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To continue, I thought of reminiscing of my days from birth. Born in 1938 at the General Hospital, Batu Gajah and brought up in Ipoh – 12 miles apart. My first home was H block, No.1 at the class eleven quarters at Fryer Road, Ipoh. I was the only one born at a hospital. My siblinigs, 8 of them were born at the one room house No. 1 Fryer Road. To my knowledge the mid-wife was a lady named Gnamma, who worked as an ayammah or female attendant at the General Hospital Ipoh. She was a specialist of a sort for all the pregnant ladies at the Railway quarters Ipoh. Her fees for the delivery of the child, plus pre-natal care before delivery was, at present day fees a pittance. After delivery she would be given a saree and about $10/- for expenses.

During the time my mother was recuperating after child-birth, guess who was doing the cooking of special curries for a mother after child-birth. Special curry with herbal medicine was done by my father. No electric grinders those days but hand based grinding-stones which we don’t see nowadays. I am sure my grandmother helped but most of the time my father was on leave to help. At my advanced age, boiling water is a no no, but those days fathers and husbands were at it. My father’s breakfast was left-over rice from the previous day and he would prepare it by himself as he leaves the house early. The children got their usual breakfast of coffee thosai or bread.

Diverting a bit – the question of the birth certificate and Tamil names. The birth of a baby had to be reported to the Police station immediately. The person receiving the report is invariably a Malay policemen basically educated in a Malay school. His knowledge of the spelling of Tamil names was nil. Mary became mail. Many more atrocities with names and some difficulties at the time when citizenship was made law in Malaya.

My birth certificate was correct. My name was spelled correctly, but the name was written with a different colour of ink and I had to declare my position with the authorities legally before getting a citizenship certificate.

A bit of my schooling. During the Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945, I was admitted to the Perak Sangeetha Sabah, a tamil school which still stands along side Silibin Road Ipoh. It was one year of Tamil schooling in 1945, and then in 1946 the British were back and I started my schooling in ACS – Anglo-Chinese-School Ipoh.

Sangeetha Sabha (music sabha) was established in the 30’s to cater for the music education of the children of railway men, those days mainly of the Jaffna clerks and others from Ceylon then. Their children all received English education. I don’t know when this sabha turned into a Tamil school. Possibly during the Jap occupation.

In 1945 the school had three classrooms. You graduate when you passed Standard Six. Then you become a Tamil school teacher. A temporary class room was set outside the school building. It was a raised platform on wood about 2 or 3 feet high, no roof, and classes were inside the school when it rained. As I was being taught at the raised platform one day, I saw a stream of water flowing through, and though at that moment it not strike any oddity, a child had peed but school went on. It was co-educational, there was a Headmaster Mr Karuppiah, and my teacher was one Mr Savarimuthu, who stayed opposite my house H1 in the Railway block in a house belonging to his father-in-law a railway worker. Even now I can imagine running away from him as soon as you saw him, something you can’t avoid because you stayed closed, about 20 yards, from his house.

Still with my mother’s side patti, Madam Rethinamal. Old lady loved seeing Tamil movies. I used to accompany her to the first show of the day usually around 1 pm. Not being a lover of foot-ware, my patti wore one when going to the show and still I remember, it was a slipper with metal tags at the heels which click claked as you walked. I don’t know why this aspect of the slippers is etched in mind – but she tripped and fell one day as we were walking to the Sun cinema along Brewster Road, along the corridor of the shops we were passing. Luckily a small incident and no injury and in the mind of a small boy say aged in single digit probably 10 a thing to remember by. Can’t remember any of the films that I saw with her. Probably my movie going days had not started.

Yes I was a movie buff of Tamil films even during my school days which infuriated my parents alike present day parents worried sick about their children falling in love with smart phones and games. But this change over took place some years later or perhaps in my teen years complimented by my uncle Veeman, a bachelor, who had his life well organised. Work during day, show attendance at the toddy shop in the evening, and to end the day fruitfully the 8.30 or 9 pm Tamil show immaterial whether the first or the sixth time – Ipoh could only offer a single Tamil show running for about 6 days or so. To those who don’t know my Uncle Veeman was. He was my father’s mothers brother or sisters son, in India. He was a regular visitor to my house and in a week at least once. His communication expertise was nil and in my house when he visits there is no conversation perhaps my uncle was afraid he will fail the breathslayer test although my parents all knew what my mama did every evening. His attempt at conversation was “Mosay kelambu” – my house name was Moses or Mosay when spoken in Tamil and “kelambu” means get going or get going as I was being taken to a movie. On the other hand, there I was clued to a book but anticipating a movie. Most of the time, my mother ignores my mamas request, but those two words are repeated like about 10 times and finally my mother says “poda” or go.

Both walked to the movie houses, then called theatres – one was Rex cinema in Chamberlain Road, whereas Sun and Odeon were found in Brewster Road. My best time was, besides the pictures, a visit to the mamak restaurent before the pictures. It was for a class of tea and 1 big piece of fruit cake. The tea and case cost 25 cents each, and the admission to the cinema, 3rd class 40 cents, 2nd class was 65 cents, 1st class was $ 1.25 and Special class was $ 2.00 in dollars. Generally we picked 3rd and moved on to 2nd class, if tickets for 3rd class finish.

Every movie was the last show at 8.30 pm and usually ended up at 11.30 pm. Some Tamil films lasted 4 hours.

To continue, you remember my grandfather from my mothers side, did not treat me well as a grandson – perhaps I was thinking of how I treat mine, but let us not forget the circumstances. Ipoh and Batu Gajah are 12 miles apart. I was in Ipoh, and if I remember correctly my family visits to my grandparents house was infrequent, and perhaps my presence in Batu Gajah was not long enough for my grandfather to know me well. What ever it is I have no qualms that he was like any other grandfather. A suggestion here,  although this blog is not a “love thy neighbour type”, but purely a look at my/your family roots, kindly consider that when you have the opportunity to know and mix with people, whatever their ages, get to know them well as this would be a good romantic thought later on in life.

I have said my piece.

So Mdm  Rethinammal came to Ipoh to stay with her daughters. She had with her two assets, some money and a female cow named Letchumi. I knew Letchumi, a big brown cow and its oddities. To start with she was barren. The other oddity was she loved durian seeds, and it was a common matter for her to foray into the many dust-bins in the area of the small XI houses I mentioned in my first blog in this series. This was a nuisance, My grandmother got rid of her, we never ever knew her milk or the descends of her. My patti with the money of my grandfather, became a small time money-lender. She had to survive does she not.

My patti as a money-lender. She was tough. Lenders pay every month, if not face a 6 feet lady with no mercies. They paid up. Not wanting to say bad about my patti, do not forget she was alone in this world to live her life, any person who does not pay must face a lady not aggressive, but her words and eventually her curse accompanied with a fist of earth thrown towards the house. This money lender was unique. I am re-capturing what I saw. She was successful. Please remember this was the 50’s.

She was in the minds of the people ”masanars mamiyar”. A chap near to my house in H Block No.1, Fryer Road, had the misfortune of saying something derogatory of my patti, and the elders of the Nadar community, in Buntong, came to know of it. I was about 10 years old. I saw a group of 10 people or more, with the leader pushing a bicycle, walking from the end of the Class XI houses towards my house and stopped at my house. My mother was there and my father was not. The leader of the visitors inquired as to the house of the man accused of bad-mouthing my patti. His house was about 50 yards away and my mother showed the house. Fortunately, that man was not home. My mother was told, please tell this fellow to be careful, as otherwise, he will be in trouble. My mother never repeated this to the person concerned, later. The group left. That was the last I heard of this story. No problem.

As I said earlier, my grandma from my mother’s side Madam Rethinnamal, was a “ayammah” in the General Hospital, Batu Gajah, and stayed with Mr  Sellakannu Nadar, who originally was a cook in the same hospital, and later opted out to be a oil-miller and owner of cattle – quite a lucrative business those days – churning out coconut and gingelly oil or sesame oil. In the 30s and 40s there was no commercially available oils such as these and in every big town they were locally made. You could not get good oil from the provision shops, except when milled by people like my grandfather. I still recall sitting on a bullock-cart (length roughly 12 feet) hauled by two bulls travelling from Batu Gajah to Ipoh to get supplies. A bullock-cart travels with a speed of 5 to 10 MPH, and takes anything from 4 to 5 hours to traverse 12 miles. The supplies to be picked mainly consists of dried coconut or copra and sesame seeds. These carts were driven by Mr Daniel and Mr Arputhamani, two relatives of my grandpa, Mr Daniel stayed back in Malaya whereas Mr Arputhamani returned to India. These two men ran the business for my grandpa, and stayed in a big attap-roofed house in Batu Gajah where my grandparents and my chitti (mother’s sister) stayed. Rich though my grandpa was , the house had only a flooring of cow-dung with many rooms. My grandpa was a six-footer, with a pig tail and wore white, dhoti and a shirt with the sleeves going beyond the elbows. He wore no shoe. He spoke only Tamil, with a Tirunelvelli slang and I wonder if he knew any Malay, because most Tamils spoke Malay. He was a tough man, and my grandma, tough herself, was dominated by him. He seldom spoke to us grandchildren and I myself cannot recollect calling him ”thatha”. During the Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945, sugar was scarce, any my grandma used to hide the brown sugar given to me from her husband. Just after the Japanese occupation, my grandfather, decided to leave Malaya and go to India, sold everything, gave my “patti” some money and a female cow ”Letchumi” and sailed off. His wife was in India. My patti then came and stayed with my mother and ”chitti” in Ipoh.

So, 1926 was an important year for my father, he arrived in Penang and moved over to Ipoh. In Ipoh were many who had migrated from Thengulam, and one such family from his village was his uncle, who had succeeded as a contractor to supply ballast (stones for railway tracks) to the Malayan Railways then. This uncle with his family were doing well and had a number of workers working to break the stones. My father joined this group and the aunt he knew took care of the food etc. Unfortunately, the income was not enough, and his dreams of settling the debts in India, and returning to his home-land fast was far away off. After a couple of months he parted the company of his uncle and secured a job in the Malayan Railway workshop alongside Fryer Road in Ipoh. Those of you who know Mr Packianathan and his brother Mr Pooviah were the children of the uncle of my father from India. These two gentlemen were also my ”mamas” or uncles.

Mr Ratnam was next made as assistant to a brick-layer or what was called a mason. My siblings and I were known as “mesanars pillaikal” or the masons children. He worked his way up and when he retired in 1960 (the year I got married) was known as the Head Mason.

Just to divert a bit, I would turn over the readers attention to the next dear person of my life, my mother Ponnuthayee. I know more about my mother and her family than the India grandparents and my father’s siblings. One was in Malaya and the other in India which country I never visited. Who would forget my grandma Rathinaamal – my mother was slim all her life but my grandmother a bit chubby and big-build. My mom was tall, and although my father was average height, the children, nine of us, are tall including the girls. My grandma was tall.

My mother’s heritage starts from Thiruvanamalai a town about 130 miles from Bangalore. My grandmother, comes from an ”asari” family or carpenters. I can never hit a nail straight and wonder as to what happened to my carpenters genre. Lost I am afraid. My grandmother was married a child bride, a girl a few years old, married and kept in the girl’s mothers house until she reaches puberty. Her husband was stricken with an blind eye, and my grandmother, possibly to avoid the one-eyed man decided to migrate to Malaya. She had two baby girls with her, my mother and her sister. My mother’s sister died on the steamer from India to Malaya. With one daughter my grandma reached Telok Anson, and later moved to Batu Gajah and worked as an ”ayammah” or woman attendant in Batu Gajah hospital. Mr Sellakannu Nadar was a cook in the hospital, and my grandmother got attached to him and bore him another daughter. Mr Sellakannu after retiring or leaving the hospital, became a wealthy man, owning about 60 cows and two oil mills – you have a grinder, at the middle, to put copra or dried coconut, and in an another sesame seed, and a bull goes around attached to a shaft from the main grinder, and finally you get coconut oil and gingerly oil.

 

 

 

 

 

This family has its roots in Ipoh, along Fryer Road, where the offices of Railway Office of the District Engineer, Malayan Railways Ipoh, which was then and now. Their family home was a single room house, bearing the name H block No.1, meaning this house was house number 1 in a terrace of 8 other houses. Roughly speaking there were about 25 such blocks to accommodate about  200 staff in the supporting services of the Malayan Railways which consisted of,carpenters,plumbers,health workers,porters,shunters,office peons,railway track workers viz mandore,labourers,key-men, labourers in the workshop and so forth. They were skilled workers and the other ranks of unskilled kind comprising the back-bone of railway workers who controlled the auxiliary services of maintaining the permanent way or railway track. You had houses to house these staff and their comes the masons or brick-layers, plumbers, carpenters etc. One cannot forget the toilet cleaner, the chap that sprays disinfectant against sickness, like malaria, the painter and the lists go on. To use a railway term, these houses were called Class XI houses, the lowest in the category as the class system goes up to Class I which housed the General Manager of the MR or Malayan Railway. I had the privilege of staying in a Class XI, X, IX, VIII, VII, VI, and the highest class V, mainly because I am a product of the Railways. Much more later.

Now, who is this Ratnam, the hero of this blog. My father Mr Ratnam s/o Thangiah originates from India from a village called Thengulam, in Tirunelvelly district, in Tamil Nadu – south of the country. According to him he was a indentured person from India and he intended to come to this country then called Malaya. His eldest sister was married off in India and Mr Thangiah was in debt as he had mortgaged his bull for marriage expenses. It was a farming community, ploughing and cultivating rice the main produce. My father the eldest of the boys, decided to come to Malaya, earn enough money to settle the debts and redeem the bull. The bull or bulls was/were mortgaged for the wedding expenses. His father, like any other father, refused permission and after a lot of crying and discussion, allowed him  to go. I suppose, my grandfather acquiesced to his son’s request as it would mean only a few years of missing him. It would not be so. He left India in 1926, and could only return in 1960 after 34 years. My grandfather Thangiah passed way during the second world war, and my grandmother Ponnama in 1960 whilst my father was in the midst of making arrangements to return to India. He never saw his parents. He did make the trip after his mother died, and many more later. My father pass away on 1st February 2007  aged 100, a centenarian.

He was born then in 1907, a fact clarified from the baptism certificate kept in the local church in Thengulam, probably an Anglican church. He came to Malaya in 1926, then aged 19 years, got married to my mother Ponnuthayee in 1936 when he was 29 years old, and the writer of this blog R.V.David, who is now aged 80 years old was born in 1938. My father then was 31 years old.

This is the beginning, there is more to follow.

 

 

post op partial turbinectomy

hpe- ca ex pleomorphic adenama

plan for commpition operation

Diagnosis:

carcinoma expleomorphic adenoma of right middle turbinate

 

biopsy is the only sure way to diagnosis most cancers. Imaging tests like CT scans and X-rays can help identify areas of concerns, but they can‘t differentiate between cancerous and noncancerous cells. … Doctors use biopsies to test whether abnormalities in your body are caused by cancer or by other conditions.

https://thecoverage.my/news/heart-breaking-tun-mahathir-asked-lim-guan-eng-much-lim-guan-eng-dare-not-answer/

I took my Driver’s licence in the year 1966, within 3 days after applying. I had no driving licence but was forced to buy a car, and without a valid licence registered it under my friends name as a temporary measure. I paid $50/ as down payment and the rest was covered with a loan. I could drive, although the car was parked in my house, with strict instructions from the second hand dealer I could not take the car out.

To get the drivers licence I had to pay something like $150/ to a driving school. And mind you part of this was the bribe to my instructor who passed me in the road transport system. By present day standards it was cheap.

Now I am told the driving school fees alone comes to thousands, and of course the bribe to the instructors in the road transport department.

Our new Transport Minister, Anthony Loke Siew Fook has promised no bribes for license,and it will help beginners to obtain licences.

 

After a break in my bloggers activity, I am trying to regain this activity. Blogging is very interesting, keeps you busy, but the best it keeps you involved in what is happening around you. I stopped blogging when there were restrictions, and then, sad to say people got worried that writing or commenting on issues on the government is not welcome anymore. I am too old to be called up by the authorites to explain what I write. My blogging now is, hopefully, within bounds. Let me enjoy what I like. Happy blogging.