June 11, 2014

Nang Chong Stories : Watching Liu San Jie with Grandma

 How movies can make a political impact on a young girl who went to watch the same movie many times in the 1960's.


It was 1963 when the whole Rajang Valley was thrilled by the arrival of Third Sister Liu. Some villagers even chartered a whole motor launch to bring their fellow villagers to watch the movie in Sibu. In those days, for safety sake and also for lack of passengers, motor launches did not operate at night. People slept early in order to tap rubber in the early hours of the day.

A Catholic Priest was also excited when his students told him about Sister Liu in between their movie review conversation in the class.
Ah Niu...romantic main character who gained the heart of Liu San Jie

He then went to ask the St. Elizabeth nuns why the priests were not informed of the arrival of a new nun, Sister Liu.

According to my friends, the priest had a good laugh...But the nuns did not go to see the movie. They did say that probably the priests went to see the movie. We would never know.

My grandmother and I saw this movie several times. In those days, an older lady could bring in another person (grand daughter) for free especially when there were so many empty seats and when the door man knew my grandmother very well.

I loved watching movies especially when I could get a free comfortable seat. My grandmother often bought the best tickets in the Palace Theatre, and I would enjoy the soft upholstery of the "Reserved Seats" or Ter Bie Wui @ $1.10 (not GST, No tax. just the price).

But from that time on, I was anti-feudal lords, anti- wealthy and greedy people, and I was always for the underdogs. I disliked terribly those who were unjust, unkind, and unthinking. I even did not like some of my relatives who bribed people, threw money around, gave big tips to show off, and laughed at people from other races. I felt I was on the side of the Zhuang people agains the rich and unscrupulous. That was how much the movie impacted me.

Those were the days with my maternal Grandmother, Tiong Lien Tie.

(This post is in memory of my Grandmother who passed away nearly 30 years ago....)

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