pride of Air Itam - the very pretty Kek Lok Si Temple
Any stories/experiences to share? Use the form below:-
I was born in Penang, studied at St Xavier's (std 1-3) and La Salle (std 4-6). I left Penang in 1964 for Singapore.
Life in no.163 Rifle Range Rd was memoriable. Before the highrise flats were built (we were staying at the terrace row houses), it was a vast empty field with tadpole ponds. Cows grazed here. And yes, we collected the dried dungs for our little garden. Used to play in the stream across at the graveyard, catching guppies. Also climbed the foothill during sunset where we scour for spent bullets fired during practice (hence the name rifle range). I miss all my playmates. Will never have this experience ever again, roaming the wide playgrounds.
Anyone recall the 7mth festival wayang shows deep inside the graveyard? Used to cut across the graveyard to watch the wayang somewhere near the race course in the night. Of course we were in groups. Been back few times but felt like stranger there, everyones left...sigh. And the place seems smaller, crowded and changed.
I recall walks to the Ayer Itam market, having ice kachang in the evening, short cuts to the muslim orphanage, walks to the roundabout at Penang Hill junction. We practically roamed the place (you know how adventurous kids were at that time). Sadly, these will stay as memories only.
Hope to contact old playmates again... neighbours Ronnie, Yeng Yee, Ngau Chai and many more whom I cannot recall their names. Doubt anyone remembers me though.
I spent some of my childhood years (left Penang when I was 10} in the 1950's n early 60's staying in my grandma's house along Balik Pulau Road in Air Itam just below the temple. As kids, we used to guess which bus was coming down the road from the sound of the engines- Blue bus or Green bus or Yellow bus?
There were funeral processions, bullock carts, hawkers on foot or carts selling ice-ball, mee goreng, gangdong, nonya kueh, pulut hitam, a fat man carrying night-soil in 2 large tubs supported by a pole on both shoulders and.. beggars! These would entertain us when we sat outside the house. One day we watched in awe a mee- goreng cart roll down the road with the vendor running desperately after it to find it crashing into the drain outside our house. We kids ran into the house, in case we would be blamed for the disaster.
I liked the teochew wayang troupes for the colourful make-up , costumes and sound of gongs near the Air Itam market square. Grandma would reserve a space in the square by placing two long, high benches for our use during the shows at night. We ate candy floss and sweet treacle on a stick during the shows.
Occasionally, I heard the sound of elephants trumpeting.
On evenings we used to walk to the roundabout just below the tram station.
I remember the Nepalese (or tribes, am not sure) selling semi-precious stones and silverware along the steps leading to the temple and along Balik Pulau Road.
If anyone reading this was studying in the Green Lane Convent in Std 1 to Std 4 from 1958 to 1961 I would like to hear from them please. I still remember names like Sandra Reutens, Yap Li Gaik, Khoo Lean Cheng, Mariam, Tan Su See, Girlie Gnoh and Mary Chong(she lived in Penang Hill and took the tram down every day).
More than half a century has passed but Penang has left a special place in my heart.
S P Saw<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Accidentally found these photos. Very very professionally photographed. Had been in Kuala Lumpur since 1987. I went back to Penang almost once in 3 months. Lived in Rifle Range, opposite to the FRU. I am looking for a few friends whom were living in Block H (7-23, 8-14, 6-3, 2-21 & D (5-4, 13-14) in Rifle Range Flats as we were playing "Kan Dog (Gasing), Bak ku li (marbles), kites on top of the old abondoned building at Lrg. Sempadan 4" etc and we were from different schools. We lost contacts after finished Form 5 in 1984 and I was from Heng Ee High School.Do hope someone can assist, many thanks.
Hi As a forces child we spent three years in Ayer Item and they are some of the happiest of my childhood. I only wish I had the exact address of where we lived but both my parents are dead and I have no one else to ask. If anyone knows of an area which housed RAF families in Ayer Item, i would be pleased to hear from them. All I remember is that we lived in an area where there was a big square green outside and it was somewhere near the base of the reservoir. A stream ran through the village at the end with small shops. I would love to return and visit so any help would be so welcome. Thanks and love to you all. June
Kee Tai Heng<email@example.com>
Hi! ex Penang Boy been living in UK for over 30 years.If
anybody nows me ,they call me Ah Kee,0r Richard Kee,who use to lives in
Itam,near raffeld rang,12 Boundary road next to FRU.My old school is Westland
primary and secondary ,till form three, then to Methodist School in Greenland,left
form 5 to UK and settle down on Essex (UK).Been home for the pass few
years.I alwast played football in Padang next to in Dato Karamat Road
and have laksa after it.Hope to hear from old school pal,either school
or old mate.
I grew up in the village name Kampung Pisang near Air Itam. Thanks for all the beautiful photos...When I was a kid, I commute every morning 6:30AM to Kong Min Primary school, the 6 classrooms school located near Kek Lok Si temple. After 30 years, Air Itam has changed quite a bit. The hawker center nearby the wet market was demolished and replaced by the new one. Most of the shops along the Air Itam bus station has been changed to some VCD shops. I also remember bus#12, you really need lots of patience to wait for the bus. The bus was quite packed and and old, it used to commute students from Air Itam to Chung Hwa and Convert Greenland. Wonder bus#12 still exsit or not??? Where is all the kite flying and "Kan Lok, Gasing" traditional games...? Seldom see kids playing with those things already. Time chance the world and past really fast...
I go to the temple when I was small.It was the best temple I ever go.It has many thinks to see and it is amasing places.When i get in it made made me remember that when i was small my big cousin sister and her husband take me,my twosister and my younger cousin sister and my two cousin brother go to temple.We take many photo.It was very happy because after we eat we go to Sunshine Farlim. I hope we will take a chance to go there again.
Kek Lok Si is a dynamic temple complex. After its 2nd giant Kuan Yin image project, the temple is now building a shade for the more than 12 feet tall Kuan Yin. Can you include a picture of the new brass Kuan Yin image? There are lots of it posted on the net. If possible, can you also post an old postcard photo of the former giant Kuan Yin image which overlooked Air Itam in the 80's? It was a bigger and taller image, white in colour. It was such a spiritually inspiring image, so calm and peaceful. I recall when i was a kid, i use to put my palms together contemplating her kindness when i caught a glimpse of her image when i pass by Air Itam. The law of nature (Dhamma) dictates all things must come to an end, so too this image was partly destroyed in a fire. The head is still preserved at the site of the new brass Kuan Yin image.
I LOVE Penang! I was there for the second time last Sept. I was born in China 1973, living in the US since six yrs old, traveled to many places in the world, and find Penang to be my favorite place--My Utopia--love the friendly people, great food, and energy. My goal is to be able to retire in Penang. Keep up the great work! - phil
Lee Cher Hui<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lots of good memory..I miss the place .I was there since 1964~1972 . We (me and my beloved wife) used to meet there after school. Four years ago she just pass away and I miss her so much..
I stumbled on this website. Wonderful, keep it up. It brings back so many wonderful memories of childhood in Penang, growing up in Paya Terubong, attending school in Green Lane Convent. It's so sad that many people's responses are from abroad, having had to make the very difficult choice of immigrating because of circumstances at home. I remember the Ayer Itam market, and if one spoke Hakka, because most of the vegetable sellers there are (were?) Hakka farmers on the nearby Penang Hill, one got fresher greens in larger amounts! My grandmother is Hakka, I made sure I learnt the language. I also remember the no.12 City Council bus from Paya Terubong to Jelutong, which always took ages to arrive. When it did arrive, so many people would clamour on to it. I once stood with half my body outside the bus, on the steps, because I didn't want to wait another hour to get home. Once, I got frustrated waiting for the bus, and decided to walk home, cutting through the Chinese cemetary in Batu Lanchang. The dirt route was just before the Little Sisters of the Poor Old Folks Home. Today it's a tarmac road connecting Green Lane with Bandar Baru Ayer Itam. I wonder how long it will take to walk that upgraded road now. It took me three hours last time.
Through all the years the colour of Kek Lok See Temple is dark yellow as I can remember,so it caught me by suprise that it is now of a whiter shade as in the picture. At the left side of the temple was a jungle track leading to a crematorium (that was in the 50's). And up the hill behind the temple about 3 kilometers away is also a small temple where the ashes of those cremated are kept. My Dad and Grandmother are there. Unfortunately that temple is not well looked after by the temple authorities. It was leaking when I was there last year for Cheng Beng. During the Japanese occupation, in early 40's Kek Lok See Temple provided food and shelter to many. I am an old Xavierian of 1965.Incidently my Dad also had his schooling here.
I totally agree with the comments. I was born and bred in Penang. Linda Choong, my best friend did trigger my 'home longing feeling'. Although has been staying in UK for years, I missed Penang so much. My first trip back was on 2004 after leaving Penang for UK. I missed my friends, foods and memories.. the Green bus and yellow coulcil bus which transporting people. Kheng Ho bar in front of Chung Ling High. 'Hao Peng You' drink and beverage store at Chung Ling entrance. If all the old Chung Ling boys still recall. I was in class 84'.
Joseph Frank Koay<email@example.com>
Kayes, Great pictures,I used to live at Scotland road near the Ramakrisna school.Vow alot of changes going on at Kek Lok Si temple,from these pictures.Have not been up there for the last 20yrs.I might visit it this coming trip back for the lunar new year.Currently,I live in Vancover for the last 18yrs. Planning to retire (becoming a snowbird) pretty soon. Missed all the great hawkers' food, including the chaotic traffic of mind-reading drivers. Anyone visiting Vancouver for the snow-boarding competition? give me a call.
just came back after my visit from penang. This pictures bring back pleasant memories. When i was young, i used to go to Kek Lok Si Temple during the school holidays to pray. Now i am currently staying in singapore. I miss the food, the people, the atmosphere. It is just so different living in a place far from your hometown. I actually have plans to retire in peace to penang. PENANG LAKSA!
Have a classmate while studying at Han Chiang High School in 1979 and 1980 by the name of Armstrong formly from Penang Free School who I would like to get in touch. If he happen to come across this message please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm also trying to contact the old Cheesmand road gand - ARA, BENO, RAVI and SAVI. Daljit Singh
Teoh Cheang Hoe<email@example.com>
I grew up very near this temple, in Jalan Lintang otherwise known by the Ayer Itam Chinese as T'ai San Lok Khoon. Had a great time frolicking in the river that flows by the temple, catching the marvellous and plentiful carp (ikan teen) at a Malay Shrine that straddled the stream. This was of course prior to the building of the Dam. The Dam virtully killed the river. I went back to Ayer Itam some 9 years ago, went straightaway to have a look at another of my favourite childhood 'cooling' spot, another (smaller) stream that flowed under the funicular railway - local boys used to call it 'running water' or 'lao chooi', a measure then of our limited English. I was utterly shocked to see instead a bone-dry drain - apparently the mountain fresh sparkling water was channeled off to a factory somewhere nearby. Another dead stream. The Penang government has a lot to answer for the virtual genocide of Penang's wonderful streams and rivers. BTW, the pagoda is of course a truly unique design. I wonder if people realise that the Kek Lok Si Pagoda is probably the only one of its kind in the world, amalgamating the architecture of 3 different Buddhist culture. The octagonal base is of course Chinese while the external facades of the rising levels are Thai, and the top or dome is Burmese. Thanks for the wonderful memories - oh, don't forget the delicious Siamese Laksa at a coffee shop at the foot of the steps leading to the temple, on the left just before one crosses the bridge, and the sweet scrumptious nutmeg - lao hao puoi and lao hau see.
Hi Kayes Looking at your pictures and reading the posts, brings back a lot a pleasant memories. I feel that I have to say something. Lived in various parts of Air Itam (Happy Valley, Ang Lok Choon, Thean Teik Road and Jalan Pokok Cheri off Hill Railway Road, just below the Thni Kong Thnuah temple) for about 20 years in the 60s and 70s. Air Itam market, Penang Hill, the rivers and forests aroung that area were all my playground growing up. In the late 6os used to hang around the old Glory Cinema (later Ambassador, then lai Lai) playing billiards. For a few years in the late 70s, I used to walk from my home in Jalan Pokok Cheri via Kek Lok Si up to the Air Itam Dam and jog there almost every day. Yes, you can say that I am Air Itam bred (especially the more ulu areas). Have left Penang since 1980 but memories still very strong (I go back at least once a year). Regards.
Have a schoolmate living in Air Itam in the 70 in the name of Sally kee.i think,she's resident in some where in Canada as i last know of.would like to know and contact her if,she happen to come across the great website of the beautiful Penang island.i'm living in Aust.now and use to call by the name Gee Young.being more than 25 years now since leaving Penang.
Hi to all, I lived on Butterworth in 1976-1979 and again 1982-1984. I also attended RAAF School Penang. I remember going to Kek Lok See on many occassions. Usually for excursions with different classes from school. The thrill of haggling with the various vendors on the way up to the temple and hopefully coming away with a bargin. We probably got ripped off as we were only young at the time. I was 6 years old to when I was almost nine the first time and the second time around I was 12 to when I was almost 15. Growing up in Penang and Butterworth has enabled me to have a different perspective on life and a wider range in my taste in food. I still can't find a place that makes kway teow like the makan man on the bike who use to ride around the streets on Saturdays in Tan Si Gin and Robina Park on the Butterworth side.
Noel F. D'Oliveiro<firstname.lastname@example.org>
I was teaching in La Salle Ayer Itam from 1967 - 1969. The original school has since been demolished. It was a great school with wonderful students. We (The Staff) had a very strong Volley-ball team and were many a time State Champions. I would like to contact former students and teachers of La Salle School.
I was born in Penang and grew up in Air Itam. I lived and worked in Penang until I moved to Sydney in 1990. I remember the Air Itam River next to the Kek Lok Si Temple. I used to swim in that river in the 1960's when I was a boy. Abundant clear water then until the Air Itam dam behind the temple was completed in the late 60's. Also in Air Itam there is a water treatment plant near the round- about to the hill railway tram. It cannot be missed as there is a tall clock tower serving as landmark to the treatment plant and standing high up on the hill slope. Just below the clock tower is a 100,000-gallon reinforced concrete water tank. I designed the water tank and it was built by my in house work force in the late 70's under my direct supervision, when I worked for the water authority then. I am happy that my team and myself have contributed to the development of the area. Last year my family celebrated Chinese New Year in Penang. My two grown up kid enjoyed the place very much.
I too walked past all the stalls, past the turtle feeding to the temple and also climbed the pagoda tower. I also went to the top of Penang Hill by way of the funicular railway but elected to walk back down the 5.5 Km hill. I was relieved to reach the free-tea shelter and take a hot cup of tea and a rest. The final kilometer was an endurance .... by now I was walking backwards. A wonderful day out the sights and the pain were worth it. Sept 2002. I met a Malaysian couple with their baby daughter, they were on holiday from KL, whilst in the Kek Lok Si Temple gardens. We spoke in English and the woman asked where I was from 'UK-the Midlands' I replied, she knew where I lived as she had been at Nottingham Univ. just 5 miles from my home. Small World.
Tan Lye Huat<email@example.com>
Born in Penang Chor Sin Kheng Road. Brought up in Hill Railway Road at the foot of Penang Hill. Still remember the big F&N bottle on top of the kopi tiam at the roundabout. Shouldn't have knocked it down. It would have been of good historical value by now. Seeing the photos above bring back old memories. Left Penang for twenty over years now. Still visit Penang every few years and loves the food. Now living in Perth. So keep up the good work and keep the site going. Cheers!
Lisa Vidler (nee Scott)<firstname.lastname@example.org>
I remember the markets on the way up to the temple, all the long steps to get you there. Maybe they are not there anymore. The turtle feeding - who remembers that? I also remember climbing the stairs inside the temple - is that still permitted? We have photos at home of the playground at the top of the hill after catching the tram up. In fact we have lots of photos and I'll try to see what I might be able to do to get them up for other people to share.
B. S. Chan<email@example.com>
I was born in Penang but have been living in UK and Hong Kong for the last 22 years. Once since about 5 years ago, I brought my family back to Penang, Malaysia once a year to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I really like Penang especially the food and people. I still miss the place after living outside Penang for the last 22 years.
Kok Hoey Ooi<firstname.lastname@example.org>
I was a Xaverian between who finished in 1966 to come to Australia but I visit Penang every few years. I worked for five years for AMD, Penang between 1972-1977. I now live in Melbourne. I used to frequent Captain's bar on Saturday nights at the Mandarin Hotel in McCallister Rd. My family home is in Rifle Range Lane, now known as Lorong Padang Tembak. I still dream of the food, especially cuttlefish in sweet sauce with sesame seeds, otak otak, and the nonya kueh.
Nostalgia is the word. I spent most of my childhood life in Penang. Now residing in NZ. Looking back at those pictures took me a trip down memory lane. Nothing changes much in Penang. My last trip back was about 2 years ago. Other than those high-rise condos along the beaches, the traffic's just as chaotic. But the food is absolutely delightful. Yea, the Kek LOk Si temple. I used to feed those tortoises after school. Keep up the good work! Love this site.
Have just come back from a holiday which included a visit to Penang. Had a wonderful week there apart from the trip on the tram which was an awful ordeal. It was exceptionally hot, we were packed in like sardines, the fans were not working, some doors were jammed and on arriving at the top we had to wait until workmen opened them with tools. I would advise anyone that if it is very busy forget it especially if you have children. The Peak tram in Hong Kong is so different, mostly seated, air conditioned and a pleasant trip. This incident did not spoil a lovely holiday which we both enjoyed very much.
I was born and raised in Penang, left in the early 70's. I have been back to Penang many times, last time was last year. Penang is not the same, although the streets and the shops are still there, the buildings and the landmarks are all the same ( the pictures bring back alot of memories); but your friends and classmates and the people you grew up with, and people you knew are NOT there. "You can never go HOME again."
Beautiful views from the top of Bukit Bendara, right across to Georgetown and mainland Malaysia. There is also a lovely tea shop - very refreshing in the humidity, even if the funicular tram has done all the climbing for you!
I grew up in Paya Terubong, 10 minutes to Air Itam. I really like the market there. As terrible as the traffic is, that is what I call a real market!!. If anybody knows Air Itam, they know the Air Itam Laksa!!! Not forgetting Nasi Kandar in one of the coffee shops. Now living in the US, sometimes I can still smell the aroma of Char Koay Teow, and definitely laksa.
Looking at your pictures makes me smile ^__^ because i just been there one week ago. It was my first trip to penang and I fell in love with the place instantly. I looove the streets, people, food and nightlife =) keep up the good work!
Excellent work and pictures here. I was raised in Ayer Itam and lived all my life there till I left for Honolulu 4 years ago for higher education. These pictures make me real homesick cause I haven't been back to Penang since Dec 1997. I really missed my family and the food (the best in the world) but I will be back for a vacation soon....there's no place like HOME.......Keep up the good work and a warm Aloha from Honolulu. I am also an old FREE class of '85.
Victor Livotto<vitto@australia .edu>
These places really make want to come back again. This is the area where I use to live Paya Terrubong Road. I use to go early and buy the breakfast and bring it home. I think all the hawkers are still there. I remember one Indian man selling pancakes, they were my favourite. I make them here in Sydney, it took me many years to work out the ingedients and how to cook them. I also use to walk every Saterday early mornning to the dam with my little wife to be, it was so fantastic. After the walk we use to go for breakfast. I wish I was back there.
So wonderful to see pictures of the tourist spots even before going there. I am looking forward to my trip to Penang this weekend. Great info and Well Done!
This page brings tears to my eyes as I sit in my home far away from my homeland. A Penang born and bred girl, I have recently married to Texas, USA and have been very homesick of my beautiful island. The pictures of Kek Lok Si can be viewed from my house and looking at this page makes me even more homesick. The smell of Air Itam Laksa lingers on, even now... Though this is my 1st time visitng your website...I applaud you for your effort to keep Penang's beautiful island on the web! Syabas! If u could, I hope to see pictures of PFS...the 1st school in M'sia, and yes, I am an old FREE of '89.
Tan Hong Herng<email@example.com>
I enjoyed your pages very much. Since my father was born in Penang, I had always felt some kinship to Penang (although I am born in Singapore). Visiting Penang for the second time last year in June, I made a website about my recollections about my trip with my friends. I hope you can visit and give me comments about my site or even news about Penang (is there an online Penang newspaper?). Thanks a lot and keep up the good work! Hongheng (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I really have a great time by looking at all the pictures that you took. They are great!! I am going to show them to my friends. Keep up the good work. ^-^/ (peace!)
Totally a native Penangite, brought up in Ayer Itam. So glad to have a wonderful views of my hometown Penang and home Air Itam specially. Many readers of this site are graduates of Chung Ling High School, why don't paste some of Chung Ling's memories, not that I'm graduated from CLHS, but Chung Lingites played a great part in the history and culture of Air Itam and Penang as well. A wonderful site for everybody, thanks.
You did a good job. Keep it on. Thank's for introducing this page to me. It is wonderful!!!!! As I graduated from Chung Ling High School, I'm quite disappointed that there is no photo of CLHS.(Joke) As I 'm now studing in Japan's Meiji Univ. I would like to introduce this page to every student in my Univ. More Photos please!!!!!
Having been born and bred in Penang, and brought up in Ayer Itam, I have many fond and happy memories of it. One of the stalls that I visit when I do return to my roots is the Laksa stall at Air Itam market. I also recall the many many occasions spent during the festival watching 'opera' plays from the steps of my aunty's house behind the covered market. the ice-kachang stall is also a real treat. I wonder if there are any of your readers out there who went to La Salle School, Air Itam Road. I personally look back with great affection to my early years there during the 60s & grateful for all that I learnt & was encouraged to do and think. I pay tribute to the astute headship of Bro. John & his able teaching staff, not least Bro. Noel. I would very much like to hear from those who share the joyful memories of the La Sallian spirit " To Seek The Truth".
Sweet memories of Penang in the 60's Bicycling down Kelawi Road with the blue blossoms of the angsana tree (correct me if I am wrong here) strewn all over the road. Sports practice in the St. Xavier's field while the Light Street Convent is having theirs too - the consternation of the brothers and the sisters in trying to subdue our raging hormone from going overdrive.Hiking to Muka Head from Telok Bahang and making sure that we won't get stranded because of the incoming tide. Daydreaming about the girl in a convent uniform that sits across from me as I take the bus back to Ayer Item after school I have many good memories of my teenage years in Penang and they are the stuff that dreams were weaved from One more!Going back to BM by the ferry and dreaming about all those countries etched on the bows of those ships parked and waiting to unload its goods.
The photos in this site are really wonderful. They are especially meaningful for Penangites (like myself) who are not living in Penang. Just wondering, why not put some pictures of Chung Ling High School in Ayer Itam section. This school has interesting historical background.
hi kayes! your new edition to the web page is really good. the pictures on kek lok si are superb. in fact, i just took some nz friends there and they just couldn't believe how wonderful it was. keep up the good work!
Great work! Got your message & came on back to see, this new section really has fantastic photographic work. Keep it up. Would you consider including as many "historical" or "heritage" sites in Penang ?
Tan Fie Ling<email@example.com>
HI Kayes,Why u dont want take Kek Lok Si Temple night view???now during cny there view soo beautiful .....bye bye
As a native of Penang, and especially growing up in the Air Itam area, it does bring back nostalgic memory of the part of town. It would be nice to have some pictures of Chung Ling High School as well as maybe the WWII memorial (near lailai shopping center). Anyone who likes Asam Laksa should try the Laksa stall at the side of the road at Air Itam market.
LIEW Chee Wah<firstname.lastname@example.org>
My wife and I visited Penang back in 1990 and it was inevitable that we have to make a trip to Ayer Itam and Penang Hill. We shall never forget the wait at the bottom of Penang Hill for the railcar. It was a very hot day and we had to queue over 3 hours. We found out later that this was as a result of the school holidays. Anyway it was worth the effort. The views from the hill were spectacular and the ice kachang was excellent; it was also the biggest portion that we have ever come across. Penang Hill and long queues? We will do it all over again anytime...
Fabulous pictures of the temple.When I was a kid,was so frightened of the huge deities (wish you have those pictures) that looked like 100 ft tall stepping on little devils... and what happened to the tortoise pond? I read in the papers that the tortoises were stolen one time...a hiliarise joke in the western papers here in Canada. Any photo of my uncles nutmeg shops... Cheong Kim Chuan... selling and spawning the cottage industries of belacan,durian cakes in the days of old... in the fifties.The founder's grandchildren are minding the place now.Its so memorable the long walk up to the pagoda which made Kek Lok See world renown. Keep it up and add more nostalgic photos.
Yes my brother got merried 29 years ago .I would like to vistit this town to see the place .If posseble can you sent me more picture from it ??? Thank you and regarts from Heinz Kruger Australia
Eng Ah Yin<email@example.com>
I lived literally in the shadow of Kek Lok Si Temple from the thirties and witnessed the brutality of the Japanese soldiers during its first Round-Up in 1942 to arrest subversives. All men and boys were lined up in front of the Cheah Chuan Tin nutmeg store and ordered to take their pants off. One man hesitated and was slashed over his forehead. He was not allowed to stop the bleeding until the group was dismissed and allowed to have their pants back up. My father, as a teacher from Chung Ling High School was on the wanted list but he had a travel document issued by the Japanese showing him as a merchant and physically being stout and dark with a crew cut, he didn't look an intellectual. Our neighbour was pointing a finger at my father and calling the soldiers' attention yelling "Sen Say, Sen Say" ( teacher in Japanese) trying to curry favor. Based upon the strength of my Dad's travel document, our neighbour was beaten up by the Japanese for lying and my father escaped imprisonment, torture and certain death. Ten Chung Ling teachers and about 100 students were imprisoned, tortured and died during the Japanese occupation 1941-45. In the forties, I used to help the boys from Cheong Kim Chuan nutmeg shop to make durian cakes by opening durian shells and extracting the soft, fragrant portion of the fruit, eating the best looking ones outselves and then sending the rest to the big cooking wok. I have been in Canada for over 40 years now, and became the vanguard of the brain drain from our beloved island. The pictures evoked nostagic memories of the place where I grew up but forced to leave because I was denied a decent chance to make a living in my own home town. Thanks for the opportunity to rescue long forgotten memories of one's childhood.