July 21, 2017

Sibu Tales : Fish Bones in the Throat



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River fish like these have a lot of small bones.

In the olden days, we Foochows would eat almost all kinds of fish we caught ourselves or bought in the market. There was nothing for us to complain about. In fact fish with lots of bones were very aromatic to eat!! Terubok which is full of bones is a flavourful fish.

However, there is nothing worse than sitting down to a fine dinner, only to discover half way through that you have a fish bone stuck in your throat.

A rich man's father was diagnosed with throat cancer in Singapore and he was resigned to an eminent death and very expensive treatment until he found a Sibu doctor who suggested that he went for another x ray after listening to his oral stories and lamentations. The local doctor found a small suspicious thread in the x ray, which turned out to be a fish bone!! The fish bone had been stuck in his throat for more than 10 years. The old man lived happily for many many years after a small surgery.

Whatever it is, to have a fish bone in your throat is really very unpleasant. And for mothers it is most worrying if their small children suffer from this problem. In fact many people prefer to eat "fish without bones" if possible.

An endoscopy to dislodge a fish bone is really unpleasant even if it is just a minor surgical procedure.

However in Sibu it was known to many that one or two WIZARDS could dislodge fish bones in the throat in some magical ways.

There was one Mr. Lau who when called upon to do his magic would take a piece of paper out into the backyard. He would mumble a few words and wrote an invisible word (as if instructed by some dieties) on the paper with his forefinger.

The child's mother would then burn the paper (Hu paper) and place the ashes in a cup of water.

The afflicted child would drink the "medicine" and lo and behold the fish bone wa gone and the child would run around as if nothing had happened.

How Mr. Lau got his special powers no one would know because he died fairly early after he suffered from a lung infection. Many of his relatives live to tell tales of his expertise.

This kind of skill has completely gone out of our society.


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