This books reminds me of the difficult times of the Chinese roughly about the time our Sibu Foochow pioneers arrived in Sibu. The farmer on the cover is seen using the changkul or tii tou to till the soil. He was representative of the hard life the Foochows had when they first arrived.
This photo shows Premier Hu using a changkul (tii tou)when he visited Tokyo last year. It is a very symbolic gesture. Very laudable.
When the Foochows first came to Sibu they brought very little in their luggage. Firstly they were poor and secondly there was not enough space in the boat for them ! The boat only had space for humans. So it was hard for them from the moment they boarded the boat.
Apart from scissors razors and knives they brought with them three heads (in Foochow) - axe (puo tou) changkul (tii tou) and their own intelligence (head or brain). This was their popular saying about themselves and we should be very proud of them and their struggles. Within the first 30 years they prospered and built many schools,churches and a bustling town.
This is my own changkul(tii tou) in my backyard which helps remind me of the hardwork of my ancestors. I continue to feel that it is a very important part of my life. Every now and then I would use the changkul to do a bit of gardening and I also make my children handle the changkul too. Never mind the blisters I told them. Blisters on their hands are good for them. We have to teach our children the basic things in life.
Using the axe and the changkul is back breaking of course. But we have to remember how hard our forefathers worked in order to bring prosperity to the younger generations. Nothing comes out of nothing a song once told us.