February 27, 2017

Pulau Kerto : Love and Obedience

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I was born in Pulau Kerto. The birth was attended to by a local trained midwife, whom my father fetched from Sibu . He took the small boat across the River Rajang when my first time mother said that it was time and it was confirmed by the Confinement Lady, Sixth Aunt, or Sixth Sister to Mother.

Mum was brought up in the Foochow village of  Ah Nang Chong, about 2 hours boat ride from Sibu. So she was used to riverine village life and the rearing of domestic fowls and animals. She was best in rearing pigs according to her.

When she married my father, then manager of the rice and ice mill (Hua Hong Ice Factory), she was all ready to raise her own domesticated animals and poultry for food. Living with a Grandmother in law also helped her gain confidence in an extended family life. She learned fast from Great Grandmother as they got along very well. That pleased both my grandparents, and my maternal grandmother.

My father was happy that his wife was a a capable one. She raised ducks, chickens and even goats.

Mum was most happy in the evening when she could call all the ducks home to the cage, below the house. Her "deee, deee,deee, deee" resonated ...During low tide, the ducks were dirty and during high tide they were very clean.

Mum would cluck her tongue and laughingly tell us, "See, we love our ducks by giving them food...and they are so obedient!!"

I suppose we kids grew up very obedient because we wanted to eat all the nice food she prepared. She continues till today to give us the best food, to show us love. <3 p="">
As kids we enjoyed watching the ducks grow bigger and bigger and at times we were extremely happy when mum called out how many eggs the ducks had laid. Sometimes she would go around the river banks to find the duck eggs, as some mother ducks were not good at laying their eggs at "home".

Chickens were free range and they roosted on the trees around our house. The goats were also tied to the higher grounds and they munched on the grass. It was fun watching them chew and munch away.


Anonymous said...

Yr writing made me recalled in the 70's we had some one hundred ducks and they were flown down from the high hill to the lower ground in the early morn. In the evening, we children used to use our umbrellas to frighten those ducks back from the lower ground to the hill or so called mountain.

Recalling back, it was partly a good fun too esp. when all ducks sprayed their wings and flown through the air.... like any planes going to land!!! hahaha

sintaicharles said...

My mum grew up surrounded by ducks, chickens and pigs too. Given that my grandma was an illegitimate child raised as an adopted child, she was not granted the right to give birth to my mum on bed, but within the mess of smoked rubber sheets. As the eldest child of ten growing in my great grandpa's mansion, she knew that everyone at the house treated their existence on sufferance. Though loving mum very much, great grandpa did not openly show his affection, and when he died, his other wives forced my grandma to sign away her rights to inherit great grandpa's properties, and grandma, with my weak-willed grandpa, built a life of their own tens of miles away. But mum can always remember the joy of tending the farm and animals, how great grandpa watched her feed them with a smile, sometimes with tears in the distance.

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