Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ice Balls in Sibu

Photo of an old fashioned ice shaver - open air ice ball stall in Singapore. (See note below)

I stumbled upon the photo below while browsing in the Internet. It inspired me to write my 400th article for my blog today, deliciously entitled" Ice Balls in Sibu". It cannot be more appropriate and relevant. But I am sorry I cannot provide a Foochow Ice Ball Man photo.
Has my life been like an Ice Ball? Life is indeed fragile. It can be meltedice by the sun, and your life can shrink into a small ball. Your life can even melt and disappear all together. And outside factors can give you lots of colour and extra sweetness. But then, people can "suck" your life away too. They can definitely such the best parts away, especially the sugar syrup.....
But then, like an Ice Ball, you give people a lot of happiness....
An incomplete metaphor on life......still under construction...THINKING is STILL ON....
Here is my 400th article - just one day ahead of my blog anniversary. To celebrate my anniversary, I will take one whole day off writing.
Hip Hip Hooray to Ice Balls Men of Sibu...our Kantong Apek!! Let's remember them.

The last time I had my big Ice Ball with pink, green and orange colours and a huge scoop of sugar syrup for 5 cents was about 45 years ago. (This will reveal my real age to you...hehehehe) when was yours?

My children had tried making one, but alas, they were rather unsuccessful. So I mooted the idea of Ice Ball Making Competition for future Foochow Association Anniversary in Sibu.

This Kantong man (Ice Ball Man) who had a special place in my heart passed away a long time ago. He used to work for Ban Chuan Coffee shop and we liked him a lot because he would give us Value Added Kantong ( a little more sugar, a little more pink colour). So you see when a man walks the second mile, he gets remembered by children who only had 2 coins to rub in their pocket.

One day, we went to see him and "begged" for an extra one because our little friend from a neighbouring road did not have a single cent in his pocket. We were not street beggars but it just happened that that day we were a little thirsty after our class and we still had about half a mile to walk before we reached home for lunch. We had already spent most of our pocket money for that day, and kept the right amount for our ice ball. He knew me quite well because my father and I would have coffee in the shop during the holidays. He thought for a while and then smiled.

"No problem, if you all agree to have a smaller ball!"

We nodded our heads in delight.

But the kindly old man more than made us happy - he made extra big ones for us!

"Here you go. You are good kids. And for begging for ice balls - today you are in luck...I am extra nice today, for you....." , said he cheerfully.

He might not have made a lot of money,but he had a big heart and a great deal of happiness. May be a little rare today?
Thanks for the good memories, Mr Kantong Man.

(Note: My greatest thanks to the blogger who took these photos - http://

6 memories:

James TC Wong said...

Wah...400 great postings! I know blogging makes you happy - and thanks for all the great articles! Keep them comin', Sis!

Sarawakiana said...

Just this morning I was bursting to tell you the good news - 400 in one year!!
And here you are with the response! Telepathy?

I can rest for a while now....but I am scared the Ice Ball may become smaller!!!

Arani Jantok said...

Congratulations on your 400th post.

no more iceballs, but at least we have cendol. these two are more or less alike, no?

Sarawakiana said...

Thanks for writing.

No, ice balls or kantong were just very special. You could hold the ice ball in your hands and you start sucking or slurping the sweet goodness and soon the ball would disappear. It might seem unhygienic but it was the only thing we coud afford at that time. Later when plastic bags came in, we just had the crushed ice and pink colouring with sugar syrup for 10 cents. The straw became very useful.
Chendol and ice kacang are different.

Greg Wee said...

NEE:i love this story. so sweet.

reminds me when my friends' kids come to my kitchen hinting they want some food. very cute.

Sarawakiana said...

When I was a child I was always looking at adults and see what they would do next.

And when I became an adult myself, I would forever picture how kids would look at me. That is why I believe I must always smile when children look at me. I have the Kantong man to thank for.


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