|This is Mr. Umpang the skilled craftsman of Rh Aling who is fashioning a parang handle. The transistor radio is his good companion...rather like our city coffee mornings..his daughter will soon bring out biscuits and a cup of coffee for him..(I took this photo at 10:50 and we shared coffee together and listened to the Iban radio on Gawai day...Numpang works even though it is Gawai...it is just another day!! But the radio tells him that there so be some celebration!!|
Looking at him...I wish I have legs and joints like him. He is almost 90 years old..
I really think Radio Sarawak did a fantastic job in helping all of us . We had a marvellous childhood listening to the radio...and we were "connected" to the outside world..even though we are on the island of Borneo and state of Sarawak we heard news and stories from all of the world..which prepared us to be world citizens. Globalisation was already on its march then. The transistor radio is still very important in the lives of the longhouse people of Sarawak.
And also in Chinese homes and camps where generators are only in operation at night. On the other hand I have been reminded of the 1960's period in the Foochow villages of the Rajang where no electricity supply was available and the Japanese electricity generator was not a known utility. Only Lee Hua sawmills and Hua Hong Ice Factory had power generators. and that was really a luxury. (It also meant that was a refrigerator for day time use) In my grandmother's house in Nang Chong my uncles each had a transistor radio in their unit. Foochow news and Chinese songs were the highlights of the day.
The transistor radion was placed on a ledge high above a kid's head and only the elders could change the channels. No kids were allowed to finddle with the treasureed radio - our connectivity with the rest of the world! And by the way even the record player (with a Lion's Head) was battery run. When it was time for the announcement of the rubber prices on the radio every one would stop whatever they were doing and sit around the radio...RSS1 is 50 dollars per ton..."chiew nen RSS 1 mui tan se 50 doi ".The voice of the late Lau Kiing Hiing or the pleasant voice of Hsiung Kwo Hua can still ring in my head every now and then......
Also Eveready Batteries were the favourite. I was far too young to understand the graphic significance of a cat jumping through the figure 9!! Cat has 9 lives!! Now whenever I see the Eveready batteries I would smile and think of the past.
In the same way the longhouse people knew about rubber cloning and oil palm seedlings today via the transistor radio. Rh Aling and folks like Numpang do not have 24/7 electricity even in the 21st century....so visiting Rh Aling has always been like a time warp for me...being hurtled back to a strange 1950's kind of lifestyle yet there would also be trappings of 21 century lifestyle like Hilux...iPhone...netbook...and the latest Crocs!! Not to mention dyed hair!