When I was growing up, there was no computer, Nitendo DS, Wii, or Playstation. There wasn”t even color TV in my house. My childhood was all about playing good old traditional games that were tons of fun: ah chi lok (hide-and-seek), kah li toay (outdoor running game), chit liap buah/batu (a game about tossing and catching seven stones/small parcels filled with rice), skipping (with rubber band rope), and masak-masak.
I was the mischievous, naughty, loud, and devilish child who was always active and out-and-about playing all sorts of traditional childhood games in my neighborhood. My mother would chase me through the back alley of our house with her whipping cane while I was running breathless and frolicking in front of her. The enjoyment was more than Wii, DS, Playstation, and whatever toys combined. Fun was merely an understatement…
When I was all alone with no mates, I would play masak-masak—a child”s play of cooking using miniature pots, pans, kettle, knives, including a stove for cooking. Through masak-masak, I would imitate the cooking methods of my grandmother, mother, and aunt. Every afternoon, mother would always take a nap, and that was my prime time of playing masak-masak because 1) I would not be caught doing nasty things, for example: burning up the area where I played the game, 2) I could “steal” ingredients—oil, vegetables, meat, matches, etc.— from the kitchen for my cooking. Reminiscing those wild childhood days brings a bright smile to my face.
I had a complete set up: two bricks in between a couple of candles, a wok on top of the bricks and a wooden stick for stirring and cooking. We had a lot of fresh casino online herbs and grass in the garden, and they served as my ingredients. I would always make a plate of stir-fried grass, or soup with grass, and sometimes with meat stolen from the kitchen. It was mad fun.
These masak-masak utensils were shot in Raymond Kwok”s house in Penang. Raymond is a friend of my eldest sister and a Nyonya/Peranakan historian. Raymond has the most valuable and comprehensive collections of Nyonya antiques and artifacts I have ever come across. He is also the author of a few Nyonya/Peranakan books, including “Malay Echoes from the Past: Penang Hokkien Baba Language.” Reading through his book brings back floods of bygone and fading memories about my Nyonya childhood…happy, sad, but mostly nostalgic. If you are in Penang and wish to see his collections, contact me and I could arrange it for you.
Click on the gallery above to view all pictures. Through the images, I hope I could share my childhood joy with you.