February 17, 2011

Foochow Descendants visiting Ancestors' Home in Fuzhou

 I am inspired to write because I grew up in the Rajang Valley with exceptional people who embraced poverty but lived with ethics all their lives. These are the folks who have lots of stories to share. And their stories must be written lest they will be forever forgotten in the dust of development and progress.

I am writing this particular posting for my mother's side of the family - my maternal uncles who gave us chickens and ducks when we lost our father (the sole breadwinner of the family) and my aunts who gave moral support to my widowed mother. I write for my cousins who jumped into the Rajang river with me and taught me how to swim - and I learned to swim with the "modern sharks". I was "eaten by the CHIK CHAR" - a species of the mangrove which gave rashes when touched. I was taken to see Dr. Xavier who gave me a one of a kind injection and I was never allergic to the latex any more. I write for my cousins who advised me how to marry a "man with property expecially some one whose family has a shophouse". That advice was ignored because I was not pretty enough to be chosen by any one.

This posting is about one of the loveliest cousins I have -Cousin Hsiung Kwo Ing who has been married to Lau Kiing Hiing for more than 40 years! Both are very humble teachers residing in Kuching since the 50's.

Both of them are keen on history and the Chinese language. And both of them have remarkable stories to tell.

Both of them love travelling a lot now that they are retired. Cousin Lau Kiing Hiing not long ago brought my cousin Kuo Ing to visit Fuzhou China. In the above photo they are at the Lau Kah Tii Memorial building. Remarkably Cousin Kuo Ing was pre maturely born in China and was brought as a new born to Sibu where the goverment was able to register her as a Sarawak born Foochow (to simplify matters)for her dear parents.She grew up in my grandmother's house in Nang Chong in Sg. Maaw during the Japanese Occupation. So visiting this place was like going to the village of her birth.

The couple are standing outside the room where our maternal grandfather (Lau Kah Chui) and maternal grand uncle (Lau Kah Tii) stayed. Renovation and some reconstruction have been made over the years. Today a cousin (son of Aunt Hua Hua - famous as a gingseng seller in Sibu) is staying here. My maternal grandmother and her second son (the late Lau Pang Kui) and his new bride lived here throughout the Second World War alongside the family of the first born i.e. eldest brother of Lau Kah Tii and Lau Kah Chui.

The happy couple out in the sunshine in Fuzhou.

The three sisters who are daughters of Lau Kah Chui and Tiong Lian Tie...from left - my mother - her eldest sister (mother of Kuo Ing) and my youngest aunt (Lau Hung Yun) - the mother of Maggie Hii, Hii Mee Ping , Hii Mee Yii and Hii Mee Chiong. In fact all these ladies have the looks of my maternal grandmother especially my eldest aunt. Fair skin is in our family.

One of the most loving couples I know of in my life....They were the earliest trainees of Sarawak Teacher's Training College which was set up to train Chinese educated graduates to be recognised teachers in Sarawak in Sibu. They are always happy together. Kiing Hiing is an avid reader and collector of books whereas my cousin Kuo Ing loves gardening. Her pomelo and lemon trees bear fruits throughout the year!!

More stories will be coming from them!! So watch out in this blog!!


Ann said...

Congrats to them, married for so long and still healthy to travel.

My mum's bro's daughter in law's dad is a Lau from Sibu, now resding in Auckland. may be we are sweet potato relatives. We are getting more entangled?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes I do congratulate them over and over again. The couple are now in Sydney with their daughter...May be we are related via the Laus too...

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