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Monday, October 25, 2010

Of Grasshoppers and Pigeons

Many decades ago, when our Dads were growing up, Singapore was Little Boy Paradise. Our Dads used to regale us with stories of their exploits. Mine had access to a rooftop where pigeons came to roost. I spent my childhood listening raptly to Dad's stories of how one could get pigeons addicted to rice soaked in Chinese tea... and how one could trap pigeons using nothing but a box, a stick and a long long string. Then there was something about stealing ice cream. But shush now... because that's illegal and I don't want to get a whole lot of geriatric patients in trouble for their youthful misdemeanours!! Someone else told me that HER Dad and HIS brothers tried to parachute down 2 storeys with an umbrella. The Husband's Dad grew up in Pulau Ubin and spent his days swimming and hunting and trapping and... and... and... That whole generation of boys (now old men) had a whale of a time growing up.

There weren't any past year papers to practise on... and certainly Popular Bookstore hadn't quite made its fortune on assessment books yet.

Little Boy however, isn't so lucky. He is growing up in an asepticised environment where entire school fields full of enticing green grass are declared off limits to students in Primary schools. WHY?! What a waste of prime real estate?! If the school has a field, why can't the kids go there and run... get sweaty... a little muddy... somewhat dirty... and smell bad? After all, if you know little boys like I do, you'll also know that there is no way to prevent little boys from stinking... and so you might as well let them go to the school field. At least then, their stink can be explained.

Luckily, Little Boy has the good sense to break such a silly rule (together with some kids who strongly object to report cards). The school field has grasshoppers. It's just too fun to catch grasshoppers to stay out of the field. So child after child sneaks and sidles secretly over there to catch grasshoppers.

Very soon, pigeons got into the act. Pigeons are better at catching grasshoppers than our lily-livered... lily-coloured... flabby and asthmatic kids (because schools declare school fields out of bounds), and pigeons always know where the fattest and biggest grasshoppers are. And so, our lily-livered... lily-coloured... flabby and asthmatic kids with overgrown brains (that come from doing lots of past year exams) use their wonderful brains to good effect.

Step 1: Spot the pigeons.
Step 2: Chase off the pigeons.
Step 3: Catch the grasshoppers.

But nobody thought of catching the pigeons eh? We'll have to get our geriatric patients back into school and have them teach our kids a thing or two about catching pigeons. Meanwhile, Little Boy is inspired by the stories of his illustrious forbear's exploits with pigeons and ice cream. He is planning to go pigeon hunting in the school field that is out of bounds to school children.


Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

way to go, Little Boy! be a real child before you lose everything to puberty + the rat race!! WOOHOO!! *WIDE GRIN*

Malar said...

Those were the days....! I even like to catch fish and tadpole (which i believe fish)in the drain in front of my house!
But..... I think i won't let my son do that....;-))

petunialee said...

Fry - Yeah... our kids have not much of a childhood eh?

petunialee said...

Malar - Hey! No fair!

Wen-ai said...

I'm a girl, and yet during my primary school days, I caught grasshoppers, tadpoles and even spiders! I played zero-point, 5 stones, catching and hop-scotch. There wasn't PSP, Nintendo or Wii yet. Now given the choice, I wonder how many children will prefer to sweat it out in an open field catching creepy crawlies, instead of playing Wii in an air-con room?

petunialee said...

Wen-ai: Wow! That was a great childhood you had!! Actually, I think that given a choice, most kids would prefer to catch the real creepies than mess around with the digital ones. It's the parents who forbid all forays into mud and dirt. There's something special... oh so special about living creatures and the natural world that I'm sure children must respond.

But maybe I'm just silly... and biased because I know that is what Little Boy and I would do. And we don't even watch TV... let alone play with Wii.

I still can't figure out why the school would refuse to let kids play in the school field!! No wonder they're all lily-livered and lily-coloured!!

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

the school scared if anything happen to the kids, then kenna parents comprain lah. alot of parents + gramps these days very siao one, over-protective and our future generation become lembeh oredi.


i was into many little troubles when i was young, once almost got stung by a bee! or wasp, i dunno. it was chasing me and i screamed + ran as fast as my little legs could churn. hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

petunialee said...

Wow Fry! Close call!!