February 22, 2013

Nang Chong Stories : Sea Cucumber Soup

We Foochows have a great love for soups. There is a saying, we Foochows must have soup with our meals :" Cannot do without soup - 不汤不行." And indeed if we had nothing else, we had a soup. My own family loves soup too and quite often it is just soup!!

A foreign friend of mine said that he was surprised to see five different soups during a single meal in Fuzhou city.  He had a thick sea cucumber soup, a thick seafood toufoo soup, a clear whole chicken soup, a razor clam soup and a whole duck in  soup. The vegetables came out last. He was overwhelmed by the richness of the food but nevertheless, he enjoyed it to his surprise.His fellow travellers who never had that rich cultural and culinary experience were amazed.

Indeed, even in a simple Foochow home in Sibu today (I cannot speak for the Foochows of Fuzhou district of China), we can have two soups e.g. Sea Cucumber Soup and a Bitter Gourd Soup, with the latter as the last dish.Sometimes when the wallet is thick a father may order two special soups in a restaurant.

Another point to raise is the nature of a thick soup called 羹 or Geng which is very much favoured by the Foochows. Geng is created by adding a special tapioca based powder which does not colour the soup but will only thicken.

Of all the ingredients, SEA CUCUMBER , is the most favoured for soups prepared by Foochow chefs both in Fuzhou City and in Sibu or whereever there are Foochow chefs..

Rehydrated or Soaked Sea Cucumber for sale during the Chinese New Year - These are higher end ones. I once bought one for 65 ringgit. To day the prices have sky rocketed because  the sea cucumber is now endangered due to over fishing and global warming.

The two Chinese words for Sea Cucumber is Hai Shen or Sea Ginseng. As the name implies, it has ginseng's health giving properties.

Its shape has also earned some fame for itself as an aphrodisiac.

A Chinese doctor has said that many studies have stated that it could be a good treatment for kidney disorders, high blood pressure, and  impotence.

It has a high protein content and a low fat content, an ideal food for the health conscious.

But the Foochows in the past , in Mainland China, during the times of plenty, loved it because the seas around Fujian in China were full of sea cucumber and fresh ones were harvested as easily as fresh fish for the famiilies.

My grandmother lived with my Third Uncle's family in Nang Chong. And in the 70's Indonesian traders sold dried sea cucumber at 7 ringgit per Kilo, an unbelieveable price today. My Third Aunt prepared the dried sea cucumber and cooked them as a soup. During my grandmother's old age, the soft sea cucumber was nourishing as well as comforting to her. This was the way a daughter in law and grand children would show their love to their elders.

My uncle used to say that "After eating sea cucumber soup, his eyes were brighter and sharper!" This is a good Foochow statement to compliment the good wife who has saved to buy the sea cucumber for every one in the family.

A sea cucumber soup makes an ordinary meal extraordinary.

My  Third Aunt recently said that the best sea cucumbers are too highly priced. Just look, don't buy. Just remember that we once had it so good in Nang Chong.

February 18, 2013

Manga Tong (MaiYa Tang) Chinese Maltose Sweets

In the 1950's most of the Foochow biscuit shops sold a special candy called Mang Nga Tong. When Fox's, Mentos, Cadbury came to the town, the Mang Nga Tong went off the shelf. Today few people below the age of 40 would know it.

Mang Nga Tong is a hard maltose candy with sesame ,ginger  and other flavours. The sweet is made by first melting maltose, then adding to it various ingredients and continuously stirring the mixture. Before the mixture solidifies, it is put on a metal stick and pulled into a line shape, then coiled into the shape of a plate. (Information from Wikipedia)

 The biscuit shops of Sibu wrapped these finger shaped candies in white kite paper. And they were sold individually to those who want to buy them. In fact these candies were also part of Christmas and Wedding snack packages.

Very recently I was delighted when Chempaka Buddhist Lodge in Petaling Jaya (Selangor) held a food fair and a young lady demonstrated how maltose candy was made. Here is a lovely, very up to date photo of Mang Nga Tong.  I actually had to explain to my sister's classmate the history of this candy.

The Maltose candy is nicely wrapped in transparent plastic and labelled with their flavours. Legends have it that the Kitchen God must be presented with this candy so that he would make good reports to the God of Heaven.

according to the creator of the sweets/candies, she only makes these candies whenever there is a food promotion. She has come back from Taiwan where she learned the art of sweet making.

It is good that she can help revive the popularity of this old style candy in KL.

Lovely Maltose candies in different flavours.

Jay Chou wrote a song dedicated to this candy. "Mai Ya Tang"

If only Sibu biscuit shops can sell this candy again.

The experience in Petaling Jaya brought back a lot of good memories of Old Sibu. Days of Grandmother's love came fleeting back.

(Photo by Sarawakiana)

February 16, 2013

Foochow Egg Roll Vs Nyonya Love Letters (Kuih Kapit)

 I am sure every single item of the Chinese New Year Open House would bring lots of memories to you.

Today as I have a good bite of the crunchy but melt in the mouth love letters I think of those days when love letters had to be made by mums and aunts and not every household had them.

Growing up in Sibu was interesting. I am from a frugal Foochow family where making of cakes and even curries were then  frown upon. Basic food (no frills) on the table: one vegetable, one soup and one meat or fish (or just salted fish) was the order of the 1950-60 era. Even eating in restaurants was unheard of for the Foochows unless it was for weddings or funerals. For Chinese New Year it was just Kua Chi, Peanuts and some sweets. With lots of Sibu made aerated water from Ta Fong or Ngo Kiong. (7 Up and Cola had not arrived yet)

When New Year came, we Foochow girls were very very envious of our Hokkien friends whose mothers could make Love Letters.

The Foochows have eggs rolls or "Long Kuong", rough and HUGE from the biscuit shops like Chop Ban Hin (the FIRST Foochow biscuit shop) in Blacksmith Road." Long Kuong " was sold as a canteen tid bit,and we never thought it was good enough for the New Year Visit. We wanted the Love Letters.

It was fortunate that many of us learned to make cakes in secondary school and presented them to our relatives and school mates. Open House was not even a term used then. Just "Come and Visit us for New Year" or in Foochow, "Come and crack some Kua Chi"  kind of invitation. No parties.

Now, did we Foochow girls make Love Letters? We could not get our mothers to buy the "love letters mould" and of course no one could lend us the moulds. Family Rivalry came into place. We were also told that future mothers-in-law were on the look out for future brides for their sons. The workmanship of the love letters would be compared and names would be tugged into the recesses of their minds.

But I was glad I could convince our Malay neigbhours to make and sell us 100 love letters all packed into a medium sized biscuit tin. So that special year we had love letters to serve our guests. Subsequently we could buy love letters in the market when more and more ladies started having their family Chinese New Year business.

(photo grabbed from http://lmeichil.blogspot.com)

(Photo by Sarawakiana_)
love letters

(Photo by Sarawakiana)

When I became a  teacher I was fortunate enough to make friends with a nice lady  who taught me to make the Kuih Kapit in Limbang  She was so gracious to me and it was a delight to make all those love letters with her. With all the charcoal fire and the moulds that she had.. I helped her roll the biscuits with a chopstick and was quite successful. From her I learn how to be generous with recipes and the art of making nice cakes and kuihs.But with children coming along, I turned into a consumer instead of having cakes or kuihs home made.

I  did ask her why couldn't her love letters be called Kuih Limbang? She laughed. She was actually from Kuching. And why not Kuih Kuching? Bless her soul.

I could not remember actually her recipe because at that time I was not really into cooking and keeping a recipe book so to speak. Any way, her recipe was very "aga aga ja" Just approximate.

There is so much fellowship in making cakes and biscuits with a loving sister or mother, sitting together outside at the verandah exchanging viewpoints.

One of these days when my children come home for a visit, I will go and buy the moulds and make some love letters with them. My son has already bought a long charcoal stove (good for bbq) already....

400 ml fresh coconut milk
5 - 6  eggs
150 g sugar
150 g rice flour
90 g plain flour
Sesame seeds (150 love letters)

Would you make your own Love Letters?

Forty more years later, we don't have to really make our own love letters. And we do not actually need to train our daughters to make them so that some families would check them out for their suitability.....we can just buy some in the supermarket...

And as my mother would always say..".it does not really matter, kua ji and hua ren would be enough for good friends. And a nice cup of tea from the heart. People visit you because you have a good heart. And you visit others because you have a good heart. "

February 14, 2013

Sale and Purchase Agreement in Bintangor (Binatang) 1930

Paul Ling kindly showed me a Chinese Sale and Purchase document of the Rajah Period of Sarawak. It is an amazing document reflecting the proper code of conduct of the Foochows in the 1920's and 1930's (The Republic of China 19th Year ). Legal work was mainly done by the educated people together with the headmen of the various areas who were given jurisdiction by the Rajah and the government to carry out civil matters.

This is a fantastic story of a Sale and Purchase of a one month year old boy. It would be impossible today to think of making arrangements like this in a lawyer's office or even a Temenggong's office.

The signatories were :

 Father of the boy child : Ngu Heng Hwang
    Mother :  Ngu Yek Lien Choon
Broker : Kong Siew Choon
Officiating Person : (Chinese Headman) Tiong Kung Ping
Witness and Documentor : Yao Siew King
on 17th May 19th Year of the Republic of China (1930)                       .

My grandfather is on the extreme right. Ling Ming Lok and Ling Ching Tu are the other two.

Note the signatures of Rev Yao Siew King and my grandfather's. Most women in those days could not read and write. So they used their thumbprints.

The Chinese characters tell the tale of Ling Ming Lok buying a  MALE child from the Ngu family who were in dire straits. The sale price is 110 ( silver) dollars, which is a token for the Ngu family, to compensate them for the bearing of the child and the confinement for the natural or birth  mother. The agreement also states that the Ling family would see to the upbringing of the boy who is already out of his first month i.e. full moon.

Ngu was a labourer and his wife was a farmer.

This is a long piece of paper on which a Sale and Purchase Agreement is written and the Chinese brush is still in excellent condition. The red paper (happy event using red paper) is now very friable. The writing was of Chinese brush  and Chinese ink with  the excellent and famous penmanship of Rev. Yao Siew King.

The photo shows Paul Ling, the grandson of the Purchaser , Ling Ming Lok, who has kept this for about 40 years. This is  an 83 years old document. His Grandmother passed the document to him for keeping.

The document is very properly written and is legally binding. It also shows that our beloved Rev Yao Siew King was a very learned man.

The four characters "gua die mian chang" can be taken to mean (gua and die mean small cucumber, mian chang mean endless long)   "wishing the  couple have a lot of grandchildren and a prosperous generation" Very good wishes from Rev Yao and Ling Ming Lok.

(Thank you Ling Huong Yian for the translation)

And indeed the Ling family of Bintangor prospered.

It is good that historical documents are kept by family members for safe keeping. A huge chunk of history can be retrieved from a primary source like this.

Thank you Paul.

(More stories to tell soon - so watch this space)

February 13, 2013

Hua Hong Stories : Chinese New Year New Clothes

My parents were fairly into having annual studio family photography and Lunar New Year visiting of our Grandparents.

Lots of stories could be told from just this photo but I am going to write about our new clothes.

My sister Sing and I in this photo are wearing dresses made by our Grandmother Siew, an excellent seamstress.

Every year mum would buy nice cotton materials from Ngui Kee (the top shop on the High Street in those days),send the materials to Grandma Siew  who would make our New Year Clothes in no time. Mum can only make home wear, not those chothes for going out for social occasions.

My younger sister, Yin, in this photo is wearing a dressed with smocking patterns made by Aunt Pick Sieng.

My brother's suit is  Singapore  bought. That is one swanky suit for the lunar new year. Later as there were more of us, our aunts in Singapore sent us lots of nice hand-me-downs, which we really enjoyed wearing. This saved a lot of money according to my frugal parents and relatives.

Early on the first day of the Lunar New Year we would pay respects to our grandparents who lived

Studio Photo taken during  Chinese New Year 1957

in a huge house on top of a hill in Sungei Merah. All our uncles, aunties and cousins who lived in Sibu in those days would be paying their respects too. We would have a wonderful First Day Soh Mien with chicken and eggs cooked by Aunty Ah Hiong and Grandma.

We loved wearing the annual Lunar new clothes made by GRandma. Mum used to say that we did not want to take them  off and furthermore we tried our best to keep the clothes clean. You know what kids were like in those days. We would not even sit to get our dresses creased!! And we would make sure that we put our head above the soup bowls so that we did not have a single drip on our chest.

 This brings to mind that my mum never had to feed us because we kids were able to eat fairly well at the table together with our grandparents very properly with Grandma supervising us from a very young age. Grandma was really a good carer of young children. One of my aunts used to say that she was  impressed that I could hold a pair of chopsticks from a very young age because of Grandma's and mum's coaching. I think that's another thing I appreciate. My siblings and I truly enjoyed visiting our grandparents.

Interestingly, we did not really care much about what we received in our ang pow from Grandfather. Was it only one dollar? Was it three dollars? That is probably the  reasons why I cannot remember how much I received. But I do remember that he used the special Chinese red paper. Grandma would have folded every one using very neat angles and foldings.
Urn Chei or Foochow Red Paper

The red paper (urn chei)  was the regular Chinese red packet paper of those days, bought from shops like Tai Sing, Tai Lung , made in China.  This paper was a must have in Foochow homes. Small pieces would be cut to be pasted on gifts like biscuits to make the gift very auspcious (Yi Lik)  and smaller pieces would be cut to wrap gifts of money for weddings and birthdays.

My father would always tell us not to touch the red packet with wet hands. I later realised that the red paper was coloured by cinnabar or red vermillion which contains mercuric oxide. My father was a well read man who kept a very low profile and was very taciturn (quiet), a man of few words. But he only had to tell us kids once and we sort of respected him so much we really LISTENED to him.

By early afternoon because Grandpa must have his nap, we would leave the house until Grandpa "summoned" us to his house again!! While Grandpa was alive, Grandma would always drive him to visit his married children around Sibu. I loved grandma visiting us because we would get a life chicken as a gift or sometimes a tin of biscuit with a small dainty piece of red paper pasted on it.

I made my own , one and only ,skirt when I took Home Science in Form One, and wore it almost every day too. The other two skirts I had were my schoool uniform skirts. That saved a lot of money too.

Aunt Pick, Grand Aunt Yuk Ging and Grandma were my mother's best mates who made clothes for us every new year. They were the designers like Yves Saint Laurent of their day, using their skills on scissors and the sewing machine. We will never be able to repay them for their kindness.

February 10, 2013

Hua Hong Stories : Chinese New Year Pajamas

My mum is not a great tailor, not trained at all because her youth was disrupted by the Japanese Occupation . For three years and eight months she was a rice cultivator who supported her brother's family and her two brothers and sister. Her father, my maternal grandfather Lau Kah Chui was very ill and indeed died during the war years when lack of money and lack of medicine sent him to an early grave.
Because it was warm, most of the time mum just let us wear little cotton shorts (made by her) and no top. My sister here is seen wearing home made pajamas and the long pants which would grow shorter and shorter as she grew.

Mum neither had the opportunity to further her education after Junior Three nor the chance to learn a professional skill. Could she have learnt how to make dresses in Singapore? Age caught up with her.  When her mother came out of China by the first boat after the Second World War she was old enough to be married off. There were three younger ones and it was not easy for the family.

We all know that in spite of her lack of training both at school and in a professional institute, she is able to make most of the basic home wear. This Lunar New Year  she is 88. I can recall the beautiful basic wear that she made to ensure that her seven children were clothed properly. And thanks to her frugal ways, we had at least one pair of good pajamas every Chinese New Year. It is the pajamas she made for us that make Lunar New Year such a warm and comforting event. They were cotton ones too!!
round collared pajamas my mother made for my sister, on the left. My sister grew up to become our family tailor/seamstress even though she is a trained teacher. Her workmanship is very perfect.  Must have inherited the genes from my maternal grandfather who was a China born tailor.

Mum never used paper patterns from Butterick to make the pajamas. She just placed the old pajamas on the floor and started cutting the cloth. As we were growing bigger, she just had to add an inch  or two to the seams, the length etc.  In no time, she would make one using her beautiful SINGER sewing machine. She did not even used pins. She just held two pieces of cut materials and sewed. A month before the Chinese New Year, she would buy the  cotton materials from Sibu (we lived in the Hua Hong Ice Mill  quarters on  Pulau Kerto).

Snap buttons

She used pressed/ snap buttons (I don't know if some of you remember what they are!) In Foochow they are called Bak Bak Kewk. (When people hear about buttons today, they think of something else actually, press the buttons and you get things done for example)

Pajamas made by her lasted and lasted and lasted. And of course they become hand me downs and even get passed around to the various cousins in Nang Chong.

Nowadays most  kids wear T shirts and shorts, or store bought fancy pjs to bed because their mums are busy career women who have earned income to spend on off the peg clothes. Times have changed and the weather seems to be too hot for long sleeves and long pants too. But my brother continues to wear China made cotton pajamas. A Foochow  40 year old  habit. Mum does not make any more pajamas now. She is retired from home tailoring.

Each Chinese New I would ponder on Chinese Pajamas. Sometimes I would buy for my children, sometimes not.  It is not a must have. But I think it is a good tradition to keep especially if you are quite good with the sewing machine.

But if you happen to see some good ones, you can always save some money and buy a pair or two.

My first thoughts today, when I opened my eyes...where have all those Chinese New Year pajamas wearing days gone? I would like to wear pajamas made by my mother. Round necks (no collar) with snap buttons, and simple cotton. I would not twitch because they are home made, I would not keep them at the bottom of the drawers, I would not secretly save my angpow to buy a nice store bought pajamas from Ngui Kee down the road in Sibu. I would want to wear them proudly and shout,"See my new year pajamas made by my pretty mother!!"

I would like to feel again, the old pajamas growing smaller, and the pants growing shorter over the year...I would like  to experience that euphoric feeling  that I am growing taller and more robust!!

I am glad that I have a Foochow Housewife for a mother - frugal, wise, good decision maker, simple, without make up, not be-panty hosed, not perfumed, not bejewelled,etc.

Thank you for the home made cotton pajamas.

Happy First Day of the Chinese New Year.

February 5, 2013

Buong Bou during the Japanese Occupation in Sibu

Boiled rice water - Buong Chui which was the soup every could help themselves to.
Rice is tied up in a handkerchief and put to boil. Buong Bou now boiling in a pot
The rice is now cooked. It is actually quite like nasi empit or ketupat.

This was the way rice was cooked in the Yuk Ing School hostel. Each individual had their own rice bag , the ration given to them by well wishers. A large kuali was used to boil the water and everyone put in their rice bag for cooking.

The resultant rice cooked this way is soft and fragrant.

This is going to be my dinner tonight.

Thanks to Elder Luk Soon Ping who related her life stories during the Japanese Occupation. Now I have this great idea for cooking rice especially when one does not have a Japanese Rice Cooker!!

February 2, 2013

Yellow Burr Head (Genjer)

When we were young in Sibu, our neighbours would collect Genjer or Paku Rawang for their stir fries. So we also learned to eat this wild vegetables until one day recently we were told to be careful because of some snails' eggs on the stems. All vegetables have infestation problems depending on how and where they are plucked from. We just have to be careful when preparing them.


In Indonesia, the poorest would eat this vegetables plucked from the wetlands. Some city dwellers get to buy them in the market too.

But in the 1940's a folk song was written by Muhammad Arif called Genjer Genjer.

and in the 1950's and 1960's the song was banned by the Soekarno Government because of its association with the Communist Party of Indonesia or PKI.

I think there is no harm we now play the song. It has been sung in Khmer and the tune is actually very lovely. Set to jazz music it is really very soothing.

Just consider the song as a folk song. It is beautiful, like the yellow flowers and fine taste of the young shoots.

The Yellow Burrhead is a great ulam dish served in many restaurants and at homes in West Malaysia.

Laba Zhou

Around the Chinese New Year, family members get together to exchange tales of yesteryears and modern tales. Besides my pumpkin stories, recently I heard about Laba Zhou from a Buddhist friend. And one of my staunchest Buddhist friend is Lucy who is an inspiration to many, especially the Deaf of Malaysia and Asia.

I may have to ask her more about this dish and its various legends.

How wonderful are these stories and legends about Chinese food, Chinese customs and traditions.

On the eighth day of the lunar month prior to Chinese New Year, a traditional porridge known as làbāzhōu (臘八粥) is served in remembrance "of an ancient festival, called Là, that occurred shortly after the winter solstice".[10] Làyuè (臘月) is a term often associated with Chinese New Year as it refers to the sacrifices held in honor of the gods in the twelfth lunar month, hence the cured meats of Chinese New Year are known as làròu (臘肉).

The porridge was prepared by the women of the household at first light, with the first bowl offered to the family's ancestors and the household deities. Every member of the family was then served a bowl, with leftovers distributed to relatives and friends.[11] It's still served as a special breakfast on this day in some Chinese homes. (Source: wikipedia)

 Laba Zhou & Traditions Of Chinese New Year 2012


According to my Buddhist friend, the labazhou may have its origin in India where Buddhism originated.

Buddha saw enlightenment while sitting under the Bodhi tree on the eighth day of the 12th month of the Lunar Year. So when you eat porridge on the eighth day’s the 12th month each year people commemorate him.
Today the Chinese Buddhists eat a special porridge made from glutinous rice, red beans, millet, Chinese sorghum, peas and another ingredients, for example dried dates, chestnut meat, walnut meat, almond, peanut, dried lotus seeds and etc. The ingredients are prepared the night before. Individuals will begin the preparation and stew the porridge at about midnight. The flavor differs from place to place, in the North (China), it’s a dessert with sugar added; in the South, salt and seasonal vegetables they fit in.

There’s another interesting story about Laba Zhou. In the past there is a man who led a wasteful life and eventually he ran from food one winter. His neighbor gave him the grain he dumped before and cooked the porridge. Afterwards eating Laba Zhou would be to teach children thrift in managing household.

February 1, 2013

Foochow Boat People : Foochow On Water (Tanka) People

 An interesting reading on the Tanka people of Asia brought me to some awareness of some 20th century studies.by researchers. Please note that many would find the word Tanka derogatory. to be politically correct  we refer to them as "on water people" sui shan ren jia.

These are sourced from Wikipedia :

  1. Anders Hansson (1996). Chinese outcasts: discrimination and emancipation in late imperial China. Volume 37 of Sinica Leidensia. BRILL. p. 117. ISBN 90-04-10596-4. Retrieved 2011-11-04. "Unless a change of surnames occurred for some unknown reason, or unless the ' water names' are not the real names of the Fujian boat people, it would seem that the Dan people (Tanke people)  lacked Chinese-style surnames at the time the Fujian branch" According to oral stories, people who live on boats do not have surnames.
  2. ^ Anders Hansson (1996). Chinese outcasts: discrimination and emancipation in late imperial China. Volume 37 of Sinica Leidensia. BRILL. p. 116. ISBN 90-04-10596-4. Retrieved 2011-11-04. "In a late Qing dynasty work which has a section on boat people that mainly refers to those in Fujian, common surnames are said to be Weng 翁 ('old fisherman'), Ou 歐, Chi 池 (pond), Pu 浦 (river bank), Jiang 江 (river) and Hai 海 (sea). None of those surnames is a very common one in China and a few are very rare."
  3. ^ Anders Hansson (1996). Chinese outcasts: discrimination and emancipation in late imperial China. Volume 37 of Sinica Leidensia. BRILL. p. 116. ISBN 90-04-10596-4. Retrieved 2011-11-04. "Some of them list the five names Mai 麥, Pu 濮, Wu 吴, Su 蘇 and He 何 The Huizhou prefectural gazetteer even states that there are no other boat people surnames, while others also add Gu 顧 and Zeng 曾 to make seven"

 Fuzhou Tanka (Fuzhou dialect: 曲蹄; Foochow Romanized: Kuóh-dà̤; Simplified Chinese: 福州疍民 Hók-ciŭ Dáng-mìng; 江妹仔 Gĕ̤ng-muói-giāng; 曲蹄婆 Kuóh-dà̤-bò̤), or Fuzhou Boat People, is an ethnic group in Fujian, China. A branch of the Tanka people, they traditionally lived on sampans in the lower course of Min River and the coast of Fuzhou in Fujian Province most of their lives and have been officially recognized as Han Chinese since 1955. (Source : Wikipedia)

I wonder if DNA tests are taken whether some of our Sibu Foochow people are related to the Tanka people. Many Sibu Foochows have Tie and Eu for surname, The surname He is found amongst the Heng Huas of Sibu. Zeng is however also a common Foochow surname.

I am not making any claims of knowledge about the Tanka People . It is my reading about the music of the Tanka people that brought me by accident to references to the Boat People of the Foochow regions.

Watch this space for future information!!




 http://www.fzda.gov.cn/tslmshow.asp?id=6049 (mentioned 方炳桂先生 - Foochow Folk lore expert)

What's the connection between Xian Singhai and the Sui Sang Ren Chia? 

Sibu Tales : Making Bah Gui from Scratch

The pioneering families of Sibu Foochows continued to practise the  adoption of girls from poor families who become their maids (slaves). ...