Mid-Autumn, Childhood

10 Sep

I started writing this on Monday, which was the official day for the festival but didn’t get to finish it because I was too engrossed in watching TV on my newly bought bean bag. bean bag

It was so comfortable that I wonder why I didn’t discover this earlier. Well I knew about it but just didn’t bother trying it out until I sat on it during a talk.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about the festival, not bean bag. Moon Cake Festival just reminded me of my childhood, family, candles and lanterns I used to play. I was more of a candle person because I could show lots of innovation when it comes to playing fire. As for lanterns, the most interesting part was just burning them but I could get bored after a while. When I saw kids playing candles outside my house, I recalled my childhood naughty experience.


Ever wonder what could I do with a metal pencil case, candles and flower petals? As a kid, I boiled the petals in the case using candles. Then I started to put in more ingredient like leaves, twigs and even ants. I was so proud of it that I even drank it and that was when I realised I probably wasn’t a chef material. It was so bloody bitter and disgusting. Well the point is not about cooking a tasty meal but playing with fire. I usually turned the candle sticks into a little bonfire using twigs and cooking oil. If you wonder where did I get the inspiration, this is the answer.

oil lampI saw my mom pour her cooking oil into this little lamp on the altar and I had this light-bulb moment “Aaaaahhhh…”

Simple things like that filled my childhood in a small kampung instead of cartoons, comics, toy cars etc. Even now Erica still finds it astonishing that I’m so oblivious to cartoon characters and all sorts of stuff a kid would love. I didn’t know about Transformers, X-Men, Fantastic Four etc until the movie came out a few years ago. I also knew very little about Disney characters back then because I didn’t really like cartoons. You probably think I had a miserable childhood just like what Erica thinks — a childhood with just books being forced down my throat. That’s totally wrong.

I actually thought I had quite a lot of fun in my own way. There were lots of insects and small animals like lizards for me to play with and I love running little experiments on them. That’s a more scientific way of describing a torture. When I say small animals, that include my mom’s chickens in the cage. I would light up some fire crackers and throw them into the cage. What happen next was I would see lots of feathers in the air and the poor chickens started pooping. I literally scared the shit out of them.

If you have little vases lying around, you will probably find lizard eggs in it. That’s where I collected the eggs and placed in ring boxes for my experiments. Very often, I just forgot about that and later discovered lizard skeletons in the ring boxes. Poor little lizards were starved to death in darkness the minute they were born.

I also love dismantling every electronic gadgets I could lay my hands on and examining what’s inside. None of the components made sense to me actually and because of that I couldn’t put them back in place. I used to get whacked by my dad for destroying a telephone in that manner. On the other hand, I also used to unplug two cables in the engine compartment of my dad’s car and put them back the other way round because I was colour blind. It was found out by the mechanic later when my dad sent it for repair. Not surprisingly, I was whacked again after that because I really couldn’t think of an excuse. Thinking back, I probably shouldn’t plug the cables back so that I could at least blame it on the mouse.

Steel WoolBattery FIre

Not sure if you have seen this metal wool before but you can actually start a fire with it using a battery. That was how I played with fire when Mid-Autumn Festival was over. Sometimes I just felt so lucky for not having burnt down my old wooden house. Guess what excuse I used to buy the wool. I told my mom I needed that to brush my shoes and she believed me. I diligently washed my shoes every single week after that.

Another fun thing I discovered was this.

spirits bottles


These are miniature spirit bottles and my dad had lots of them as decorations in our living room. I didn’t know what’s Transformers or X-Men back then but I knew about Jack Daniel’s, XO, Black Label (I even tried to straighten the label on the bottle), Hennessy etc. I drank (just a few drops) every single bottle after finding out that they were not poisonous. Just when I got bored with that, I had another light-bulb moment when I saw this on TV.

Spit fire

I realised the magical liquid in those bottles was even more flammable than my mom’s cooking oil! I didn’t replicate the stunt shown on TV simply because my inventory was insufficient as I drank most of it. What I could do was just lighting up the little bottles and saw the fire dancing. I accidentally melted one of the bottle cap made of plastic and that made me really nervous. That’s because I knew my dad just bought a new cane after his old ones “mysteriously” disappeared — one of them “flew” into the jungle behind my house if not mistaken. Thank god I found a lotion cap which was a perfect replacement. My dad did ask me why the alcohol in the bottle kept reducing. I just told him it had evaporated because the living room was too hot. It’s not entirely a lie because the living room is really damn hot…haha! Till now, he is still oblivious to my shenanigans, I think.

Going back to the canes which disappeared “mysteriously”, my dad actually found three of them when we were moving to a new house. I was 17 years old at that time. They were all hidden behind my grandmother’s wardrobe, collecting inches of dust. One of them still has its price tag saying “RM0.50” and I remembered I used to pray religiously for its price to increase because I knew my dad was too cheapskate to keep replacing it. You know what, the price of cane stayed at RM0.50 for many years back then while everything else became more expensive. The cane industry is freaking weird!

Fast forward 20 years, nowadays kids no longer play with the stuff I used to play because they are in love with ipads, smartphones, computers etc. Sometimes I think something is not right and they should embrace the nature a little bit more. I’m not saying it’s a good thing to play with fire and I would whack the shit out of my son if I know he drinks and burns my whisky in the house. I guess I would introduce my kids to most of the cartoons and let their imaginations grow. Honestly, I don’t want them to end up like me being in awkward silence whenever my friend talk about their favourite cartoon characters. At the same time, if they ever unplug anything from my car, I will teach them how to plug it back. Well, it’s different of course, if they destroy my ipad.

If you ask me whether I would do something different during my childhood if I could turn back time, my answer is certainly NO.

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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


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