A group of my friends buying rice in the Sibu Central Market where prices are very reasonable. In many places all over the world rice price can skyrocket at the whims and fancies of the suppliers and government. Some rice have to be even bought at black market prices. We are indeed blessed by Sibu suppliers who have been able to maintain a good price.
Rice is fresh and nicely displayed in this age old style. You can tell that rice is fresh from the shiny look and good solid colours without any speck of dust and smell of mustiness.
This is the ancient metal scoop for scooping an amount of rice into a plastic bag for good measurement on a scale. We used the daching a long time ago but today that is no longer permissible by regulation. So a normal international metric scale which is easier for most people.
The Foochows would used the term "leurn mi" meaning to measure some rice. Many decades ago in Sibu when the farmers did not have ready cash for their purchaes they would have to say "chok mi" meaning "borrow some rice" and the shop keepers would know that they would get first and pay later. Immediately the shop keeper would take out the account book and write down the rice bought against the name of the farmer.
I still remember a very very old story of a relative who had many children who ran out of rice. His wife did not have the "face" to borrow some more rice from the shopkeeper. Finally when the son came home from school at about six in the evening he was asked to borrow the rice . He took his father's bicycle which was way too big for him and pedalled the three miles to Sibu from their rubber garden. He was very embarrassed but he knew that his sickly father could not tap rubber fast enough to feed the family. Each push of the pedal must have been excruciating for him. After the incident he decided that he must tap more rubber by getting up even earlier before he went to school. At a young age of 15 he was already more than the "father" to his siblings. He is one of our most filial sons of Sibu.
He developed great humility from his daily errands. Today he is a multimillionaire and is always very helpful to poor people. He continues to be very frugal and simple.
Looking at rice always make me think of katis and tahils for old time sake. But very few people can remember that any more. However in most places in China this measurement is still being used.