Friday, August 15, 2008


Two fine machines seen at a display in a neighboring city late last year. Looking at them as it was you are tempted to scout around for those in the kampong perhaps stored under the houses left to rust away.

Now whenever you fill up your car tank, do expect to pay what it is worth . A Proton Perdana or similar sized car with a 2000 cc engine or greater would hardly get a full tank of petrol unless you are willing to pay RM150.00 each time you make a visit. For just 30 odd litres you would dish out RM85.00. Those who use their vehicles frequently either for work or leisure will expect their monthly bill to rocket. You would be wise to think of another mean of transportation.

Two pictures of an NSU Prima Scooter. Notice that it carries a spare tyre which solves any problem of a puncture if on the highway. It also provides a carrier for small luggage.

You may have heard that there is a long waiting time for new purchases of motor-bikes, though there appear to be even people waiting for new motor cars too. Obviously Malaysians do not pay heed to world's inflation or are they loaded? Or maybe they are happy to receive RM 625.00 per motorcar as a subsidy collected at the post office.

I would love to ride motor-bikes again. However though the spirit is willing, I believe time is not at hand for many of us to climb on the seats with our legs astride. Now the bikes are really BIG with some having engine the size as mounted on motorcars. They swooped and moved on the highway just like the wind. Now you see and now you done.

Maybe we can take to riding scooters again as they had become popular in 1950's. Now two brands, namely Vespa and Lambreta were the vogue of the decade. Even now the machines are still on the road with many of them refurnished and in good running condition. With the fairer one riding side-saddle it may bring back the good old days and femininity on the road.

Back in 1959 when Norton, BSA and Triumph motor-cycles were popular and became every young man's dream is to possess one, the alternative would be to get hold of a scooter instead. It is a two-wheeler, moving on the road just like the bikes with the wind brushing your face just the same. The only exception it does not give that big booming sound from its exhaust. The price was good with the starting salary of a teacher. It was not an Italian model but a German product. The 'NSU' PRIMA model produced at Neckarsulm bought in 1959 had an 'electronic starter' besides a 'kick-starter'; not available on the Italian models. The "NSU' brand has ceased production and it is therefore a much seek-after-bike being a classic and of course an antique now. Remembering it, remind us not to part easily with things we possessed because you never know what it is worth a half century later. However hard you try you will never get it back once it is gone.

The light blue NSU Prima at Raub Pahang in May 1959. I rode the bike to Raub via the Gap and later proceeded to Kuala Lumpur and back to Alor Star. It had a windscreen fixed at the front then and much like the traffic police man you see on the road. It attracted a good crowd where it was parked. I must have forgotten that the Gap zone near Fraser's Hill was a hot bed during the emergency.

Luckily an old photograph found recently manage to bring the nostalgia and therefore this article. My brush with a two wheeler in fact began much earlier. In 1954 I had already possessed a class 'A' driving license meaning I could ride a 500cc above motorbike including the 750cc 'Norton' comparable to the present US-made Harley Davidson. At home my father owned a 500cc BSA. Surely it would be sneaked out when dad had his siesta. While in 1957 I made a tour of Europe on a Vespa visiting all the countries in western Europe excepting Portugal. The 'beetle' that moved in around early 1960's made people switched into a more comfortable and safe ride. VW and other cars from Europe captured the market and many of the older bikers too took to riding in automobiles.

Yet modern bikes introduced into the market sparked once again the interest and Malaysia is one country where motorcycles and scooters vie for places on the highways and state roads.

So this recapitulation is itself refreshing while in a way bringing back the days when we would dare turn the trottle revving the engine and brushing against the wind with the face smeared by dirt, insects and raindrops. Who cares! We had excitement and speed. Still no 'Mat Rampit'.

Vespa and Lambaretta refurnished and a gem as a collection piece while an envy of many as you ride on it in the evening in your kampong. Also seen at Chengmai

1 comment:

Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

Pak Non

Beautiful machines, nice play things.