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)


Anonymous said...

Is that the same Paul Ling who used to be the Manager for the Cathay cinema?If he was the one ,then i do know him pretty well cos we were school mates in SHS back in the 60s.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes that's right. He is the same Manager. So you are also classmates with David Tiong etc. Paul has a good memory and he remembers his friends in Sacred Heart and all those in Sg. Merah. (He stayed in the Hua Seng Sawmill)

Anonymous said...

You should put Bintangor (Binatang) since it was in the 1930's. I have seen a land title issued by the Rajah brookes' Govt.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

That would be nice to frame up and keep for future generations to see. Thanks.

Ann said...

I commented in yr FB about the leather shoes KOK KOK, might be very rich because most people wore canvas shoes.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I think by then many Foochow men have already sold their first few bales of rubber sheets....and they could afford to buy some good shoes..to wear to go to Church ....

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