60 years ago my father's first cousin Ah Ling Koo married a Mr. Lau . Even though it was a match made marraige love and mutual respect grew in the years which followed. They could not have been happier as they met challenges bringing up their children and moulding them into good citizens. They have lots of Foochow role models to follow according to her. In her very humble ways she often talked about her hardships during the Japanese occupation and later how she and her husband made ends meet. But she had great pride of her own parents who gave her the best that they had. She was given 3 bridal gifts. Not too many and not too few. And these she treasured.
Amongst the bridal gifts that she received and brought over to the Lau family are these two items - a hand crafted wooden bed made in Sibu and a dressing table (the mirror never broke ). It is her pride that she still sleeps in her bed every night and uses the mirror every day. I am wondering if these two could be items that could be metaphors/images for good marriage. A solid wooden bed which blessed my aunt with many children and now grandchildren and a mirror which brought good luck?
She still uses her thin cotton mattress over which she puts a rush mat from China. In the olden days she had a mosquito net overhead. Now with mosquito netting for windows the whole house is protected. However mosquito netting for beds has become very popular again in 5 star hotels in most tropical countries especially those having lots of island paradises.
This is the pretty 1930's Shanghai style oval mirror of her dressing table. Every part is still in perfect condition. My aunt is one person whom I know treasure her belongings and take care of all her household items well.
She still has several water reed (rush) mats from China. These are warm in winter and cool in summer. Very eco-friendly mats indeed!! (Look into the mirror.)
It is from Ah Ling Koo that I learned a great deal about our precious customs and life styles of the Foochows in the olden days in Sibu.
My own paternal grandmother's grave is just next to her mother's in Sibu.Sometimes I wonder how my grandmother and her mother lived and worked in Sibu from 1909 to 1930's. How did they spend their leisure hours ? Did they visit each other often?
Cultural articacts are getting rarer now and I believe we should really value them for posteriority.
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