The Old House

One month ago, mum told me that my late grandma’s house has been purchased by developers and will be demolished as soon as some new ‘Jelutong project’ started. Though I don’t spend much time there as I wasn’t close to my maternal grandma, there’s still a feeling of sadness lurking around the heart. The countless Chinese New Years spent there with relatives, the birthday functions, the various weekends that the entire extended family decided to hangout there. Those are all the priceless memories.Yes. This place may not have air-condition at all. No nicely furnished bathroom, though there’s a big huge concrete ‘chui tee’ (hokkien for a concrete tank used to store bathing water). And definitely lots of mosquitoes during the night. But somehow, it holds quite a few of the most cherished memories I have during my younger years. Me and my cousins playing with firecrackers and hopscotch at the large compound in front of the house, watching my dad play badminton with some of my uncles or older cousins, learing to ride my bicycle on two wheels with the help of my mum and dad, and many many more precious moments.

It’s sad the it’s gonna be torn down soon for development, but I guess the state must progress, right? Though a small part of me wished they could leave the house as it is. Turning the entire Penang into a concrete jungle ain’t too appealing to me. I know these places aren’t herritage buildings, but it’s still a part of the traditional villages with the old wooden houses. It would be nice to have some of these still around so our future generations can know how life is in a village. Not that it’s important, but a part of our culture came from these villages.

It’s funny how sometimes people equate development with civilization. It is true from a certain aspect, but many don’t notice, development also turn people into more superficial, materialistic and selfish beings. But many have forgotten that many of the good moral values, that makes a person civilised come from the vilages. Till now, whenever I visit this old house in the Jelutong village, I still see people helping each other in their daily lives, regardless of religion or race. I see people thinking for others instead of thinking solely for themselves. I see people bringing food over to their neighbours to share, simply just because. It’s not often we see that nowadays. And sometimes, it’s heart-warming to watch. Most of the develop places, I can be sure to say, that people sometimes don’t even know who their neighbours are, or even worse how their neighbours look like. But well, I guess it’s the natural flow of things. I see people teaching less and less of moral values nowadays, but instead focus on academic that will spur development alone. Oh well. That’s life.

I’ll miss this place, no doubt. Though, not too much. The memories created here will always be kept safe in the heart.

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