April 30, 2014

Hua Hong Stories : Stone Grinder or Mill

I do not have a photo of my Great Grandmother's stone grinder, so I have grabbed on from Google here.

It was possible that my great grandfather brought a stone grinder with him to Sibu when he left China with his two sons, Tiong Kung Ping and Tiong Kung Eng. Or it was also very possible that they bought one a few years after they landed in Sibu . In the 1920's - 1930's the Foochow rubber tappers had prospered and stone grinders were popular items of homes, in fact, almost a necessity according to our elders.

However, my mother was very appreciative of the stone grinder in Hua Hong house and she reminded us  kids often that the stone grinder belonged to Dui Gung or Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother and we must never forget their legacy.

Grinding rice to make a batter was almost an every day activity in a Foochow household during the 1900's till 1970's when the electric blender became a very affordable domestic appliance.

My  China born Great Grandmother was a good kuih maker with original recipes from fujian, China.

My own grandmother also made quite a bit of nyonya kuih, since she was born in Java and educated in Singapore.

However my aunts and uncles would remember that it was our Second Grandmother Wong who made the best kuih in the 1930's . She made a lot for sale even and my young aunts and uncles would carry them in baskets to sell to the employees of the Ice Factory.

When my mother married into the family, she inherited the stone grinder, as she lived with my great grandmother for more than 6 years. By that time Second Grandmother Wong had passed away in Hua Hong. Great Grandmother lived with my mother for 7 years. Our cousin Yew Ping was helping to look after Great Grandmother until she got married. She was married to a Lau from Tulai.  Great Grandmother later moved to live with my grandfather in Sungei Merah. She left the stone grinder with my mother.

Today, this stone grinder is in Kuching, with my mother. It has moved house, from China, to Hua Hong, to Brooke Drive, to Airport Road and finally to Kasuma Resort, Kuching.

It would be nice to have family gathering around the stone grinder, have family members working on it, and waiting for the creamy white rice milk to drip into the pail. But then time has  really passed and the art of making our own rice batter has now been technologically changed.

We actually don't even have to blend our own soaked rice nowadays and who would even think of preparing a wet rice batter early in the morning before even the cock crows? We can buy Powdered Rice,or rice flour in supermarkets so easily.


Anonymous said...

I read a lot abt your Hua Hong stories and related areas. TQ so much for sharing n to keep memories going. Is the one called brick factory by one old man surname Lau related to you. Later the son is selling cars in Sibu.

Ensurai said...

Thanks for commenting. The brickyard owned by my grandfather was called Kiong Ang. I am not sure about the brickyard you have mentioned. I am related to a number of Laus. What is the name of this towkay? and his son?

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