April 19, 2015

Sibu Tales : A Plate of Gang Buang Mien

We had a few neighbours, most of them very friendly and caring in Sibu.

One couple lived fairly near us and the wife came from a foreign land. They had a little daughter who was cute, with amazing curly hair.

However the husband was not really a hardworking man and very often he did not bring enough earnings to his wife. Food was rather scarce and not often put on the table according to the wife.A few times she even had to borrow salt, sugar and some cooking oil and that set the tongues wagging in the neighbourhood.

Not long after that we heard the husband lost his job and he had to look for a new one. His mother came from the outskirts to help them out and soon they moved away to another town perhaps to start all over again.

One lasting impression I had of them, even though I was just a teenager. I felt that the wife was very submissive and subservient.

Whenever the husband came back drunk and abused her, she would just cry.

But the next day, he would take her out for a bowl of Gang Buang Mien and the world for her was rosy again.

She was very cheerful for days, until the next cycle of quarrels and tears and another bowl of gang buang mien.

My mother would just shake her head and said gently, "She had made her choice and she had to swallow all." My mother is very old school.

Many years later I heard good news about them. The husband drove a taxi, and she was in charge of a company owned by her own uncle in her home country. And her daughter had graduated from college and was going to get married. But unfortunately her grandmother was too ill to make the journey.

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