THE MESSAGE NO. 71 OCTOBER 2007
THE TONG AH TAI SERIES.
THE X X X EDITION
THE CATASTROPHIC CATASTROPHE
Didn't you notice "CATASTROPE" in MESSAGE 70? I made a blunder of that word that described disaster.
It was misspelt and appeared as "CATASTROPE".
For a few times I have made such mistakes and our mentor had corrected me. Why don't you ask him to
proof-read your original copy first, you may suggest. But sometimes, it might not be so convenient.
And, oft times Mr. Miles prefers to read it first-hand when an edition comes out fresh and crispy.
So there goes the fallacy! I had also made a "plunder" instead of "blunder" that was also pointed out
to me by the master. Then "wrecked" was not used but "wretched" abused. All these of course had been
corrected and now in my mind they stick. Sorry for all those mistakes!
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH 50 YEARS AGO OCTOBER 1957
Mr. Miles had set up home and settled down. He started to lead a kampong life style now.
Yes, something about the house. It was a ramshackle standing on stilts with the planked floor raised a
few feet from the ground. It was a dilapidated structure which condition he confirmed one day when I was
talking with him.
Visitors who came to the house had a few comments and scary experience. A youngster said, "Your house
shakes". Yes it did; our mentor had assured the visitor indeed.
Another guest had the shock of his life, when a floor plank gave way as he tiptoed on it one day. Even
Mr. Miles himself stepped and snapped a plank in his bedroom. It would not be strange that more people
would bring the whole house down. Yet more people did come to call on him or to stay in!
There came several lodgers in his house, outstation boys or family juvenile delinquents dumped there
to be straightened out. Our mentor proved to be a good and strict guardian to the wards tutoring and
disciplining them so that they behaved according to the social norms of the day. Some parents gave him
full authority to deal with the delinquents. He took the deal and bent the delinquents with a hand of
Surprise, he even caned one boy - an action he despised! But sometimes, when things got out of hand
nothing would do except by taking a firm and stern stance. Thus emerged the cane!! The boy was stunned
when he took the punishment from the rattan!!!
A boy informed him that he had to stop school because his rubber tapper parents were too poor to cough
up with his school fees. Our mentor gave the boy the necessary money to settle his school fees! How so
generous was he! However, he believed in the saying that charity should start from home.
He declined to donate to a Home Mission project as the scheme was a misnomer. It was far from home. It
was from Sarawak. According to him charity should start from his immediate home - not the Home that lied
thousands of miles away and from across a stretch of deep sea!
On week days the townsfolk saw a white man wearing all whites from head to toes walking or riding the bus
from Ketari to Bentong town to and fro. It was his daily chores of teaching in the school. Remember
teaching not running the school for the late Mr. Wong Yoon Choong was still at the helm of MES then.
He joined in many of the funs of the local residents. He took some kampong boys to the then visiting
circus. He bathed in rivers and went rafting with some kampong people. He participated in the late Sultan
Abu Bakar's Royal Fish drive.
Those days it was His Highness's pastime to "tuba" the fish in a river whenever he visited a district. It
was a sort of fun and gift to the local residents to reap something from the environment. Tuba root juice
was poured into a stretch of a river to stupefy the fish not killing them. When stupefied the fish would
surface gasping for air. There will be a dash of people who splashed in the river to join in the catch!
It was a joy to join in the fun!! It was sad to say that that in the fiesta that year, there was a
tragedy. A man drowned while splashing and catching fish in Temerloh!
While living in Ketari Ted Miles almost lost his bachelorhood to an old wrinkled-up lady! Oh no, the lady
was not after him, we were told. She was scheming to match off one of her adopted teenage daughters to
our mentor. We know that being the most eligible bachelor around, he was most vulnerable to son-in-law
seekers. But her scheme failed miserably much to the relief of our mentor and the girl.
THE SPCA AND HAD A FIELD-DAY IN BENTONG
The SPCA came to Bentong the other day. It seems that this was the first time they have come over to
this little upcountry town to serve the animal population. A lot of things especially untold happenings
must have happened to animals here before this. Now they should realize that more often visits might be
needed to care for the animals here either pets or inhabitants in the jungle. They did some good job of
spaying dogs and cats, for the local government vet does not do that. They spayed our mentor's two cats!
For free? No, they charged fees; but not so exorbitant as some of the vets in the city.
SOME HORRIBLE TALES ABOUT SOME CRUELTIES TO ANIMALS
Talking about cruelties to animals there were many gruesome acts meted out on some animals that go
untold. Poachers here used to set traps to catch wild animals. Even on our patriarch's land, they had
done it. Sometimes his dogs got caught. They struggled and yanked off the noose to break loose. They came
home limping and in great pain!
Once someone set a jerat a sort of noose and caught a little monkey. The story goes that the people who
set the trap came by and saw it. A mother primate was there too, frantically trying to free the little
one. As the people approached, she saw the impending danger. She could not free the little monkey. In
anger, she gave the younger primate two tight slaps on the face before she ran off.
What happened to the little monkey? It might have ended up in the cooking pot! Or, if it was lucky it
could have been made into a tool for man's gain - trained to pluck coconuts!! If it met with the latter
fate - ood luck, poor primate!!!
There was this little old wrinkled up lady who sits by her doorway everyday. She always has a catapult
and some pebbles ready. Sparrows would land to pick up crumbs from her chicken feed. She would take her
catapult and slings in a pebble. Plap! she would kill a sparrow or more! What does she do with the
carcasses? She defeathers and disembowels the little birds and cooks rice porridge with the meat. People
have heard her commented, "they taste so sweet with the porridge." Yet she is still living at her ripe
Here goes another little episode about sparrows. A middle aged lady she is. She sets traps or rather
deadly contraptions to snare sparrows. She takes a pail or basin. Support it with a stick tied to a long
string. Under the pail or basin, she puts some crumbs of bread. She holds the other end of the string.
When she sees sparrows have landed and pecking she pulls the string and down falls the pail trapping the
sparrows inside. She catches each little bird. Hold a leg of the bird; one on the right and the other on
the left hand. She pulls the little critter apart to disembowel the poor soul. "The organs of the sparrow
are so whole," she had told. Yuck, so cruel.
There was a woman who lived till 101 years old. You know what I was told. Her dog gave birth to seven
puppies: two males and five females. The duo were kept but the rest she threw. Where to? The nearest
river that flowed through her neighbourhood! So cruel. We wonder whether her deeds had been accounted
for in the other world!!
So much about the cruelties some people meted out to animals. I think I would stop telling anymore of
those hair-raising stories that would scare you.
BUT........ The world is not so full of people that are so cruel to animals. There are many very good and
kind-hearted souls who save, pet and feed animals including those in the wild. Just read the following
SHE SETS THE BIRDS FREE
Then in a pet shop in Chamang Village Bentong, a woman bought four beautiful birds. "Do you need a cage?"
inquired the pet shop boss. 'No," she retorted. "What! are you going to cook them in the pot?" "Oh no,
see here they go!" She released the four avian prisoners and straight away they took to the free and
FEEDING THE WINGED CRITTERS
On many occasions and in various places in the city, I have seen people feeding those air-borne critters.
They throw grains on the ground to feed all kinds of birds like pigeons and sparrows. Do these critters
benefit man directly? No, they are there as creatures filling or maybe complementing the environ.
NO CRITTERS SHOULD GO HUNGRY
There are also people who believe and actually practice such love for animals that they allow no critters
in their house to go hungry! What!! Even the rats, the lizards, the cockroaches, the mosquitoes and ants
etc must be fed? Yes, to ensure that, crumbs of food are thrown on the roof. And to make sure everything
is fed, they may use edibles to decorate their doorways! Inquire of someone, and they will confirm what
I say, ok.
The bad deeds that some people mete out to beasts could be balanced off by the good deeds that other
people have done and are doing to these critters. The world is not so cruel to animals after all,
considering the fact that even men are mauling and killing one another what more of hurting animals! Then
also, I am appalled by looking at animals feeding on other animals!! So cruel!!!
STRANGE WAY TO CURE A BEE STING
No harm trying out this home remedy for a bee sting.
This one from Singapore.... dunno how true but just keep 1ct coins in your pocket & see if it works.
Sharing this information in case you experience the same problem around your home/garden...
A couple of weeks ago I was unfortunate to get stung by both a bee and hornet while working in the
garden. My arm swelled so off to the doctor I went. The clinic gave me cream and an antihistamine.
Next day the swelling got progressively worse so off to my regular doctor I went.... infected arm needed
** The interesting thing is what the Doctor told me....
"Next time you get stung put a penny on the bite for 15 minutes."
That night my niece got stung by two bees. When she came over to swim I looked at the bite and it had
already started to swell. So off I went to get my money and taped a penny to her arm for 15 minutes.
Next morning, there was no sign of a bite. We were very surprised but figured perhaps she just wasn't
allergic to the sting.
Then guess what? I got stung again by a hornet twice on my left hand. I was distressed thinking I would
have to go to the doctor for yet more antibiotics.
I promptly went into the house, got my money out and taped two pennies to my bites, then sat and sulked
for 15 minutes. The penny took the string out of the bite immediately. I still wasn't sure what was going
In the meantime the hornets were attacking my niece and she got stung on the thumb. Out came another
penny. The next morning I could only see a micro spot where I had been stung...no redness, no swelling.
I went to see my niece and hers was the same. I couldn't even see where she got stung!
The Doctor said that somehow the copper in the penny counteracts the bite. I would never have believed
it. But it DEFINITELY WORKED !
So remember this little bit of wisdom, keep a stock of pennies on hand at school and at home and pass
VISIT HIM AND YOU WILL GET A ROUSING WELCOME
One Saturday, when I visited our mentor a pack of hounds dashed out. My car was surrounded. I thought,
"how am I going to get out." I saw our master, and he signaled and behest the pack to behave. And
surprise! When I opened my car door and alighted, the pack uttered neither a bark nor a whimper at all.
They were so friendly after all. They wagged their tails and some even jumped on me to give me a rousing
"This is the welcoming committee!" Jested our master gleefully.
I took a head count, "one, two, three, four, five, six and seven."
Now he has that many canine pets. And I have not counted in the two felines yet! So altogether canines
and felines he has nine.
"You have a crowd in your house!" teased I.
How come there are so many hounds around? Originally he has four. Then somebody gave him another and
somebody else gave him another and yet a third friend came and left him hers. She has left the country
for furlough back in the US.
Sure he has more mouths to feed now but no extra hands to bring in their needs, unlike humans. For if
there are more humans, there will be more hands to bring in the necessary sustenance.
However, the canines prove to be more than just companions. They form our master's corps of defence.
Once, some strangers, probably suspicious characters, came up to his bungalow. They asked our mentor,
"you live here alone?"
"Yes," he said. "With my seven dogs to keep me company!" He added. On hearing that, they took to their
heels as quickly as they had come in!
So Beware! If you call on our mentor just make sure he knows. Give him a call before setting your foot
on his house compound!! Then he will round up his "welcoming committee" to give you a grand rousing
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN OCTOBER
||ABDUL HALIM HJ. OTHTMAN
||BARBARA REID LAPSLEY
||OW WAI KING
||LIM PAK HENG
||CHEW TEE KAN
||LIM SWEE CHOO
||TAN SOON SENG
||LEONG KAH WAH
||CHAN SEE YUEN
||WONG YENG KEE
||CHAN KAM SWEE
||CHAN KAM SWEE
||RICHARD LOW QOOI TEE
||ABU SAMAK LABAK
||HILDA PONNU (MRS CHOONG)
||SONNY LAM PHAT CHEE
HARI RAYA PUASA IS ROUND THE CORNER. OUR MUSLIM FRINEDS WILL BE CELELBRATING AIDILFITRI ON THE 13TH
AND 14TH OF OCTOBER OVERLAPPING A WEEKEND. JUST HOPE AND DREAM THAT YOU WILL HAVE EXTRA HOLIDAYS.
MEANWHILE WE WISH ALL MUSLIMIN AND MUSLIMAT :
HERE'S GREETINGS FROM MESIANS, FRIENDS AND ACQUANTANCES, TED MILES AND ME.
SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI
OUT GOES SIEW HOCK, WEE
Out of the blue, a letter came to me from one Christina Wee. She is a very filial and grateful lady,
indeed. However, she is bereaved by the demise of her daddy recently. Wee Siew Hock had called it quit
on the 1st of August after succumbing to a deadly disease.
Christina thanked me for sending his late father our newsletter The Message. In her letter she said,
"I am very sure that my dad was very happy to receive and read the newsletters that you have sent him.
He was able to keep in touch with the news of his classmates and principal Mr. Ted Miles."
Our heart-felt condolences to you and members of your family. We will keep Wee Siew Hock in our memory.
Christina, thank you for informing me.
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