July 22, 2009
Grand Ladies of the Tiong Family
While the world was watching the Solar Eclipse this morning I had a very pleasant surprise when my adopted cousin Tiong Yew Ping (aged 80) called me up to visit her. She had her daughter in law call me the evening before but I was out of the house on an errand. So they did not reach me.
I thought it was unusual to be summoned at such an early hour (by old lady's standard) and at such short notice too. I decided that I had to accept her invitation since I was at fault for not being at home when she first called.
Then sure enough I had one of the biggest surprises in my life!
When I opened the kitchen door I saw five cheerful-- articulate--joyful-- blessed --beautiful--warm hearted -- grey haired ladies of the Tiong family all seated around a round table laden with Foochow mee sua -fresh from the farm free range Foochow style boiled chicken -fish rolls and siew mai.....and hard boiled eggs!!
Our conversation went from one topic to another - how they shared the same bed(not the 20th century context); rowed small home made boats across the Rajang River from Sg. Bidut to Pulau Kerto (Hua Hung Ice Factory where my grand father was the manager);how Yuk Ging Goo Poh got married with 6 pairs of flower girls and boys (the wedding of the decade) and how the Japanese came to frighten them.....All my senses were at attention and I drank in the scene and the words! For me it was a historical moment.
I was glad that my faithful Sony was with me and I took several precious photos.
Here is one group photo of the occasion.
Can you guess the ages of these ladies ? They were all born in Sg. Bidut and Sibu after their parents arrived in Sibu as the second batch of the Sibu Foochow pioneers in 1903.
I was born in Pulau Kerto and all of them already met me a few days after a I was born!! But because of my education and my marriage it has taken me so many years to meet up with them in Miri!! So three of them could really say "Long time no see" to me because my Ah Ling Koo and Cousin Yew Ping meet up with me very often in Miri here.
1. The oldest is 93 years old.
2. The youngest is 59 years old.
3. The two sisters who are my grand aunts (cousins to Grand Aunt Yuk Ging) are 93 and 90 years old.
4. Aunty Ling is 82 years.
5. My adopted cousin is 80 years old.
If you are from Sibu and your guess is correct you can claim your pow from Meng Lei during his Monday Tea Party. If you are from Miri you can claim your pow from me personally.
Another clue : All of these ladies attend Huai Eng Methodist Church in Miri except me.