Living in the Past

My childhood home, the wooden colonial government quarters on Jalan Skudai facing the Straits of Johor is to be demolished.  It has been left uninhabited for quite a while and this was probably inevitable. Whatever charm it might have had continues to erode not just with its disintegration but also the building of the motorway in front of it - who would want to live in its shadow?

Moving on to more pleasant thoughts, a visit to the Penang House at Rimbun Dahan just outside Kuala Lumpur last weekend fittingly brought back powerful memories of being inside that old house. The furniture here is different from ours which was not so ornate but nevertheless share the same character of heavy wooden sturdiness, the chairs usually with cane panels.

The 'feeling' however of the space was the same, high ceilings with the diamond trellis venting, the grid pattern of contrast trim color, contrasting light and deep shadowed spaces. The further back in time I go, I remember the sheets never being anything other than white- which over time would include blues and faint candy stripes and florals. The windows started out as wooden shutters, later replaced with louvered glass.

Afterlife Products

Walking along a stall with paper products intended to be burnt as offerings for the departed I see first the traditional sheets of 'money', then clothes (shirts in boxes) and then, whoa cigarettes and cell phones. Apparently you don't have to give up smoking and texting in the big beyond.