Day 5. The #100blogfest blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a #100blogfest blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series: http://martinkingauthor.com/blog/7094550076& SBF
When I was five, my family was living in Singapore and Malaya. My childhood memories are often as clear as if they were yesterday’s while at other times I only have a hazy recollection of events.
Like all youngsters our days were filled with the joys and sorrows of childhood in that outdoor zoo of perpetual Summer that is Malaya.
The colours of Malaya are the colours which built our minds, the orange-red laterite soil, the dusty vegetation before the rains and the vivid greens of flowering trees, orchids, and shrubs after them, and – most importantly – the smiling faces around us.
There was the freedom of playing without a chaperone out of doors. My sisters and I roamed over what seemed to us, vast areas, gardens, farms, jungle, and plantation and scrub land, getting into all kinds of scrapes and disasters, such as the near kidnapping from the gold-toothed Chinese ‘taxi-cab’ driver, who invited us ‘Missies’ for a ride in his car (shudder). There was the wild life, never far from our doorsteps; the Siamang or gibbons high in the trees singing their characteristic whoop whoop noise to each other; Malay tigers prowled the thick impenetrable jungle and families of elephant took cover in the cool humid forest. Inside the house, exotic pets also had the opportunity to live like domestic ones. My friend wore a baby monkey like a cat round her shoulders, and like the cats, it ‘purred’ loudly. When some recently arrived visitor said to her; “what a life-like toy you have, little girl,” the monkey took one bound on to her shoulders. She fainted and came round to see three horrid little girls laughing themselves silly as they comforted the baby monkey.
My memory contains recognition of the ever patient Malay who surrounded us, they silently swept the house and verandas, showed us how to make cakes from a blue flowering climber, knowing which leaf from the garden would take away which sting, what fruit was edible, which snake was deadly, and was so willing to let us “help” in whatever job he or she was doing.
There was the down side of course; children had to go to school. The day came when I was eleven, my parents said boarding school was necessary. We were living in the shadow of trouble from Indonesian President Sukarno who was intent on making Malaya part of his Empire. Every day on the journey to school we had an armed guard and frequently had to take a detour due to rioting and tear gas bombs along our usual route. Boarding school in Singapore took away that danger and I was packed off with my trunk of name-tagged clothes, my bottle of Paludrine anti-malarial tablets (I still got Malaria) and my three Singaporean dollars-a-week pocket money.
School broadened our outlook, bringing new interests, and best of all, new friends, many of these friendships lasting a lifetime. However hard the partings, it was better than being sent to far away England where life seemed restricted and cold.
My memories are with me all the time: tiny tree frogs singing after the monsoon rains, the smell likened to rotting flesh after slicing open a durian fruit, the exotic juice of a mangosteen as it dribbled over my hand, the whopping my father gave me when I brought a live snake into our house, my first (and only) time as an angel in the school Nativity, parties with cartoon shows when all the villagers’ children came and sat cross-legged in our courtyard and came again, ever hopeful, the next day, wood smoke from a hundred cooking fires in the kampong, fragile orchids, frangipani, gaudy coloured temples, joss-sticks and incense, I could go on and on.
I feel privileged to have spent much of my childhood in Malaya and Singapore. It was a time full of spice, exotic tastes and colour; magical.
Thank you for being with me on my barefoot journey back to my childhood. My blogs are all about us, you and me. Sharing being friends: SBF. I love connecting with people of like-mind, I really do.
I love it when you share your revelations with me and mine with your friends ~ it’s still a beautiful world out there.
I love it when you write to me and let me know your thoughts. Please keep them coming! (Just click on the comments link). SBF!
And a huge thank you for taking part on the #100blogfest and for SBF
The Bamboo Mirror is a short paranormal story taken from my arrival at boarding school in Singapore. Almost all of the story is true.
Children of The Plantation is set in 1950’s and 60’s Malaya, and Faith’s followers will be pleased to know that this novel features the highly acclaimed and popular Diana Rivers in another exciting, murder mystery adventure. Due to be published in the Autumn.
Echoes of Life and Love ~ five short stories about all aspects of life and love, including The Bamboo Mirror
Novels include,The Crossing &The Assassins’ Village
Faith Mortimer also writes mystery/thrillers/action/adventure/paranormal/romance/rites of passage.
Follow Faith on: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FaithMortimer.AuthorFollow Faith on Twitter @FaithMortimer