|The Famous Foochow Bagel or Gong Bian|
The Foochows have our own numeral coefficients. We have a slice of meat, a bowl of soup, a piece of cake, and specifically when it comes to pieces, we say suoh doi (big chunk of meat)niik, suoh liu (small slice) niik, suoh pien (thin layer) ngii niik (fish can be sliced very thin).
The smallest of anything if to say something sarcastic or insulting, one would say Suoh Pi Sai ( a small bit of snot)
My maternal grandmother was a fast thinking and smart lady who could stand no fools. Any woman or man who did not pay respect to their elders or who did not say the right would get a sarcastic retort from her. She did not go to school, but she memorized every word the school teacher said in the Church room when she was four, in Kay tou Buoh, in Minqing, China. A year later, she was "sold" because her parents were too poor to feed another mouth, particularly a girl. What she learned in one year was to help her live a wonderful life in Sarawak.
She used metaphors when she spoke. And she taught us moral lessons, ancient legends, Confucious' sayings and almost everything which helped us become ethical, God fearing people.
One of her favourite sayings, and it was also my mum's, was "Never even see a small piece of Gong Bian from that ungrateful relative..."
Love was expressed in kind amongst the Foochows. We would give gifts of chickens if we had chickens in our farms, or eggs etc. If we could afford biscuits we would buy tins of biscuits. But those who were poor, could even buy the the cheapest of gifts - yes, a few pieces of gong bian for 10 cents in those days.
A grateful man would bring some gong bian to his benefactor.
We were often trained to remember how to show our appreciation - the Foochow way.