Tuning in

I've spent the better part of my working hours these past couple of weeks listening to audio recordings of lives and times gone by. Some voices are Singaporean, others are sojourners who were here at some pivotal moment in history. Many, I can't help but realise, are probably deceased.

Mostly, this task entails listening to cassette tapes. Nothing transports one more instantaneously back in time than re-encountering a piece of technology from one's childhood.

High-tech, low-tech

Technically, I think I was already a teenager by the time I acquired my first Walkman. It was pink --- not by choice, despite my current predilection for that colour, but because it was the only colour that the sale item came in --- and it was more advanced than the current model I'm using at work in that it had both fast-forward and rewind functions. (The one at work lacks the latter, not to mention its fast-forwarding speed is painfully slow, or maybe that's just the impression I have because it also lacks a counter.)

That first Walkman was probably the combined size of the PDA and iPod I use today. It ran on AA-sized batteries and played cassette tapes well enough, but it couldn't record anything. I wonder what ever happened to it. I seem to recall coming across it in the late '90s after I moved back from the US and I thought my packrat of a mother would certainly save it for some kind of imagined rainy day slash salvageable use, but she doesn't have it either.

But that's okay, because not having it gave me the excuse to borrow this cool number from Little Miss Drinkalot's brother.

High-tech, low-tech II

Way before Apple made the sexy listening devices, there was the Aiwa Walkman, and hot damn if this model isn't sleek enough to outsmoke the iPod: clean lines, contoured surfaces for the different buttons and an elegant black casing. In some ways, the aesthetic hasn't changed very much in the twenty years (or more) separating these two little beauties.

My parents didn't exactly believe in splurging on toys like a Walkman when I was still dependent on them for pocket money, so I never had the resources to get something as nice as this. So when LMD passed it to me last week, I was a little blown away that I finally had one of these babies in my hands --- and a little jealous that it still wasn't mine.

Listening to oral history recordings never felt so cool.

Oral history fun find for the day: Can you say the following in under 6 seconds?
" ... comprising the states of Johor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu Terengganu, Perak, Melaka and Penang".
I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I had to listen to it at least five times over in order to get all the names of the states down (good thing they never quizzed us on that in school), but I still can't recite the list that quickly. Maybe if I had 54 years' of practice ...


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At 3/22/2006 12:32 pm , Blogger King said...

if i'm correct its spelt as terengganu..i am malaysian after all...i better be right...hahaha

At 3/22/2006 11:04 pm , Blogger Tym said...

It seems that you are right. Spelling fixed, thanks!

At 3/23/2006 2:00 am , Blogger aberwyn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3/23/2006 2:10 am , Blogger aberwyn said...

sala leh. only sony players are called 'Walkman's. Other brands are just called personal stereos. copyrighted.

At 3/25/2006 9:41 am , Blogger Tym said...

Really? I always thought "Walkman" was one of those "brand" terms that had become a generic term, like "Discman" or "xerox".

At 1/03/2012 7:04 pm , Blogger faical said...

honestly i was talking to a friend on facebook about Walkmans. that made me so exited to take a look on the old babes i got before on INTERNET 'cos i lost some of theme. the one i really loved is the extra plat Aiwa tape player. that was my favorite. thanks for the article. i really loved it


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