March 24, 2017

Nang Chong Stories : Har Chien or Cincaluk

During the Japanese Occupation, life was difficult for every one especially in the Chinese villages. The Japanese hated the Chinese and would love to kill them if possible. But usually, most of the Japanese would just slap them when they had a chance. This enmity between the Japanese and the Chinese was from ancient history.

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When the Japanese arrived in Sibu, they were very much into taking over the town and running their government as they liked.

Food was scarce, people were scared and there was lots of bitterness too.

Girls were quickly married off for fear of rape and being forced to become comfort women.

My mother and her younger sister chose to be dressed up as boys and worked in the padi fields, with blackened face.

They worked hard but food was scarce.

One of the food on the table was the fermented shrimps which we Foochows called har chien. Cincaluk in Bahasa Malaysia. They had to be very frugal with even this dish.

They could only dip their chopstick into the sauce and ate some sweet potatoes. Sometimes when the har chien was gone, or had gone bad, it was only salt and sweet potatoes.

However after 3 years and 8 months, the Allied came and the Japanese surrendered.