April 26, 2015

Sibu Stories : Opium Smoking

the painting above, from Google, reminds me of the sight which frightened me when I was a little child. I had run upstairs of a shop house on a dare you kind of activity with my cousins.

I saw a very thin man lying on a day bed, smoking but I cannot forget the smell of the opium smoke to this day.

Years later when I returned from my studies in West Malaysia I decided to visit the same shop house. But times had changed many things and the opium den was gone. People have short memories about bad things and no one seems to remember the details of opium smoking in Sibu.

Only my 7th aunt can remember a little bit about my Grand Uncle, Tiong Kung Ping's brother, Tiong Kung Eng.

The Rajah Government supplied opium to patients who were suffering from mental ill heath (nervousness in the extreme and depression). A little metal box was given to them. Each time the opium was fishined, my grand uncle would row his little boat to the Law King Howe hospital to collect his supply. He did not live very long afte that and he died during the Second World War from poor health. He suffered a double blow . His beautiful wife died after child birth and his son died five months later.

Grand Uncle was a good singer, story teller and a kind person and a loving uncle who would amuse his nieces and nephews . His best way was to row his boat to amuse the kids and sing loudly along the river, according to Seventh Aunt.

May His Soul Rest in Peace.



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