Monday, July 18, 2005

Five Stones

Ever wonder why "five stones" are called stones and not perhaps... "five bean bags"? Surely when we were young we have heard stories of the "good old days" where five stones was played with real stones and not the form in which we know.

It would probably not come as a surprise then that on the granite island, children played five stones with 5 carefully selected, rounded and mostly smooth piece of pebble of the right size. After much play of course the pebbles would become even smoother from the constantly rubbing and unintentional polishing from play. It also seems that on the mainland, five stones made of sand or bean bags were more common than using actual stones. However, true to being a child of a quarry worker, she claims that anywhere near a quarry, on the mainland or on Ubin, most children would naturally use the most available material to them - granite stones!

Mother showing me the art of selecting the right pebble. Photo by November.

Of course it shouldn't surprise me, but it did anyway, that dirt paths in the past (at least in the 1960s) were already as today, covered with a layer of gravel for added friction. Of course nothing as drastic as the barren landscape of gravel that is the bike park near German Girl Shrine (see below).

A barren landscape of gravel that is to be the offroad bike park. Photo by November.

The hierachy of roads are as follows:

  • Frequently walked and used paths have pebbles strewn as a top layer on top of the narrow dirt path. In today's standard, this would be the concrete-tar roads travelled by vehicles. Of course in the 60s, there were no motorized vehicles at all! While not paved, they were artificially "flattened" and specially created into a path by workers.

  • Lesser used paths such as those that leads to one's home would look as it does today, just a trail amongst trees. Of course back then, there were less trees and more signs of farms and dwellings. These paths are usually created from being trodden on instead of being purposefully created to serve as a road. It would look pretty much like the trail that goes through the rubber plantation to the "3 bridges" (as below) but as Mother's experienced eyes declared, that path shows signs of being "flattened".

    Towards the end of the path through the rubber plantation to the "3 bridges". Photo from Pedal Ubin.

    Anonymous said...

    gravel paths dun go well with duck knees!!

    Anonymous said...

    wow! tht seems so interesting :]

    Anonymous said...

    gd! just 4 my school's project