|The bicycle was a very important means of transport in Sibu and the surrounding villages in the 50's to 70's. Here Cousin Kung Lien and cousin Kung Siu. She was often cycled even when she was heavily pregnant after she got married in 1970's. Photo from Lau Kung Mei, Miri.|
|three of her six sons...meeting for lunch in Sibu. One son now resides in Miri, another in Kuching. four sons are in Sibu. What wonderful people of Bukit Lan...the Sii Family. (Photo by Sarawakiana)|
|My Cousin Kung Lien and her six sons and six daughters in law, and grand children. A truly God fearing family. (Photo from Sii Hee Kang's album)|
Any one expecting the delivery of a child was naturally nervous as the hospital, private clinics and even local midwives were not easily accessible. All roads were blocked, motor launches were not allowed to ply their usual business and 24 hour curfew could be announced any time. The normal curfew was 12 hours, from dusk to sunset. In 1971, 72 days of 24 hour curfew were imposed.
Curfew was imposed to block all food to the CCO or Chinese Communist Organisation, all access roads and all communications with the guerrillas. Police roadblocks were every where and population registration was carried out.
Sibu town was under curfew too but it was not as severe as in the rural areas. Normal life was carried out. Relationship between the local police, Police Field Force and the civilians was good. Peace was expected to be upheld by all. Only a few occasional killings and murders happened in the rural areas when gun fire was exchanged between the forces and the CCO's. Informants were brutally murdered by the CCo's.
My cousin Kung Lien from Nang Chong but married to a Bukit Lan man was expecting her child and she was fortunate to be able to stay a few days in Sibu with her sister in law. On the expected day she cycled to Lau Fong Fei Maternity Home from Bukit Assek, which was just nearby.
Sister Lau Fong Fei was an expert in midwifery. In those days, there was an injection which could induce the delivery of a baby. Because of the fear spreading around caused by curfew, my cousin wanted her baby to be delivered earlier so that she could go back to Bukit Lan during the day time by the riverine motor launch. Sister Lau Fong Fei was kind and she suggested that the baby should be induced and be delivered by 9 p.m. that night. Her bicycle was the least of my cousin's worry according to Sister Lau.
Indeed the baby boy arrived exactly at 9 p.m. and my cousin stayed two nights and a day, the usual expected stay at the maternity home at that time.
She took the motor launch back to Bukit Lan with the new born baby all wrapped up in the usual towels, while she herself was fully covered from any wind. Confinement Wind (chills) was the greatest fear of a new Foochow mother. So socks and all, she braved the elements and sat in the motor launch which took more than 4 hours to reach Bukit Lan.
The captain of the boat was very kind. Upon arrival at the jetty of the Sii house, the captain carried the new born baby to the house and asked my cousin to wait for a while. He came back to take her slowly back to the house. It was very gentlemanly of him to extend such a kind gesture.
My cousin has 6 boys : three born in the Lau King Howe hospital, two born in Bukit Lan, with the help of Foochow midwives on weekend visit to families (using borrowed equipment from Hii King Lien, the local Chinese Sinseh).
My heart becomes so overflowing with respect when I listen to her stories of child births and anecdotes of our village life. God was mightily with the people of Sibu during those crisis days and took them out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death.