October 2, 2015
Nang Chong Stories : Wood Planer
In my mother's days in Ah Nang Chong, she knew two great carpenters, Hii Tien Chii (my uncle Hii Weng Hui's father) and Jing Muk Sah. Both were builders who were fairly well known, trustworthy, did quality work and there was never talk of how expensive they were !!
My grandfather's house in Ah Nang Chong was built by Hii Tien Chii and Jing Muk Sah with their team of workers. While Hii Tien Chii had his own house farther in land as he had his own rubber garden, Jing Muk Sah stayed in one of the 4 coolie houses built by my grandfather for his coolies who tapped his 200 acres of rubber garden.
My grandfather first cleared more than 400 acres of land with his older brother, Lau Kah Tii and other relatives before clearing his own 200 acres. Because grand uncle Lau Kah Tii was the headman then, my grandfather and later, some of the other relatives were easily given land titles to the land they cleared. Much of the land clearing was done by my grandfather and his closest cousins and later by "coolies" who were brought out from Fuzhou through the Rajah's permission for legal landing in Kuching and then in Sibu.
Rev Hoover and my Grand Unlce Lau Kah Tii actually helped many Foochows to land in Sarawak legally. They later prospered.
Jing Muk Sah was one of them.
Hii Tien Chii and Jing Muk Sah were responsible for building many of the nice wooden houses in Nang Chong area. Every plank of wood was cut by hand, and every piece was planed smooth using this simple tool.
I miss my grandfather's house.