October 4, 2011

Cow Shit Paper (Ngu Piur Ze)

(I am not really sure if this kind of paper was called Cow Skin Paper - or Ngu Piur Ze instead of New Pi Tzi which is cow shit paper...hence the title of my post today...Please correct me!)

Not too long ago I was trying to re-organise my home library. And as I was putting away some books I saw a very old school book of mine still "covered" in its brown paper wrapping paper! When I took out the brown paper book cover I realised how new the book cover was!! But too late the brown paper had been crumbled up and thrown into the waste paper black plastic bag..I must find another book with brown paper covering and photograph it!

In my early school days my mother would always make my sisters and I "wrap" up our books carefully with store bought brown paper(10 cents a huge piece) a few days before school opened. The family would spend a few hours of quality time together. Somehow we were very proud of the fact that we loved our books so much that we wanted to "protect" them!! This was very much the style then. We would lovingly write the title of the books on the brown paper "cover". Rain of course would come any time and we had canvas school bags which seemed to be quite water proof. Furthermore we had our paper umbrellas every day. Unlike today's kids we carried few books then.

This skill of wrapping up books was useful when I became a school librarian and later a school teacher librarian. I have been wondering how many thousands of books I have wrapped in my life in plastic covers!! I wonder if my own  student librarians remember their library work as much as I do.

Come to think of it..our paper umbrellas were quite a formidable self defence weapon in those days. But nothing untoward ever happened on the roads between our school and our home in Brooke Drive (Smile).

We can still buy this thinner version of Ngo Pui Ze in Miri and Sibu. They are usually rolled up like this. This sight actually brought back a lot of good memories to me...how my siblings and I tried to use up each piece frugally. "Just buy one or two sheets..never waste" these words still ring in my head..and they were like ten cents each piece.I believe that in those days our teachers would secretly note with approval when we brought our well wrapped books to school..Mothers should be praised!!
Better quality brown paper is now used to wrap up gifts in very creative and delightful ways.

But one can always RECYCLE and re-use the lovely brown paper bags

How times have changed...

Some things like this puts a smile on my face today....and the thought just give me such a warm tug in my heart....



Ann said...

we used old calander paper. In the SAN BA, where houses were not painted, bridal rooms were pasted with this brown paper in Kwong Tung ba.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann....we did not have many of those bigger "Western" calendars. Yes...now I remember seeing a lot of houses using the brown paper as wall paper.

My grandmother lined her cupboards with brown paper and news papers. Brown paper was also used for making dress patterns.

The Church workers used brown paper to write the hymns..and I think that was the beginning of flip charts!!
How useful it was to us....

Anonymous said...

i think if im not wrong, my mum use it to make clothing - younno cut out and draw lines or design

- Ah Ngao

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yeah..Ah Ngao..it is a tough paper so many dressmakers used (even today I believe) to cut paper patterns for dressing making..

I am so glad that today many consider dress making as an engineering skill!!

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