My Golden Years – Mr Wong

It’s a new mid-week and this week, we are thankful to have with us, Mr Wong Chin Lam. I got to revisit the kampong life Mr Wong grew up in a little as I chit chat with him about his childhood.

Growing up in a modern and cosmopolitan city like Singapore, I often craved being in nature away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Thus, I was pleased to find out that Mr Wong grew up in Kampong Amber and loves the kampong life.

Unlike most Gen Z kids who spend their pre-schooling years playing with the latest gadgets or phone games, Mr Wong grew up catching spiders, flying kites, swimming in the sea and playing marbles. The boys would even bet on numbers, also known as “Ang Gong Zua”, according to Mr Wong. On the other hand, the girls would play hopscotch and five stones. Such pastimes and physical activities of childhood are becoming more and more unfamiliar and nostalgic in the urban landscape of Singapore, especially since digital games are taking over with the rise of Xbox and PlayStation.

Imagine being surrounded by tall palm trees, greeted by hyper monkeys, cluttering chickens, ducks, geese and moaning goats that roamed the streets? This was the view that Mr Wong grew up seeing and remembering about his little kampong. I can’t help but feel the sentiments of Mr Wong as I hear him proclaimed his love for kampong life. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Mr Wong would frequently visit kampong and rural areas in Johor Bahru, Malaysia to see plantations and ponds. The vastness of the sky, the cool breeze and gentle sounds from the swaying leaves are probably the very tranquility and serenity that I needed in today’s highly fast-paced and urbanised environment that I grew up in.

It was also gratifying to also know that Mr Wong continues to live healthily at his old age, in which he spends his week doing golfing 2-3 times, reading the internet for tech-related stuff and meet up with old friends. He joyfully shared that he recently toured Tanjong Pagar and was able to learn its history while relieving old fond memories he had of the place.

Seeing how Mr Wong fondly recalls his childhood days in Kampong Amber, I can’t help but hope that I would also similarly have many good memories of my youth and growing up years when I’m old. Lastly, let’s continue to stay active too in old age and never stop learning new things regardless of one’s age.

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