April 19, 2014

Nang Chong Storires : Two Men Saw

In the 1950's to 1960's life in Nang Chong was still very slow and steady.

The economy was post war sluggish and every farmer and rubber tapper was getting their act together, recovering from the very disastrous Japanese Occupation.

My mother's family was mourning for the unexpected passing of my grandfather. Grandmother Lien Tie successful reached Sarawak after having been stranded inChina during the war years. She arrived in Sibu with my second uncle, Lau Pang Kui and his bride, Ting Ing Nga, a Fuzhou born beautiful, and college educated young lady.

Once again the Foochows took to their rubber gardens and started tapping. And within ten years, they saw a rubber boom created by the 1954 Korean War! But it was also the same year that our family




lost our brilliant youngest uncle, Lau Pang Teck,an English speaking (from Sacred Heart School) agriculture graduate from Serdang. He chose to take up an engineering degree course in Beijing and he also felt that the new Communist China was the country to be.Against all good advice he left Sibu on the Soon Bee.

So my Third Uncle, Pang Sing, was left to look after our grandmother and his own growing family.

Uncle Pang Sing had only three years of education,his childhood completely traumatised by the Japanese Occupation and he was too old to continue his studies after the war.

One of the best skills he had was using the two men saw, or double handled saw. He, being a very strong man, would slowly work on the log along, He would slowly push the saw to one end and then slowly pull the saw back towards himself. And patiently for days he would saw in this way under the rubber smoke house.

It was painfully slow but then the results were beautiful. The whole family derived a great deal of satisfaction seeing the logs cut and ready for the smoking of rubber sheets.

The family depended so much on this simple tool and the strength of my uncle to bring in a reasonable cash income. $2 per pickul of rubber sheets smoked. Each session, probably once a month, my uncle earned around $180.00 gross.

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