Scene: Klang around 1968 – 1970. The street: Jalan Hilir. I cannot remember the exact address now. But I can find out if I want to as the house is still there. It is the first of two little bungalows after a single row of double-storey (link) houses on the left of the street. Dad, mum, Terence and Malcolm moved in to that house in mid-1967, when dad started working for Barlow Bulking in what was known at that time as Port Swettenham. This town had its name changed to Port Klang, Port Kelang, Port of Klang, then to its present name, Port Klang. Jennifer, Nigel and I stayed with Uncle Jeff and Aunty Val in P.J. (Petaling Jaya), to complete the school term that year.

I was between the age of 10 years to 12 years. 

I still remember as I write this amidst the loud  hand-dryer, drying the old lady’s hands after she had washed them. Though I am about 3 small , round-table-for-two, or 15ft away from the hand washing area, the hand dryer is still very loud.


I am waiting for Jeannie at the KFC restaurant in Mid-Valley Megamall while she shops at Zara. I am doing a 100 yawn/per/minute stint. I am sleepy and need to catch a 40 wink nap. Don’t know how long more Jeannie is going to take. That’s her favorite store. She probably will be there till closing.

And she was.


On days when I was free, I used to lie on the terrazzo floor in the hall, next to the collapsible metal front gate (common in houses of that era I guess), look out and watch the clouds form into various shapes. I was fascinated about how fast the clouds moved and would try to make out what shapes they formed. Occasionally, I would see an aeroplane fly by. My ambition was to be a pilot. I loved aeroplanes. While watching the clouds form in to various shapes and the occassional plane fly by; I would play with some of Malcolm’s diecast toy cars from makers of Corgi, Lesney and Matchbox. Hotwheels were unheard of then.

My imagination would roam “freely”. Be a pilot. Fly high up in the sky and at great speeds too; then in an instant, picture myself drive one of these cars, either a sports car or family saloon. As I played with the model cars, imagining that I was driving along a busy road or I would play with different cars, picturing myself driving each of them. Most of the vehicles were European model cars. I was also heavily influenced by the “Ford” brand as dad’s car was a Ford Escort 1100 Tudor. Then, he upscaled it to a Ford Cortina 1300 de Luxe MKII.

Today, the imagination of children is somewhat confined to a set of parameters as most of their playing (imagination) is confined to what the computer game or app can do. The game or app is designed in such a way that it has limitations or boundaries. If not, it may not function.

True, most children or people will not hit those limitations, but they are there. Back then when we were kids, we were given a sort of a blank canvass and a set of colours. Though it may seem that the colours were limited to the number of colour pencils, water colours, oil paints or “magic ink” pens; they were not.

Our imagination was our playground to explore with no boundary. The so-called limitation to the physical colours only allowed our minds to mix and match, create a multitude of different shades of colours. An example of creativity is Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine chapel’s ceiling.

Sistine Chapel’s painting by Michelangelo. His mind was his canvass.

Another example, is Pablo Picasso. His use of bright colours, often water colours, and how he applied them.

Mediterranean landscape painting by Pablo Picasso.

It is time to re-take control of our imagination and that of our children’s; from the grasps of the likes of robots and artificial intelligence (commonly referred to as “A.I.). They should stop using CAD (computer aided designs) for ideas. My view is CAD’s should only assist in enhancing the creative ideas of people.

Do you agree or disagree that we regain control of our imagination? Leave your comments in the comments section.

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