Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hua Hong Ice Factory

The Hua Hong Ice Factory was started by Grandfather Tiong Kung Ping after he moved from Binatang (the present Bintangor) where he was one of the pioneers of rubbing planting together with Yao Siew King, the father of Dato Yao Ping Hua. In this way Bintangor was "opened" up to more Foochow settlers later.

Hua Hong Ice Factory was set up on a piece of land Grandfather bought on the island opposite Sibu town. He set up the factory with a great vision of a very progressive Sibu fishing industry and other industries which required refrigeration. Refrigeration came into great popularity in the 30's and 40's in Sarawak and it was first introduced by Rev. Hoover who was very fond of Grandfather TKP and our First Grandmother Chong who could read all the manuals written in English.

Not long after the establishment of the Hua Hong Ice Factory, my grandmother Chong passed away due to child birth. It was a very sad day for all the children who were very young. My father was barely in his teens and my youngest uncle Pan King and youngest aunt Grace were merely toddlers.

Great Grandmother then encouraged Grandfather to take another wife to help her look after all the children. And that explained why Grandfather continued to have another wife and more children. The family continued to live in the house with Great Grand mother.

Ice blocks were made in Hua Hong and every one who wished to buy ice in small or big amounts to drive their big or small boats to the jetty. The Hua Hong Ice Factory and its surrounding homes were affected by the bombing during the Second World War. But my Grandfather was wise enough to move his family to Sg. Bidut .to the home of his first cousins.

An interesting fact to note is that my Grandfather's CHAI KOO was Grand Uncle Tiong Toh Siong, Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King's father. A chai koo was an accounts manager, probably the most important person in the company after the CEO or towkay. He was a very reliable and affectionate cousin to my Grandfather.

The family moved back to the Factory premises after the war and not long after that Second Grandmother passed away and by that time our pretty aunts were already in secondary school and my father Tai Kong (Chang Ta Kang) was fairly in charge with Grand Father calling most of the shots or making the big decisions.

Grandfather married Third Grandmother Siew Nguik Lan not long after the Second World War.
But there were no photos of their wedding in existence as far as I know.

However, there were many photos of my father's weddingin 1948 in Hua Hong Cheong . My mother was very beautfiul. Uncle Soon was the best man, and the photo also showed our beautiful aunts Ik Sing, Pick, and Chiew. I must scan that photo for this blog.

In another blog you will read how my father courted my mother. He was a handsome rich young man who owned a nice speed boat.....

The other two important families who lived with those of us in Hua Hong was Er Herng (Heng Kwong) and Hoong Kwong. Both of them were brothers and they were very rich as they owned shop houses in Sibu. I suppose living on the island across Sibu made them the wealthy families of then Sibu society. So Hua Hong probably was the Martha's Vineyard of Sibu in the years after the Second World War.

Three of us were born in Hua Hong Cheong (or Hua Hong Factory) as we called the place. I was first born, second is Sing and third is Hsiung who passed away prematurely in 1981.

See another blog on our childhood in Hua Hong Cheong.

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