On the 10th Anniversary of my Grandfather's passing, the Tiong family had the first family reunion on 3rd April 1973. Much of the work was carried out by all those who were living in Sibu at that time, namely my Grandmother Siu Nguk Lang,my seventh Uncle Tai Hieng, my Fifth Uncle, Tai Sui and my Seventh Aunt, Chiew Sieng and a few others.
At that time, only the telephone was available and also the normal stamp and postal system. Perhaps they did use the other long forgotten means of communication was the telegram.
Dependent on such means of communications, the Tiong family did manage a small reunion. Most of the uncles and aunts were still in Sibu and had probably not even contemplated on migrating elsewhere. Some came from Kuching, Singapore and Australia.
And indeed the gathering was a good event. Grandfather's tomb was still in its original shape and style without the awning. This was later improved when financial and structural resources were better.
A family reunion would create a sense of belonging and concern. Perhaps it was at that time, that the seeds of unity were sown amongst the younger generation . Often this kind of reunion, in modern post 9/11 era, there can be the important transmitting a sense of identity and direction.
While many aunts and uncles would agree that such a reunion, in terms of our Christian faith, would help us go on a journey of healing many would definitely agree that it could be a time for networking and mutual understanding. The young can look up at the older ones and learn a lot of values.
One important lesson we learned from Rev. Lenita was to reflect on how our Grandfather impacted our lives.
But generally, we are grateful that we have a strong family to lean on, and the Christian faith to share. We are also extending a very warm welcome to our new in-laws.
Having been so used to such an extended family life, personally I often feel that being alone in another part of Malaysia or even another part of the world, can be quite a formidable challenge. This is where, upon remembering my grandfather's pioneering spirit, I gain strength. Having said that, once in a while, a family reunion is a golden opportunity to relive an old life style and walk down memory lane in Sibu.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Memoir by I Am Sarawakiana at 6:32 AM