In the 1920's to 1940's one of the most feared diseases was tuberculosis or TB and the Sarawak government did try to contain it. Although TB was prevalent in mostly highly densely areas like the Chinatown of Singapore in the 50's, it nevertheless was prevalent in Sarawak. Many men were placed in the TB wards of the hospitals and in fact the Sibu Lau King Howe TB ward was often avoided. It was placed on the north side and its main door was gated. All utensils and crockery were separated from the normal patients' wards. I cannot remember exactly but it seemed that even the cooking was also slightly different. So great was the fear for the disease.
One of the fine activities of the missionary wives was to help bring some essentials to the hospital wards. Collaborating with the nursing sisters and doctors of the Lau King Howe hospital, these wonderful ladies and a few of us students helped to sell stuff like Sun Valley Orange toothpaste toothbrushes,combs .towels.etc For my friends and I it was a good opportunity to learn what it was like to work in a hospital. We were not afraid at all to go near the TB patients and sell them the things they needed. They found that we were good listeners.
We learned a few of the old wives' tales about how people contracted TB. One was that a man who had multiple wives would suffer from TB!! Another was exhaustion from work. Several old ladies even told me that if a man did not wear enough clothes because he was poor he would soon have TB.
One of the normal Foochow community practices was to give children a lot of Cod Liver Oil as a protection against this deadly disease. Many men and women who looked very thin would buy Cod Liver Oil as a supplement. So perhaps Cod Liver Oil was the first food supplement of that era.
Perhaps it was because of this association of TB with thin people that fat babies were favoured in the 50's and 60's!!
Many families would have multiple bottles of the white Scott's Emulsion Cod liver Oil. The empty bottles were used to mark divisions in the vegetable gardens! This was very typical of the then frugal society. Some people even recycle the bottles as milk bottles. But later the beer bottles became the favourite recycle-able bottles for chinese wine,soya bean milk,and others.
I still remember with fondness and a smile a typical scene of a loving mother lining up her six kids and pouring a spoon of cod liver oil for each of them. This comradeship of a sibling queue for cod liver oil must have made the swallowing of the fishy supplement easier. My siblings and I had our share of cod liver oil too and so did all my cousins, upriver and downriver of the Rejang . Mothers never seem to stop buying them. And sometimes the shops go out of stock.
Scott's EmulsionChildren's Health Supplement : Scott's EmulsionScott's Emulsion is rich in cod liver oil which is a natural source of Omega-3 Vitamin A & D, calcium and phosphorus. It helps children to build their natural body resistance to infections like coughs and colds and develop strong bones and teeth during their growing years.
It is a brand trusted by mothers for generations to help protect their children from coughs and colds, so that they will grow strong and healthy.
Scott's Emulsion is available in two variants : Original and Orange flavours.
Adult Health Supplement : Scott's Cod Liver Oil CapsulesScott's Cod Liver Oil Capsules come in easy to swallow golden capsules rich in natural Vitamin A & D and polyunsaturated fatty acids - Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA which help to build resistance to infections, maintain healthy tissue and promote strong bones and teeth.
Scott's Cod Liver Oil is available in 100's and 500's Capsules pack.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Memoir by I Am Sarawakiana at 3:56 PM