Our Form 5 25th anniversary gathering is upcoming. Unfortunately all 3 cannot make it. The years have literally flown by. We're all beginning to sport gray hair and having to deal with stiffer eye lenses and ear drums too. I've just realized that it's harder for me to pick up the higher pitched sounds lately. We're supposed to be undergoing midlife crisis but all agree that we're simply too busy to entertain the crisis. LOL! We're basically busy juggling work and family.... So, a lot of other things just get swept under the chair (no carpet for me) to collect cobwebs, including mid-life crisis.
The years have been kind to us. The different phases we've gone through... and those that await us... in this life's journey. Somehow, the chat jolted my memories of my childhood. Those years before 12 were fun years.... real carefree days, unlike the crazy schedule that kids today go through. I remember the running around with my bro and our neighbourhood kids. Holidays were exceptionally fun. We'd play hide-n-seek in the tall lalangs (the word 'snake' didn't seem to be in our vocab) and even onto the roof and big drains, skate round the school hall near my house, had sunrise (and also sunset) badminton, fish in the longkang, games of 'a-chi-chok' in the field, on the trees and the monkey bars.... Occasionally we'd even build our own stove to cook whatever leaves or stuff we could smuggle out of the kitchen. And how can I forget playing guli (big and small) and the other seasonal games - kite-flying, top spinning... I think we played most of the popular folk games. We even tried our hands at making our own kites. And barring some mishaps and accidents which happened every now and then, I look back with great fondness those years.
Hanging out at our neighbour's house was very okay those days. Sometimes we'd be playing ping pong one whole morning. Other times, we'd be discussing what we wanted to do for the upcoming evening or day or even week... meeting skills, negotiation abilities.... they were all picked up through play (and quarrels). End of holidays would see us tanned, toughened and coarsened (somewhat) by the hours in the sun. Mom was strict but somehow, she let us loose during those holiday weeks.
An idea of school break to my kid today is totally different. No running around the housing estate for sure. Entertainment means sitting in front of the computer.... everything digital. Digital farms, villains, heroes, construction... social networking means tapping away on the keyboard. They sit a good part of the day glued to the computer, their link (lifeline???) to the outside world. Mope and the whole network mopes with you. And if at all my kids do outdoor activities, it would be because I take (my boy will say I force) them out.... they don't seem to have that seasonal 'siaoness' over a project or game. Theirs is a very adult-like existence. And theirs is an existence softened by the soft life they lead.
Old friends are good.. they're like this trigger that sets off old memories tucked in the crevices of our minds, buried under our busy schedules.