Friday, July 04, 2008

Old Food Safes or Puong Dieu or Wan Dieu

A long time ago, when we were kids we were told that we must never open the doors of the food safes unless we were told to do so. If did not adhere to this rule,we would end up marrying a hopeless, good for nothing man.

Whenever an elder heard the creak of a food safe door opening,she would say,"Someone's peeping at the food again!!" This would deter the culprit. Those were the days when we had very little pocket money. And the next door little village shop would only have the least of sundry goods for sale. With training like that, we never ever did open the doors of the food safes. It was too embarrassing to be caught red handed.

So how did we contain our hunger? We would try to open the huge tins of soda biscuits or the hard Osborne biscuits after getting the permission from our mother or grandmother.

Actually this old saying helped discipline us, so that at no time, we would go and pick the food. Picking the food from the bowls would mean that one would be getting more than his fair share of food and mum would have nothing to cook for the next meal. Most afternoon meals would have left overs which would be just enough for the evening meal. In this way, the budget would always be well managed.

There is another Foochow saying, "Calculate carefully and you would have enough for 9 meals!!" Thus we Foochow girls were brought up to be very careful with our housekeeping money. And no wonder we have some kept away for the rainy days.

These two pictures are some of my favourite pictures of Foochow life in Sibu.

And looking at a Foochow food safe would just make me more homesick for my hometown than ever. Memories of childhood days would just come flooding!!

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