Friday, November 12, 2021

Reminiscing a part of my good old school days.

THE SEVENTIES – THE DEFINING DECADE It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, so said Charles Dickens. But I am taking this oxymoronic phrase out of context. The best of times implied that in 1970, we had just entered a new decade. I was in Form Three in La Salle School Sentul, Kuala Lumpur. It was an exam year and little did I know, this will be the beginning of the start of a new academic journey for me because after this year, all of us in Form Three will have to move on to another school and from there continue our education till as far as we want to go. And from 1970, things were about to change both at home and globally. Music, fashion, hairstyle. Decades of rock and roll music were to be replaced with heavy metal and disco with the advent of music from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, KC and the Sunshine Band, Donna Summers, Kool and the Gang and of course the Bee Gees. The mop hairstyle from the Beatles era saw the switch to Afro and drain pipe pants made way for the bell bottoms but hot pants and mini-skirts stayed for a while. The late Sixties saw the Beatles shoes, as they were called back then slowly being replaced by the Travolta style high heels usually accompanied with bell bottoms. The Flower Power era was slowly fading. The evolution of fashion was one of the most fun and exciting experiences. The most popular clothes were big collared shirts, white disco pants, corduroy pants, extra wide ties, or even a full white leisure suit for the guys. The girls’ costumes were usually go-go dancer outfits, colorful hippy clothes with lots of flowers, or just about any brown and orange based clothing. Also, tie dye shirts and peace sign jewelry worked great for everyone. These were the overflow fashion from the flower power era. As the Seventies embraced heavy metal and classic rock music, disco was not very welcome though it did make an impact. With disco, emphasis was more on personal appearances and the style of dress. If you went to the Disco in the Seventies, you had to dress to kill. Disco was not macho, it was more trendy or ‘dressy’. But whatever the implications, we grew up in that era. During parties, there was plenty of lively and catchy music to dance to other than disco. They included many of great Motown classics, as well as the top rock songs of the decade. The famous and most notable dances of the Seventies were the Disco, Shindig, Fox Trot, and of course the old favourite, the Cha Cha. The Shindig A-Go-Go of the late Sixties spilled over into the Seventies and became the standard dance in parties before Disco took over.. House parties were beginning to be the flavour of the day in the Seventies. Parties mainly to celebrate birthdays were organized in houses with vinyl records and cartridges (befoe the cassette came along) being the main source of music for dancing. Even for house parties, there was this need to get dressed up. Boys would comb their hair with Brylcreem or Tancho hair cream and spray Old Spice while girls would wear mini-skirts paired with fish-net stockings to look sexy and adorable. Playing games during a house party was an important part of the programme for the night. We had to provide the guests something to do when they were not dancing to the terrific tunes like ‘Knock Three Times’ by Tony Orlando and Dawn and ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond.. The boys would feel awkward and steal glances at the girls. In the other corner the girls would be self-conscious and giggle excitedly. There was always this difficulty to get couples onto the dance floor. So something had to be done to ensure that the dance floor was filled with couples. A simple ‘Pick the Shoe’ game would do the trick. The girls were required to put their left shoe in the center of the hall. The boys would pick a shoe at random and find the owner of the shoe. She would then become his dance partner! This game would normally get the ball rolling. Sometimes a ‘Name the Song Title’ contest was held between the boys and girls, where you play a snippet of a song and ask the partygoers to guess the title of the song. All shyness would usually be gone after this. I attended a few parties during my formative years in secondary school. While waiting for the Form 3 examination results, we broke tradition amongst mission schools when La Salle Sentul Boys and Convent Sentul Girls had a joint party. It was around November, if my memory does not fail me. It was bliss and we were on cloud nine while it lasted because we were meeting up with girls! The favourite music for most parties were instrumentals from Los Indios Tabajaras, Procol Harlem’s “A whiter Shade of Pale’ and the Jane Birkin passionate song Je t’aime were a must. It was an opportunity to snuggle and cuddle for the very first time. It was so thrilling for us boys! Its was success this gathering of the two mission schools that we had one more before the Form 3 examination results were out. Since we were still teens and therefore underaged, there was no booze. And if these parties were held at homes, our parents were in the kitchen while the party was in the hall. Parents were watching over us like hawks. The food menu was mainly sardine and egg sandwiches, fried noodles, jelly and of course, the crowd pleaser - rose syrup. Decorations were mainly colourful balloons and streamers hung across the ceiling. Our combined school parties had all these elements which were the highlights of our teenage years. And to cap the night, the camera would be pulled out to click couples holding their partners tightly and waltzing on the floor or couples chatting cozily in dark corners. Frustrated faces of boys who could not get the partner of their choice to dance to the music of Je t’aime were also captured. Sigh sigh… It was at these parties that many of us had crushes for the first time. Call it puppy love or infatuation. Whatever it was, it was heavenly….clammy hands…pounding hearts… We managed to get the phone numbers and addresses of the girls we fancied. After a few phone calls, made from public telephone booths of course, we would meet them in town for a drink in places like Salad Bowl, Bilal CafĂ© or maybe for a movie which was quite rare. A few of my daring friends wrote love letters to their newfound girlfriends too. We did not mail them but had relatives studying in the same school being our ‘postman/woman’. What a thrill!!! The Seventies was not only a decade of disco music, classic rock, bell bottoms and Afro hairstyle. It was also a decade when my schoolmates, friends and I socialized with girls and experienced a rollercoaster of emotions - first infatuation, first sweetheart, first date, first kiss, first fight and first heartbreak…..Along the way through pleasure and pain, we grew up. And while we danced the evening away during those parties, the worst was yet to come….the results of our Form Three Lower Certificate of Education examination. Those days, failing to advance beyond Form Three was unthinkable. It must happen, it should happen, and it did happen that we managed to move on to Form Four, Form Five and some to Form Six and then to University. After leaving school, we went our separate ways, never to meet again - both our classmates and those Convent girls we met at our parties. Yet, after five decades had rolled by, the majority of my schoolmates who attended those parties have regrouped and reconnected. We are in our sixties and most of us are retired and enjoying life in our twilight years. Recently we even located our old flames of yesteryear and have kept in touch. We have formed a chat group and very often reminisce the past events of our school days and growing up in the Seventies which more often than not bring fond memories and smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts. The Seventies were truly the defining years for most of us. Tony Gayondato - November, 2021

Saturday, July 31, 2021

YOUR SCHEDULE DON'T LIE - ROBIN SHARMA....... You can say that your primary value is putting your family first, BUT if TIME with your family is not all over your schedule, well then the truh of the matter is that your family life isn't your priority. You can say that being in top physical condition is your top value but if there are no five or six workouts in your weekly schedule, then in relity, your health is not as important as you claim to be. Because SCHEDULES DON'T LIE.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Miracle of the Toilet Paper

Got this via my e-mail....enjoy.

Fresh from my shower

Fresh from my shower, I stand in front of the mirror complaining to my

husband that my breasts are too small.. Instead of characteristically

telling me it's not so, he uncharacteristically comes up with a suggestion..

If you want your breasts to grow, then every day take a piece of toilet

paper and rub it between them for a few seconds.'

Willing to try anything, I fetch a piece of toilet paper and stand in

front of the mirror, rubbing it between my breasts. 'How long will

this take?' I asked.

'They will grow larger over a period of years,' my husband replies. I

stopped. 'Do you really think rubbing a piece of toilet paper between

my breasts every day will make my breasts larger over the years?' Without missing a beat he says,

'Worked for your ass, didn't it?'

He's still alive, and with a great deal of therapy, he may even walk

again, although he will probably continue to take his meals through a straw.

Stupid stupid man !