soon made us proud in badminton.
Match-boxes were always "chilly" or "king kong" brand...to own a box of matches from a hotel was something great.
Regardless of whether we could afford one, we always knew Maths tuition was $10.00 a month.
All parties were held in the homes, the kitchens and the corridors were the extensions.
Morris Minor and Volkswagen beetle were on our roads...driven alongside
Kingswood, Vauxhall, Opel and Chrysler. Executives of companies drove
Peugeot and Volvo. Japanese cars were considered "inferior". Some tried
rubbing the paint work to prove if they were made from drink cans.
There were no traffic lights, only roundabouts.
The whole kampongs came together during kenduris and all took turns to
"kacau dodol". Chinese, Indians and Malays were all part of kenduris and
all knew how to speak Malay.
Our favourite local performer was Rose Chan and the Beatles were the
most popular band. John Wayne's westerns on Sunday, screening in open
fields were 10c cent per show.
Malay weddings had joget sessions at night, it was the only time to ask the Malay ladies for a dance.
Ketupat were NEVER plastic wrapped.
Football was played barefooted in thorn-filled "padangs", rain or
shine... but still Quah Kim Song, Dollah Kassim and Rajagopal made us
proud. Some may remember Wilfred Skinner and Twinkle Toe Tan Boon Leong I think, and there was Uncle Choo. We actually beat Malaya/Malaysia in football.
Susu lembu was delivered to our house by our big, friendly and strong
"Bayi" on his bicycle. All "jagas" were "Bayi" and no place got robbed.
"Laksa" and "Putu Mayam" man came peddling. "Kacang Puteh" man walked
balancing on his head top, 6 compartments of different type of murukus.
We played tops, made our own kites & had kite fighting with glass
glued threads, and made wooden guns & used buah cherry for bullets.
Kang Kong was free…easily harvested by the riverside. "Kembong" was 30 cents a "kati" and nobody wanted "ikan pari".
When the Circus came to town, everybody went to see it. It was the best LIVE show I ever saw.
Usually we did not have to BUY fruits. They were self planted or given
by neighbours or friends, or plucked from the neighbour’s when they were
The idea of parents bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
Our parents actually sided with the law and brought the child to be
caned in schools! Nobody knew about child psychology !
Yet this generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!
The past 40 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned ......HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
And YOU are one of them!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow
up as kids before the government 'regulated' our lives for good !!
And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.