(This post is dedicated to my dear Ah Moo of Airport Lane 7 - one day I will be able to post her photo here..and for my daughters who grew up here...do not forget the lessons we learned from Ah Moo and Huong.....).
In 1913 a group of Heng Huas arrived in Sibu as the Second batch of Heng Hua Pioneers to settle down in Heng Hua Bah (Now Igan Road in Sungei Merah). this group of 40 souls included Huang Sai Nguiik the mother of Ah Huong ..whom we affectionately called Ah Moo (Old Aunty wife of an older uncle).
Both Sai Nguiik and Ah Huong became my neighbours from 1983 onwards. Ah Huong and her mother live in 4A and our house is 2A (Airport Lane 7).Ah Moo was always caring and affectionate. More often then not we would get free vegetables from her in return for things we send over to their house. There was a lot of goings on between 2A and 4A besides story telling (a.k.a.gossip).
Brought over by her mother-in-law as a child bride Ah Huong's mother - known to many also as Ah Moo - was only 8 years old then with flat and big feet. Her mother in-law was Ngu (Goh) King Loong's mother (on the name list). Ah huong is proud that her mother's name is on the plaque set up in the Heng Hua Memorial Garden near the Zion Church in Seduan Road (Sibu).
|Chatting with Ah Huong would always bring our days in Sungei Merah in the 60's and 70's back to life!! She remembers very vividly the cows owned by Ting Kah Ong who raised many near the Teku Road. These cows would come running after them when they went home from school!! She recalloed she was always scared when the cows started to put their heads on the ground and kick their hind legs...and the boys and girls would take off running down the hill and up to the road...|
Her mother and the Ngu(Goh) family owned some land in Middle Heng Hua Bah and later they were persuaded to sell at only $120 000 She took the sale rather fatalistically and said.."What to do...someone wanted to buy and we did not have any men in the family to develop...". Today the land there is worth more than a million per acre.
|Ah Huong's mother was very hard working. Ah Moo grew up with her mother in law who loved her very much. She spoke Iban very well and traded with the Ibans. Ah Huong remembers her mother buying kampong pigs from the Iban longhouses and selling them in the market. Besides that Ah Moo also grew a lot of Changkok Manis for sale. Thus she was a popular Iban-Heng Hua trader. Furthermore Ah Huong's father who was Ah Moo's second husband was a cook. And so fairly often he was able to use a lot of the meat from the kampong pigs and the vegetables grown by his own wife and the Ibans in the Teku areas for the feasts he prepared. |
Ah Moo's first husband Ngu King Loong passed away very early. So her mother in law arranged a second marriage for Ah Moo in the hope of getting a grandson. This was an acceptable idea in those olden days. With an arrangement the new bride groom would "come into the family as a son" and so subsequent children would adopt the Ngu (Goh) surname) The new husband Mr. Sii was a good and obedient man. As a God fearing man Mr. Sii was well loved by all.
Altogether Ah Moo gave birth to TEN DAUGHTERS!!
This is not a common happening today. So I really think that it is something worth recording.
Ah Huong is Number six in the family. And she accepted with grace her Ngu surname like her father had to accept the fact that all his children would be surnamed Ngu. Grandmother Ngu and Ah Moo felt that that should be the way.
After Mr. Sii (hii) passed away the ten daughters bought a cemetery plot for their parents..Ah Moo was thus later buried with her second husband. And the ten daughters and an adopted son put their names on the grave. So there is a grave in Sibu where the father has a different surname from his ten daughters and one adopted son. This again is not common amongst the Chinese especially amongst the Foochows. I asked Ah Huong about this...she enthusiastically replied.."No problem...we are happy to do it that way!!" According to her his father did once say that "he has no children but his wife has..."
Picture above shows Ah Huong talking animately with Meng Lei - famous Sibu historian. Mrs. Wong is second on the right. Yang Yi fang is first from left.
Huang Sai Nguik's Ten Daughters:
1. Nurse - Singapore (deceased)
2. Pastor - Singapore -( Deceased)
3. Brilliant scholar in Beijing
4. Nurse - Australia
5 Scholar - . Tientsin
6. Home maker and carer - ah Huong
10. Nurse - Australia - deceased
We wish Ah Huong happiness always.....
(p/s a bit of confusion here...which will be corrected at a later date regarding triple surnames of this family because of lack of male heirs)