Sunday, January 15, 2012
Spring Cleaning - A new habit in Malaysia.
The term 'Spring Cleaning' is a familiar one in Europe and the US. That's when people throw out old furniture and household items that they no longer use or want to be replaced with new ones. One might find many useful old items like broken sofa and chairs, worn out rugs, side table, and seven outdated cooking utensils, dump on the roadside. Students and people who have fallen on hard times often collect these items to be reused.
I have begun to notice some of these old items being dumped on the roadside in our residential areas. I don't know who collect them since some of them look quite good and can still be used. But I doubt very much that the less prosperous residents in the same area will take them. They're most probably taken away by the refuse trucks of the Municipal Council or of the company contracted to do the rubbish collection work.
It's really amazing how fast we all amassed some of these old stuff in our living room, kitchen and store. All of a sudden you realize that the living space in your house is shrinking because you keep on adding new furniture and household items every year without throwing some away. We tend to keep them all for sentimental reason. Dad, mother and all the children have their favorites which cannot be thrown away without causing sour faces or even the shedding of tears. The old books and magazines are some of the most difficult things to part away with although they keep overfilling the bookcases, the book racks, places under the coffee-tables and any place else where they can be lodged. The same with old toys although the kids have now become full-grown (and sometimes overgrown) adults. Houses in Malaysia do not normally have attics and storerooms are often refurbished for the use of the maid. Hence overcrowding with furniture and other odds and ends is a very common phenomenon.
My home is the same until "Abang", my grown-up kid who has married and moved to his own residence, told my wife, " You're going to be ousted out of the house by your own furniture, Ma." Only then did she start clearing away some of the old things. Even now a wardrobe and an almira bought when we moved in cannot be removed from the bedroom because of their sentimental and antique value as asserted by my wife. (Very good. I don't have to buy new ones). Only the presence of my books, clothes and musical instruments bothered her to no end. She could not throw those things out without doing the same to me. With JoeNed and Mimi as our live-in feline clowns, there is now hardly much room for moving around.
A few days ago my wife( with her brother sister-in-law and me) went to her parents' home to do some clearing-up job to improve their living space and health environment. Her youngest sister was just too happy to get the assistance. But the next younger sister blared up in anger for many of her valuable possessions were either thrown out or dislocated. She refused to greet us all, locked herself in her room, and told me, "Why don't they clean up their own houses. This is my house." I've never seen such antipathy against house cleaning. You could hardly move in the kitchen and dining room before the clean-up.
Well, now that house clearing or spring cleaning has become a necessity for Malaysians in order not to be ousted out of our homes by the furniture and "rubbish" we hoarded over the years, the question is where to dump the superfluous, outdated or broken
items. Just leave them on the roadside? The rubbish collection trucks don't seem to be too interested in taking them away nor the
lorries which come around blasting away, " Surat kabar lama (old newspaper), tilam lama, battery lama," etc. If only they can be left at specific centers where some charity organizations can collect them, I'm sure many items can be utilized by old people's home or orphanages to improve their furnishing. If repaired some of them can be as good as new. That will also encourage Malaysians to do a lot of spring cleaning when the mega sales season come around.