December 22, 2017

Sibu Tales : Siblings visiting each other Ensurai

My third aunt, Pearl married into the Lau family and lived in the huge Lau Mansion in Ensurai, before the Second World War. My aunt's father in law was none other than the famous Foochow Headman, Lau Kah Tii, who was later to become my maternal grand uncle in 1948 when my father married my mother.

The wedding of Aunt Pearl and Lau Pang Kwong was sort of wedding of the decade because it was a huge church wedding well organized at the Masland Church and the banquet was sumptious and attended by hundreds of well wishers, friends and relatives. My maternal grandma later told us , " Every one up and down the river was invited."

Just before the Second World War, my other aunts enjoyed visiting the big mansion from time to time. Ensurai was 2 hours by boat from Sibu and a visit would mean staying over night, or for a few days. There were so many rooms in the Lau Mansion that most of my aunts who were of school going age, and still boarding in Yuk Ing School, were really impressed.

Aunt Pearl's husband, Uncle Pang Kwong who owned a camera, took many photos in those days. One of the photos taken was this one of my 4th Aunt visiting Aunt Pearl. My 4th Aunt, Maggie was to leave soon after, before the Japanese dropped their first bombs on the Rajang. According to our family stories, she was able to get onto the last boat out of Sibu bound for Singapore. She studied nursing and was safe from being married off to someone she did not even know.

During the Japanese Occupation, the Lau Mansion gave refuge to many scholars and celebrities because grand uncle, Lau Kah Tii was a very generous and accommodating host. Being 2 hours from Sibu, few Japanese soldiers would come and bother the people of Ensurai without good reasons.

Aunt Maggie eventually married a wonderful man of her own choice and has two children. Uncle Ang passed away a few years ago. Aunt Maggie is now 94 years old.

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