Childhood in a Box

Have you ever given up searching for something you lost only to find it again years down the road? Or maybe it is something you did not even realise was lost until you found it again. Or perhaps it is something you put away for safekeeping, only it turned out to be not so safe, for you had forgotten the thing and where you placed it.

20170404_194608A small smile may play about your lips as you reminiscence your “good old days”. Or you may shed a few tears over what once was. It seems as though no matter what point of life we are in, the past is almost always more pleasant in the present than it was when it was the present.

Whatever the scenario, the joy of unexpectedly rediscovering things with sentimental
value is undeniable- which I  realised recently when I happened to chance upon a pink plastic hello kitty box containing mementos from my childhood.  I still remember how I got the box. It came with the MacDonald Happy Meal.

First up is a movie ticket for the film Kathi. It was the very first time I went out with friends for fun. It was also the very first time my group of friends from Secondary school went out together. This memento also brought a sense of sadness as we no longer are close and I parted their company with a fair amount of resentment.

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Next is a Japanese glass bead my mom got from Japan on her very first business trip. Although she had always wanted to be an accountant, she graduated with a basic degree from her community college as her orthodox parents did not deem further qualifications necessary for her future (i.e. for taking care of a family). After my younger sister started schooling, my mother decided to pursue her ambition and she studied further and she is now a fully qualified CPA on the track to becoming the general manager of her company.

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Next is a pipe cleaner twisted to form the 2E, my secondary 2 class. We made this as our class identity for family night.

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I am pretty proud of how I got this plastic token. In lower Secondary my mother enrolled me in tuition for upper secondary. She wanted me to take the direct school admission exam in secondary 3 and get into Raffles. I was able to keep up in Biology and the humanities but my Mathematics and other sciences were terrible. 99% of the time I did not even understand what the tutors were talking about. The tuition centre had this system where for every correct answer given in class the student would get such a token. After collecting a number of tokens, students could exchange them for rewards. Considering how horrible I was at maths and science, I was pretty surprised and smug when I answered a question correctly in class. Needless to this was the only token I ever won and hence was unable to claim any rewards.2017-04-05 19.32.08


Despite my dismal academic performance in recent years, I used to excel in all my subjects in Primary school. I used to be a huge nerd, memorizing random facts and reading alot of books and magazines. I got these dice with one such magazine subscription, the Maths Oasis.

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This keychain was a gift from my lower primary form teacher. She was my favourite teacher in primary school and one of the 6 teachers I admired. The hair of the doll was initially braided but has come loose after 10 years.

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This glass dolphin keychain once used to be bright painted. My aunt got 5 such keychains for my cousins and I (my last nephew was not born yet).

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My classmate got this mickey mouse keychain from Disneyland for my whole class in primary school. Though I was not really close to her, I have always wanted to go to Disneyland since I was a kid, a dream that still has not come true. I keep this as a reminder that once I start earning, my first trip would be to Disneyland.

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A one cent coin that is no longer in circulation.

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This rainbow loom tool is quite a painful keepsake but I do not have the heart to throw it away yet. My Secondary school contained both the primary and secondary section. So the bookshop sold toys and other items that catered to the primary school children. Yet, many of the secondary school students too bought these items. My ex best friend and I both bought a set.

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When I was younger I used to love makeup. I still do like makeup but when I was younger I was crazy about it. My mother got me this compact powder when I was 6. It was the first makeup item I ever owned.



I actually was not an avid marble collector. I actually would not even call myself a marble collector. The 2 marbles on the left were given to me by my cousin when I was 8 and those on the right I gathered from around a pond in my school.



A souvenir I got from Goa when I was 6. My sister tore the pages and scribbled at the back with crayon because she loved to destroy my things.



This bracelet has a very valuable story behind it. In Secondary 3, my school arranged for us to attend a week at OBS (Outward Bound Singapore). On the last day, during reflections, the group facilitator gave us an hour to make a gift for someone of our choice in the group using the things around us. Now there was a girl called Ericka in my group who was also in my class. She was quite racist and rude towards me and another Indian girl in my class. I would get very upset by her attitude and pretend she was not there (she used to sit in front of me) but my friend continued to be kind and friendly to her despite her behavior and insisted I be nice too. I would concede grudgingly at times even though Ericka only responded with contempt at every opportunity. Therefore, I was very surprised when Ericka gave this bracelet to me and started crying. She said she was very sorry for treating us as such and thanked us for being kind to her and helping her through OBS. But the thing that struck me most was when she said that she had not realised how we really were and had judged us based on our differences.(She was a devout catholic and we were Hindus). I realised that day that understanding, tolerance, and a little bit of kindness can melt the hardest of hearts.



This is a peacock fern. I got it at Sungei Bulough Wetland Reserve when my class went there for a field trip in Primary 6 when I answered a question that no one else knew the answer to.20170404_200522-1


A peacock figurine my cousin brother made using items from around the house.



From my class camp in the first year of junior college. We were given a jigsaw puzzle and as a class we assembled it together and decorated it after which everyone got one piece of the puzzle to remind us that every single one of us played a part in the class and was important.



In lower secondary my school taught life science as a subject. It was one of my favourite subject and I was pretty good at it, especially in practical skills. I loved the lab especially with all its unique apparatus and equipment. This is  a microcentrifuge tube from the lab.20170404_195628-1


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