Saturday, October 14, 2017

friends



When I was young, I learn this ditty.

Make new friends,
But keep the old.
One is silver,
And the other gold.

I had left my home town for more than 40 years.
These old friends always entertain me and transport me around whenever I return.
There are 5 of us who started primary one at six years old.
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green green bamboo of home



Next month I will be returning to my ancestral home in China. I have never been and am getting excited. The family income was bamboo. I wonder if they still have it.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

sago

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 My first recollection of sago was the "Sago liap". Liap being small. They were small round hard compacted sago flour.

My maternal Grandpa Kong had a grocery shop and produce collection centre. Ibans come sell their rubber, and buy things from Grandpa. We saw the Ibans buy the sago liap and eat them at the shop.
We took the sago liap and ate them. They didn't taste good, hard texture and dry. They stuck in our teeth.Grandma chided us in what would now be unPC. 

Years later, Sis E went to teach in Mukah and learn from the Melanaus to eat with peanut, ikan busu aka ikan belis. All the ingredients were raw, and I couldn't stomach them. May be I was already allergic to peanuts.


Today, the Borneo Post published a photo on Sago symposium where my younger sister is involved. I wonder if Margaret was thinking of Grandpa's sago liap while she was researching it. There she is, 2nd from the left, Dr Margaret Chan.


Photo shows Sis E's grand daughter eating Bario Highlands worms similar to sago worms.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

a wedding in a boat

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When my parents were married, it was during the war. Mum lived up the Rejang River in Durin. Dad lived in Lanang Road in Sibu. Dad paddled a canoe with a wedding dress he borrowed from his very good friend Chew Chiong Tack's wife. 

We used to joke that she was Pochohunta paddling the canoe down and singing the Land of the Belian tree. We teased that she ran away with her man John because she didn't have a wedding photo. 

Today, a friend IDed the husband and bride of this photo. In my "From China to Borneo to Beyond" book, I mentioned back in the home land of China, in the Hakka village of my mum, the Kongs, the Kongs always married the Lai/Leas and vice versa. In deed my informant told me this was a Kong/Lea match. The husband could very likely be Mum's cousin, because he comes from the same lineage of Mum's ancestry.

This photo created a lot of interests. A certain doctor googled and read his dad's name, and he sent me a photo of his parents' wedding photo. His mum wearing her wedding dress which she very kindly loaned to many Sibu girls.

This photo raised a flurry of comments in blogger land. It was Chang Yi who first posted the photo. A Kai Chung School friend and a classmate who IDed the photographer who was my Dad's very good friend in Singapore.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sarawak Mulu Caves

When I went to Mulu, I was treated like royalty. They danced for us.

flower

Fast forward some twenty five years, I was living with my three year old son who became a scary cat after he was frightened by the loud engine sound of my friend’s old Holden. It came to a stage that it was so bad that he refused to leave the apartment. We were imprisoned in our own home because the old Holden was parked downstairs of our apartment.

Come another old lady to the rescue. My girl friend’s mother told me to get nine types of flowers to bath him. I remember my late Grand Ma’s flower power treatment. I went gathering flowers.

It didn’t work for my son, he refused to get into the tub with flowers floating on it. It took a long time, and a lot of coaxing, D even dragged Sam to no avail and finally requesting my friend to remove the car. She was very accommodating. At last we were freed of the clutches of fear.

In Singapore and Bangkok, I often go and luxuriate in the health and beauty spas. The aestheticism and spa technicians sometimes run a tub filled with rose petals or orchid flowers. They tell me their sing song English that the flowers have extracts that will relieve me of stress and relief from insomnia I laughed, my Grand Ma knew about this long ago.

Back in Auckland, I go for Chinese massages. The Chinese doctor soaks my feet in tiny red flowers in a wooden tub before he massages my feet and the rest of the body. Oh!!! I feel so pampered.

Ginseng

Ginseng Jawa (Talinum paniculatum gaertn.) surprised to see this in my friends garden in Auckland. Growing wild. They grew wild in my Singapore garden. I picked the flowers as cut flowers, but they drop off in a day. My aunty told me that it can be used as ginseng and the leaves are edible.