November 4, 2013

Sungei Merah Tales : Towkay Ah Mee's Wife , Siti - a love story

Siti was Lau Ah Mee's first wife of Iban descent. If you remember the days of the 60's a very popular place to hang out and to be seen by people was the Airport Cafe . It was owned by Lau Ah Mee, a most pleasant Heng Hua towkay.

He was also the contractor for MSA and later MAS airline meals. Contract was simple then: coffee, tea, a piece of cake, a packet of peanuts. Probably the contract was only a few thousand ringgit, not like today's hefty million ringgit contracts.

Ah Mee loved her and dressed her up in some of the most beautiful sarong kebayas people have ever seen in Sibu. The Ibans loved her very much and wished the husband and wife team well. Siti and Ah Mee had two two children together.

Photo below is from a friend who now lives in Perth. Menai and Siti are cousins.This was taken not long after Siti married Ah Mee. Look at the way she dressed her hair!!

According to friends from Sungei Merah, Siti was pretty and very active in socialising with every one in Sibu and Sungei Merah. She frequented the hair dresser in Sungei Merah and talked very warmly with friends in the market. If I am not mistaken, she was also one of the first Iban ladies to learn to drive in Sibu!! Ah Bee was just happy to see her so happy.

He bought her a lot of gold to delight her. In fact people were amazed by the gold she wore. But in those days, wearing of gold was common. If you had money, flaunt it. If you were happy with the gold bracelets, why not. There was no chance of robbery. In fact, Ah Mee was always near by and she was behind the counter , helping here and there. There was a helper in the kitchen .

However unknown to any one she disappeared one day, and actually according to her relatives there was no reason for her to run away at all from a lovely home. And from a man who totally adored her.

She just  disappeared. This was a very sad part of Ah Mee's life and we were quite sure that he was really heart broken.

Ah Mee however a long time later married a nice woman from Kapit. His children grew up and the airport cafe continued to be a happening place.

We kids particularly loved to have our evening walks at the airport when planes were no longer scheduled to touch down. Security was lax and in fact many people learned to drive their father's cars in the tarmac.

Ah Mee went on to prosper and became a very beloved community elder amongst the Heng Hua people.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story. Was she ever found again? Her whereabouts now?

Anonymous said...

It is a fact that many Chinese men in Sibu ended up with getting Iban mistresses, and some of them have children. Most of these women worked in Mission Road and 'night clubs.' Some of these men were gangsters in the town. I saw some of these cases in the 80's. I wonder if they have a happy life because they must be approaching an old age by now.

Ensurai said...

She was never found according to a friend. May be she went to Brunei and became a Muslim, hence disappeared as in different identity. Her parents passed away and her siblings also passed away. Ah Mee did try to find her. It seemed that he even advertised in the newspaper, but then most of her friends would not be able to read Chinese!!

Ensurai said...

Siti and Ah Mee actually married and they had some beautiful photos of their wedding (in the Airport Cafe and their home. That was how the Aup Ibans became dear friends of Ah Mee. Ah Mee was a very proper man. So Siti was not ever a mistress. It would be interesting to find more about the Mission Work Sex workers (new term). Miss Hung of See Hua in the past wrote many articles about them for your info.

Anonymous said...

> Miss Hung of See Hua in the past wrote many articles about them for your info.
Thank you for this piece of information. Only people like Wong Meng Lei may have the collection of articles.

Ensurai said...

I am not very sure about newspaper clippings, but may be the Sarawak Chinese Cultural Association under Mr. Chua Cheng Chong may have some records.

thanks for your interest.

Anonymous said...

Did they have any children? How long after heir marriage she disappered?

Ensurai said...

They had two children, a boy and a girl. She disappeared when they were still below 10 years of age. Most of us know Ah Mee's wife from Kapit as she faithfully served the customers for the rest of their lives in the cafe. She also helped Ah Mee a lot.

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