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A House of Wood and Zinc


A House of Wood and Zinc

The title in Chinese characters can be loosely translated as hometown, though for many ethnic Chinese, overseas or otherwise, hometown normally means somewhere in the countryside. For my case, both my parents were born and raised in the same village deep in the tin mining area of rural Malaysia, where many houses were constructed of wooden boards and topped with a zinc roof. My parents eventually migrated down south to Singapore where i was born, and until i went to school and learnt to think of myself as a Singaporean first, i too thought this was my 'hometown'.

The background paper i used for this layout reminds me of the brown paper that my grandpa used to line his wooden board walls. One of the walls was hung full of framed photos of his family, including family portraits, his children's wedding photos and other such mementoes. i don't remember any of us grandkids ever daring to deface his wall with drawings like this, but i like to think i'm allowed to take some artistic liberties when making layouts.

i do have a memory of me and the boy in the middle, we were both about 7 or 8 years old, hanging out at a neighbour's place which did feature graffiti, and my cousin read out a list of names someone had written on the wall, only to pause and do a double-take, then wryly finish reciting a hilariously mis-written version of his brother's name. i still smile at the memory.

And yes, the house is still there. The boy with the mis-written name is now teaching in town, but his parents are still there in the village, still practising the trade in its most primitive form. With tin supplies running thin and grown children moving out to the towns to seek employment, the village is now a ghost of its former self. i wonder how long they can last.



    Oh, I loved seeing this! What a precious memory for you to have and how darling you are in your pretty little dress! I love that you've used background paper that remind you of paper on the walls of your house - and I like the whimsy of the little stick figures you've added to your wonderful layout. Thanks so much for sharing this memory here! I really enjoyed seeing it.
    This page is wonderful. I loved being given a peek into your life and your family. Your photo is a treasure. You look like a little princess.