Daily Archives: Monday, 29 May 2006

Peas

Like most little girls growing up, my mom gave me a name for my private part, that secret place where nobody could ever see or touch. I'm not sure what you girls called yours, but in my family, we called it the 'pea-pea'. As the girls in the family grew up (the cousins, and what not), the word became a not-so-private one… after all, Mum had over 10 brothers and sisters, and the number of cousins in the family was well over 40 peeps.

So you could hear the word being shouted across the halls, in those days, when I was younger. At five, I was staying with my grandmother while Mum worked overseas, so my childhood was mostly spent running around the kampung bungalow that was my grandmother's house, with the rest of the cousins. Every day at around 5, (my afternoon bath time), my aunt would remind me to take the bath, and without fail, she'd say, 'Remember to wash your pea pea.'

You know, as kids we didn't really bother about each other's bodies. In my generation of cousins, there were about 4 of us, all girls, all of the same age. Afternoon mandis were usually done together, to save space, and save time. And then I had a younger cousin brother, of around three at the time I was about five, and his sister was about four (a year younger, I think). We had stripped down to our knickers, and the poor boy's elder sister seemed eager to reveal an open secret to the rest of the world.

'Wait wait you must see something,' squealed the little girl as her mother took off her younger brother's clothes. And then the shields were off, and she was smiling away, 'Look! Look! Didi has got something growing out of his pea-pea, like little bird-bird like that. SEE SEE, his pea-pea is different from mine!'

I recall this distinctly, because now I know what the adults were laughing at.

Imagine going to school one day and finding out that there is a word 'pipi' in the Malay language, and it refers to the cheeks. Or imagine, growing up a few more years later, to find out in books, that there is indeed a pea hidden inside our bodies, but some girls spend their lifetime searching for the elusive pea without ever succeeding.

Others discuss about peas in secret little corners, and form secretive pacts over the weekends to talk about peas. Others.

Jolene
Finicky Feline
Barffie
Mei
Rosalind
Scarlett
Sassyjan
Janedoe
Potato
Lip
Mrs Budak

***

But really, I'm more interested in this: you know as kids, we all had names for our secret precious parts, cutesy little names. If mine was called the pea-pea, what did you call yours?