Recently, I had a talk with a friend. For some unknown reason, we sidetracked and talk about clocks. And it jot my memory of a very old clock that my late grandfather used to have. It pauses me to think about it and realised that none of my cousins knew anything about this clock. So I wrote a story about it and send it via email to all cousins who are living here in Singapore and those who are abroad.
It was something Ah Gong use to have when they were still staying in Chuan Hoe Avenue, that terrace house that was very near the old Japanese cemetry.
Maybe Dennis and Connie would have remembered it more as they grew up in that place. But I feel that I am always the only one in our big family of cousins that remembers such details.
Ah Gong had this very big clock that sits on the floor. It was so big and so tall that it was often mistaken as a wall cabinet. Ah Ma used to say that it was such an eye sore to be put in the living room. so he moved it to the kitchen and place it next to the fridge.
I remember fondly of this old clock. Because it brings back so many wonderful memories of my childhood. Of days I spent playing hide and seek with my little cousins(mostly Dennis and Connie). I remember hiding behind the clock and no one would find me there.
The old clock had to be wind up using a special key. It doesn't need batteries or electricity. It runs purely by the key. And every day, without fail, Ah Gong would open the glass door, whip up the key which had been attached to a long chain and he would turn the key 3 times. The clock would run for 24 hours. Then it will stop.
Ah Ma use to say the old clock was no good. It never kept time. And it was noisy and too big and took up so much space in the kitchen.
But to Ah Gong, it was always his pride and joy.
In a way, it was the clock that not only tells the time but also tells us when he is unwell or unhappy. The clock would stop and not move a second even.
I don't have any photos of this clock. When they moved house, ah Gong moved the clock to his shop at Middle Road and later they found it missing.
When the years passed, ah Gong grew old, frail and senile. He had a little milk tin can which he insists must be with him all the time. When he passed away, my mother put this tin can in his coffin. We found some dollar notes, coins and an old key. No one knew what it was for. But when I saw that key, I knew what it was for. The key that winds up the clock.
For the others..in case you don't know what is a Grandfather's clock, I got this from the NET. There's the old nursery rhyme song that goes with it too.