December 4, 2011

White Christmas - the Song

This post is dedicated to all my friends who grew up in Sibu 1950's-1960's....

Having grown up in  Colonial days of Sarawak my idea of Christmas has been a very English one with robin and holly and red cherries . Christmas food then  would be minced pies from Kim Guan Siang and Mackintosh toffees. The fruit cake would be tinned cakes all the way from Dundee! Days like those did not last of course because of the Communist Insurgency and the formation of Malaysia.

My late father did his best when we moved to Sibu town from rural Pulau Kerto by giving us an English Christmas. He registered all three of us for a small kids' party organised by the wives of  the local government officials. My mother was too shy to go and we were then too young to remember except the fact that we had gifts from the red bag and I suppose it was the English Sibu Resident who gave away the gifts and there was no Santa Claus. My father had paid a small fee. I can still remember I had a toy tea set and was delighted by it.

The following month I started school and could not even write the figure "1" on my first day. I had no kindergarten education or pre school education because I was living in Pulau Kerto prior to that! I actually felt very illiterate. The next day my teacher taught me to make a circle and helped me say ZERO. I felt Zero no doubt for a long long time because other town kids who already had two years of pre school were able to write not only the Chinese numerals and but say ABC till Z without prompting.


But I did show my achievement to my mother I remember. O O O O O O all over my second page of my new exercise book for Arithmetic.

But that year my school teachers taught us to sing White Christmas because the radio kept on playing that song before Christmas . I did not know the name Irving Berlin until I went to secondary school But my father was a fan of Danny Kaye and owned a few of Bing Crosby's records.

White Christmas was  sung by Bing Crosby in his 1954 musical film "White Christmas" featuring the songs of Irving Berlin including White Christmas. Starring Bing Crosby himself and Danny Kaye.

I was not to know that less than 10 years later my father would pass away suddenly.....He would always be the "Bing Crosby" singing this song forever and ever.....my special part was singing along with the children "listen to the sleigh bells" etc  and my father would whistle...We would have only 9 Christmases together and I must say today literally I am still dreaming of a White Christmas..

It is strange that after so many decades I still want to hear my father whistle......



May your days be merry and bright...
and may all your Christmases be white!!

23 comments:

mezzo solo said...

be it joyful or sorrowful, white christmas , a memorial song to remember the past..... thank you ma'am.

Ann said...

CY, did I tell U before, my early school days were like yours, except because you were a Foochow, you could talk to the others. I was a Cantonese, and didn't. Mr W toldd my Dad I was a retard.

Ann said...

Re: your comment abt my Imbalance photo. I used to take them like this to show I was there. When we went to US, my husband took a lot of pics imitating Postcards. Now as I blog, I am grateful for them. I too are that no people pix.

On the other hand, I saw a friend who was in so many photos presumeably taken by her husband. I thought, wow, her husband must love her very much.

me, I don't like to appear on photos, not photogenic. BTW, I posted on FB for you a photo of me when I was 14, the time you knew me.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Mezzo solo..thanks for the comments..may be we could meet up at Meng Lei's office when I come in the future!! Would love to meet up...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann..it is fun remembering all those long ago days..this is the season to have a nostalgia party!!

I was not particularly bright in primary school and mum was timid to ever show her face. Today many mothers love to "storm" into classrooms and demand explanation.

We Chang children had a lot of "unresolved" issues ....hahahaha but I suppose thousands of other kids had the same fate!!

It is how we live our life that really matters in the end...not the 11 As.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann..I seldom appear in photos too because I am usually the person behind the camera..only occasionally when I request for a photo to be taken...A few photographers are kind people too and understand that I may need to have one or two photos taken for remembrance...so I do have a few treasures..but usually I am ok with my own photos of all the views I see and unique scenes /food I come across..About how husbands love their wife???It is hard to say..I am quite confused how a man should show his love to his wife...some men show a lot..and turn out nasty guys..some men are quiet but they are the ones who last forever!! You can have a loving couple right in front of you..and they split up within months!! When it comes to relationship..we really can't say. But I am sure your friend's husband is genuine stuff...

Anonymous said...

i do remember putting up a Xmas tree while living at Long Bridge(just opposite the Catholic High School)...it was a very Christian affairs under the British rule...also attending the mid night mass with our parents...singing carols.
Its true ,Sarawakiana tht marriages nowadays dont last as long ...maybe they can fend for themselves now and dont hve to stay on a relationship if it does not bring happiness to them.
Merry Xmas to u all and a Happy New Year

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous..thanks for the response. Christmas is a time for us to reflect and remember good things in the past..Yes Midnight Mass was a very important do for my RC friends...Yes. Nowadys men and women fight for equal rights and when marriage fails the law usually take care of the nitty gritty and the two parties CAN fend for themselves and move on ..there is not much stigma nowadays as most people believe in individual rights to happiness. I would feel sorry for women who stick on to a marriage because their cruel husbands are their meal tickets!! In the past I used to hear..never mind get beaten..at least there is food on the table! Many women were treated no better than house dogs..to be beaten..and then given some food!!

sintaicharles said...

Great post.
When I was a kid My Mum would take my siblings and I to a white-coloured house in Piasau Garden for a Christmas party organized by a group of church leaders. We sang Christmas songs and exchanged gifts. White Christmas is one of the earliest Christmas songs I picked up.

sintaicharles said...

I love Bing Crosby, especially his 'Do You Hear What I Hear."

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Charles..great memories..I came later to Miri so missed much of the earlier christmas gatherings which were more nostalgic..

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Charles...I love Bing Cosby...Indeed I think my family will play his songs every now and then and especially at Christmas time..

You take care!

wenn said...

Christmas is coming soon..

Anonymous said...

Hai, it's me again. I always remembered, my next door neighbour auntie surnamed Ling same with my mummy, so each year on Christmas Eve, my auntie would request mummy to bring all my younger siblings 4 of us to go to have Xmas party. That was the most memorable childhood days.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Wenn...Hope your business will flourish by the day..with you being the towkay neo...Yes Christmas is a great season...even in Malaysia..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous..yes what a beautiful childhood you had..and to have a mum and a neighbour like Madam Ling...Today people may not be so "inclusive". Parties can be very exclusive..and neighbours are no longer the type of neighbours we had long ago...

Ann said...

Dear aunt Abbey CY,

My husband doesn't flaunt his affection in publc. heheheheheh Typical China man despite living in an Ang Mo land for so long.

Help.

Ann

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
Look into his eyes and his heart. May you gain even more comfort when he is near you. Men show their feelings in many different ways. May be you will be able to find great joys just by having him near you in public....Even his breathing can be so comforting...Delight always in his nearness.

(HOw's that from Aunt Abby??)

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