Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Every time I play "I Can See Clearly Now" on Radio Pencen, I think of opticians and I think of the first spek (spectacles) that I had. I was in Standard Six in Sultan Ismail College, Kota Bharu and I just discovered the library. I found out that I could borrow 4 books at a time and I did. I devoured Biggles, Just Williams and other story books and finished them in 2 days. Then I borrowed some more.

When I started to squint at the blackboard in class, the teacher asked me to get glasses. I, in turn, asked my father. My father took me to town, with Ang Brothers as the destination. On the way he got distracted by a sidewalk peddlar who sold , among other things, spectacles. He asked me to try some spectacles. I put a few and tried the read the signboards of the shops at the end of the road. I found one that helped me see clearly. It was a pinkish clear plastic frame. The next day, I found myself having headaches and my father took me to Ang Brothers where they finally tested my vision with a proper eye chart - the one with a lots of drunken E's. You must remember that this was in the 50s. Not many people can read. So the easiest way was to give the "testee" a cut-out E, show him the E on the chart and if he could see the E, he had to show how the E was - either on its side, upside down etc. by mimicking the position with the cut-out E in the hand. Now they have computers to survey your eyeballs. Handsfree.

I got a real pair of glasses and soon lost them in Sultana Theatre. Wearing glasses was not a habit that I adopted easily. I put them on only when I want to read the board or watch the movies. After a quick visit to Ang Brothers again, I was warned to put on the glasses all the time.

When I was transferred back to Kuala Terengganu, Rohing Hj. Dolloh, also a "mata kelabu" friend and a fellow-scout, showed me a pamphlet with a title like "How To See Without Glasses". It involved eye excercises and a diet foreign to me. Belacan or kicap was not in it. Anyway, it did'nt work for Rohing. One day, he broke his glasses. While waiting for his parents to send him money for new glasses, Rohing used a pair of binoculars to read the blackboard. The teacher thought he was being funny and sent him out of the class.