Bits and pieces of my life
Mechanical pencils

I was refilling my mechanical pencil nib when my mind took me on a brief detour through one of my most profound childhood memories. Mechanical pencils, or better known as pensel tekan in the local slang, have had a special connection with me for a very long time. Ever since I was a young lass in elementary school, I had this special piece of stationery tagging along with me wherever I would go. It isn't the most special piece of belonging to me now that I'm in college, but back when I was in elementary, it was the most precious thing I would hold on to. I can still vividly remember the self-contained fad I had with mechanical pencils. It was an insatiable obsession. You can say I was a craycray kid back then and I wouldn't mind because I knew just how irrational I would get at some point.

Back in those days, mechanical pencils were like a measure of how rich you were in class. I am not sure though if this was just me, as I was admittedly one hell of a mechanical pencil freak. But I do recall a few classmates deliberately flaunting their new mechanical pencils every time they got a new, fancy one. I remember having a keen eye for the "rich" mechanical pencils. The ones with the Pilot Shaker always grabbed my attention. Especially the 0.7.

All hail the mighty Pilot the Shaker

I was not one of those rich kids though. So I would save up whatever balance money I have left from my daily RM2 pocket money and coupled with an ungodly act of flicking some of my mother's coin savings in her woven "piggy bank", I would buy a new pensel tekan almost every twice a month. I'm sorry mum if you're reading this πŸ˜…. Those 50-cent coins that often ran dry in stock was because of me.

I remember being the subject of envy among my sisters whenever they saw my growing pensel tekan collection. They would give me the suspicious look, but then I would come up with some "convincing" stories about how I had ikat perut and not eaten a few times just to save enough for mechanical pencil. They would leave me alone after a while. I guess they chose to give me the benefit of the doubt as they didn't want to get me all fierce and defensive, the typical kid that I was back thenπŸ˜‚.

So now with my collection of mechanical pencils growing with each new, better, fancier ones coming it at a fast rate, I didn't know where to store the older, less nice ones that didn't serve me any purpose anymore. You guessed it, I traded it. My sisters were obviously my first victims. I convinced them into trading their more cooler stuffs with my less-worthy mechanical pencils- which lasted only so long until it's fateful demise. They would come back trying to harass me into returning their goods but I would fight them off to their holes because "a deal is a deal", I would tell them.

I remember at age 10 when I was in Year 4, we were shifted to our neighbour secondary school due to overcrowding in our primary school. I would find mechanical pencils under the desks. I was that I-see-it-I-take-it kind of kid. "Finder's keepers", I thought. On top of this, I tried to convince myself that these older kids in secondary were "rich" enough to afford a new Pilot mechanical pencil when they could afford to own one in the first place. I went so berserk, obsessive and compulsive to the point of stealing two of my Moral class classmates' mechanical pencils. Needless to say, I was overcome by a lot of guilt in the aftermath. My uncle used to say, "once is a mistake, twice is still forgivable but thrice is a habit". I was sure to not make it to the third time.

my loyal Pilot 0.7

On a side note, I wish I could have convinced my younger self that I would one day be able to afford the 0.7 Pilot mechanical pencil of my dreams, a dozen of them. I was pathetically desperate, in retrospect.

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