The Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak had warned us that a huge rainstorm was coming to the shores of Northern Sarawak these few days. He has become very accurate in his prediction!
When the skies darkened this morning I was not too sure I could make it to a lunch date with a former student...who had asked me to have a Foochow lunch in a Foochow coffee shop in Krokop . We could meet up and talk about old times. What could be better than that?
The lightning struck several times and the rain drenched the whole city. When I arrived at his office the rain seemed to pause for a while . We took a very old umbrella and went to the coffee shop just across the street. The bamboo chicks hanging outside the shop prevented the rain from wetting the tables on the five foot way and we sat down happily and expectantly to have a nice hot bowl of Foochow goodness! Red Wine - eggs - mushrooms and chicken in bite sizes and longevity noodles or mee sua. He had ordered two other items for good measure - stewed pig's head and smelly root soup. I was introduced to the Foochow owner of the coffee shop and his wife as well. Then there were others who came by - all Foochows! What a good day it was for me.
We talked about old times for almost two hours! It was alright because Tiong Kee is owner and MD of his own company now and he did not have to clock in.
Chow Tiong Kee was one of my students in Form Two when I was a temporary teacher at the Methodist School Sibu before I went to the University Malaya. He is now a staunch and supportive Miri friend.
This is a bowl of Chou Yi Char (Smelly Root Soup)with pork bones.
This is Foochow Stewed Pig Head. (Tu Tou Pui)
This is a lovely slice of pig head skin.
A lovely bowl of Foochow mee sua reddened by the Foochow Red Wine.
Another bowl of the mee sua showing a hard boiled egg for great blessings.
The rain did not stop pouring throughout our lunch. Did the rain deliberately keep us in the coffee shop? When it was time for us to go the rain paused for a while and blue skies appeared.
It was a really good meeting because we talked so much about our past and how Sibu developed. These reminisces were healthy for us and another fellow Foochow friend born in Sg. Bidut who joined us at lunch (I will write an article about him later). Listening to our animated chat he too was motivated to share with us his stories about his grandmother and their duck rearing days! For us it was like analysing our purposes in life and how we have lived.
Tiong Kee incidentally is the grand nephew of the very respected and revered Rev. Ling Kai Cheng who helped direct the development of Sibu and the Methodist Church together with Rev. James Hoover and other missionaries. I have therefore gleaned a lot of "history" of Sibu from Tiong Kee. (We call him Kee Kee....as well as by another pet name which cannot be written here....) He has thus become a very forthcoming and important source of the oral history of Sibu to me.
There are so many more stories to write about Sibu in the days to come.
I really like this kind of lunch served with lots of history and joy of our shared lives besides good home cooked food and the warmth of old friendship.