Taiping Snake And Monkey 1960
That's me at age nine with the snake around my neck.
Aulong Village, Taiping, 1960.
Due to the poor quality of the photos, I can't tell what type of snake it was.
Nobody died from snakebite, as I recall, so I can only assume the snake was harmless.
Dad had purchased the snake from a local gully gully man. It may have looked big and scary, especially to small kids.
But we assumed gully gully men wouldn't actually endanger anyone when entertaining. They could eventually run out of customers. However, we never really knew if the snake would bite or not, or if it was poisonous!
Taiping Snake And Monkey
We already had a pet monkey in Taiping. Whenever we brought the the snake anywhere near him, the monkey would go bananas!
In the photo you can see the monkey trying to grab the snake and rescue my brother from what instinct told him was certain death.
We soon realised the monkey, acting on instinct, was simply trying to protect us from the snake. Luckily we were able to get a couple of photos and didn't put the monkey through this ordeal again.
Lessons learned in 1960:
1. Keep snakes away from monkeys. They don't go well together.
2. When handling snakes, first ensure they've done their business.
You can't see it in the photo, but I ended up with white goop all over my neck and shoulders.
I think dad was the gullible gullible man to think a snake would make a nice pet for us! We didn't know the first thing about how to look after it, what to feed it, etc.
A few days after these photos were taken, we heard awful screaming from next door. We raced around to see their amah up on a table frantically waving a broom at something on the floor.
She was hysterical, shouting things like, "Snake, snake! Help me, help me! Snake try to bite me!", etc.
The poor snake had wandered off, probably hungry and just looking for something to eat. Of course nobody had bothered to tell the neighbours about our new pet.
We quickly got it back into its box and everyone calmed down. Unfortunately, after that episode mum decided a pet snake was too much drama and it was returned back to the gully gully man.
Ram loved to eat these noisy, flying insects - we called them buzz bombs (0:28) HD
- Video - A Visit To Taiping, Peninsular Malaysia
I discovered this nice video of a holiday weekend in Taiping which was filmed about 2 years ago (5:49)
- Video - All About Taiping
A brief history of Taiping, Malaysia, in the Malay language
Rassell And The Monkey
The monkey was called Ram. He belonged to an Indian boy who lived a few houses away from us in Aulong Village.
Dad had seen the boy with a monkey on his shoulder and invited him around to our house. We found out the boy's name was Rassell. What a co-incidence, with my middle name being Russell!
Rassell the Indian boy agreed to let us have Ram because he already had another monkey. So Ram the monkey became part of our family for a while.
Ram's favourite treat was buzz bombs. That's what people called them because they make a very loud buzzing noise and will fly into anything or anyone. Some warm nights they would swarm in their hundreds or thousands.
Only recently was I able to discover that the buzz bomb is the giant Malaysian cicada. They're quite harmless and placid by nature. But they can accidentally fly into the side of your head or something like that.
Some nights in Au Long Village the air would be filled with these huge, noisy insects. Ram would snatch one out of the air, pull off its wings and pop it into his mouth. When I say one, I mean one at a time, and one after another! He would just gorge himself with this heavenly bounty until he was full!
It wasn't because he was hungry. We knew what Ram liked to eat and he was always given plenty of bananas and other fruits.
But he obviously enjoyed his airborne treats and would grab the cicadas one after another and gorge himself on these flying juicy morsels whenever there was a swarm.
Another treat he seemed to enjoy was the occasional saucer of beer when dad took him to his Sergeant's Mess (dad was in the Army, remember). Apparently there was nothing funnier than a drunken monkey staggering around the bar to the amusement of members and guests. Then he'd fall asleep on dad's shoulder until it was time to come home.
Taiping Today - Taiping Lake Gardens (1:53)
Returning To Taiping
There's many things my family and me did not get to see in Taiping in 1960. We only lived there a few months before moving to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, then on to Singapore.
Dad was in the British army so my brother and I were fortunate to live in many wonderful places such as these.
It was great to find videos on YouTube showing some of the wonderful attractions of present day Taiping. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
I look forward to re-visiting Taiping again one day, and Aulong Village, after all these years. At the top of my places to go will be Taiping Lake Gardens and, of course, Taiping zoo!