Pang Hung married Ting Ping Yii the daughter of one of the first Foochow Methodist Ministers who came later to Sibu. My aunt Ping Yii's sister is Wong Meng Lei's mother.
In the first photo below is also Ling Huong Yian who was my Sixth Form student in Methodist Secondary School of Sibu in 1985-86. Ever since her Sixth Form days she has been a very keen scholar of history. She is now researching on Foochow Pioneering Spirit for her PhD thesis (University of Malaya).
|(From Left : Aunt Ping Yii - Ling Huong Yian - Uncle Pang Hung and Wong Meng Lei)|
Huong Yian 's family also originated in the Sg. Ensurai (Ah Poh or Lower River Ensurai) area although she and her family are now based in Bintulu at the moment..
It is NORMAL for traditional and older Foochows to ask about each other's origins whenever they meet for the first time. My Uncle Pang Hung by his cultural upbringing for example would ask "Where was your father born?" or "Where did your mother live?" By asking these social questions our elders can make the "Foochow Connections". Even I do that often whenever I meet up with some nice young Foochows. However not all Foochows would communicate in this way. Because it would all depend on their upbringing. Some may be so distant that they do not ask any question at all upon being introduced.
Any way young Foochows should not be embarrassed when they are asked these questions. And please feel alright because it is the way most of the older generation behave. And I am not ill at ease at all if my Foochow elders ask where my grandparents come from ...or even where my mother came from. After getting the answers we will then learn how to address each other properly too. By answering these questions properly we are also showing great respect to our Foochow elders. I do understand that some people do not wish to reveal their origins but perhaps a carefully worded " I don't know or I am not so sure" could suffice with a nice smile too? The ability to communicate socially well and properly without being politically incorrect is still one of the most complicated skills so highly demanded by some global organisations that they spend millions each year to provide the right guru (e.g. Alan Pease).
Interestingly after some conversation with Foochow elders you might even find out that you are the grand aunty one of these days!!
And for that matter in the past it was this kind of FOOCHOW CONNECTION that many bright young Foochows were helped by their elders to succeed and become famous. This page is too small for me to mention all the successful Foochows who have been helped (led to the shore...keng shuorn ngiang) by their helpful relatives or friends. Basically in the Chinese culture according to Confucian teachings elders are expected to be "ren" and "jun tze" meaning kind and gentlemanly which will lead to a society that is proper (li) and without strife.
Wong Meng Lei as a Foochow who has great spirit to help others has been aiding a lot of scholars in their field studies and research. Any one who is interested in Sibu history can find some resources in the Methodist Message Office . Meng Lei is the Chief Administrative Officer (Kang Shu) of MM in Sibu.
When the Foochow pioneers came to Sibu actually not many of them could read and write. Hence the dirth of books in those days. But 110 years later more than 50 schools and churches have been established all over Sarawak and Sabah by the Methodist Church and the Foochows to benefit the second and third generations and subsequent descendants. My grand uncle Kah Tii for example established Su Lai Primary School in the 1940's. Recently the Su Lai Primary School was moved to Sibu.
Several books have been written about the lives and work of the Foochow Pionners and other leading community characters - thanks to writers like Wong Meng Lei in the new age and others. A lot of writings have also been left behind by Rev Ling Kai Cheng and Rev. Ling Wen Choon. Lau Tze Cheng has been recognised as a Sibu Foochow historian and he had written more than 10 books in his life time. Most of these works have been self financed. Fortunately today some Foundations have been set up in order to encourage more historical studies and writing efforts.Scholars from other countries have also written books about Sibu and the Foochow pioneers.
Hopefully this interest in social - economic history of Sibu will continue and an increasing number of books will be published not only about the Foochows but about the other races and dialects to give a more complete picture of the Rajang Valley in general and Sibu in particular.
We are looking forward to a book by the new generation scholar Ling Huong Yian!!