July 26, 2016

Sibu Tales : Broken Mee Sua and Changkok Manis

ONe of my favourite stories from my friends who lived down river from Sibu is about their growing up amid rubber trees and vegatable patches in the flood prone backyard.

Their parents worked hard tapping rubber and planting rice to supplement their father's meagre teacher's salary of $60.00 a month. And all the kids lent a hand before and after school. Luckily the school management allowed the primary school classes to start late around 11 and finish at 4 or 5 to be aligned with the rubber tapping schedule, unlike today's normal school time table, 7 to 1.30.

Don't throw away the broken pieces. They are still good for a meal.
Very often the kids would come home to cold rice, warmed up by tea and some sugar. A slice or two of salted fish was a king's menu for the evening.

Plucking the leaves of changkok manis for customers.
But one of my friends had a special fondness for her mother's basin of broken mee sua and changkok manis. When the whole family shared this dish together, love warmed up the whole kitchen and laughter rang throughout the house.

The broken mee sua (Foochow noodles) came from the bottom of the tin. It would then be time for the mother to visit the town to buy another lot of mee sua, dry it and fill up the tin for a few more birthdays.

Stomachs filled and needs satiated, the kids went to take their bath and then studied hard. This family has 5 graduates,including one doctor.

May God bless the families who struggled during rubber tapping days .

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