This village called the Bang Mah Hor or Bai Hua He, was a thriving village with hundreds of acres of rubber and a strong cooperative society (its history was recorded in a book by Peter Goulart of the same name). An example of a Hii family from that village, whom I know personally still owns a large rubber plantation. When equally distributed amongst the third generation,more than 20 grandsons inherited about 20 acres each. Many Foochows who live in Miri still talk about the glory days of the 50's when their parents enjoyed a rubber boom due to the Korean War.
Most of the villagers of Bang Mah Hor have moved away from 1972 onwards, to West Malaysia, the UK, Australia and New Zealand because of the threat of political unrest and lack of economic development after Malaysia was formed.
Many of my relatives in Nang Chong and Hai Hua Hee (Bang Mah Or) remember one particular medical practice during the Communist Insurgency Period of Sarawak - 1958 -1974. And recently a friend reminded me of the practice with his stories of his childhood, interrupted by fear of uniformed soldiers and bullets flying from here and there.
This is from Mao's directive in 1966.....The “Ministry of Urban Gentlemen’s Health”* was compelled to admit its mistake, and on December 28, ’66, it notified the entire country of the cancellation of the mistaken notice banning chicken blood therapy. (later it was again revived because some high authorities believed that this therapy was in line with Mao's Thoughts...more on this in another post.)
|Chinese pamphlet promoting chicken blood therapy|
But strangely between 1962 and until 1972 , i.e. for 10 years, the people of the Rajang Valley, who were threatened by the Communists, were coerced into helping to buy syringes to inject chicken blood into the blood stream of the guerrillas. It was believed that it would help the guerrilas to become aggressive and faithful to the ideology.
Many Chinese were pulled between the two sides, if caught by the Government's Rascom soldiers or regiment, they would be tortured and if they refused the guerrillas, they had to "eat the bullet".
However this very tragic practice of "quack medicine" reigned even after the therapy was considered a HOAX in China. Read this :
"The popularity of chicken blood injections continued for around ten months in 1967 and 1968, perfectly in sync with the height of Cultural Revolution madness. Its puzzling echo of frenzied rebellion even today remains a baffling mystery.”
But of course in those days, without the Internet, our Rural relatives of Sarawak were none the wiser and they were like chickens themselves running here and there when the thunder roared and lightning struck.
Many of my relatives( who used to relate old stories)actually said that they were petrified of chicken blood and they themselves refused to be injected. Many who agreed to the injection said that they felt physically strong. So they supposed that the guerrillas who were given the chicken blood injection actually believed that they were stronger and were able to fight the enemies!!
An aunty from Sg. Teku, now living in Miri, who lost a brother to the war against the guerrillas, also confirmed the practice of Chicken Blood Therapy in the rural parts of Sibu. (Interview : August 2014)
Do you remember such stories? Please tell us.