Monday, 5 April 2010

Chit-chats

One thing that sticks in my mind about our home in Jalan Wijaya were the chit-chats running up and down the walls. They never bothered us and I used to like seeing them. They also came in very handy for polishing off the mozzies! People had various names for them including geckos, house lizards, cicaks or cecaks and chik-chaks but everyone that we knew just called them chit-chats. I think that their proper name was 'flat-tailed gecko'. I loved watching the chit-chats run up the side of the wall of our house. Once it was dark, they'd wait beside a light for any moths or flies and jump out and quickly eat the lot. The only predator they had were the small birds in the garden but they had a defence system. If a bird caught them by their tail, it would drop off so that the chit-chat could get away. They later re-grew it and were soon catching more flies, ants, moths and other bugs. When I said that their only predator was birds, I don't really remember there being many birds in our garden. You would imagine them all to be very exotic but the only birds I remember seeing were sparrows. The only time I can remember not being very happy about chit-chats is when one got in my bed and wriggled over my legs. I made my mum check the bed for weeks after that before I'd get in again! I mentioned it before but when we went to restaurants, particularly George's Steak House, ants would take away all the crumbs from your food and there would be a big long line of them travelling up the wall. Once they got near a picture frame, a chit-chat would dart out and eat the lot. It's probably against health and safety regulations in Singapore now to have ants and chit-chats running around everywhere but then it was just a way of life and never seemed to do us any harm.

5 comments:

  1. Your latest blog topic on "Chit-chats" would be under the impress of an engage in small talk or gossip, Derek ; )

    A candid title indeed. Nice.

    Of course, a childhood in Singapore and Malaya refers to the common house lizard or "chikchak" (in Malay) found at home and even the restaurant you mentioned.

    This is certainly new for our friends in UK.

    I've been living with chitchak at home in the kampung days since birth. We were learnt that the chitchak will balance the ecology in the Nature world to exterminate the mosquitoes. We didn't have Baygon to spray crawling insects or Mopiko ointment to soothe the heal of mosquitoe bite during our early days.

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  2. Had a lot of fun watching the cicaks dropping their tails when threatened ... we still see them around despite the health and safety regulations that we have these days :)

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  3. I had one as a pet when we lived in Singapore in the 60s. I called him Freddie. I lost him one day when I grabbed his tail as he ran away and it came off in my hand.

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  4. I also remember visiting a zoo in Singapore and they had a gorilla just walking around, not in a cage or anything.

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