Total Pageviews

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kung Fu Koyoke


Two koyoke men who worked in pairs.

Heat up to soften the koyoke

Apply the koyoke on the affected part of the body                           

In the 1950s I like to watch kung fu men selling Chinese medicine and black plaster. They were always in pair. One man would advertise and boast about his medicine while other beat the gong at intervals. Koyoke was a black plaster made from herbs. It relieved all sorts of muscle pains including sprained ankle. A fresh koyoke could be used straight away. If kept a few days, it needed to be heated up to soften and then applied to the affected part of the body.

I liked to watch the kung fu men promoting their merchandise. It was usually held at busy places such street corners, vacant lands and wayang sites. They set up stall by beating the gong repeatedly to attract people. When a crowd was form the medicine one of them performed some kung fu steps and introduced his merchandise. He added humour in the talk to make the crowd laugh. I had to watch the show behind the crowd. As a kid my view to the front was blocked and I had to keep on moving to have a glimpse of the the front. On a few occasions I was early and managed to squad in the front row.

Time has changed and the traditional way of selling Chinese koyoke becomes a thing of the past. Setting up a stall needs to be licensed and the noise from beating a gong is considered a source of annoyance or nuisance.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Toys that we played

In the past children in Singapore made their own toys to play. It can be played individually or with friends. Not long ago I came across a plastic toy held by a little girl in a shopping area. She reminded me of similar toy made of tins. As one pushed the wheels forward, the toy in the shape of a bird or butterly flapped its wings up and down. Picture above shows the girl pushing a plastic bird toy.

Another toy is walking on empty tin containers like stilt walking. It can be empty milk tins or cigarette tins. Method: Used a nail to knock a hole in the center of the tin. Put a string through the hole and tied a knot bigger than the hole to prevent it from slipping through the hole. Hold the other end with your hand. Do the same with the other empty tin. Then stand of the empty tins, one with each foot. Pull both string tight so that the tins  hold onto your feet as you walk forward as shown in the picture. Usually the kids challenged one another to see who could walk the farthest with the empty tins.

I am sure many of you can relate to the above.

                        The man is teaching the boy on how to walk on the empty cans