He is now writing more history on the development of the Heng Hua Methodist Churches and the history of the pioneering Heng Hua Methodists.
I went along for some interviews with the Lu Family - one of the first Heng Hua Families of Sibu.
|The Pioneer Mr. Lu Ging Ge - Ming Seng's grandfather who arrived in 1912|
Mr. Lu Ming Seng (the man we interviewed) carefully took down the photos (from the living room walls upstairs) of his elders (his two grandmothers) for us to re- photograph.
|She was amongst the first batch to arrive in Sibu as a married woman she was brave and willing to suffer all the hardship of the early days.- there were 30 women amongst the 101 Heng huas who arrived.|
One of my favourite interview questions is "Does she have bound feet?". These two ladies indeed have bound feet. They had found it hard to walk on the plank walks and they just had to be very careful.
|When the first Mrs. Lu passed away Mr. Lu sent for a mail order bride many years later.|
Mr. Lu has a good memory of the history of the Heng Huas and the Foochows too. He remembers paddling a small boat from the Igan to Kerto with his father to have their rice milled by the Hua Hong Rice and Ice Mill. He knew my grandfather well and he is full of respect for all those who have passed on. He indeed has a "book" in his mind . He is a treasury of knowledge.
|Here Meng Lei and Mr. Lu are looking at the name lists of people who are children of the first families of the Heng Huas.|
The Heng Huas will be celebrating their Centenary in Sibu...how much do you know of their history and contribution to our society and country?
When teaching in the Methodist School I would do one local survey project per year. Most students enjoyed it. And of course some were very critical (they would comment like "moh noh sei.." No use."). But I am not daunted at all for I have continued to work on local geography and history over the years. Local history is very interesting and we need plenty of time to do initial work and follow up work nothwithanding certain hazards!! Like literature local history is also not a lucrative business but at the end of the day we are happy with what we can put down on paper for our future generations. I do hope more people will consider joining our small group of volunteer writers and photographers.
Here is one example of a small project you can do - take photographs of the old wooden houses standing on stilts of Sibu and write about them......
There are not many houses in Sibu with stilts left. Mr. Lu's house along Igan road is one of them.
The architecture of this kind of wooden house was popular during the 40's and 50's in Sarawak. In view of impending flooding situation all houses along the Rejang were built in this style.
The Foochow term for the empty space was not GROUND FLOOR but low pang nga or space below the floor. Most people would entertain strangers at the space called low pang nga. This space then becomes an entertaining area and also a place where children could play their games and where womenfolk could do their work. Bicycles would be kept here too. A rich family would have a ping pong table in this space and neighbours' kids would come to play. I remember some houses next to Methodist Churches in Sibu were used as Sunday School classes a long time ago.
Close relatives and friends were taken upstairs to see the house and have tea at a typical marble table.
When population exploded in Sibu all these spaces were walled up and rooms were rented out to whole families. Houses on stilts became a thing of the past in the 1980's. However I am glad a few can still be found.