April 19, 2014

Sungei Merah Stories : Paring An Apple for your loved ones

What about some mud skipper soup?


I often think of the days when my grandfather and my father visited each other and they got on so well together. My father was past 50 and grandfather was already in his 70's. This also meant that grandfather married later than most Chinese men of his age.

His marriage to my father's mother was arranged by Rev James Hoover who have met a lovely Chong family in Singapore. The brother, Mr.JB Chong was likely to be engaged as an English Teacher in Sibu in 1909 and he had a sister of marriageable age. Rev. Hoover thought of my grandfather.

The match was a good one because both my grandfather and Grandmother Chong were very hardworking people. She presented my grandfather with a lovely fair skinned boy and the whole Sibu Foochow community was delighted.

Grandfather had loved his first born as most Foochow men would. And as children we enjoyed his visits. We also enjoyed our visits to Grandfather in Sungei Merah.

 One of the loveliest memories I have of my father and grandfather having a good conversation together was when my father visited him when he was ill not long before he passed away.

Father brought some apples for Grandfather and he carefully pared one apple for grandfather. In those days, paring an apple for a loved one was a very tender communicative moment. It was an act of love.

You see, in those days, paring of apples was a done thing and most Fujian men could pare apples very well. Today it is not a skill many people have.

I have tried paring apples myself but I would never do as skilfully as my father. My mother said so too. Today, we eat all our apples with the skin.But I do wonder if you pare an apple for someone would it be appreciated as much as my grandfather and father did.

Do you pare your apples before you eat?


Anonymous said...

Didnt know that the English word is 'pare' like we use it in Chinese dialect, at least in Hokkien.

Ensurai said...

Yes it is interesting...Pare is Hokkien. Pier is Foochow..

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