June 12, 2015

Sibu Tales : Touch your Heart

When I saw my friend Meng Lei post a graduation photo of his son, I was particularly struck by his pose.

He , as if nudged by God, places his hand over his heart..yes, on the left side. May be he did not even know his father was taking the photo.




My maternal grandmother and my mother, and many other Foochow women of Sibu used to say, " Sing ngang muor muor lah".

Why did they say that?

It was a Foochow expression common in those days, referring to conscience.

First of all, touching the heart, is an act to show one's gratitude to God , to family and to anyone.

Secondly, in Malaysia, when one shakes hands with another person, one would touch the heart to show respect after shaking hands.

Thirdly, in modern Malaysia for tourism industry, touching the heart means, "Welcome to Malaysia".

Fourthly, in most countries, when the National Anthem is played, the citizens touch their hearts like this...

But  this photo really reminds me of my maternal grandmother, who liked to end a conversation or story telling session with, "Sing Ngan muor muor lah...." Many people were criticized for being cruel, gossips floated around about cruelty of some mothers in law...some were stories of bad husbands and bad children. These moral stories would be circulated and people relating the stories would always include the statement. Could the cruel person touch the heart and find his or conscience not to do such bad things?

My grandmother would often tell us children stories with a moral lesson and concluded that whatever we did must be good, and from the heart. "Aiya, never do bad things, always Sing Ngan Muor Muor la before you decide to do anything" Grandmother often would touch her own heart, give it a good  chest rub. We found it very comforting to see her doing that.

We have a few family stories of bad deeds. Some of these characters towards the end of their lives, reached into their conscience and made amends. A few others have not yet, touched their hearts.

And so, as for those who did bad things, she recommended that people must " touch their heart and find their conscience...." She lived a long life, and she had seen many happenings in her life.

Touch your heart and do more good deeds, my late grandmother would always tell people around her.


My maternal Grandmother would have been a great Judge in the Superior Court of Justice.


(Congratultions to Meng Lei, Mee Chung and the whole Wong Family on the graduation of their youngest son/nephew June 2015)

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