May 15, 2017
Sibu Tales : Coolie
Many Foochow migrants from Fujian started off as poor coolies in Sibu.
Coolie is a general term to mean unskilled worker, working for a towkay. Work for the coolie could be anything from cutting of wood, to digging of soils, to carrying of water and any odd jobs.
Once a coolie has a skill over a period of years, he became a tukang, or craftsman. When he had earned enough, and had a group of coolie under him (or proteges, or students, or mentees), he became a sawu (teacher). After becoming a sawu, he would save enough to become a business owner. Then he would call himeslf a towkay or loh peng. This process would take years. Some people never moved upwards in the social ladder.
Personally I believe that in the olden days the social upward mobility was not that fluid. Prejudices abound and not many people were willing to lend a hand, or stretch out a hand to pick relatives from their rock bottom situations.
there were a few wealth and benovelent benefactors who helped the poor to succeed. But it also depended on a lot of determination on the part of the men who wanted to achieve something in their lives.
However there have been a lot of rags to riches stories in Sarawak especially among the Foochows.
The belt fish was one of the cheapest fish available in Sibu in the 60's and 70's and most people would sneeze at it, calling it ...
Lots of signboards have been posted up at significant places near rivers in Miri. There are many rivers in the Miri district and most of the...
If you are told that this is the kuih or snack that an Iban would be homesick for please believe him or her. Simply made from all ingredie...
The Foochow Wedding Banquet of yesteryears would always include a plate of Man Chiew Ko at the end. When I was young I thought that eating...