Selected Essays/My Childhood Memories

Childhood memories are the sweetest things in a human mind. Nobody can forget one’s childhood memories whether pleasant or painful. When I think back about my childhood, many vivid memories spring to my mind. Some are pleasant while some are painful.

Regardless of the quality I attach to these memories, they constitute the early experiences of my life and they help to make me the person that I am today. “Sweet childish days, there were as long as twenty days are now” aptly said William Wordsworth.

The most vivid memory that I have is about the time I fell from a coconut tree. Though I fell from about three feet, I dislocated my elbow. I can still recall the process of falling and the immense pain and discomfort afterwards. I was about five at that time. The accident makes me extra careful whenever I climb a tree now. A repetition of a bad experience is definitely not welcomed.

As I grew older, I remember sitting sidesaddle on the horizontal bar of my elder brother’s bicycle while he pedaled us towards a small farm nearby. There we would feed ourselves on the way back. I had to watch out for the police because my brother told me that I if ere to caught riding sidesaddle, the police would arrest me and put me in jail. Now I know that he was just frightening me to be on the alert. He was too lazy to watch out for the police himself. Even this small fear had some kind of enjoyment.

My elder brother taught me many things. I learned to make flyable kites and spinning tops. In addition, we would go around fishing. Catching fish had its ups and downs. Ups when we managed to catch a small amount of fish, and downs when we ourselves became the victims of water leeches. Ugh! Just thinking of them now makes me feel creepy. We learned to respect the living creatures in the countryside.

No single living being rules nature. We are the hunters and the haunted at the same time. The most important thing is to recognise our position. Or to put it better in George Eliot’s words: “We could never have loved the Earth so well if we had no childhood in it.”

The pleasure of outdoor games in all kinds of weather, getting wet in the rain or soaking with sand, can never come back again. The golden days were tension free and care free from all sorts of duties and responsibilities. Even the fights had its own charms.

Each game played, each activity performed taught a unique lesson of life. Ironically as a child, I always wanted to grow up fast, now that I am growing and had grown up I want to be a child again and relive everything. Later on my elder brother went overseas for further studies. I miss him but fortunately I had a group of fiends living in the neighbourhood. We would play all sorts of games and go exploring all sorts of places. We were lucky to live at the fringe of town where the natural surroundings were not destroyed yet.

Now the streams and farm are gone, the victims of polluted drain was one a stream of cool clear water, brimming with life. No longer can we hear the call of the birds and animals. Instead, we hear impatient blast of car horns and the roar of bulldozers churning up the once beautiful land.

I mourn the destruction of the living bountiful land and the subsequent erection of nameless houses all arranged in neat sterile rows. I wonder what sort of childhood memories that children living in these houses will have. Especially in this technological world, the glory and enjoyment of outdoors games seems completely lost for these children.

As years rolled by, my friends and I grew up. Most of them have left the neighbourhood for more lucrative jobs I in the big cities. Some of us remained over here. We have lost our childhood. We are like stranger to one another now, for we have our separate lives to life. The only thing that binds us together is the fact that we share the same childhood memories, memories that we will always treasure.