June 17, 2015

Sungei Merah Tales : Bamboo Shoots

My grandfather acquired quite a good piece of land when he moved from Bintangor to Sibu in the 1940's. An uncle told me that most Foochows acquired a lot of land during those years when the value of the dollar was big and it was easy for those with cash to acquire land.

Grandfather planted rubber immediately upon acquiring the land and soon the rubber trees were yielding. He had three wooden houses for the rubber tapping employees and they lived there quite peacefully. I remember these families long after they moved out to their own homes.

One of the families owned a fishing boat. They had nice stories to tell.

However the best memories I had of this period in the early 50's was the collecting of bamboo shoots My adopted aunt, Ah Hiong, would go out in the early hours of the day to collect them, with a parang, and an aluminium pail or sa li turn.

That afternoon we would have a stir fry of bamboo shoots on the table. My grandmother would bring the excess to the market .

Besides rubber, and bamboo shoots, my grandfather, in his old age also enjoyed selling bananas which grew very well on the hill slopes.

Grandfather felt that being able to own such a big piece of land in Sg. Merah was indeed full filling the  Minqing fortune teller's prophecy - that he would be prosperous "across the seas".

However this blessing also came about because he had the chance of meeting with Wong Nai Siong and later, his good relationship with Mr James Hoover.

But most importantly, my grandfather was a very frugal, hardworking man with a vision and mission in life.

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