December 26, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : As Big as Heaven and Earth

When growing up in Sibu we often spent our holidays visiting our grandmother in Ah Nang Chong. Sometimes as many as 14 of us cousins would be visiting grandma. We were children from 3 sons and 4 daughters of my grandma. So you can imagine how noisy we could be. We would run up the wooden staircase to the upper floor which has a wide space for rice storage. There were 4 rooms too for Grandma and her visitors. Actually this double storeyed big house was made up of 5 units of double storeyed terrace house, in modern day terms. Furthermore the wooden house was stilted. In other words, it was a three storeyed house.

And in the evenings we would share stories with each other, or just listen to stories from Grandma and Third Uncle. We would all be sitting at the Lang Doh or adjoining balcony, enjoying the river breeze, under the large kerosene pressure lamp. Sometimes we would sit there and enjoy aroma of the steaming of huge baos which by 9 p.m. would be ready for supper. Third Uncle would always make enough for supper and breakfast the next day.

Somehow we could never get the same tasty baos any where in the world. Only in Ah Nang Chong. A well known baker in Miri told me that today, flour is different from the flour of yesteryears and he could understand what I was talking about.

The baos were as big as heaven and earth together!!

Here's another exaggeration. One of the stories we heard was about how big the land of a land lord in Minqing. Grandma said he was so rich that his land was as big as Heaven and Earth together - Tien Ah Bang Bang Duai. Well all our eyes grew big and we had to imagine how big that piece of land could be...

Later we also used to phrase to describe anything that was big...Foochows can exaggerate sometimes.

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