Saturday, 30 April 2016

"abok-abok, pang sai boh cheh bok"

An old memory just came to my mind. Remember the rhyming childhood ditty that one used to recite, "abok-abok, pang sai boh cheh bok"?

Back in the 1960s, I would always be hearing a man intoning out loudly, "abok-abok...." as he rode along Seang Tek Road in the evenings to hawk his delectable sweet desserts. As I would remember, whenever someone wanted to buy from this burly and dark-looking old man, he would stop and open up the rattan basket at the back of his bicycle.

The abok-abok was his main dessert - basically a mixture of small sago balls coloured with green pandan extract and steamed with gula malacca and grated coconut in a conical wrap of banana leaf  - but if my memory serves me right, there was also kueh kochi santan too.

On the rare days that my mother agreed to buy me the dessert, which wasn't often, I would gently hold the abok-abok, wrapped in a banana leaf, in my hands but I could never bring them into the house because I would have already finished it even before I stepped through the door!

The abok-abok man went everywhere on his bicycle. I was told that not only had he been seen around the Dato Kramat Road and Perak Road areas but people around the Bridge Street and even Beach Street areas have recalled seeing him through.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Love your trees

The tecoma tree outside my house is blooming again and for the second time this year, the ground is coated with a layer of pink flowers. It's been so for the past week but thankfully, the blooms have not been as intense as the last flowering season. Still, I'm able to refill my compost pail with fresh flowers and thus have a fresh pile of compost heap.

I was outside the house yesterday morning picking up the flowers from around the tree when a "helpful" neighbour from the end of the road sauntered up to me and remarked that I should perhaps do what she did, which was to cut down the tecoma tree.

I was horrified. What, cut down the tree? Typically, a selfish Malaysian who would rather contribute to warming the earth than greening it. And that was what I told her. We shouldn't be so selfish only to think of ourselves and our own convenience. Besides the shade, we need the trees to provide us with the oxygen and to help cut down on the emissions. If everybody were to cut down the trees around them, we shall be denying ourselves the nature around us. Don't ever think that your neighbour's tree is enough to provide both him and you with replenishment and rejuvenation. Play your part too. Plant your trees, nuture your trees and love your trees. For that, I shall endure the yearly tecoma blooms. I shall continue to be grateful for the tree outside my house.