I grew up on Harrison Street. Sometime in the mid-eighties, the renamed our street Jalan Lim Swee Aun. Apparently, we didn't want to be reminded that we were once occupied by the British. Anyway, it turned out last year that we DID want to be reminded of our British occupation after all and so Harrison Street is reinstated once again. Sometime in the mid-90s, one of the country's leading Opposition Party, the DAP, moved in next door. They used to be further up the street. One time in the 80s, I saw Lim Kit Siang eating takeaway Char Kuey Teow at the conference table. Or then again he could have been giving a press conference after his release from Kemunting. Details are fuzzy now. Heh! Our house is the one with the colourful tiles out front.
My grandma bought this pre-war shophouse back in the 50s with her savings from her years as a Pencuci Dulang (she panned for Tin ore). She had it renovated to accommodate 8 bedrooms to house her hubby, 5 kids and 1 nephew. We hung up that
When Gran had the place renovated, she extended the house all the way to the backyard. From the front door way to the back, our house measures over 120ft, making it the longest house on the street. She's very proud of this achievement. Which must be why she hangs out a lot way back. However, the reno also left fixtures in the weirdest places. This washbasin is in the middle of the house right behind Gran's bedroom and its the only one. My cousins and I used to queue up to brush our teeth. Grandma's room is the creepiest room in the house like something out of a Chinese horror movie.
Our toilet is an outhouse. It used to be one of those ancient toilets where you shat into a bucket. Euwww! If you had a tummy ache in the middle of the night you'd have to run all the way to the back of the house in the dark! That was always fun. As long as it wasn't you with the stomachache. And if you run too quickly, you're liable to run into the huge-ass dining table we had. All our CNY reunion dinners have been at this table. On normal days, we used only half the table. The other half is usually occupied by stuff ranging from condiment bottles to cookie jars and breakfast beverages. That there is the best mom on the planet. :)
Home is a double-storey house. Upstairs is a home all in itself. Almost. We have 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, a backyard and a bathroom. But if you need to take a dump, you'd still have to run downstairs to the outhouse!!! That pic is a shot from the backyard upstairs. There's large gap in the roof where the sun came in. The stairway is pretty rustic, kinda like something out of a Chinese horror movie. Mae standing there kinda adds to the effect, no? :) I live in the front room upstairs. Sometime in the 80s, they demolished a beautiful mansion across the street and erected an shop-apartment complex. At the groundfloor, they leased the space to a sleazy dangdut pub. It gets pretty noisy late into the night but for some reason, I like it. It makes my room seem dangerous. Heh!
At any Chinese New Year, the house accommodates up to 25 or more of the Tan clan. We're a bunch of noisy people who love laughing, eating and cooking. So you can imagine what a really festive new year we have. *sigh* Hopefully next year we'll go home.
* image censored by the Censorship Broad