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Friday, January 18, 2008

Mr. Lau Kah Chui Giving a Speech

My maternal grandfather was a very quiet and humble man who allowed everyone to step all over him. He was always played the second fiddle to his older brother, Lau Kah Tii, the Kang Chu who lived in the huge Lau Mansion in Ensurai. Many people said that he was very hen pecked too, as my maternal grandmother called all the shots. Athough I never knew him, I thought he was just being a kind, polite man and very stoical to maintain peace with everyone.

My mother and uncles and aunties all loved him to bits. Unfortunately he died young after suffering from probably pneumonia during the Japanese Occupation when money was scarce as the rubber price had hit rock bottom and one or two doctors were not in the habit of doing charity. And the hospital in Sibu was too far away.

As a young man, he was bullied by his older brother, as was normal. One example was that he had to carry a lot of stuff on his pian dan, and his older brother would just walk ahead and greet every one along the village road.

His profession was tailoring. And he made a lot of clothes for others and was very good with the sewing machine.

According to our family stories, he donated a piece of land to build the community primary school , Kai Nang primary school, a sister school of Kwong nang the forerunner of SMK Chung Cheng, at the back of hills (au san) and we were all proud of it. To be able to donate money or a piece of land to build a school was the apex of wealth at that time.

Because my grandfather was not as educated as the others and not as prominent as others, he was only given the honorary post of treasurer of the the school board of directors. His older brother,being the prominent community leader, was the Chairman. Perhaps it was the courtesy then to do so,by way of seniority.

During the opening ceremony of Kwong Nan Primary school, the Chairman made a grand speech. Followed by another grand speech by the secretary.

By the time it was my grandfather's turn to speak, apparently all materials had been covered. He appeared to have nothing to say.

But he made a brilliant speech using metaphors, "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming today to this grand occasion, it is especially meaningful for my family and my self. I am proud that I can donate this piece of land to build this lovely school, which all of you accept graciously. Thank you for accepting it. I am afraid, the two gentlemen have already spoken and have covered all the important points. Therefore you have already been served the sharksfin , and abalone, of the feast. I have not much to offer you except kangkong (un chai)...." When he came to this point, the audience gave him a big applause. This was perhaps the only public speech he made in his life.

Not long after that, he passed away.

3 memories:

king kieng said...

kangkong...what a great speech, great story u tell. i m delighted to read what u wrote about this great grandfather of mine. keep on, write some more about him.

sarawakiana said...

Dear cousin,

thank you for writing in/dropping by my blog.

If you are a Kiing then your father is a Pang, and my grandfather (maternal)_is also your grandfather(paternal).

Our grandfather from what I have gathered could have a brilliant academic career had he been given a chance to study. Poverty has indeed given many Foochows a sad hand of fate. What to say?


Be assured. There will be more stories about him.

sarawakiana said...

Does any one know who donated the land for SMK Chung Cheng to start with?

Methodist Missionaries were very impressed by the schools started by Rev. Hoover and the Foochows in the Rejang Basin before 1935.

 

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