Sunday, 22 April 2007

Come walk down Memory Lane with me

Yesterday, feeling a little bit better and not wanting to miss the summer sun, we went to Kensington Gardens to join a group of youngsters having a picnic. It was such a beautiful day and it seemed that London and her grandparents were out with their sunglasses, balls and rollerblades.

There were groups sharing their sishas under the trees, youngters playing football and many just enjoying the sun, cuddling their loved ones without a care in the world.

There was hardly space to sit down but we made our way, dodging frisbees and dogs running after sticks, following the sound of the strumming of the guitar with familiar voices singing Sweet Charity’s “Kamelia”.

Yes, we found the group of young Malaysian students, taking time off from their revision, to enjoy the sun. The reason we went there too was because Taufiq wanted to meet someone who could teach him the steps to seni silat. So, there we were in the Her Majesty the Queen’s park, watching Taufiq and his friend, practising the silat.

Watching the group of young friends, strumming their guitars, singing songs I never knew existed and just larking about playing catch with empty apple juice cartons, their laughter carried by the wind, I felt a tinge of envy. How wonderful it is to be young and without a back ache.

This reminded me too of the challenge I found on JT’s blog – a challenge that was to take me down memory lane, even at the risk of revealing my age. This challenge, if you are up to it, will take you to popculturemadness.com where you will find all sorts of things – like lists of songs during the year you turned 18. And from the list of songs, write about the memories they bring flooding back. And horrors of horror – the year I turned 18 was 1972!!!!!

This was the year, sorry Mak, no more birthday parties with musical chairs and passing the parcel. This was the year, after five years in the strict Convent school environment, we were leashed out into a co-ed school that was the SAHC to join the world of seniors, carrying files instead of school bags, eating at snack bars in semi darkness instead of canteens in the full glare of teachers and prefects. This was the year a pimple spelt disaster, especially if it appeared the day before the sixth form party.

Kitted out in our flares that could easily break any fall from a high building, we strutted out in groups of psychedelic riots of colours, with conversations punctuated with ‘Groovy, man!” and fingers perpetually showing the peace sign.

It was, I suppose, a year when we foolishly assumed to be our honeymoon year, with exams a year away. Like the students in the park, come concert time, we’d sit on tables and benches and strum the guitar singing our all time favourites. We were grown-ups who could handle and juggle social life and studies, or so we thought, forgetting that hormones tend to make things very difficult even for the sanest amongst us.

It was the year I fell in love with a dream, a vision that was to last for a very long time. This was the year I danced to “Walk Away” by Matt Monroe but the vision and dream lingered for a very long time. Thus important events that hit the headlines during the year, such as the Munich Massacre at the Olympics when Malaysia first competed, passed without as much as a glance to the newspaper coverage. Our own state was celebrating our Sultan becoming the Agong, a young dashing Agong that we were so proud of and yet, it made little impact on me. But hard to ignore was the 1972 spelling reform which took away apostrophes and hyphens from words like tabi’at and di-buat. No more makan2 or rumah2, and the year that brought about the standardisation of spelling – with the ch giving way to c and sh becoming sy and so on and so forth. A word – skuasy till this day baffles me.

And so, what were the songs that used to echo in the small cubicle that was our bathroom, that would make me stop in my tracks and stare dreamily into the horizon, that played endlessly into the nights, almost wearing out the 45 rpm vinyls, which were either on loan or bought with scholarship money meant for purchase of reference books? In 1972, I was not quite over Carole King and The Osmond Brothers, but a few still bring a smile to my face.


Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
This has got to be the most eagerly awaited song as the lights dimmed and you hoped and prayed that the one who asked you to do the slow dance didn’t have clammy, trembling hands. This is also a song, you think you can sing at karaoke sessions, a song others prayed and hoped you’d never sing!

For Roberta Flack, romance was so far away from her mind when she sang this song.
"A lot of people ask me what I was thinking about while I was recording that song. Actually I was thinking about a little black cat that someone had given me, named Sancho Panza. I had just gotten back from being on the road for the first time, and I discovered that he had been killed. I only had one pet, and when I went into the studio, two days later, he was still on my mind. “

That brings me to my next song

Ben by Michael Jackson
Ignorance is bliss. Little did I know that Ben was a rat – cousin to the one that caused my back pain. But Ben evoked such sentiments and feelings that you can only share with a close friend. I had and still have some very close friends from this era and Ben, the song, is still one song we sing during our gettogethers, reunions and when we are racing down the motorway to nowhere in particular.

Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me - Mac Davis
Being young and only had eyes on the opposite sex ten years older then me , I used to think this song and others like Young Girl by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap were written for me and me alone. Why was it no one ever took notice of me???

Without getting as much as a glance from those ten years older, I sought solace in women’s liberation and Helen Reddy’s I am Woman became a favourite. “I can face anything" and "I can do anything" almost became a mantra. I persuaded myself to believe that I am strong, I am invincible cos I am Womannnnnnnn!!!!!

48 comments:

Mutiara said...

Kak Teh
uwaaaaa...those songs. 1972? i was in Upper six, all grown up...I am a Wooooooooooman! watch me grow.

J.T. said...

Excellent Kak Teh. I like how you took me down your memory lane. Although I was ...hmmm... let's see, 5 years old, believe it or not some of those songs you mentioned are familiar to me. Roberta Flack's song - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - is a tough song for me. I will never attempt that at the karaoke. I tried to play it on the piano a couple of times and gave up. Ben - Michael Jackson, was one of my favourites as a child, more so after I saw the movie.
Thanks for taking the challenge. It was a privilege to know what you were doing at 18 years old.

LiNaLaNi said...

salam kak teh, magical years wasnt it... ben was a rat? oh my...there goes my all time fav song:(

raden galoh said...

Kak teh, I love listening (don't dare to sing) to Roberta Flack's song - The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face... that song has a magical picture on my mind that it is sang with snowflakes dropping from the sky...

And I still love to sing Guirndam Jiwa by Nordin Ahmad and Datin rafeah Buang...

Oh..you can link me to the sentraal station sis... thank you, sis.

Kak Teh said...

mutiara, we are soooooo in the same era!! I was in lower six!

jt..you were five then???ooooh! its a pleasure taking up this challenge. no one twisted my arms - it was fun.

linalani, yes, Ben was a rat!! hehe!

raden, oh dont get me started on malay songs!!! there were so many! and now I love listening to klassik nasional - menggamit memori.

mama irma said...

Kak Teh,
'I think I love you!!!! - David Cassidy! and his picture was on every girl's file covers in school....

Kak Teh said...

mama irma, knock three times on the ceiling if you want me!!!!

ann said...

kak teh, kalau datang switzerland, be sure to look us up, ya. your newphew kat mana? geneva?

J.T. said...

Kak Teh, there is one Malay song that still rings in my head. I forgot the singer's name. It goes something like this (excuse me if I get some words down wrongly)
"Di malam sepi, aku bermimpi. Mimpi yang sedih sekali. Kau akan pergi, meninggalkan diriku. Aku menangis tersedu...." Do you know who sang it? Anyone?
That is the only one that stayed on in my memory.

Kak Teh said...

ann, yes, it will be geneva - dekat ke?

JT - Mimpi sedih is by Broery marantika. beautiful song!! google lagu-lagu melayu lama and then you will find a website with songs from 60's , 70's and so on!

Jane Sunshine said...

dear kak teh: ha ha ha. the crazy 70s and the crazier Kak Teh. Perfect combination.

J.T. said...

Thanks Kak Teh. That's his name. Broery Marantika. I will google for those old songs. That will refresh my memory.

Kak Elle said...

kak teh glad you are feeling better:)wah ni lagu2 lama mmg tak lapok kan?

Kak Teh said...

jane, hehe, you know me so well!
Good to talk to you this morning.

JT - happy crooning away with Broery!

kak elle, memang tak lapok dek hujan tak lekang dek panas! am i right?

nyonyapenang said...

ahhh... the spelling reform...how i got my karangans all marked with big circles...ejaan semua salah!

Roberta Flack's other song, "Killing Me Softly With His Songs"...I like this too.

Kak Teh said...

nyonya, what a headache that was! Just when we are set with our ways and then we have to change.

"Killing me softly....?" aaarghhh my karaoke song!

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
Turned 18 in 1979 and Bee Gees (Tragedy), Donna Summer (Hot Stuff), Barbra Streisand (You Don't Bring Me Flowers, a duet with Neil Diamond and Sister Sledge (We are Family) dominated the music scene.
But I was into Spandau Ballet and Toto. I wonder how many people remember these groups?

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Kak Teh,

Oooh! Nice choices you got there. Ben by Michael Jackson is quite timeless. Roberta Flack is so romantic. Good choices.

What was I doing when I was 18? Ahhh...I met my first love..hmm..not telling anything else..he he.

ruby ahmad said...

Oh Kak Teh, no no not right, I met him at 17 lah..duh. Need gingko biloba already.

The Angry Medic said...

Oh dear, now you're making me scared. I just turned 22 this year and already I can't remember half the crap that was churned out when I was at school. Now I'm looking forward to the rest of my life with SUCH anticipation. Thanks, Kak Teh, thanks a lot. *glare*

Heh. Oh, and that Makcik Bloggers image cracks me up EVERY TIME I see it!

Class Monitor said...

Salam Kak Teh,

we sure do have alot of skeleton in the closet to tell.(in good harmony only).
Tumpang lalu ya kak...

wassalam

Kak Teh said...

Fauziah, Spandau Ballet, yes,but Toto? Can remember that. yesterday i went back to google lagu2 melayu lama and had a very nostalgic afternoon all by myself!

ruby, yes, i know who you met when you were 17! I met him too when I went back...hehe! Thanks . At 18 I was still looking for Mr Perfect!

The Angry Medic, thanks for dropping by. The Mak Cik Bloggers pix is just to remind me of where I am heading to. Hey, whenever you are in London, just let me know. One mak cik blogger will buy you teh tarik!

class monitor, I love yr blog! a real walk down memory lane and once in a while, the skeleton surfaces. hehe!

Azmi said...

Kak Teh, I am older than you and I am calling you .."Kak"...tak ape ke?? But same era lah. Songs that get me nostalgic - Beatles songs pre-puberty, San Francisco, The Bee Gees (Massachusette)during my teenage years, Leo Sayer's When I Need You and 10CC's I'm Not In Love and of course Queen and their Bohemian Rhapsody, during my student/Top of The Pop days in the UK. Alamak, I am really filled with such nostalgia now!

Kak Teh said...

azmi, it doesnt matter one bit. and if my memory serves me right, when I saw you, i didnt think you are older then me - but what is important is that we are from the same era, enjoying the same things from that wonderful years of our life.Dont you agree? Take care and keep well

maR said...

:)
Semoga kak teh sihat sejahtera with the family.

Yang-May said...

Great post re the power of songs, kak teh! For me, my memories of school in KL (BBGS) is all about the 70s - Carpenters, Bee Gees and all those flower power songs: do you know the way to san jose? etc!

~ahni~ said...

How nice Kak Teh to be able to remember things... macam saya ni kan, tak tahu which part of my brain dia (memories) dok hibernate dalam tu.

1972 tu tahun saya dilahirkan.

wonda said...

Ah, Kak Teh, your lovely post evokes memories of my school days, puppy love, watching "Gone with the Wind" right after school in our school uniform, and a cassette tape recorder is a proud possession in those days. Nostalgic!

UglyButAdorable said...

oh..kak teh.. 72 i was not even born yet..but hell i sure all those songs..upbringing i guess...i remember clearly early 80's my mum was humming casablanca non stop..and roberta flack yup like her too with set the night to music..

Has said...

Kak Teh,

tak dang nok mari baca; snowbell cute . I sekarang sibuk sikit, kat rumah pula tak ada internet.

the kimster said...

ah... to be young with carefree abandon in everything... :)

thewailer said...

mac davis rules! one nice walk down the memory lane in this entry :)

J.T. said...

A note for Fauziah Ismail, if I may Kak Teh:
The groups you mention are all familiar to me. Spandau Ballet sang songs like True, Gold. Toto - their famous one I remember is Africa.
Even though I was not 18 yet, I have memories linked to those songs. Thanks for the memory.

Kak Teh said...

terima kasih mar. Bila nak balik sini lagi?

yang-may, the carpenters and bee gees - adoi, my all time favourite.

ahni - baru dilahirkan tahun 1972??? alamak - now i feel ancient.

Kak Teh said...

wonda/alice, yes, to have a record player/cassete recorder - was the in thing. everyone wld crowd around.

uBa, ish ish ish, ni semua gang-gang muda belaka!

has, snowbell memang cute but she is growing thinner now its summer.

Kak Teh said...

the kimster - u are still a spring chicken by comparison. for us - there's a lot to look back on!

the wailer - thanks. these daus there seems to be more walks down memory lane.

jt - my children listen to remakes of oldies and were surprised that I know them all.

msiagirl said...

Enjoyed your descriptionlah of you and your flares! Eh, we can sing "Killing me softly..." next time we meet :)

mak andeh said...

Kak Teh :

I was born into a family who is crazy mad about music though our parents were not musical.In 1972, I was 8 and already singing Never Been To Spain by Three Dog Night in front of the class when my peers were going...Chok chok kendong....

p/s I thought Mimpi Sedih was sung by Emillia Contessa? From the movie Akhir Sebuah Impian.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Kak Teh,
Surprised that none of your lady friends mention Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive. Didn't you like it too when you were in your mid-20s? My daughter once remarked "Papa, Nana nyanyi macam GORILA Gaynor la". I don't think my daughter was sarcastic there. It was a compliment, well it sounded good to her untrained ears when Nana sang it in the Akademi Fantasia Konsert. But to Nana's credit, for me that was her most memorable performance. She bounced back after murdering that Misha Omar's song in a previous concert.
aMiR

Kak Teh said...

msiagirl, you're on - we must duet! so,when are you coming?

MA, so, bukan broery ke? aiyaa..salah lagi. but according to the google ada juga version broery, kan?

aMiR, aaah, Gloria Gaynor and I will survive - certainly. I didnt mention it because it wasnt the hit in 1972 when i was 18. But it is certainly a lagu wajib semasa karoke juga.
hahaha - Gorila gaynor...

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Kenny Mah said...

1997: I was 18, and The Verve hadn't split up yet. They had this hit, "The Freshmen" --- and I love this chorus bit:

For the life of me I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and
We'd never compromise
For the life of me I cannot believe
We'd ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen


A great song for my 18th year... :)

RedKebaya said...

Hi KT ltns :)

i was 18 in '79 and during that time disco music was it!!! there were stuff like ring my bell by anita ward, le freak by chic, hot stuff n bad girls by donna summer, i will survive by gloria gaynor n lots n lots of bee gees n jacko - disco beat doesnt really do much to me but those were the days lol.
owh... almost forgot, still by the commodores made the us top charts around that time too(romantic giler heheh).

Ordinary Superhero said...

Hadir.

**Tgh cari usb port to connect to my head**

Tunku Halim said...

Kak Teh - anyone mention Carly Simon's "You're so Vain" or Tom Jones's "It's not Unusual"?

My era was more punk, disco and the new romantics!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Teh,

Oh Wow...I cannot believe it took me so long to find your blog! That was a really nice (Would you be too embarassed with an amazing?!) entry. I could actually feel myself sitting in the park, and watching the frisbees, and just smelling the air...

Will you believe me when I tell you I know (not by hard, but I could sing a couple of lines of the chorus at first glance) when the songs you mentioned? I'm 21, but I listen to 'old'ies...Shame really, in some ways, because if you were to name the songs that were popular when I turned 18, I probably won't know it...Old soul trapped in *cough, cough* body...

And I love Ben! Absolutely love it...Probably can sing the whole thing too if you play the Cd to gave me first-word cues! Can you imagine it was the same Michael Jackson who sang that angelic oh-so-innocent song?

=)Thanks for sharing Kak Teh!

Cheerio,
Daph

PS: Erm, will it be ok if I call you, erm, Aunty? Although Aunty Teh doesn't sound...right...;) NO ring to it...

Kak Teh said...

kenny, 1997 you were eighteen???

redkebaya,welcome back and I love the commodores too!

OSH, dah jumpa belum?

Kak Teh said...

tunku halim,I'd gladly skip punk and yes,I 'm so vain is good! and we know quite a few who looked in the mirror every few seconds!

daphne, thanks for sharing too and yes, Aunty Teh is not too bad!