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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My Aunt's Marriage Bed



 


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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.

18 memories:

fufu said...

wow the exact bed i saw in pinang peranakan mansion...but that one was much more gorgeously made!! for a wealthy baba and nyonya... you can have a look at my most recent update =p

Yan said...

I caught the tam-buang by the side of the bed!

sarawakiana said...

Dear Fufu
This is not a photo of my aunt's bed...her's is an old one. I grabbed this from google...
will look at yours.

sarawakiana said...

Yes...Yan...I am saving the tam buang story for a future date...

hehehehe...you can see everything at the bottom of the bed...which can hide lots of things..

Yan said...

I also have a story to tell about tam-buang! Will share when you wrote that story, or if I can get a picture of the tam-buang!

Bengbeng said...

wat is a tam buang? i googled n found nothing :)

William said...

Interesting memory. I used to sleep in one of those beds! hahaha....

Free Bird said...

Its pretty similar to a modern day bed.

Is the spring hard? or is it the one that holds the mat/mattress?

Tam-buang -- potty :p

sarawakiana said...

Dear Yan
I will have amusing interpretations of the tambuong!!
Just back from Sibu!

sarawakiana said...

Beng Beng
Tam Buong = spittoon = potty...but in those days it was mainly enamel coated and very important in the lives of the Chinese.

sarawakiana said...

William
Did you family keep the bed? A brass bed can be worth a fortune now....
The spring was not too soft...enough to hold the mattress. And some people just put wooden planks when the springs failed.

sarawakiana said...

Free Bird

Yes Tam buong is a potty...

Can get one in modern bridal shops even.

Bengbeng said...

ah... a spittoon :) . now that clears it up

sarawakiana said...

I have found out that Bridal shops are selling spittoons at astronomical prices!

Are there shops in Sibu selling simple old fashion spittoons?

Remember in olden days every coffee shop had a spittoon under the marble table?

kamaliah said...

Just got down to read this posting!
Beds do not feature much in the indigenous society. But I agree that a marriage bed is for forever!
Both husband and wife must look at it that way.
And when children and grandchildren come the bed becomes gong gong and mah mah's kingdom!!
I like to think this happy way.

William said...

When we move house in 1969, we abandoned the bed! A pity!

I Am Sarawakiana said...

yes what a pity....need to look at some antique shops to buy a new one...or have one hand made in Miri by a welder....but beds made in olden days are just so "good"...the joints can last forever!!

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Kamaliah
Gong gong's and ma ma's bed is always special....

 

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