December 29, 2017

Sibu Tales : A Piece of Land for a Sarong

There were so many tales about people selling their land for some very urgent matters in Sibu.

We heard stories of Malays who sold their extra tiny plots of land, far away from Sibu, to pay for their passage to Mecca, or their Haj. That was a very honorable and normal thing to do in those days. "Naik Haji" is a mandatory life obligation for a good Muslim. And in those days when a Haj was long and difficult, many would try their best to find means to perform it, unlike today, when the educated would save from as early as possible with the Tabung Haji.

A sarong is a good thing to wear when you take a bath in the river in Sarawak

Then there were stories of Malay and other indigenous men who were quite happy to let go of their piece of padi land to a friend in order to buy a car or when they went on a transfer out of Sibu .

Those were old tales of the 40's and 50's when land was only about 200 dollars per acre. We also heard of a man who bought a small piece of land for 500 dollars from his Malay friend who wanted to give the money to his daughter for her wedding.

Now there was a man who was very afraid of his wife. And he had also a very bad gambling habit. One day he must have suffered from a lot of abuse from his wife and he promised to stop all his bad habits. His wife made him promise to get her a really good and authentic batik sarong and not drink or gamble any more.

In fact the scoundrel had been owing a lot of money, left and right, to every other gamblers and towkays, according to the local people. He had also been black listed by all his relatives.

Finally he got hold of one of his land titles given to him by his later father, from right under the nose of his wife, and went to a business man who was his gambling friend to settle all his debts and to obtain some cash. As the piece of land was valued at only a few hundred dollars, he had only enough money left to buy a sarong for his wife.

He never wasted his time nor gambled after that because his wife would always remind him whenever she wore the sarong...He lost a piece of land for a sarong.


Anonymous said...

My new love: South-east Asia

History has come full circle. Now, Europe represents the past, South-east Asia the future.

I am in love again.

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