Tuesday, June 02, 2009
My aunt (mum's oldest sister) was a nurse trained in China and she met this tall and good looking doctor (Dr. Hsiung) while working in a hospital. It is interesting to note that my Tui Yee only wore cheong same until she was very very old when she took to wearing a blouse and a pair of long trousers. She was a very pleasant and understanding kind of aunt. As a mother she was strict and did not spare the rod. Uncle was equally stern and he was not from the Ming Ching group of Foochows. He was Ming Nan and so it was a little difficult to understand him.
When all the brothers-in-law got together in the 50's they had plenty to talk about. It was perhaps fate that my mother's sisters were all married to very educated man. So apparently when they visited my grandmother down river they found their table topics very interesting. My father and first uncle were both China-educated whereas the two younger brothers-in-law were locally but English educated. However all four were very good in Chinese due to their secondary Chinese education.
In the Japanese Occupational years they were married and lived a simple life in Sibu. However after the war the young couple moved to Kuching and started a dispensary cum maternity clinic in Padungan.
They went on to raise a family of successful sons and a daughter.
Their shop house at Padungan was a haven for many new mothers and my uncle helped a large number of people to regain their health. He must have saved a few lives but he was very taciturn and calm about everything. Today the children still keep his chest of drawers and a dresser.
However apart from success stories and very motivating tales I particularly remember my aunt's bed.
It was a spring bed with brass rods and frames. And she had this very interesting mosquito net hanging from the four posters.
I used to peep into the dark upstairs room and check on the bed to see if it was still there. I love to remember how my aunt would place her books and Bible by the side of the bed on a small table. There would also be a small flask and a small glass mug.
The upstairs of my aunt's shop house is still there in Kuching. But the downstairs have seen lots of change of hands in business ever since my aunt and uncle passed away several years ago.
A brass bed will always remain a family treasure.