Friday, September 28, 2007

Miss Trade Fair and Luncheon Meat

Can you still remember the most famous Miss TRade Fair of Sibu?

She is Miss Wong Hie Eng, now, the sister in law of YB Datuk Teng Lung Chi.

When ever I meet her and her husband, Lung Ta, I would suddenly remember what great times we had, and what sadness we carried during that time.

All of us would go and vote for her by putting our entrance tickets into her ballot box. My little brother used to say that when he grew up he wanted to marry the Miss Trade Fair, sister Hie Eng! Such child like innocence.

Lots of my friends would rally around by voting for her. And she would sit there at the corner very prettily and sweetly. She looked like Lin Dai actually, with her big eyes and well, very huge buoffant French hair style, called the Bee Hive style. She was really lovely to look at. When later she found the love of her life and a well educated graduate, we were really happy for her.

My father passed away suddenly in 1967 and the trade fair was frequently held in 1968,1960 and 1970. This method of promoting businesses and goods was really quite excellent at that time. This was also before the curfew time in Sibu. So movement of people was quite free when the Trade Fairs were organised.

First of all, we children enjoyed the free music from the stalls which tried to out do each other, blasting their loudspeakers to the maximum. The loudness actually hurt our ear drums a lot and many of us would come out of the trade fair quite dizzy and even disorientated. We learned about the famous singers like Liew Chia Chang, and Chai Ching,etc. However as I went to English school at that time, I was not too familiar with the Chinese singers, although I really liked the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard. However my family did not have a turn table, so I did not buy any of those 45 or 33 rpm black vinyl discs like every body else.

When I started teaching temporarily at the Methodist School in 1969 I used my first month's salary, with my mother's permission, to buy a fairly decent turn table. That had pride of place in my house for many years. And like any youth, I stuck to the turn table, playing "Flaming Star", "Ever Green Tree" over and over again.

Secondly, we as a family enjoyed buying all the special offers given out by the stall owners, especially the firm owned by a Mr.Louis Wong. They were the sole importer of China goods, with Ma Ling as the leading brand.

I would always remember how each of my siblings and I would queue up to buy Ma Ling Luncheon Meat as each customer was allowed to buy two tins only. So each time we went to the Trade FAir all six of us would queue up , thus ending up with a dozen of luncheon meat. We looked quite a forlorn group of kids, having just lost our father, the sole bread winner of the family.

I remember having luncheon meat steamed, fried, mixed with vegetables, cooked in porridge, fried with rice,luncehon meat sandwiches,luncheon meat with eggs and a few hundred other dishes for those first few years of our fatherless existence. My mother was the ever resourceful and hardworking Foochow woman. Nothing was ever too daunting to her. She was really wonderful in the sense that we could have the best of food which she could create from just very ordinary ingredients like egss, peanuts and luncheon meat. However,today, I still like my occasional luncheon meat as it is just so good!! It has become a comfort food for myself and my children.

Sometimes, some good things will come out of tragedies. Luncheon meat is one of the good things in my tragedy- laden life.

0 memories:


web statistics