November 25, 2017

Nang Chong Stories : Kang Hin Yu, Headman

When my family moved to Sungei Merah from Sibu town, my widowed mother renewed her friendship with the Kangs, Mr. and Mrs. Kang Hin Yu and their daughter Miss Kang Ing Ming.

Mr. Kang Hin Yu 甘興宇 Kang Hing Yii (1919-1995)was a soft spoken man who looked after the welfare of the Foochows under his care in Tanjong Kunyit. He was a Headman or  Kii Diong (Head of a District). Tanjong Kunyit was the neighboring district of Nang Chong, my mother's district. And in those days  every one knew every one, so my mother was happy to be reunited with

 Mrs. kang.

From a write up, Mr. Kang was only 4 months old when his mother, Tiong Chuo Yung (Zhang Zhu Rong)張珠容 took him from Fujian to Sarawak where she married a Mr. Tang. She bore two sons for Tang.

Life during his younger days was not easy as he had to plant rice for the family. His stepfather was an absentee father, who also died tragically at a young age. Mr. Kang's mother took him to study in the Sacred Heart School in Sibu. He became a teacher for a short while and then later joined the civil service under the British Colonial Government.
Interestingly he quit from the Civil service and started his own business. Soon he was elected to the Sibu Rural District Council. However he only wanted to serve for one term. He was made Chinese Headman for Tanjong Kunyit, from 1959 to 1970.

Mrs. Kang or Aunty Loh Kiew Eng (1923-1996) was born in Sibu. During the Japanese Occupation, she went to a village school to learn English and was taught by Mr. Kang who later became her husband. As a home maker, she looked after her small family and reared a lot of chickens and sold eggs for a living. She was rather famous for her egg business.

The couple later moved to Sungei Merah where they acquired a good property and built their lovely home.

Their daughter Miss Kang Ing Ming taught in Tiong Hin Secondary School until she retired. She passed away in 2017.

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Datuk Thambipillay was posted to Tanjung Kunyit during the turbulent years of communist insurgencies. He was there for six months and made friends with the nice Foochow Headman Mr. Kang. In fact Mr. Kang gave him a Chinese scroll as a token of thanks for his efforts to keep the peace. 44 years after his stint in Tanjong Kunyit, in 2016, he came back to visit Tanjong Kunyit to meet friends. He had also written a book about his life and his work in Sarawak. The photo above shows Datuk Thambipillay with a group of friends and Mr. Wong Meng Lei. He was sad he could not see his good friend Mr. Kang Hin Yu who passed away in 1995.

(Photos and facts from Google)

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