My mother has always been a very timid woman, unwilling to express herself publicly, although she could have an MBA under her belt had she been born 20 years later. She has always been a good decision maker.
She lived in Pulau Kerto, Hua Hong Ice Factory for 8 years after she married my father.
While there she was exposed to a multi racial community. My father managed an ice factory. Before the war, Hua Hung was a thriving business in Sibu which also had a mechanized rubber mangle factory and rice mill all under one roof. Later, my grandfather thought that it was better that to manufacture ice blocks.
Most of the workers were Foochows, some were fresh from China. A few were Melanaus and Iban workers who came and went. They came to work for some cash returns and when they earned enough they would go back to their kampongs.
She used the tanggoi (bought by my father) when she had to dry her laundry in the yard in the morning. She would also wear the tanggoi when she went out to feed the chickens and ducks. On rainy days she would wear it to check on the chicken coops, or collect chicken eggs in the morning She said that wearing a tanggoi or a dou dik would free her hands to do lots of work. It was just so practical for her then.
Mum used to tell us that many Ibans, Melanaus and Malays would paddle their boats to the Hua Hong Jetty, sell a bit of their food, fresh fish, vegetables and then buy some ice. Some would come to mill their newly harvested rice.
It was indeed a fine sight to her when she saw people coming by long boats and most of them would be wearing tanggoi.
Today, she is nearly 90 years old, and she said that most Ibans would be wearing Topi or western caps..their long boats or express boats would be so fast that their tanggoi would fly away.
She still thinks that the tou dik is still the best headgear to wear, for any occasion, any time, any where in Sarawak. Just be practical. She only does not say that it is environmentally friendly.
The Dou tik is a very Minqing head wear too. But mum has never been to China. And now she is too old to "go back to Minqing to have a look and meet relatives...."
My photo showing a man wearing Dou Tik, in Minqing, Fujian. This is the iconic Minqing Dou Dik.
Mum is always so practical and correct.