Tales from Wooden Houses (1) Good Siblings
In Sibu there are often stories of mothers who have favourites amongst their children.
When we were young we used to visit an elderly woman who sold kuih and fruits from her wooden house. She was not really an unpleasant woman but she was what we called LI Hai (superwoman)
We also never knew who her husband was but she had 7 children. It was reported that he died an early death. She never remarried.
All her children worked like ants in the house, especially the oldest son, who actually looked more or less like the slave of the family.
The children grew up and got married and moved away, but the eldest son and his wife continued to live in the house, but at the back, an extension of the kitchen.
We continued to walk past their house and continued to buy snacks for one reason or another. The wife of the eldest son continued the small business from home and she included selling of chickens and ducks, which brought in more income for the old lady.
However, at times, we could even see the old lady hitting the head of her eldest son.
As time went by people always talked about this old lady having "big eye and small eye", or having "big small heart".
We would never know why she disliked her son so much.
Her eldest daughter in law actually was her carer for more than 8 years when the old lady was bed ridden. This wonderful woman never complained and she continued her business of selling chickens and ducks.
After the old lady died, she left her property only to her other five sons, but nothing to her eldest son. She also sold her house and her eldest son had to move to another part of Sibu quite far away to rear chickens and ducks.
So we wondered if the eldest son was an adopted son. No one would know the real reason why she hated this son so much, not even the daughter-in-law. He was not poorly educated because he could do clerical work for a towkay.
But the beautiful part of the story was, all the siblings put together their shares and carved out a new share for their big KOR KOR and SOH, for they considered him their surrogate father. They even bought the couple a car, for their old age.The eldest brother and sister-in-law lived up to a very old age,garnering a lot of respect from their neighbours.
This is one story of good siblings. It is really a very good example of filial piety.
(Story told by the neigbhours of the eldest daughter in law)