Arif (my nephew) did not believe me when I told him that when I was a kid I used to play around with those big red centipedes and scare girls with them.
It was true, centipedes were so common those days that I was not scare of them at all. All I had to do was to snip off its fangs with a pair of scissors and it would then be harmless.
I remember being bitten by one centipede when I was sleeping in my grandma's house in Kg Tuan, Kemaman.
The wooden house had nipah attap. At nights my late aunt, who was a great cookies maker, she used to place grilled sardines in beteen the nipah attap for safe keeping.
The grilled fish, through its aroma, would normally attract centipedes around it. I used to see four or five amber coloured giant centipedes crowding the fish to get bites of the succulent fish flesh!
That night I slept on the wooden floor right under the part of the roof where the grilled fish was kept. Most probably one of the centipedes fell down onto my body and my movement caused it to bite my arm.
The arm was swollen in no time. It was very painful no doubt, but my grandma was there to get rid of excessive pain by saying a few words and sprayed betel leaves fluid into the puncture wounds.
Centipedes come in two different forms. One is amber red (they called it amber centipede (lipan bara) and the other is dark blue (ground centipede (lipan tanah). Both are equally nasty.
Then there was also giant scorpions. They too came in various forms and sizes. It was the giant, green scorpions that attracted me most. At nights they came crawling out of their hideouts looking for food.
Despite their scary appearance, I was also very fond of catching them and snipping off their fang (at the end of its tail). With their fangs removed, I could play with them without getting myself stung.
Then there were also a kind of mushroom normally found on damp or wet surfaces. These mushrooms emitted green light at night. We boys used to collect and paste them on our foreheads and ran around the village at night.
Well, those were some things that we children used to play back then. There were no tv and lap tops then.