In 1958, Grace Tiong Ging Sieng came back from Missouri University,USA, with a Masters Degree to a warm and joyuous welcome from her family and her then aging although still very healthy father, Tiong Kung Ping. Grandfather Tiong Kung Ping was 69 years old then and he would live another 5 years. My aunt Grace thus not only was the first Foochow woman graduate of Sibu but held a Masters' degree. Her father, who was literate but had only a few years of education was very proud of her. Every where she went with him, he would take a paper umbrella to protect her from the sun. He always spoke to her in very gentle tones.
In this respect, I think my grandfather was a very polished gentleman. He was not loud like many others and he spoke with a great gentleness to his daughters and granddaughters. Somehow, all of us spoke in gentle tones and we would seldom raise our voices. Perhaps because of this gentility, many people thought that we were lesser beings or weaker people.
In our upbringing through three generations, we have followed Confucian ways of using a gentle voice to say strong words. We were very respectful of our elders and I remember that all my uncles and aunts never said a single word of disagreement when Grandfather had made a decision.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Memoir by I Am Sarawakiana at 6:07 PM