Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Tomica Memories - Red Savanna

I did a search in my box of vintage Tomica. I didn't know I had 3 of these RX7. I have a yellow, green and red one. I had a red one shown above when I was a kid. As a kid, I was the playful and mischievous type but I will be extremely well behave in front of strangers. I would say I played my role well as a kid as I had tormented (enjoyed) all my Tomica, Playart and Matchbox till the last bit. I did the same to my barber as well. I really hated all visits to the barber. No, I didn't hate the barber who cut my hair but I dislike having to sit patiently for minutes and the itching from the cut hair. My brother will take within 10 minutes to have his hair cut but mine, usually ended up half a hour on average. I will fidget with all my might hoping that the barber gives up but he did not. We have to stop every few minutes and he had to powder me as I complained of the itching. My grandma who brought us to the regular barber will usually yell at me in the background, "Sit still, don't move!". There will be a "reward" after every session of "torture". A toy and fruit juice at nearby hawker centre were usually promised on every hair cut session. Fruit juice is consider a luxurious in the 80s (to me as a kid then). You have guessed it. This red Savanna is one of the toys I got after my hair cut.

I can't remember full details on the hair cut session for this one. I will try my best to describe my story for my red Savanna. I used to live in a old estate in Taman Jurong, Western part of Singapore. Everywhere we go is just within walking distance, school, market, food centre, grocery shops etc. The barber shop is about 15 minutes walk from our block (BLK 5). We have to pass through "21 Storeys" (named by my grandma) because BLK 63~66 are 21 storeys tall which were the tallest buildings in our residential area then. That 4 blocks resided many banks and clinics, a NTUC supermarket and I also remember there is a Chee Kiang bookstore which I used to patronise during my secondary school days. Behind these 4 blocks are few rows of shop houses, the block number should be 10* to 10*, I forgot. There are tailors, hardware shops, bakeries, toy shops, garment stores etc. You have to pass these shop houses to reach the barber which was near a coffee shop and a hawker centre which my grandma named it "61 Stalls". I remembered that there is also a toy shop on the same stretch with the barber because we ever bought a MacCross toy, the die cast plane which you can transform into a robot. It's made in Japan and the quality of the toy is superb. This shop was filled with toys of all types, imagine stepping into one such shop today and it will send me crazy because all toys were made in Japan or Hong Kong then. I recalled that I got a white battery operated toy car which in made in Hong Kong as we tested the car before making the purchase. To your surprise, the Savanna was not bought in this shop. We walked towards the row of shop houses and popped into one toy shop there. The shop was huge and it was full of toy cars. Something actually caught my eye, no, it's not the Savanna. It's a Volkswagen Beetle and it's not a Tomica. It is a RC toy car displayed in its box placed on the shelf beyond our reach. The toy was a huge one similar to a Tamiya as the box looked huge to me. I told my brother that the RC VW Beetle is nice as I pointed the VW to him. I knew it's going to be expensive and grandma couldn't afford it so I knew there is no chance of buying that car. My brother told grandma that he wants that VW. After price checked with shop owner that it cost $40.00, grandma says no to my brother. By now, I was choosing my Tomica while my brother struggled buying that VW. The Tomica were displayed in Tomica Store Display Case and there were 2 of them, 40 cars in each case. I picked the red Savanna in no time as I like the sloping rear wind screen. My grandma paid $2.40 for it and tried to convince my brother to get a Tomica. He refused to give up on the VW, started to cry and throw a tantrum in the shop. My grandma had to pull him out of the shop because there is no deal for him since he didn't want a Tomica. Throughout the journey from the shop to our home, my brother was crying, yelling and pulling the pants (and nearly pulled them down at times) of my grandma down to persuade her to buy the VW. Everyone who walked past were looking at us, it must be an embarrassing moment for my grandma. I admit this is my fault as I triggered the time bomb. My Savanna eventually became junk and totally beat up with bent front wheels, broken wind shield and paint loss after hours of hard playing. The barber shop, row of shop houses and food centre were demolished many years ago but my memories stayed to share my story.

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