How much does our childhood affect our adulthood? I have often wondered about that. For those who were born in the era before the advent of digital technology, childhood was like something you read out of a science fiction book! Everything seemed so strange and alien to the current generation of YouTubers, digital gamers and keyboard warriors. When parents share their growing up years with their children, they can only imagine what it was like, much like how we had tried to imagine what life was like during the terrifying period of the Japanese occupation in Malaya during our grandparents’ time.
So it is with much delight and wonderment when I came across this beautifully written and illustrated book by a dear friend of mine, who had, after many years of knowing each other, just recently revealed her little “secret” to me!
Although it is wholly written in Chinese, anyone can understand the stories she was trying to convey through the amazingly cute drawings and photographs (beautifully illustrated by her, Lees Low, and artist husband, Lim Heng Swee). This book project took them many years and much hard work to complete, before the arrival of their children. And seeing their children now (one is 6 and the other is 3), I can see that they are reliving their childhood with their children! The free and easy life of making stuff with paper – paper planes, paper guns, paper frogs! just to name a few, and going on road trips to the kampungs, exposing their kids to the maker community – they go on motorbike into the villages to see how people do their wood crafts and furniture, and going for camping at least once a month – the real camping with real tents and real mosquitoes!), and letting their children be free from the shackles of conventional schooling….theirs is proof that it IS POSSIBLE to preserve the sanctity of childhood in today’s era where childhood is an endless series of rushed, over-scheduled, overstressed, and overspent parents, that extends into adulthood. The end result: lost and burnt out kids who do not know what “doing nothing” means, and can’t see beyond their little busy lives, being chauffeured from classes to classes everyday of the week, 365 days of the year. Are we producing a generation of self-consumed and self-combust youngsters? or should we aim to nurture a generation of innovative creators who genuinely desire to make the world a happier place for all? How do we even begin to do that?
Perhaps we can all begin from the first day our child is born – just like the Lims have done – by giving our child our earnest promise, that we shall do everything we can, to protect and preserve his or her childhood, and not destroy it in any way that the worldly would, with mind-pollution and saturation in materialistic consumptions. This book acts as a reminder to all of us, to return to the source of our being – the purity of childhood. Thank you Lees and Lim, for sharing your beautiful world with us ❤️❤️❤️
The author Lees Low, was born in Malaysia. An introvert when she was little, an extrovert when she grew up, with Mother Nature close to her heart. Together with her partner, Lim Heng Swee, they produced this ode to childhood compilation of photo and comic journal, framing her childhood memories for posterity.