31.5.05

The Faraway Tree

I remember many happy afternoons reading Enid Blyton's "The Faraway Tree" when I was a kid. Right at the top of the tree are places such as Topsy Turvy Land or nightmarish places run by tyrannical principals (well, headmistresses).

At Toa Payoh Lorong 8 (the PAP GRC side of the road) , by a block of upgraded one-room flats, is the extended living room of several families living there. The half-naked kids with their half naked fathers and their half-naked friends sit and chat the night away under this tree.

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Every few days, the menagerie of plastic gods and retired toys change their places, or are joined by new friends. Some days, there is a corner where the 8 immortals hang out with a fake Barbie (is Barbie ever real?); another corner where a couple of porcelain cats sit with the Goddess of Mercy and Mr Frog; and another spot where a plastic giraffe (tall even for a plastic toy), the laughing Buddha and the ubiquitous old fisherman (I had 2 of those in my old house!) gather.

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On behalf of my neighbours, I invite you to visit this not too faraway tree.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember the Tree too! There was a tree that looked like it could be a lost cousin in the yard of my primary school. For some reason the Enid Blyton character who has remained vivid for me is Mavis from Malory Towers, the girl who had the mad ambition of swimming the Channel and ended up being a cripple.

ampulets said...

My internet sleuthing uncovers this about Mavis instead, though not quite as tragic:
"Mavis is the only character who arrives 'offstage'. We are told in Third Year that Mavis arrived the term before and quickly made herself unpopular by her vanity about her voice. Mavis wants to become an opera singer, but ruins her voice when she sneaks out to a talent contest and gets caught in the rain on the way home. She is forbidden to sing for at least a year, and becomes much more likeable. Her voice has recovered for her to sing in the fifth form pantomime."

I remember this rain incident...she is rescued by somebody on a horse? Or am I thinking of something in Jane Eyre here?!?

Anonymous said...

But isn't she also the best swimmer in the school? I have been teasing a nautically driven friend with the name Mavis all these years . . .

ampulets said...

Your friend must have been very puzzled, haha.

But OK lah, I also remember this swimming incident. Must be another character. Can't be the same person caught in the rain, almost drowns, almost loses her voice completely AND becomes a cripple. All this can only happen to characters in Qiong Yao novels.

emily said...

hee.. i love the faraway tree ^_^ read eveary single one i the series. i think it was my first fantasy book and when one of the kids first climbed the tree n saw a window, i was so amazed n shocked i ran n told my mom to rea that paragraph! (so she wld know abt the amzing window too lol)

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