December 31, 2015

Sarawakian Local Delights No.4 : The Golden Brinjal or Terong Dayak

A dish of the Sarawak golden egg plant, or the wild Sarawak golden brinjal is a home cooked delight. Foragers can easily go into the wilds and, today in abandoned farms even, to collect a few of these round golden brinjals. They can be used make a simple soup, or just boiled brinjals, or a simple stir fry for a good meal with rice. In Sarawak they are called Terong Iban.

This berry (the brinjal is from the berry family) is sourish sweet and the best quality ones are fit for restaurant use.
Today local restaurants in Sarawak prepare fish head curry with them. The specialty ThaiTomyam would have a special taste if some slices of this brinjal are used.

In most longhouses, a good hospitable host would never forget to serve a large bowl of terong cooked with pork bones, or chicken .

There are so many ways of cooking it.
Just boil the terong with some garlic and onions and you can have a huge pot of sweet sourish vegetable. Every one will love it.
And also it can be easily cultivated nowadays.

And so perhaps to most Iban longhouse dwellers, this terong is the easiest dish to prepare for guests, even if they drop by unexpectedly.

December 30, 2015

Local Delights No.3 : Rice cooked in Bamboo

Photo taken by Sarawakiana at Matop, Julau.

In longhouses in Sarawak, and across the border, in Kalimantan too,the Ibans serve rice cooked in bamboo called lemang when there is a special occasion. This is  because it is more manageable and easier to serve. Scooping rice out of a pot is a little clumsy when there are hundreds of guests. With time constraints, guests can just pick one or two or more if they like.

 Besides this way of serving rice is also very convenient. It is very practical.. In the days before refrigeration, this lemang could remain fresh for more than a week. Farmers who had to walk many miles to their farm then could pack a lot of lemang for their farm work for three days or may be even for five days!! Lemang is very potable and so easily packed.

Once cut into this length (4 inches), and the outer skin of the bamboo peeled, it is very easy to "open" up the inner bamboo skin. The stump of rice can be handled by hand, dipped into a soup or sauce...and a meal is very easy, eaten with hands.

Rice cooked in bamboo is very tasty. Both ordinary rice and glutinous rice can be cooked in bamboo. The best lemang is actually made from newly harvested rice.

Local Delights Series No.2 : Cooking in Bamboo Stems

The Ibans and most of the other ethnic groups of Sarawak use bamboo stems to cook meat, vegetables, and fish in lieu of a cooking pot. This could be the result of the life style during the ancient days when cooking pots (of metal and clay) were not available. The Ibans do not have a pottery culture. Brass ware came after the Chinese started to trade in Borneo in the 11th Century or later. Pottery was started perhaps only after the Chinese settled down after the arrival of Islam in 1400.

Cooking in Bamboo is very much a popular culture now amongst the the Ibans.

However not all bamboos can be used for cooking. The best bamboo used as a vessel or receptacle for cooking is the young payang bamboo which measures an average of 2 feet from node to node and the thickness is just nice. Payang is good in retaining heat besides giving the dish a special aroma.

Most Ibans when they start constructing their longhouses would plant a few groves of payang. This is very pro-active and a sustainable manner of living.

Two Iban ladies at Matop Methodist Church, Julau, extracting pork from bamboo stems.

Food cooked in bamboo sheaths is very delicious and no oil is used. More often than not, crushed tapioca leaves are mixed with the meat. A ball of fresh tapioca leaves is used to stop the soup from leaking. All the juices are from the meat or fish and the tapioca leaves.

The fire is usually made from wood and an open fire place is always a good place to meet up with friends and nice conversation.

In a way, the men would look after the cooking of the food in bamboo while the womenfolk continue to prepare other dishes in the kitchen.

However serving is done by the women folks.

Local Delights Series No.1 : Buah Kundur and Chicken Soup

The Buah Kundur or Buah Ensaya (named after the Bisaya ethnic group) is easily grown in any longhouse garden. Each vine can produce at least 8 or 9 fruits. Some growing on very rich soils have known to produce even 20 fruits of very respectable sizes like 3 to 4 kilos. Some vines have known to produce fruits of more than 6 kilos.

Vines and root vegetables are beloved by the Indigenous people of Sarawak. Besides the Winter Melon can last a long time after being harvested without refrigeration and often friends and relatives are given them as gifts after visiting.  Hence their popularity as an ulu vegetable. Today slices of winter melons are sold in open markets, and not whole fruits.

The Ibans in particular love Buah Kundur.

In any longhouse a quick dish could be cooked over a wood fire in no time . The vegetable can be stir fried or boiled as soup (the normal method) and it can go with pork, ikan bilis, chicken, wild boar or just any game.

It is good for VIPS as well as for any strangers who happen to drop by the longhouse. Any respectable Iban longhouse dweller would never allow a stranger to leave his or her home without a simple meal.

According to a long time Iban longhouse chief, he related to the writer some time ago, "I am proud to say that as a Christian Iban, my longhouse people and myself would always ask a stranger the first question of 'Have you eaten"'. After that welcoming remark, we will proceed to the living room or dining area and what ever food we have, we will serve. This is our way of showing our respect to strangers who have come to our longhouse. It is very much like 'Peace,brother. We welcome you in our simple ways."

December 26, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : As Big as Heaven and Earth

When growing up in Sibu we often spent our holidays visiting our grandmother in Ah Nang Chong. Sometimes as many as 14 of us cousins would be visiting grandma. We were children from 3 sons and 4 daughters of my grandma. So you can imagine how noisy we could be. We would run up the wooden staircase to the upper floor which has a wide space for rice storage. There were 4 rooms too for Grandma and her visitors. Actually this double storeyed big house was made up of 5 units of double storeyed terrace house, in modern day terms. Furthermore the wooden house was stilted. In other words, it was a three storeyed house.

And in the evenings we would share stories with each other, or just listen to stories from Grandma and Third Uncle. We would all be sitting at the Lang Doh or adjoining balcony, enjoying the river breeze, under the large kerosene pressure lamp. Sometimes we would sit there and enjoy aroma of the steaming of huge baos which by 9 p.m. would be ready for supper. Third Uncle would always make enough for supper and breakfast the next day.

Somehow we could never get the same tasty baos any where in the world. Only in Ah Nang Chong. A well known baker in Miri told me that today, flour is different from the flour of yesteryears and he could understand what I was talking about.

The baos were as big as heaven and earth together!!

Here's another exaggeration. One of the stories we heard was about how big the land of a land lord in Minqing. Grandma said he was so rich that his land was as big as Heaven and Earth together - Tien Ah Bang Bang Duai. Well all our eyes grew big and we had to imagine how big that piece of land could be...

Later we also used to phrase to describe anything that was big...Foochows can exaggerate sometimes.

December 25, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : Midnight Carollers

Christmas of yesteryears in Sibu during my childhood was very different because of the social, historical, cultural and religious backgrounds then.

While waiting for the carollers to arrive, even after midnight, we would sit by the river banks and enjoy ourselves, watching the stars in the skies if it was a clear night. And from a distance we could hear angelic voices singing all the carols. Sound travels faster over water.

One of the stories we heard and shared all those years ago was this could be a man-made story, it could be a local gossip, and it was never verified as a teacher probably told a class of her students and then her students brought the story back to their families....and I heard it from my cousins one then I already knew about the Methodist Bukit Lan Clinic but I was not too aware about Animal Care...

However now I can tell this story to my grandson and my friend's children about love for animals and relate it to Bible stories...(Suitable Photos to illustrate later)

Carolling at midnight is now an element of a by gone era....

An Unusual Fairy Tale
Once upon a time, in Ah Nang Chong,a village by the banks of the Rajang River lived a poor mother and her children. Her husband was away working hard to bring back a small income.
One day the mother fainted by the river side while she was trying to draw some water for her old mother in law to bathe. She was so exhausted.
All her children were in school, about l hour's walk away.
Then came along an old, thin dog and she started barking for help.
This arouse the suspicion of a nearby neighbour who came down to see for herself and soon raised the alarm to save the woman.
More neighbours came and they rowed a boat to Bukit Lan where they could find a nurse to save her.
The woman was saved and she was given rest and some extra food.
When she was well, she took the old dog into her home and looked after her very well. In time, the dog was to help the family in many ways
The woman started to tell all the children in the neighbourhood not to hit old dogs but to give them food to eat. The dog continued to be the body guard of the woman and her children.
And the woman, her children and the old grandmother lived happily together, ever after.
God wants us to be humble and recognise each other's values even if we were the lowest of the animals.


December 20, 2015

Sibu Tales : The Second Wedding Gown

In the 1950's every bride would be expected to change from her bridal gown after the wedding rituals into a new gown, who could be knee length or a full length gown.

Photo from Google..This was the kind of bridal dress or gown you could rent in Sibu.

It was a hard decision to make: knee length or full length?

All these second gown or reception gown had to be hand sewn and custom made, while the wedding gown could be made to order from Singapore, especially by the richer families. Those from poorer families would have to rent bridal gowns from the shops or tailors who would have stock with suitable sizes. Some tailors would have more, and some only four or five for the year. So some brides actually wore a rented gown which might have been worn by more than 10 brides.

Now the reception gown was a great item for gossip or talk in a small village...too daring, too much exposure of skin, too tight?????

Some brides had poor taste and they would look horrible in their poorly made dresses. Some would look like stuffed bolsters because they chose long sleeves and a superflous skirt, etc etc...

The poor bride would be hot in her dress and her make up would become runny with her sweat especially if the restaurant they were having their reception was not air conditioned. Air conditioning was something new then.

 While some of course would chose a simple dress and look the perfect bride...and the reception would be a breeze.

This reception gown could be pink,peach, red or purple. No other colours would be deemed suitable because all elders like to see brides in auspicious colours.

Today brides try to lose at least 5 kg for her wedding...just to look nice in their wedding gowns and reception gowns..

Some things never change...and some traditions only become better.

December 18, 2015

Sibu Tales...Foochow Girls and School Embroidery

In the primary school in the 50's and 60's girls had special sewing classes.

for a whole year, we learned, one lesson a week to learn the basic embroidery stitches. And for that I was ever so grateful to Mrs. Chee and Miss Mamora for teaching us sewing.

Towards the end of the year, we used the cross stitched material, with our not such wonderful stitches, to make a nice pouch. That pouch was with me years to keep my pencils and other things.

It was a good experience and it was only much later in life I realised how important those basic stitches are.
Blanket Stitch

Today I still do a bit of sewing, and I smile when I need to use Blanket Stitch, or Running Stitch. I believer that whatever we learn well, we never forget.

And the training was good because we girls were trained to make everything by ourselves, to be self sufficient...and not buy anything if possible. That's a great value to have.

If you wanted something, you have to make it yourself. (That's a Foochow saying and that explains why the Foochows are so enterprising.)

December 13, 2015

Sibu Tales : How an Anteater was Captured

Not too long ago, my cousins and friends got together to talk about our village life in the Rajang Valley and the stories really made us feel that we had really great childhood.

And from a friend, who was able to tell another story of her childhood which was filled with innocence, adventure and joy.

She and her brothers went to school early in the morning and saw on anteater climbing up to a hollow of a tree. The siblings then were all below the age of 10.
Photo from my former student Patrick. Ulu Baram.
Her brother could not wait to go home in the afternoon.

Once they got home, the brother got hold of a sarong and some wood. He had decided to smoke the anteater out of the tree hollow. And indeed all the siblings helped each other build the fire and made the smoke go upwards.

And soon enough the anteater dropped from the tree, The boys wrapped up the anteater with the sarong and off they went home.

That evening neighbours came to help slaughter the anteater, some got the scales for medicinal purposes , one particular family asked for its blood. Before nightfall, a big fire was made and a huge pot was on it. The family and neighbours had a good meal.

My friend until today still could not understand how her young brother knew how to get the anteater off the tree and how he thought of using a sarong to bring home the animal.

Such was the life of village children. So innocent, so carefree, and so full of good memories.

November 27, 2015

My Maternal Cousins fro, Sibu,Sarikei and Kuching

Ah Ping and her husband Wong Sing Ai, Ah Hoo and his wife, Yuk Ong and his wife, Ing Kwong, Siew Kwong and her husband Ing Seng.

Lau Kiing Tuan, with Third Aunt and their children and grand children. Four generations here.

November 26, 2015

Sibu Tales : Ungrateful relatives

Most families are large amongst the Foochows of Sarawak.

This was because when the Foochows first came to Sarawak they brought with them their culture, values and agricultural practices from Fujian. In 1901, they settled in the delta of the Rajang, which was actually quite a lonely and prohibitive, mosquito and vermin infested area. The land needed drainage and the Rajah Brooke did not know any better, only hoping against hope that these Chinese agriculturists would come and develop that region and make it prosperous like the Yangtze region, which he had only heard about!!

The hardworking Foochows' reputation was further confirmed by people who introduced them to him. Hence Wong Nai Siong was given the green light to bring in 3 batches of Foochow farmers at the invitation of the Rajah, and promises of allowances were given in return for the land that they would "wake up from their deep slumbers".

Life was tough, flood was regular, many died from diseases, snake bites took many hundreds of lives. In fact in one way a plague like disease struck them until one Foochow man commented, "To day I carry many corpses for burial, tomorrow I would not know who will carry me to my grave."

It was in such hard times that a Foochow man brought out three of his distant relatives to work in his rubber estate. He gave them free board and food and treated them as his own for five years. the wife raised pigs, chickens and planted vegetables and padi for every one and there were easily four tables in their kitchen. To this man, it was good because every one was helping out. A small token salary was also given out the the relatives who were working for him. Food was any way fairly easy to come by.

The relatives got married and soon moved away and they prospered.

But in no time, they forgot about the man who vouched for them to land in Sarawak. They also forgot how he and his family provided fro them for five good years.

This was a common story amongst the Foochows in the 1920's and 1930's.

When the Second World War broke out this Foochow man was in need of medication, while his own sons were stranded in China and his wife had passed on  some years before the war.. His rubber garden was untapped and all his relatives had moved on. It was good that his only daughter came to help him out.

He told his daughter to forgive and to forget because the only factor of their dire straits was his ill health. He had exhausted himself. Time was hard for every one. And he blessed his daughter like any good Foochow father would. He then died peacefully in his sleep. He had tried his best to live 40 years in Sibu. And he had raised 3 educated children.

His two very educated sons returned to Sibu and inherited his land and slowly brought the rubber garden to life again, even though it was a big struggle.

His daughter had married a poor scholar and as soon as the war was over she "returned to China" and joined the Chinese revolution.

We must always remember those who have helped us along our life's journey. We have to bless them in return. This is the only way for God's kingdom to prosper.

November 23, 2015

Sibu Tales : Unhappy "Nail in the Eye" Ghost

There was once a very poor family in which a duaghter in law would do all the work like a slave, planting vegetables, reared ducks and chickens for both meat and eggs.

The mother in law ill treated her because she had four daughters and one son and the only one living with her. The other two sons and their wives were overseas being better educated.

This son worked in timber in Indonesia and was known to have another wife in Indonesia, as was a common practice in those days by most Foochow men. Some good Foochow men did not keep a secondary wife when they worked in the timber camps.

While the son was working away in Indonesia and coming home only for Chinese New Year, the mother in law Ill treated the daughter in law and her ill treatments were well known through out the town and villages.

Finally the health of this daughter in law suffered as she did not go to hospitals fo checkups after her five children were in their teenage. She kept working and selling duck and chicken eggs until one day she fainted in the market.

She was diagnosed with kidney failure and that actually would cost the family a lot of money. And indeed within a year, she died because she just gave up and did not wish for treatment. By then her eldest daughter was already working and life was slightly better, but she could not have good medical treatment, which was also not so readily available in Sibu in those days.

When her husband sent back money, it was to his mother's account and she any way did not get a single cent.

She then just died a slow death.

However after her death, her mother in law started seeing visions of her in the house, by the river side and especially in the chicken coops. She chose to move in with her richer sons in another city.

Perhaps the mother in law then felt that she had come back to haunt her. It was said by many people that the mother in law went to many temples to burn some joss sticks in her memory but the ghostly visits did not abate.

By then the children were already studying in boarding schools, as arranged by the local headmen and had government scholarships. Somehow their father also did not come back to Malaysia.

One day the ghost "travelled" to Indonesia and her unfaithful husband died while working in his office. The doctors found many bruises on his neck which looked like two hands which stranged him. The man was certified dead by the camp medical team.

The mother in law was put into a nursing home by her smarter sons and no one heard about her ranting and raving any more.

The local people had this to say about the mother-in-law : "She was never able to accept another woman in her life. This good daughter in law was like a nail in her eye."

The Chinese word Peace and Tranquility is denoted by ANG, which is made up at the top, Roof and at the bottom, Woman. So Ang is represented by One Woman under One Roof.

Sequel to the story:

My cousin moved to Miri about ten years ago and she told me the end of the story.

Fast forward to 1970's . My cousin was already an aging lady when she passed by a small little house which had a shrine somewhere in the kampong. Apparently, the villagers claimed that a lady ghost came to the dream of one of the "good women" of the village and told her to burn joss sticks under a certain tree in the village.

When this lady woke up, she was speaking in tongues and the local medium was called. The whole incident was interpreted as a gift from an unhappy ghost. The villagers must build a shrine to the ghost. The medium also said that the shrine should be dedicated to this Sieng Goo because she wanted more people to burn joss sticks for her to redeem all the agonies she suffered while alive.

As a result the shrine was built for this Sieng Goo and later, many women who burned joss sticks for her received the correct and winning 4D numbers.

Her fame spread.

(Note : But how true are all these stories, only that particular village people would know. My cousin is a believer of mediums, sieng goo and Kwang Ing.)

November 19, 2015

Sibu Tales : "Returning to the Homeland"

Before Malaysia was formed, Sarawakian Foochows were free to travel to China. The Pioneering Foochows came in 1901 and many actually went back to China for many reasons, for funerals, to tend to the aging parents and grand parents, to find wives for themselves and their son, for medical treatment, for further education and sometimes to spend their last days.

Hence "returning to the homeland" was a big deal.

Photos taken in those days would also have captions written at the bottom of the photo. This is a good way to help relatives to remember the occasion, and this particular photo would probably be taken back to China to Gutian, especially for the Tiong relatives and other friends. The message was also very clear, "We are doing fine in Sarawak."

Photos like these are very meaningful because they tell us what people were wearing, whether economically they were already stable etc. And this photo particularly tells us that the Foochows were still very God fearing. The caption says that the Church Sing Hook Tong's committee members bid farewell to Rev and Mrs. Wong Lee Huo. 1948 (May 11th)

God helps those who are faithful to prosper. One of our most fervent Methodists in the history of Sibu is Uncle Tiong Wang Ming.

November 18, 2015

Sibu Tales : Chopping of chicken Head in Temple

Have you ever heard of two women going to a temple to end a dispute by ordering a chopping off of  chicken head?

How did this practice originate among the Chinese? It was held fairly frequently in Sibu, at the various temples when I was a child.

There is a historical origin of this practice.

It was Qing legal system whi enabled both plaintiff and defendant to make a promise in the temple and write it along with a curse or punishment on a piece of yellow paper. Then they killed a chicken, chopped off its head, let its blood drip onto the  paper and burned the paper.

It was believed that because the promise was made before the gods, if an untruth had been told by one of the parties concerned, he/she would suffer the indicated punishment. 
Many Chinese were very willing to Chop of Chicken Heads at the temple....and also they did not trust the British Legal System of Sarawak then.
Quite often we hear of women asking for chopping off chicken headswhen they wanted justice to be done.

 That was as good as saying that they had told the truth, or that they wanted fair hearing of their case.

So if I tell you that I have told you the truth and you don't believe me, I would lead you to the temple, with a chicken under my arms, and then chop off its head...rather brutal isn't it? But it does prove a point.

Go figure it out....

November 10, 2015

Sibu Tales : Chicken Feet

When the cold storages started to open in Sibu, my family was so happy about one particular product : chicken feet.Image may contain: food

My mother would cook the chicken feet in several different ways : soup with old cucumber and red dates, braised chicken feet, dim sum style chicken feet with black beans...and later I added Thai style salad chicken feet (boneless).

Eating of chicken feet saved a lot of money for those budget conscious families.

And there were also many family stories related to chicken feet: mum would save the chicken feet from my confinment months and keep them for special meals of chicken feet, and quite often she would also buy chicken feet from the cold storage (Ah Huat) for my grandmother who lived in Ah Nang Chong.

We used to eat lots of chicken feet as snacks and swap stories. That would have been my favourite times with my cousins in Ah Nang Chong.

But the best were the wedding banquets that we had in Ah Nang Chong when so many chickens were slaughtered and the feet saved for Siak Pah Rang...meaning getting together to eat a specially prepared dish...and also not to waste food...

Siak Pah Rang is no longer practised I think....

November 5, 2015

Sibu Tales : First Cars

The first car in Sibu was probably the car which was driven by the District Officer, or the Resident.

No one now had ever seen it. It must have been 1920's when the first car arrived.

But the stories were amusing and of course awesome.

There were also no photographs of cars of those days in Sibu.

For example, how did my father learn to drive in the 1940's. Who did he learn from? Did he learn to drive in Kuching?

Here is an amusing story: When the first car was driveng by the D.O. people were scared that they would be knocked down and die and instant death.

So many people then, walking along the road woud jump into the bushes whenever they heard the car coming towards them or from behind.

An uncle remarked "We were young then. It did not matter if the bushes were thorny. We wanted to save our lives!! When the car passed, we would heave a sigh of relief and mind you, our hearts were really beating fast. We were scared to death!!"

November 2, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : Fish Eggs

In the olden days, fish eggs were given away with the fish one bought. Sometimes those eggs not taken by the consumers were also given free to those older people who needed the nutrition.

When my uncles caught fish, they would always reserve the fish eggs for my grandmother.

The fish eggs were usually steamed, sometimes separately, sometimes together with the fish. It was an act of filial piety.

A good fishmonger, of Sibu,our family knew would keep some fish eggs for a few older people, who were weak and sickly.

In those days, I thought he was very kind and generous. Genuinely good person.

It was a very nice gesture from this guy. I once noticed a poor old man coming by his stall and pointed out to the cheapest fish to buy less than a dollar of the fish.

"Enough for lunch and dinner ", the old man said.

And Ah Boon, bless his good heart, without saying anything, wrapped up some fish eggs and gave to him.

The purchase was less than 1 dollar then.

Later Ah Boon whispered to me that the poor man did not have much rice even.

But the scene remains in my memory. What a good man Ah Boon was. He was doing exactly what the Bible says, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38.

Praise God we have good people to be our role models.

October 29, 2015

Food of Sibu : Jiang Lok or Chendol

Many people would nowadays want to make their own chendol (jian lok) at home.

regarding the pronunciation of the original word which is Malay. It is Chendol but the Hokkien says it in a very corrupted form, Jian lok. The Mandarin/Chinese words are interesting : transliteration of Chendol has become Sauce Happy.

The green chendol (must be green because the colouring comes from pandan leaves juices.

The best chendol is served with gula apong.

Chendol Recipe :-
20 pandan leaves, roughly chopped (aka screwpine leaves), blend to make juice with a bit of water.
1 glass rice flour
1 small teaspoon kapur
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
(some green colouring)
3 glasses water.

1. Set aside a basin of cold water
2. Add all the ingredients into a non stick pot and stir over slow fire.
3. Cook until the dough is sticky and shiny on surface.
4. When still hot push the dough through the chendol "maker" or sieve into the prepared basin of water.
5. The little strings of chendol can be stored in a bottle with the water for one or two days.

How to serve Chendol
1. Prepare bowls for individual servings.
2. Prepare boiled sago pearls, cut grass jelly in each individual bowls.
3. Prepare some ice shavings, or ice cubes and place in the bowls.
3. Add brown sugar syrup or maple syrup, some evaporated milk to make a full bowl of tropical dessert.


October 28, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : Chien Mien Gang

Braised pork,belly pork and some ears with salted soy beans and soy sauce.

Foochow domestic noodle industry - dried noodles popular in town and in the rural areas popular in the 20th century in Sarawak. AKA Mee Sangol.

Braised pork rib noodle/kueh tiau, WET. (you can also have the dry version) 

The flavours of yesteryears. How they bring one down memory lane.

My maternal grandmother would boil about 6 bundles of these chien mien gang (dried noodles) in the morning for breakfast. There were at least twelve boisterious children in the house, some from the town and others from Third Uncle and Youngest Aunty during the holidays. The visiting cousins would never want the holiday to end mainly because of the food and the space.

She would then use some of the left over braised pork (with preserved soy beans) as a nice sauce to toss the boiled noodles with. How we children loved the Sanba breakfast...And that was not the only kind of breakfast we had. Grandma and Third Aunty would come up with many different kinds of Foochow breakfast.

The third photo is a 21st century spin off of my grandmother's noodles from Nang Chong..

And then (in those 20th century days)  we could not wait for lunch!! What was for lunch? Something good definitely.

October 25, 2015

Sibu Tales : Fillings for Baos and Zongzi

During my childhood, my maternal grandmother and an aunt made the best baos and changs (zongzi) for the whole extended family. Grandma would use the zongzi as her annual gifts to her daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren.

This aunt would get up early to collect the pork from the village butcher well ahead of the other villagers. And the whole morning the mother and daughter-in-law would be busy wrapping up the changs. By noon, the changs boiling in the large tin would be ready. Children would eat first. The process of boiling the changs would be right into the night as many batches had to be made.

Early the next morning my maternal grandmother would bring the changs to Sibu by motor launch, to distribute them to her three daughters and their families. It would take her at least two hours by the slow boat. This was our May festivity and we looked forward to it.

Later as Sibu developed, and as grandma aged, she would come to Sibu to make the Changs for us, while Aunt would make for her growing children in Nang Chong. Grandma could not make so many by then and my sister had already learned to make changs. My mother and I were not very good with the wrapping of changs and we gave up making them..

Also by then things were more expensive and grandma also made less. The grandchildren were growing up and moving away, so she did not have to give so many to each of her daughters.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from grandmother and especially aunt was the love we should put into the fillings : the best of lean meat and the best of mushrooms.

As for changs,we must always put in a whole chestnut together with the meat slice amd mushroom.

With this kind of cultural background and family culinary home education, today we actually find it hard to accept the commercial baos which contain all sorts of poorer quality meat and tissues in the fillings. It would be very hard to find baos with a good slice of meat as filling nowadays.

Love is putting the best meat in the fillings for baos and changs.

(However, the biggest red beans must be found to make the best of Foochow Whole Red Bean Chang, which is very iconic and special for us, who had enjoyed our maternal grandmother's that's another story.)

October 24, 2015

Sibu Tales : Good Siblings

Tales from Wooden Houses (1) Good Siblings

In Sibu there are often stories of mothers who have favourites amongst their children.

When we were young we used to visit an elderly woman who sold kuih and fruits from her wooden house. She was not really an unpleasant woman but she was what we called LI Hai (superwoman)

We also never knew who her husband was but she had 7 children. It was reported that he died an early death. She never remarried.

All her children worked like ants in the house, especially the oldest son, who actually looked more or less like the slave of the family.

The children grew up and got married and moved away, but the eldest son and his wife continued to live in the house, but at the back, an extension of the kitchen.

We continued to walk past their house and continued to buy snacks for one reason or another. The wife of the eldest son continued the small business from home and she included selling of chickens and ducks, which brought in more income for the old lady.

However, at times, we could even see the old lady hitting the head of her eldest son.

As time went by people always talked about this old lady having "big eye and small eye", or having "big small heart".

We would never know why she disliked her son so much.

Her eldest daughter in law actually was her carer for more than 8 years when the old lady was bed ridden. This wonderful woman never complained and she continued her business of selling chickens and ducks.

After the old lady died, she left her property only to her other five sons, but nothing to her eldest son. She also sold her house and her eldest son had to move to another part of Sibu quite far away to rear chickens and ducks.

So we wondered if the eldest son was an adopted son. No one would know the real reason why she hated this son so much, not even the daughter-in-law. He was not poorly educated because he could do clerical work for a towkay.

But the beautiful part of the story was, all the siblings put together their shares and carved out a new share for their big KOR KOR and SOH, for they considered him their surrogate father. They even bought the couple a car, for their old age.The eldest brother and sister-in-law lived up to a very old age,garnering a lot of respect from their neighbours.

This is one story of good siblings. It is really a very good example of filial piety.

(Story told by the neigbhours of the eldest daughter in law)

October 23, 2015

Sibu Tales : Juo Buo (Blacu)

Blacu or Jua Buo is a rough cotton material which the Foochows use for funerals.

The blacu TODY is cut into 2 yards for waist bands, and for handling of the coffin (casket) by the pall bearers. All immediate family members would tie a piece of blacu on their waist. The ladies would cover their head with another piece of this cloth.

In the past, the wearing of blacu was more elaborate. For example in the 1960's the children would wear mourning clothes made from blacu for 100 days, at least. It was very heart breaking to see mourners wearing these badly made mourning clothes.

In fact some families even engage a special tailor to make all the mourning clothes for three days before the funeral.

There would be a lot of wailing and moaning when the funeral clothes were put on.

As part of the funeral rites and rituals, relatives would be given one piece of blacu cloth to take home, after they had given a token of money, called White Gold.

Families who were well related i.e. with big families and therefore having more funerals to attend, would collect a lot of these blacu materials.

As a result, the frugal mother would make blacu pajama trousers for the children to wear.

After my father's funeral, my aunt made several pairs for us and we actually wore them for many many years as the material is very lasting.

Any left over material would be made into bags, pillow cases, and even the backing for quilts.

This is because the material is long lasting or in Foochow it is very tahan.

October 20, 2015

Sibu Tales : Seller of Ginseng

The bian dang was a great lever used when the Foochows first came to Sibu in 1900's> Led by Wong Nai Siong and Lik Chiong, the Foochow pioneers were very honest people who worked hard and were very religious and disciplined.

Most Foochow men were glad they could cut many shoulder poles from the bamboos found along the river banks of the Rajang in the early days.

A shoulder pole or bian would help the men and the women carry more load as they walked from place to place. It was considered an earlier "vehicle" than the wheel barrow.

This photo from Google reminded me of the stories told by our teachers in school about the early days in Sibu . The late Mr. Lau Tieng Sing, Mr. Lu Yew Nieng, Mr. Eu How Chong and even Mr. Deng Wang Chiew, during more relaxed times like Sit-ins would regale us with stories of the pioneering days of the Foochows in Sibu.

One such story was about men and women who sold goods from village to village.

And this particular one was related to the man who sold ginseng and other herbs. He would obtain his supplies from Poh Nguong and then he would walk from house to house. Ginseng was not really affordable in those days, but Pak Ding (8 Treasures), Chow Yi Jar (Smelly Root) and Perillia were more affordable. Besides, it was cheaper to get from this kind of peddler than for a housewife to take a boat to go to Sibu. It would have really be a waste of a good day's labour!!

Why did he sell ginseng and herbs and walked from village to village? Probably he had no other skills like tailoring, or carpentry. And he claimed to earn just a few cents from each packet he sold. Cheap but good

And he would call out in his loud Foochow voice, " Seng", "Yong Seng", "Pau Seng", "Seng Di" AND SOMEtimes he would sing a few Foochow folk songs under the cool shady leaves of the rubber garden roads.

That was even before the coming of the bicycle to Sibu.

And then one day, he just did not come again to one village.

And the reason was because he accused one relative of stealing his ginseng. This ginseng seller would go from house to house and when night fell, he would get accomodation from a relative, where he would stay for the night, and of course get a free meal.

But one day he found he had some precious ginseng missing and he started to accuse his relative of stealing.

In those days, theft and telling lies were the worst sins any Foochow would commit. And it was very rare actually to find a thief amongst the early Foochows. Liars were often reprimanded by none other than Rev James Hoover himself!!

The social mores then were very strict Methodist culture.

Perhaps his accusation was wrongly directed and he was advised not to come any more. Or perhaps he got a new job or move some where else.

No body liked to be wrongly accused of stealing.

October 16, 2015

Sibu Tales : Over night bread

My father was a man of good taste, quiet disposition, taciturn and a great reader who kept to himself most of the time. He actually did not like to socialise with people. At one time, an uncle came to his work place and said, "Why are you so happy sitting on a rock like that?"

My father answered,"There is a lot of peace sitting on a rock, over looking my workers in the quarry. It is better than sitting on a chair, which may be removed from under you by crafty men!!"

My father was all for peace and harmony, reflection and kindess to others. His pet hate, if he had any, for people who were usurpers. He had studied too much Chinese history.

One of his joys was food. And he once told a friend that one of his favourite meals was breakfast. He would buy eggs from his good friend Mr.Cheng Kuok Kong,who lived along Queensway. His bread was always from Tiong Huo Hin, his cousin. He would buy bread in the evenings , on his way back from Kiong Ann Brickyard, and later Takang Quarry in Sg. Aup.

We did not have a toaster in those days, so he used his own home made rack, made from three small pieces of iron rods which he placed over charcoals. He could either use the Foochow stove or the small portable charcoal stove.

I remember how he and my mother would together make the toasts at the back of the kitchen in the morning, chatting softly and perhaps whispering a few jokes to each other. My father was conservative and he made sure that we kids did not listen to some tales not "fit for our ears".

His breakfast eggs were always done in the Foochow way, i.e. eggs placed in an enamal cup and boiling water poured into the cup. The eggs would stand in the hot water for about 6 minutes and the perfect half boiled eggs would result.

He would get up as early as 5 a.m. in the morning. And he would always make  the first cups of coffee for  himself. He would bring up a cup of coffee for my mother upstairs .

My mother was allowed to be in the bed room for a longer period of time so as not to rouse the younger children and only later my mother would come downs stairs to pour the cooled  boiled water into the sunkist bottles for the day. She would later boil another kettle to fill the two Chinese hotwater flasks. The Foochow stove would have the live coals until time for my mother to cook lunch. It was her way of ensuring that the fire did not have to be started all over again.

The morning would be half gone by the time my mother sat down for her newly toasted bread, with kaya and butter. And we would all be in school. Dad would have gone to work in Sg. Aup too.

WE would never throw away bread from Sg. Merah for some of the overnight bread would still be so edible the following day. Sometimes my father would even buy the left over bread from his Hainanese friend in town. They would also make such nce extra toasts for the family.

Mornings were good times for her and the younger children at home.

October 12, 2015

Sibu Tales : Minced Pork, Jak Niik

tok tok tok tok

The sounds of chopping meat on a wooden chopping board were such good music in our ears. We would have minced pork (Chak Niik) for lunch.

Those days before the mincer was available, or before minced pork could be store bought , Mum had to mince pork using the cleaver...Some how whenever we heard her making the tok tok tok noise on the chopping board we would have our smiles on.

Minced pork is just so versatile in Foochow kitchen.

It can be used to make a good dish of steamed minced pork with egg, it can be part of a soup, or it can be stir fried with the long white cabbage. Your imagination can bring the minced pork to any level you like!!

It is a life saviour for me in my kitchen. It is so dependable if I have some portions of it, cooked and frozen, or freshly frozen....

I like mine cooked this way, with lots of salted soy beans...I can just eat a bit of rice, and pick on every salted soy beans. I dont mash the beans.....The medium sized pieces of garlic also help me to enjoy my meal..hence, not minced too.

October 11, 2015

Sibu Tales : Dining Table turned Upside Down

In our younger days we were often told tales about step mothers and step sons. We were told secrets we had to keep.

But some of the tales had to be told so that we learned many lessons from them.

Although step mothers were common in Sibu amongst the Foochows, and most step mothers were of excellent character, some were the worst step mothers in the world.

One story that was passed around at dinner table was the story of a step son who could not stand the food placed on the table by the stepmother any more.

This is our family's quality control story and about the heart of a mother. It is more about kindness and affection

The young man was home visiting the family and especiallyto see the father, who had recently acquired a new wife. This wife was born in China but had been sold into one family by her father, who found her "difficult" to raise. She was 8 years old when she landed in Sibu and she went to live with the towkay's family. She was indeed a difficult girl, head strong, sharp in tongue and unwilling to do work. She was already trying to catch the eye of another man servant and was trying to bully the other maidservants.

Her adopted parents tried their best to get rid of her too.

However many years later, this young lady left her own family in order to marry a towkay who was widowed. She was eyeing his money.

By the time the young son by the first wife came home from another town where he was working, the new mother had already two children of her own and was enjoying her life as the new trendy wife of the owner of a shop.

She would cook wonderful dishes for her new husband and her two children.

On the day of the step son's visit, she served petola soup and rice. No chicken soup to welcome him , as would have been the correct or appropriate courtesy.

When the step son came to the table, he ate the petola slices and they were as hard as wood. The vegetable was too old to be eaten.

He was so angry, he turned the table upside down and created havoc. He was a righteous man and he thought injustice had really been done.

The father came into the kitchen and saw the disastrous scene with the step mother having a hue and cry dramatic scene. She had her story, of how unfilial the step son was.

"You did eat the best of petola slices, didn't you? Towkay?"

The old man, only wanting to please the new wife, said,"Of course, you serve the best and freshest of all foods."

The step son upon seeing the scenario, left without saying anyting. He never spoke to his step mother again and made his own way in life.

His next visit to the family was when the father passed away. And even then he was very reluctant to come home.

However, his father did leave him a small share of his property, although the step mother and step brother and sisters had the bulk of the property.

Someone was smart enough to carry out the unequal division of property through her wiles and personal relationships.

October 9, 2015

Sibu Tales : "Make the Porridge more watery"

It was common for the Foochows of Sibu to practise frugal life style.

Porridge was a way to keep the household budge really low.

Most Foochow families lived on porridge for breakfast and dinner. Only lunch was a full meal. Perhaps that was how many men and women were very slim then.

Eating out was really a luxury and any way the conservative women in those days were also never seen in coffee shops. Then, the coffee shops were the haunts of White Faced Women or Street Women looking for some money in return for sex, i.e. sex workers. We were so conservative then , we even used a euphemism, Bah Ming Boh (Whie Faced Woman).

Now back to watery porridge.
Gutian's mushroom porridge

The Foochow porridge we had when we were children indeed was watery . Hostel porridge was watery. Condiments were a small plate of fried peanuts, some preserved Hu Cheo or toufu, some salted eggs and perhaps an omelette. Salted vegetables were usually served and all in, the cost of a Foochow watery porridge breakfast was probably only $1.00 for the whole family. Evening meal would be a repeat of our breakfast. And usually to save the wood, we would just add extra water to the morning's porridge and make the porridge MORE watery. If we had saved some food from the afternoon, it was considered again, something good for the family.

A good Foochow woman was able to budget well. She could even calculate well enough to prepare 9 meals for her family. That's the saying referring to an intelligent Foochow housewife. Thus my mother was really careful with her money and we had food on our table. The proverbial dollar was stretched to the limits.

The very frail and old people would just "drink" the thick gruel or soup of the porridge. This is called "Ang" in Foochow.

Recently I visited Fuzhou and discovered that some vegetable soups were actually thickened by this Ang. Hence the term Ang Tong (soup made from thick rice water).

Yes it is still with us...when we need to stretch our budget, we must make our porridge more watery.

October 8, 2015

Sibu Tales : The Harmonica

We all need opportunities to perform and go on stage!!

Confidence building.

Cheers every one.

October 5, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : Geng Niang (Seat of District Office)

My paternal great grandfather and grandfather , maternal grand father came to Ming Chiang Geng (town of Ming Chiang) to meet Wong Nai Siong, after hearing about Wong Nai Siong's mission to bring Foochow pioneers to Sibu. They must have done some official documentation here before leaving for Nanyang.

They would not have imagined that their poor county seat would be this prosperous in 120 years' time.

They left in 1901.

I used to hear my grandmother mentioning Geng Niang this and Geng Niang that...

October 4, 2015

Sibu Tales : Buttered Rice and Butter Fried Rice

Butter was a novelty in the early days of Sibu.

In my family at Kung Ping Road, we always enjoyed lots of butter and bread since my father loved bread for his breakfast.

The Gold Churn tin of butter would last some time. Once  the butter was almost finished we would either make fried rice, or just mix our hot rice in the tin and that was for one person.

the fried rice was a nice evening meal, accompanied by a kang kong soup or cangkok manis food.

Love the aroma of butter and hot rice.

October 3, 2015

Foochow Food in Miri Series : Hoong Ngang Long

This specialty is made up of chicken soup with chicken meat slices, a whole egg or two omelette, some vegetables, some which a good bunch of soft coarse rice vermicelli is added. The rice vermicelli if from Char Kou, will not disintegrate in the soup.

It will retain its Q-ness. That's the beauty of the authentic early rice (grown in spring) vermicelli.

October 2, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : Wood Planer

In my mother's days in Ah Nang Chong, she knew two great carpenters, Hii Tien Chii (my uncle Hii Weng Hui's father) and Jing Muk Sah. Both were builders who were fairly well known, trustworthy, did quality work and there was never talk of how expensive they were !!

My grandfather's house in Ah Nang Chong was built by Hii Tien Chii and Jing Muk Sah with their team of workers. While Hii Tien Chii had his own house farther in land as he had his own rubber garden, Jing Muk Sah stayed in one of the 4 coolie houses built by my grandfather for his coolies who tapped his 200 acres of rubber garden.

My grandfather first cleared more than 400 acres of land with his older brother, Lau Kah Tii and other relatives before clearing his own 200 acres.  Because grand uncle Lau Kah Tii was the headman then, my grandfather and later, some of the other relatives were easily given land titles to the land they cleared. Much of the land clearing was done by my grandfather and his closest cousins and later by "coolies" who were brought out from Fuzhou through the Rajah's permission for legal landing in Kuching and then in Sibu.

Rev Hoover and my Grand Unlce Lau Kah Tii actually helped many Foochows to land in Sarawak legally. They later prospered.

Jing Muk Sah was one of them.

Hii Tien Chii and Jing Muk Sah were responsible for building many of the nice wooden houses in Nang Chong area. Every plank of wood was cut by hand, and every piece was planed smooth using this simple tool.

I miss my grandfather's house.

October 1, 2015

Sibu Tales: Kang Kong 马来风光

We have a lovely vegetable known as Kang Kong, or Woon Chai in Foochow, or Kung Sing Chai in Mandarin.

It is water spinach in English.

For as long as I know, my family started having this vegetable on the table from our days in Pulau Kerto, where we lived by the edge of the river. Mum grew the kangkong on the mud plots, while some of the spinach could be gathered wild from the creek too. Both were such edible vegetables. We could have it as soup, stir fried and in our noodles. Mum's cooking was plain and healthy.

In those long ago days, we children could forage for this wild organic kangkong in the creeks and we would just be so happy to go home with a huge bundle under our arms,both in Pulau Kerto and in Sibu.

For several years we also reared rabbits in our Brooke Drive home and we shared our foraged vegetables with them.

Aother good memory of kangkong was how cheap it was to buy them in the Sibu wet market from our friendly vegetable sellers, especially our Mr.Sia who was nicknamed Lakiang (he gladly answered the name too). He and his mother sold vegetables for decades and were friends with my mum. Each time we bought vegetables from them, we would always get a few stalks free after the weighing.

Can you imagine buying 20 cents worth of kangkong per kati and then get about four or five stalks more? It was buying one kati and get 1/4 free....such was the good Foochow neigbhourliness of those days.

We often had kangkong soup for lunch and for dinner. It was a cheap and healthy dish for all of us.And we never got tired of the vegetables. Later I learned from my food expert friend, that a green vegetable dish served after a big banquet is a must in Fujian, to act as a detox or "ching" dish. Kang kong is full of fibre and is really good for us.

 Even though many people also said that eating too much kangkong would cause weakening of legs and bones, none of us so far have orthopedic problems. Mum is still strong in her legs and still has an excellent mind. Praise God.

Today this vegetable is a restuarant dish, known as Malay Splendour orSambal kangkong (马来风光). It is almost our national dish!! And my paternal grandfather, if he were alive today, would really have a chuckle!!

September 18, 2015

Miri : Slippery Vegetables

It is a delight to grow some vegetables in one's garden. This is one of the easiest vegetables to grow.

to cook it, blanch the young shoots and then stir fry with a good sambal. Or just do a plain stir fry with some smashed garlic.

Very healthy.

September 16, 2015

Sibu Tales : Chew Guo Ping

Sibu's first UK trained accountant. He was very pious and many years later, he went to Miri to start his firm . At the same time, he planted the first Methodist Church in Miri, starting fellowship in his own house.

Mei Ang Church today is one of the bigger Methodist Churches in Sarawak.

Seen in this photo are many leading Foochow community leaders.

September 15, 2015

House No 59 of 16 Company of Rajang River

Tiong Nai Hoong intensely studying the book by Wong Meng Lei.

16 Company十 六 公 司  was a small village in Lower Rajang carved out of, or rather built on a very low lying bank below Sg. Pan by a group of 16 very courageous Foochow men. They called themselves 16 Company.

Formed in the 1920's as a part of Foochow Methodist "expansionist policy" towards the lower Rajang by 16 able bodied men who believed in themselves, this area was established around Sg. Pan. The other parts of the Rajang was then just opened up by the Government .

For the Foochows this was a good move as it was a good opportunity to plant more rubber and rice as their population was increasing very fast and rubber price was extremely good. Furthermore the Ibans in the area were very friendly and welcoming. Their longhouses were further inland.

Towards the 1950's at the height of its prosperity (Korean War created the rubber boom) the total number of families had grown to 63 and the population around 500 with two toh tou or jetties ; a school and a church.

The subject of my interest for this posting is my own cousin who hails from 16 Company. Life is so full of coincidences and miraculous interfaces.

And by 6 degrees of separation (so to speak) I happen to meet and get to know him, Tiong Nai Hoong, in 1987 when I first moved to Miri also by chance.

Tiong,the owner of Ing Kong Drug Store of Miri was born in 16 Company!! His father Tiong Ching Liik a white haired coffee expert was the owner of the coffee shop occupying the ground floor of my second uncle's shop house in Bintangor in the 60's. The family had moved out of the settlement when time was ripe to move on. Nai Hoong had to find a better income too at the age of 18 and his father had to leave the rubber garden to make a better living earlier. Rubber had lost its shine and furthermore the political situation was unstable in the Rajang villages.

Nai Hoong went to work in Sibu for a meagre salary of $180 a month. He sent $150 back to his father for the family's expenditure - as a token from a very filial son. He replenished his own meagre sum by working at odd jobs. He said that he had "enough" and even eventually got married. When he and his wife had saved enough they moved to Miri. He was 30 years old.

The rest is history. 25 years later we can safely said he has made it as a self taught and well loved Tabib Cina and is a proud owner of a huge shop selling Chinese herbs and other Chinese foodstuff which are very in demand in modern Miri. From the early days of his arrival he slowly learned more and more about Chinese Traditional Medicine and with his intellect and good memory he became a source of information and even could provide health consultation to the early Foochow migrants in Miri. He soon operated a small half shop in the back lane near the Miri godown and wharf (with taxi drivers as his most loyal customers) but now he has a whole shop which is perhaps the biggest Chinese Medicine shop in Miri!!

His goods are always fresh and his prices very reasonable. A regular customer would always get a smile and a few words of comfort from him. His son is his able assistant and will inherit the business.

But what is most important is basically his pricing which is very very reasonable. You can always get a "Foochow discount" from him!!

16 Company's name also reflects the bonding of these 16 original pioneers who valued Honour and Brotherhood. When pioneering Foochows migrated from one place to another they carried these values which in turn helped them to survive the most difficult of challenges. I truly believe that my cousin carries these values with him to this day.

The 1960's was the beginning of the dispersal from 16 Company a settlement area which had full of hopes and aspirations for the 63 families .

According to my cousin Hii Yii Kiat has written a book about this area but he is a little disappointed that he could never get a copy to read. In 2001 Wong Meng Lei wrote "24 Acres : In Search of Foochow Settlements in the Rajang Basin" in which are two chapters on 16 Company .十 六 公 司

If you look at the map here you will see all the houses having a number. The people who lived in this area would remember very well in their heart until their dying days because they were a very close knitted community.

When I showed my cousin Meng Lei's book Nai Hung was very touched (I promised to give him one as soon as I can get another copy). He looked at the map and refreshed his youthful memories. He immediately found that his father's name was missing from the list! But he repeatedly said that the map was very very good.

My distant uncle, Nai Hoong's father - Tiong Ching Liik owned House No 59. Ching Liik's uncle Tiong Tien Chuo owned House No.60 and his brother Tiong Tien Die, House No. 61. Later when Tiong Ching Liik moved away to Binatang (early Bintangor) Nai Hoong stayed with his adopted father Hii Lok Tien at House No.48 for a short while.

All of the people who stayed there would remember making the raised road with soil brought in from the other areas (e.g.Iban owned land)as the area was originally peat swamp and flooding was every day. The plank walks they had built earlier lasted for only a while. So the residents decided to build a raised road out of their own pocket,since  no fund from the government was available at that time! Nai Hoong remembered that every one helped with the building of the road and how they extended the road slowly.

The settlers even dug a special huge drain to drain the flood waters behind the settlement.

Nai Hoong has a special fondness for the school Kai Hua where he studied and he immediately wrote in my book the name of the school .

A man cannot easily forget his own roots.


1. Wong meng Lei : "24 Acres : In Search of Foochow Settlements of the Rajang Basin"
2. Fiftieth Anniversary of Methodist Churches in Sarawak Magazine.

My apologies if I have made any mistake in reference due to my shortcoming in the Chinese language.

Sibu Tales : Making Bah Gui from Scratch

The pioneering families of Sibu Foochows continued to practise the  adoption of girls from poor families who become their maids (slaves). ...