Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nasi Kerabu : Part Two - Recipe

I went to collect some blue peas or bunga telang this morning. Made a small arrangement and photographed it. This blue pea is actually quite a common climbing vine in Sarawak. The Methodist School Sibu used to have a few vines growing in the stair case going up to the Home Science Room. Who knows they might still be there!

Nasi Kerabu according to many of my West malaysian friends originated in Kelantan. But some claim that it is from Terengganu.

You will need :

1. Rice

20 bunga telang flowers (pressed and squeezed to get a tablespoon of blue liquid)
3 cups of rice (for 8 persons)
some salt
some pepper
some pandan leaves
some kunyit leaves

Cook the rice as usual and add the blue colouring.(If you like you can add some coconut milk)

2. Sambal
4 chilies - pounded
half big onion
some pips of garlic
l inch slice of ginger
one stick of lemon grass or serai
l inch kunyit

1/2 cup coconut milk

some gula melaka


1. Pound chillies;onions ;ginger;garlic and kunyit together until fine.
2. Heat up the oil and stir fry the pounded ingredients till fragrant.
3. Add the santan and cook for a short while. Set aside.

3. Fish :

Select a nice tenggiri about 1 kg and enough for eight persons. Cut up it into suitable sizes and marinate in salt and pepper for a while. Deep fry in hot oil.

4. Coconut Sambal

1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
2 pips garlic - well pouned
3 small onions - sliced and well pouned
1 stalk of serai - well pouned
some salt
some sugar

Fry these ingredients with a bit of oil.

5. Salad

l cucumber
half head of cabbage
some daun selum
some taugeh
some daun kesum
some bunga kentang

some fresh limes

6. Fish crackers/Keropok and some salted fish

7. Salted eggs

Enjoy cooking!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Nasi Kerabu : Part 1 - Blue Rice

Lent is the pre-Resurrection period in which many Christians will fast and pray. They also try to abstain from eating of meat if possible. Our cell group had a gourmet journey this week as we ventured into something blue and something that is not meaty.

Here's the story:

I am sure you have had blue cheese and Blue Curacao in your cocktails. You might even have had some blue Kueh Tai Tai in K.L. But blue rice?

What is your opinion of blue food? And blue colouring?

My Cell group has three homes to choose from to meet on Fridays. We are a small but interesting group and we enjoy all the different aspects of Cell Group meeting but especially take delight in providing of supper as some of the ladies are still single and are in need of good home cooked food.

Tonight besides my own humble cooking of four dishes I was truly over the moon when J brought her mother's preparation. Although I have eaten lots of Nasi Kerabu in West Malaysia I must say Mrs. F's is wonderful.

Nasi Karabu is native to Kelantan and Teranganu where fish is a staple. So this is indeed a good dish to prepare during Lent. I hope I can make it soon.

Nicely fried tenggiri.

This is the salad that goes well with the rice.

This is the fragrant kerisik or fried shredded coconut to give a special nutty taste to the rice.

This is the finely sliced cucumber which brings coolness in your diet.

This is the chili sauce for those who like very spicy nasi karabu.

This is the blue rice.

This plate shows the salted egg and deep fried fish which is part of the Nasi Karabu

The blue colouring is natural and is from the blue pea which is commonly found in homes and even road sides.

Blue peas or blue clitorea (

Jennifer promised to give me some young plants of blue peas to grow....So if you see lots of blue flowers in Luak I am responsible for spreading it!! Won't it be a wonderful thought?

Post Script:

As I did not intend to take photos of my buah kundur soup cooked longhouse style and fresh Jerudong Brunei tuna in red curry and special rice bought in Lachau this posting is purely on a fish meal which is very relevant to Lent. Perhaps my supper is another story in the making...stay tuned.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I celebrated the purchase of my first ever digital camera a few years ago with an outing on my favourite beach - and my favourite past time - watching people at work.

The catching of bubuk is an annual affair in Miri. Fisherfolks go wild when the shrimps arrive in literally millions on the shallow waters and the sky and the water seem to be pink for days! They call it "itu benda sudah datang" with low toned reverence in their voices while their hearts would be beating a tattoo. And they often would even take leave just to go down to the sea.

In the days ready for bubok fishing the sea would be mirror calm. There might not even be a wave at all. That is the moment for the great bubuk! Only those of us who have a paka (or pangkak) know the real feelings of going into the sea and spending a wet day walking up and down and digging the paka into the sand. And the thrill of it would be later when our belacan is dried and ready to be patted into their rectangular shapes. The cooking of the belacan will be the climax of the season. Nothing is better is bubuk fishing!!

This lady is ready to go down to the shallow seas on her own. She sportingly posed for me when I met her early in the morning. A paka (net attached to two poles) is usually 8 feet long and the netting is store bought but home designed and customised. The ends of the Paka wooden rods have shoes which are recycled from rubber tyres. Almost every Kedayan or Iban shrimp fisherfolk can design a paka like this. When the fisherfolk get into the water they cross the rods to make the net take a triangular shape. It is indeed very simple but creative.

I used to own a paka twelve years ago and had a go at bubuk fishing. It was fun. But it was hardwork too. I was not too successful in catching those tiny shrimps although I was tickled pink by their small bites. Most of the fisherfolks I know can net about 10 kilos a day during a good season with a huge total of 150 kilos!! But for me I resigned to the fact that I was no bubuk fisherwoman. It was better just to hang out very often by the beach and soon I could get one or two plates of fresh shrimps free! Perhaps I am the only Foochow woman hanging out with them and getting to know them...and also asking too many questions!! I have long given away my paka.

When the season is over the fishermen and fisherwoman I meet in the fish market would ask me whether I still loaf around on the beach! That's wonderfully warm and friendly. Most of them actually do not live by the Luak Bay. We have come to recognise each other every where in Miri. I call that being real neighbourly.

This man is on his own. He walks in a slow manner pushing his Paka forward but touching the sand at the bottom of the shallow water. Shrimps come up to the shore in the most unique way. Often the Kedayans think that this "thing" (benda ini) is God sent. There is something spiritual about catching these tiny shrimps.

Some years the shrimps are beached in the same way as whales are beached. And the sand would simmer for days in different shades of pink and silver. Flies would then inhabit the beach and the smell would be overwhelming. But luckily this phenomenon does not happen every year. Our naturalists have not made a study about this significant and magnificient shrimp. I just hope that global warming would not destroy our modest but shrinking belacan cottage industry.

The team checking their shrimps at the base of the Paka.

Here the fisherlady has come up to the team of two men. She has lowered her paka. There is a lot of camaradarie amongst the fisherfolks. They all talk (almost whisper) to each other when they meet. They do not ask about each other's catch as if questioning the day's catch would make the gods shy away and the shrimps disappear. These folks continue to treat the supernaturals with respect and they carry on their traditional mores and norms when catching bubok.

The fisherlady is lifting her Paka up to check for shrimps which are caught at the base. She will scoop up the shrimps and throw them into the basket on her back. If she had brought her husband along she would be the one carrying the basket and he would be the one pushing the paka. But sometimes two men can be in a team and they might even be a father and son team. A single woman usually fishes on her own. And a widow can come alone too. Shrimp fisherfolks catch their bubok until they retire . That is the time when they say that their bones are not up to it. "Tulang sudah lemah." But this yearly endeavour to catch their very own bubok is a kind of pride dfor them. No family should be short of home made belacan!!

This lady fisher has placed her paka to level with the water. She is again checking her shrimps. If she has some she will raise the paka high up and then scoop the shrimps into her basket. If there are many fisherfolks on the shallow sea the scenery is very much like a dance sequence with the paka being raised and lowered to the rhythm of the waves at regular intervals.

However these days with global warming and competition from motorised boats these homely and kindly fisherfolks are disadvantaged. They would often go down to the fish market and buy the mechanically netted shrimps at a price and make their belacan. In the last few days the bubok is priced at RM 4 per kilo. I hope the price will go down.

According to most of my Kedayan neighbours shrimps caught by their grandfathers helped made the best belacan. And I do not disagree with that!

And I too believe that happiness is taking your own paka out and getting your own shrimps in the evening!!

When you next eat your laksa in Sibu remember the shrimps have first to be caught in the sea and sometimes under very hot sun. The process of making the best belachan is slow and steady in only the traditional people know how.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Aunt Lily and her Morris Minor

This photo is taken by a friend from Hamilton. (Take a closer look at the signal indicator behind the front door screen)

This Morris Minor photo was taken in Bristol.

In the 50's and 60's Grandfather Kung Ping and various uncles and my dad would visit Singapore fairly often. Upon their return I would beg them for stories about Singapore. But being very taciturn men they were not able to tell any boisterious stories. Did they go to the Change Alley. Did they see the steamers in the Quay? What did they buy in Chinatown? What did they eat? What did Aunt Lily say?

I have three aunts living and working in Singapore. Aunt Lily Aunt Phyllis looked very alike and they wore mostly cheong sams. Aunt Ngiin Sieng is also beautiful like them but she prefers the western frock or shift as she is a capable well trained nurse.

My real bonding was with Aunt Lily who took to the caring of us children when my dad passed away suddenly leaving my mum and all of us feeling very lost and almost unable to live on because the loss was too great! Aunt Lily came for the funeral and we really felt that her presence helped us overcome the first hurdle of grief. She was there and that was very important. Someone did care about my mum and all of us. My youngest brother was only eleven months old!!

Later for about 10 years Aunt Lily comforted us through her regular mail. She would send us lovely cards and her beautiful cursive handwriting would be in the card. Mum keeps every one of them in her Bible. Unknown to us for many years Aunt Lily would send her a kind of stipend to ease her burden. The gift of money was God sent . She was trying her best to do something for her eldest brother's children. That will be forever remembered by us with deep gratitude.

Aunt Lily attended my graduation in KL together with my mum. She took my father's place and I knew that she and my mum were very proud to see me graduate with a degree and soon I would be a graduate teacher. During all the occasional brief meetings with aunt Lily I picked up a lot of gracious ideals and important values. When I stayed with her a few times I found her to be more than a very gentle and caring aunt. Her discipline was impeccable and in my little girl's eyes she was such a perfect lady for anyone to emulate. But I never developed that graceful walk (with the straightest of backs )of hers which must have been cultivated by Mrs. James Hoover. I continue to stomp around.

One amazing memory I have of her was the way she drove her Morris Minor. I would be seated at the back with her three girls and Uncle Goh would be in the front. I was really excited to watch the signal "hand" or indicator flip up and down. Not many people would know what that signal "hand" or indicator was like in those days. If you look closely at the photo of the red Morris Minor you would see an indicator between the front and back window. This little right indicator would flip up if Aunt Lily wanted to turn right. And the left indicator would flip up when she wanted to turn left.

Her car had no air conditioning so it was fairly hot sitting inside in mid afternoons. But I really felt like a princess riding in her Morris Minor. It was to me a huge luxury car .

Whenever I see a vintage Morris Minor on the road today memories of Aunt Lily would flash in my mind and I can even imagine her driving the car with her strong Tiong arms exposed to the sun. She was truly a gracious cheong sam clad and devoted aunt who had an immense impact on me. What she taught me I have treasured to this day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Videos on youtube, original and edited... the use of visual and sound

Sun Shades

The sun has come up and the world is warm and shiny again. Many would pick up their sunglasses and start wearing them! As the earth gets warmer each day and the sun seems to get stronger we have been giving sun glasses more thoughts these days.

What do you think about wearing of sun glasses?

When I was young I used to think that people who wore sunglasses were more important people because John F Kennedy wore them. And so did the colonial officers. Then I thought the artistic people were marvellous in their sun shades like John Lennon and Audrey Hepbern. Most of the community leaders' cheong sam wearing wives in Sibu wore them. They looked awfully important and imposing. And then of course all the ladies who joined W.I. also wore them. One of our teachers Mr. Eu How Chong wore them all the time even when it was raining. My Principal Mr. Wiltshire wore the first clip-ons I ever saw in my life!!

I finally got my first pair when I went on my first field trip (Bako) at the end of the 60's. That's a long long time ago.

My father owned a pair of Ray Ban which he treasured. Always a debonair man he took good care of his looks and posture. I believe no one I have ever met could compete with his composure and poise. Sun glasses today is still very fashionable. You can get a good pair from International Optics (Sibu and Miri)where my uncle Tiong Tak King will give you good advice which pair would suit your face.

Elvis helped make wearing of sun glasses popular.

John F Kennedy was fabulous wearing dark glasses.

In the 1950's and 1960's sun glasses were as fashionable as today! My father loved his sunglasses and so did my aunts and uncles. A good day to wear a pair was when sending a dear brother off to the United Kingdom. The family dressed formally then.


On a day's visit across the Rejang to the Ice Factory. My aunt wore a pair of sunnies when this photo was taken by banks of the Rejang. (1955?)

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Let's take a look at the history of sun glasses.

Not until the twentieth century did sunglasses begin to be utilized for UV ray protection purposes. In the 1920s, Sam Foster introduced the sunglasses to the American public to protect the eyes from the sun.

And in the 1930, Edwin H. Land, commenced another phenomenon by using his patented Polaroid filter by polarizing the lenses. At this time, sunglasses began to gain their popularity at an even faster rate. Famous movie stars and musicians ensured the sunglasses’ stardom by wearing them in public and in front of the camera.

It is indeed surprising to discover that the original sunglasses trendsetters were Chinese judges who began wearing sunglasses - or quartz lenses, tinted by smoke- in order to cover their eye expressions, and thus their opinions. It seems that the initial purpose of sunglasses was not even to protect the eyes against the sun; it was to protect the eyes of important decision makers from unwanted spectators.


Onassis glasses or "Jackie O's" are very large sunglasses worn by women. This style of sunglasses is said to mimic the kind most famously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. While originally worn by Onassis in the 1960's, the glasses eventually became popular with younger American girls around the year 2003. Big sunglasses have maintained their popularity through 2007. They have also expanded their demographic reach to adult women throughout the world. Modern day celebrities use these to hide from paparazzi.

Mirrorshades are sunglasses with a mirrored coating on the surface. Their popularity with police officers in the United States has earned them the nickname "cop shades".Wraparound sunglasses are also quite popular in the world of extreme sports.

Aviators are sunglasses with an oversized teardrop-shaped lens and thin metal frames. First introduced by Ray-Ban, the Wayfarer design popularized since the 1950s by Hollywood celebrities such as James Dean is thought to be the bestselling sunglasses design to date['Teashades' (sometimes also called '"John Lennon glasses" or "Ozzy Glasses", after Ozzy Osbourne') were a type of Psychedelic art wire-rim sunglasses that were often worn, usually for purely aesthetic reasons, by members of the 60's drug counterculture, as well as by opponents of segregation. Rockstars such as Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Ozzy Osbourne, and Janis Joplin all wore teashades.
more fun stuff:


Some of the ladies in Sibu wore sunglasses then. the movie stars like Lin Dai were fashion trendsetters. Although Movie News the popular magazine then were devoured by teenagers and fashion conscious career people in my opinion the majority of the Foochows remained very conservative and Chinese in taste and outlook.

Old photos from Sibu showing people wearing sunglasses bring back a lot of fond and endearing memories.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bukit Aup Sibu : Takang Quarry vs Jubilee Park

This photo of "local tourists" (actually family members) has a story to tell.

It was taken my father who was the owner of the Ta Kang quarry which extracted and crushed the granite from Bukit Aup.

The rocks were religiously "dynamited" by my father with the help of his Iban workers. Each week he had to bring his quarry licence first to the PWD (Public Works Department) to get his stipulated consignment of dynamite signed by the Divisional Engineer in the morning and then to the Police Department where he would collect a wooden box of dynamite.

I used to worry if the dynamite might blow off in his Land Rover on his way to Aup for I had read quite a lot of detective novels by then.

He would then have part of the granite hill "blown off" between 4 and 5 p.m. (He had a sign up in English and Chinese for this)

The signboard read something like this "Please be warn that no one should be in the vicinity at around 4-5 p.m. -Danger caused by dynamite !! By order PWD."

(I only remember that the words for dynamite in Chinese were fire medicine.)

I would always remember that at 4 no one would be around and the then jungle would become so quiet that I could hear a bird sing or a rock fall and even the energetic explosion of a bursting ripe rubber seed!


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I smile today because the usual indemnity statement (e.g.loss of life or any untoward damages would not be the responsibility of the management)would then have been rather necessary.

The "blowing up" of part of the hillside was like a movie scene. We the children would hide near the office and cover our ears while my father would be standing in the distance ready to press the detonator with his right foot. His two men would run to the selected rock crevice to set up the dynamite. This was followed by a white flag to show that they had inserted the dynamite. My father would respond with his white flag. And then the two men would run for cover in the machinery hut. Upon reaching their protective shed they would raise their red flag and my father would also raise his red flag as acknowledgement.

At that moment my father would step on the detonator (ala David Niven) and he would run to the office where we would beam our best Tiong smile for our hero.

The office was quite a good distance away. And those were the only moments we ever saw our father in "great action - walking very quickly - almost running". Actually the operation was very safe .

I have often wondered whether people today do their quarrying in such gentle ways - dynamite only enough for the week's supply for government use.

My father was given the annual renewable license to supply gravel for government road building. It was all very environmentally friendly I remember. If the PWD stopped workig for a while my father did not need to collect his dynamite which was a very controlled item. His machinery would just crush the stones which needed to be processed to the required sizes. The PWD trucks would not come to collect the gravel and my father would work half day only.

In retrospect I wonder what would have happened if my father was ambushed and kidnapped! But then that small amount of dynamite was not worth it I suppose.

Or may be because my father was such a mild person no communist had ever thought of taking the dynamite from him.

As Bukit Aup is state land my father never applied to own the small granite outcrop. The history of Bukit Aup would have been really different if he had been an ambitious man and had strategic plans to add on to his landed property. But he was a mild gentle scholarly man with aesthetics pursuits.

Today it has been transformed into the Bukit Aup Jubilee Park

A lovely bridge over the green lake.

Another blogger BengBeng is the guy in the photo.

A photo by blogger friend Victor Kiu taken when he and his friends chilled out in the Jubilee Park.

The water in the pool is not "living" meaning that there is no outlet. This bomb crater continues to trap rainwater and the greeness is a combination of the greenery surrounding it and the algae that has grown underneath it. The pool to my knowledge has never been dry as the granite layer supporting the body of water must be truly impermeable.

So if you like do get a pair of lovely sunshades from Mr. Tiong Tak King's International Optics and chill out in the Jubille Park like what we used to do.

The ambience may not be the same any more. You can't hear cicadas or small rocks bursting out of the granite crevices in the hot sun.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

My ten Valentine Day's thoughts are for :

For all my teachers and my children's teachers - thank you for the love and the knowledge you share.

For my mother espeically and all the mothers and grandmothers and certainly the mothers-in-laws of this world for bringing all of us into this world.

For the great leaders of China - Hu Jin Tao and Wen Jia Bao . My admiration and love.

For all dear aunties and uncles and sisters and brothers and cousins and nephews and neices - those who provide pastoral care for those suffering and in not only today but all the days of your life.

For all the missionaries in this world : for your sacrifice and love for all mankind. Without that spark in you love will not be spread. James Hoover would not have come to Sibu!

For all those who carry love in their hearts for eternity - love in whatever form is never too old it is never too weak and it is never too poor.

For my three daughters - family love was sown on the prairie with Laura Ingalls and it has spread far and wide as we watched episode after episode. You might be far away but you are in my heart where love stays strong for always.

For my son - love is like a pot of honey it is so good you need to use your fingers and lick the last sticky drop and then you want more!! No chef can cook without using his hands! I want to say again and again you must use your hands well in the kitchen. And your cooking must be finger licking good!

To all my friends and former students you are like the characters in Sesame Street - cheerful and loving. You are like a loving world family. And you never do grow old. Do you?

And to myself - I am like Snoopy - Music please! Dance! Dance for love today and every day of your life!!

God is Love and Joy.

(ref: images are all from Google Images)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Washing Feet Washing Face (Seh ka seh min)

Years ago when we were young and water was stored in huge cement tanks in our homes we had the ritual of washing our face and feet before we went to bed. We did not have showers or long baths then. Mum would use one towel for all of us so we had our faces wiped and then we soaked our feet in the Chinese enamal basin finally. It was sharing of a warm foot bath.

It was a great bonding time for mother and children. We would be scrubbed red and then we changed into our pajamas and went upstairs. We were even told that if we did not wash our face and feet we would have nightmares.

Later I had some memorable times with my daughters who loved to give me manicures and pedicures. They thought that I should have something nice at least. They thought that being a teacher I was standing far too long and far too much. They were right. Very often my feet were killing me!

Little would they realise how therapeutic their actions had been. The warm foot bath and the long soaking (to get rid of the dead cells they said) would lull me to sleep and when I woke up from the short relaxing sleep my toe nails were all painted and my feet were refreshingly cool. I did not need to go to a pedicurist to have my feet and toes pampered. These girls were learning a great skill.

Christians learned to wash feet from the example set by Jesus more than 2000 years ago. The Muslims also practise ablution rituals of washing their feet and other parts every day before they read their Koran and say their prayers.

And many Chinese who were not brought up by these two religions actually also had some kind of foot and face washing in the evenings.

I have enjoyed watching several Chinese movies which showed the loving husband giving his wife a treat by sending a warm basin of water up to their small room for her to soak her feet in. And I have forgotten the title of another movie in which the wife washed the husband's feet lovingly. These are awesome memories.

Today with all the utilities we have (hot water showers and long baths and perhaps even jaccuzis) the idea of washing feet has indeed become very archaic.

But the other night I gave myself a warm foot bath as I was so tired....and took these photos. It was not easy to take an artistic photo of feet soaking in warm water! I will try again.

May be tomorrow (Valentine's Day) you can plan to give your loved ones a foot bath !! And I can assure you that you do not have to spend a fortune to give your loved ones this special treat!!

And I would like to thank my daughters who practise foot bathing (hopefully they have bought their Chinese enamal basins) for giving me my first ever foot bath and a pedicure many years ago when they were still secondary school girls!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

What a Wonderful World

Perhaps once in a while we must seek inspiration and some motivation to carry on spite of the floods and the landslides. In spite of the crocodiles and the fear of rising water. In spite of the political frogs who dampen our social spirit....

Here's Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World..... like in the old days I am requesting this song for all of you out there...Think for yourself....what a wonderful world ....

Louis Armstrong has a message for us in his song - a mental health message - we think we have a wonderful world! We have one!! We think we are happy = we are!!

Chap Goh Meh and Tua Pek Kong

As I do not have to find a life partner by throwing mandarin oranges into a river or carry a lantern to relatives' homes I thought it would be nice to do something different this year by going to have a peep at my friends' temple before dinner time.

There was a brilliant sun to help me take photos. But all too soon the sunset shadows crept up behind us and I felt that there were so many needs to be addressed as the worshippers moved silently but hurriedly about with their joss sticks in hand.

What was happening before me triggered my memories of the many Chinese movies I saw in which the actresses put great significance into the burning of joss sticks. Such scenes would create an atmosphere for something good that would happen as if the dieties could hear their prayers better when they smelled the fragrance of their incense.

It is a fact many Chinese men go to the Tua Pek Kong Temple in Miri to pray for good fortune while women would also pray for the same thing but they are more fervent in praying of harmonious family and successful children. Burning of incense is a must in their rituals while offerings of paper crafts and paper money and also actual things like ducks and pork are common for the altars. According to one of the worshippers the prayers are very individual and they do not pray as a congregation like the Christians. Individuals go alone and appeal to Tua Pek Kong quietly as if thier grief were very p and c.

Nowadays offerings of huge joss sticks are popular especially on auspicious days to obtain the listening ears of the dieties and prayers would be answered. Most families in Miri collectively offer giant joss sticks which are burnt in special places in the temple grounds.

The temple is usually supported by donations from followers. Therefore if the followers are very successful the temple would also gain in size and stature. The Miri Tua Pek Kong temple is supported by a large group of successful Chinese businessmen of Miri the list of which includes temenggongs and pemanchas.

I grew up in a very pristine and disciplined Methodist community where church was the centre of all social activities. Life could have just been that but because of education and career and several interests my horizons widened and I have a more inclusive circle of friends from all walks of life.

Having worked amongst many people who worship fervently Tua Pek Kong for many years I finally accepted an opportunity to see for myself what Tua Pek Kong means to them and what they do in their temple. In the same way many of these friends have been to churches including mine. So I took a small step towards understanding them by visiting their temple on chap Goh Meh when the temple was just so busy with worshippers!!

Tua Pek Kong (Chinese: 大伯公, Da Bo Gong) is one of the pantheon of Malaysian Chinese Gods. It was believed the date Tua Pek Kong arrived in Penang was 40 years before Francis Light. Tua Pek Kong was a man named Zhang Li (张理) of Hakka family, his Sumatra bound boat was struck by wind and accidentally landed on Penang island of Malaysia, which at that time had only 50 inhabitants. After his death, local peoples began worshipping him and built the Tua Pek Kong temple there. Today Tua Pek Kong is worshipped by Malaysian Chinese throughout the country.

Chung Keng Quee was a principle donor to the Haichu-yu (Sea Pearl) Tua Pek Kong Temple (1865 and 1868) in Tanjung Tokong, Penang.

Tua Pek Kong is often mistaken for Tu Di Gong, partially because of their physical similarities.

Source : Wikipedia®

The riverside Tua Pek Kong Temple, Miri has almost a hundred years of history.

According to Miri history an epidemic spread through Miri in 1913 and affected the then 2000 inhabitants who lived in the four rows of wooden shoplots and the vicinity then.

Fear spread amongst them and they believed that the outbreak of the mysterious disease was caused by a vengeful spirit. A Buddhist monk was summoned from Kuching and and a few days of prayers were said. It was indeed inexplicable how all the deaths stopped!! It was as if his prayers were answered. Before he departed he advised the construction of a small riverside temple on the exact spot where he performed the rituals. The community promised to offer prayers on the first and fifteenth day of the month.

The local Mirians are further strengthened in their beliefs in Tua Pek Kong as a protector by the fact that that while many parts of Miri were bombed by the Japanese during the Second World War the Temple was untouched. We would never really know why the Japanese bombers did not strike the temple. Was it due to their own Tao related religion?

The current Temple was rebuilt in 1970s, and was declared a historical building under the Sarawak Cultural Heritage Ordinance 1993.


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