Saving The Past For The Future

Reflection of a tree on the pond at Sentul Park
Reflection of a tree on the surface of the pond at Sentul Park.

Memories are like coins in a jar. The last to go in can easily be retrieved, the first an impossibility until the ones that went in before are taken out. Even then, the first coin would have lost its shine, tarnished by time. Likewise, memories fade as the years go by. I vaguely remember events from forty years ago. The book of my past is falling apart. I am afraid that they may be lost if I do not write them down now.

It is not for posterity that I want to have them recorded. One day, when my memory fails me, it would be nice to be able to read about the time when I could walk, run, climb and do everything with the faculties I had the day I was born. Those activities of yore are fading away slowly but surely. The gaps between the stages of my life are getting wider. Silverfishes are nibbling, acid is devouring, sand in the timer is slowly trickling down.

There is no way I can fill up those gaps anymore. I have to accept that they are gone forever. Those crumbling pages I can still attempt to salvage. They may not be complete but they will be the fibers that hold together my past to give it a semblance of who I used to be. If it pleases you, do join me on these little trips down memory lane before they are consumed into nothingness by time. These entries are in the Matters of the Heart category or tagged under childhood memories.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

3 thoughts on “Saving The Past For The Future”

  1. I grew up near the botanic gardens in a rented home among a row of prewar houses that is still standing today. Behind is a river and on the other side of the bank is the present youth park.I can still recollect my cousin asking some men on all terrain vehicles why they were surveying the opposite bank and the land beyond.we were told that they had plans to build a park. Excitedly I asked when it would be finished and they said about 12~15years!! I remember feeling sad that it would take so long! Now , when i walk in the youth park , i still remember those days. Next to our house was a mangosteen plantation belonging to the temple.We would get permission to pluck the mangosteens, usually ending up with 4 buckets of the fruit before giving up.One bucket for the temple,one bucket for the neighbours and 2buckets to share with relatives.My sister being the elder would do the plucking and my younger sister and myself would do the picking.Saturday afternoons would be spent in front of the redifusion set listening to the top 10 songs for the week.In those days the bucket system was the norm and we cheeky kids would wait for the night soil man to come before rushing to the toilet to pee.He would shout at us as he retrieved the bucket!! Ahh the things we did to amuse ourselves!!

    Thanks for sharing. Our childhood adventures were found in Mother Nature. I wonder how kids this era will write about their childhood.

  2. That’s a really good post, Peter. I’m having the same feeling about memories as you, though my memories are a totally different kind. =)

    Speaking of “how kids this ear will write about their childhood,” I’m sure it’ll be different than your childhood, Peter. Full of greens, safety and no pollution…..

    Kids this era will write about the good old days when roti canai as 80 sen, ice blended mocha at Starbucks was RM10, Play Station and cars that ran on petrol…

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