December 11, 2017

Nang Chong Stories: My Ngie Goong Donated a Piece of Land

Image may contain: 20 people
The Lau Clan of Sibu. Headed by Lau Kah Tii (Headman). 1933. Photo most probably taken by Rev. Hoover who was a good friend of the family.
Back row: Lau Kah Tii (second from right), Grandaunt, Moo Or (lst on right) Middle man with beard, Lau Kah Miik My own grandparents, on the left, Lau Kah Chui and Tiong Lien Tie, holding Lau Pang Sing.
Front Row : from Left, Tang Chok Hung, Tang Chok Ching, Lau Pang Ding, Lau Hung Yung, Lau Pang Hung.
Second Row : Lau Pang Sii, Lau Pang Kui, Lau Hung Ngo, Nau Hung Toh, Lau Hung Chuo.
Third Row : Lau Pang Soon, Sia Nguok Kiee (Child bride of Lau Pang Ping),Lau Pang Biu, Lau Hung Ing, Lau Pang Ping.


The Foochow pioneers were very closely knitted when they first arrived in Sibu in 1901, led by Wong Nai Siong. the First Batch settled in the land allocated by the Rajah although they landed in Sungei Merah about several hours walking distance from the island of Sibu, which we now know as Sibu Town. My maternal grandfather and his brother, Lau Kah Tii, who later became the Headman of the Foochows until he retired, settled in Ensurai.

My maternal grandfather Lau Kah Chui was a very quiet man who liked to have a bit of drink in the evenings. This was because he worked very hard from dawn till dusk, the Foochow way. He was attached to his brother very faithfully and worked hard for him. Even when he married my grandmother and had several children, he was still part of the BIG ROOM or tui boon dieh, meaning they were all together as an extended family. All meals were prepared in the same kitchen (the 20th century definition of a household in Asia "a group of people eating from the same rice pot") and all cash earned was managed by Grand Uncle. Any incidental was paid for by the family petty cash. Hence my grandfather never exactly earned a salary.

In 1926, with a bigger family in his care, he decided to leave the extended family (tear from the family is the Foochow term) and start on his own. He was fortunate that through his elder brother's influence and contact he was able to get a grant for 100 acres of land, across the river from Ensurai, now known as Lower Nang Chong. He worked very hard to clear the land and he did indeed achieve what he wanted. By the 1930's with the rubber boom, he was quite a wealthy man!!

He donated a piece of land to the Methodist Church to build a school, Tiing Nang Primary School and a Church, call Hook Ing Tong (The Good News Church) Tiing Nang school is no longer in existence although the Hook Ing Tong is still functioning.

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