Story 5 Part 1 - Prologue

The sound of shop shutters being closed at night. That was the earliest clear memory I had. I remember that the place was the shops next to the train station and was being carried by my mother. This sound was the loudest I have ever heard back then that it made me cry. As to when exactly that was, I have no idea. I would say that was between 1990 and 1993.

There are other memories as a baby, but I don't know if they are based on photos I saw later on, recorded dreams, imaginations, or what others told me. Odd ones include dad leaving to serve the army from mom's point of view, and me in a water bag with nothing but darkness around me. There was also me in a pram and being played with my older sister at the doorstep, drinking from a cup or bottle of milk that had a I-have-no-idea-what-it-is added for me to drink from, and even crawling under the blanket of the bed my parents were sleeping in.

My bedroom: there are 3 sets of louver windows, a table that had alphabets and image of items. wasn't aware of it back then, but there was also a computer that produces scary images and sound. There was also many large square black thing with a hole in the middle that came in white envelops that looked as though it might fit through the slot on the computer that has a lever on the outside. I don't know when and where this came from. At some point in time though, I was sleeping on a double deck bed of an another room with my older sister.

My kindergarten days. I don't remember exactly, but I remember tracing dots, learning words and numbers, reading, colouring, and crawling through "tunnels". Even back then, I knew to be wary about things.

Back then, my grandparents stayed in a neighboring town that's several times larger. I remember that it was quite frequent and sometimes we took a bus from there to the only library in that area back then. The bus was a double deck bus with an interesting furnishing and engine sound. Shame they were replaced by air-conditioned ones with a more powerful engine, which, itself, is considered old by today's (2010) standards.

At the first floor of the library was the children's section, second was adult section, and I have no idea what the third was. The computer "terminal" displayed green text only through those bulky screens. Yes, green screens. The keyboard and switches were the only way to use it. We would also drop by the family restaurant next to the library before or after visiting the library. It's worth noting that only two particular public bus model from back then still survives today, but they themselves are being phased out.

To those who didn't know, due to space constrains and re-development, more than three-fourth of the population live in public apartment complexes that are, on average, ten stories high and eight units per floor. Until recent years, the elevator only stops at certain levels and need to take the stairs. Also, access to an another wing in these apartments is, by design, only available on levels the elevator stops at, with only one of the wings having the elevator. You can tell how hard it is for an elderly staying in between levels the elevator serve at a wing furthest away from the elevator, and so are for the people moving in or out with many bulky items.

Things as they were during my growing up years were different: old buildings or empty plots of land now have a new building in its place or had a huge facelift, traffic and street signs were changed, vehicles produce less harmful particles, bulky cassette tape players were quietly replaced by smaller and slimmer flash-based players that could play more songs. Food centres are renovated or were rebuilt to replace the older unhygienic and cramped ones. Strange, the things that I saw on TV back then seemed clearer than records from that time today. Maybe because CRT and projector TVs was more common than LCD or plasma ones back then.

I don't know where it was, but I remember seeing railroad trains and their tracks in various places. Except for the subway ones, there's just one lone set of tracks. This track was built long before the second world war.

Things are different now. Except for military vehicles and certain road stretches, speed limits had increased by ten to twenty kilometers per hour. This means goods arrive quicker, bus traveling times along non-congested areas are cut down. I think that was what the amber thing that sits on top of goods vans was for, but I don't see it in recent days due to old vehicles being phased out.

[Author's note: This story does not take place in Japan and neither is it related to the previous 4 stories I had written.]


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