THE MESIAN-MESSAGE NO. 112 - MARCH 2011.
THE TAN KIM WOK SERIES
Unique Dates in 2011
New Year comes every year but "2011" is a special year which happens just once.
On 1st of Jan the date will be 1/1/11
After 10 days 11/1/11
After 10 months 1/11/11
Then 10 days after that it will be 11/11/11
On 1st of Jan the date will be 1/1/11
On 9th of October the date will be 9/10/11 (ascending order)
On 11th of November the date will be 11/11/11 (Unique number)
On the 13th of December the date will be 13/12/11 (Descending order)
On the 20th of November the date will be 20/11/2011
Isn't it fantastic?
STORY NO. TEN
LIEW FOOK CHOY NOW RESIDES IN KLANG.
One day I met and talked to Liew Fook Choy.
From this informal and most amicable meeting I learnt the following. Fook Choy was born in 1947 when the communists insurgency began in
Malaya. The following year saw the gunning down of the British High Commissioner to Malaya the late Sir Henry Gurney.
Fook Choy's family was then staying in Tras, Pahang. That little upcountry town was in the vicinity of the communists' ambush. The whole town
was then sealed off. The people living there were blamed. They were packed off by army lorries and banished to a far away place -
somewhere near Ipoh in Perak. There they were detained as people responsible for the killing. Fook Choy went too with his family members.
After the whole lot was let off, Fook Choy's family moved to Bentong. They built a house in Chamang New Village. There he spent most of his
childhood. When it was time for him to go to school he was already too old. There was no place in the normal schools for over-aged pupils. So
it was in the Methodist English School that was enrolled. It was there that he started and continued his schooling until the school was shifted over
to Kuantan. During his time he remembered some of his teachers like John Chinniah, Paul Raj, Brian Foenando, etc.
Half way through his schooling, the family faced difficulties. His grandfather wanted him to support the family. The old man wanted him to work
as a rubber tapper. However, Fook Choy wanted to continue his schooling. He approached our mentor for help. Mr. Miles gave him a
scholarship viz, waiving his school fees. Fook Choy was so happy that he could continue his studies.
One incident that Fook Choy remembered vividly was the shooting dead of an old man during curfew hours. An elderly man and his family
members had gone to pick durians in their orchard. After the picking chores, he walked home with his family members in tow. Suddenly there
appeared members of the security forces. They opened fire riddling the old man with bullets. He fell. They let the other people from the back to
go off, probably the soldiers had realised that they had killed an innocent person. But the man died without any recourse to see justice done.
During the emergency, anybody killed was just presumed a communist. There was no case to argue about. Anybody shot dead could be
passed off as a successful killing of the enemy by the authorities.
When MES in Bentong closed down, Fook Choy and a few other students followed our mentor to continue their studies in the new Methodist
English School in Kuantan. There he saw the school started from scratch. Mr. Miles who built up the new school in fact slept in the office. The
boys got together and started a hostel. They scrubbed, they nailed, they roughed it out without fail. They even started animal husbandry rearing
chickens, rabbits, and turkeys. All these were for their own consumption eggs, chicken and rabbit meat. They tried to be self-sufficient. With the
hostel boys they lived liked a closed and self-supporting community. Oftentimes, they plied into the station wagon owned and driven by Mr.
Miles and off they went visiting and picnicking. Later Fook Choy and company moved out of the hostel. They shared a house with the
principal. Fook Choy stayed in Kuantan for three years to finish his schooling.
After finishing school, Fook Choy went down to the Federal capital Kuala Lumpur and started work. He joined an animal-feed manufacturing
company, a foreign firm. There he had served till now a total of 37 years. It was such a long service that he was promoted again and again and
even when he retired a few years ago, he was still re-employed until ....................
CALL NORMA ABDULLAH
DELINUR FOR GIFTS AND HAMPERS
Several calls came from Zainal Lisut asking me to go to his house to receive some New Year cookies. It was six o'clock on Chinese New Year
Eve when I reached his house. That short visit was an eye-opener for me. Around his house, Zainal had planted many fruit trees. He led me to the
back of the house and all the side around. There were rambutan trees, healthy shrubs of chillies, dukong, mangoes, and other fruit trees, which
were nameless to me. He and his missus really had green fingers.
The goodies that Zainal and his missus presented to me were already prosperity. There were a lot of the choosiest cookies, crispy and crunchy.
The hampers so mesmerized me too; for there were two! What eye-openers were there to me. Each was so beautifully packed and wrapped
unlike the usual sundry shops and supermarkets packages. They had the nicest base to stand on and the wrappings were machine done. The
contents were so packed that they stand out most conspicuously. All the people at home hoohaa! and wah! on sighting the hampers!!
Who could have such expert packing but done by a professional? The truth is: they are professionals.
Want to send somebody a gift? Contact Norma Abdullah Zainal's missus and they would do it expertly for you. Wanna pamper your bosses:
butter business associates; recognize the loyalty of your employees; appreciate your down-lines' diligence; then consult Norma from Delinur
Gifts and Hampers to select the best and the most appropriate presents.
Then if you wish to bribe a prospective mother-in-law; get from Delinur the best hampers for her. Very likely you will turn her - I mean the
daughter - into your bride after all. Even Mr. Ted Miles our mentor had written in to commend and compliment Zainal's and Norma's hamper
packing skills and expertise plus delivery.
After the eye-opening experience at Zainal's and Norma's residence I knew if I want to send them a gift, it should not be a hamper. For giving
them a hamper would be like bringing ice to Alaska! Probably I would choose something that was a little showy for his house like a set of
decorative blinking lights;;or a crystal vase to hold the freshest of flowers from his well-maintained garden. Or, a crystal bowl to hold his
homegrown succulent and juicy mangoes.
Thanks to Zainal and Norma Abdullah for handing me such New Year prosperity! Now there's little need for me to beseech the long bearded
traditional celestial being to present me with more goodies, except his signature gift - those currencies. Hahaha, God of Prosperity just shower
lots and lots of them monies on everybody, including me! Gongxi, gongxi, gongxi !!!!!!
Delinur Gifts and Hampers. Manageress Norma Abdullah Tel/fax: 0378769605. e-mail
To treat your eyes to the exotic sights of the colourful hampers (real life) now go to their web site:
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH
50 YEARS AGO - MARCH 1961
Quotes: "Doing handwork is a wonderful way of passing time, anything to keep your mind off food.
"we kept awake (sleeping is deadly) by playing Battleship and Hangman, weaving lanyards and working on moccasins."
"I've really profited from this experience."
The above quotes are the exact excerpts from Ted Miles's diary. What experience? The experience of fasting during the Muslim month of
Ramadan. He fasted with the Muslim students (hostel boys) throughout the month eating at 4.30 am and then abstained from food and drinks
until circa 7.30 pm everyday. "Profited from the experience" , he did not mention the profits. \Had he become slimmer as a result of the fasting?
But we thought by nature he was already lanky!
The other quotes are good advice for those who go on the fast. It sounds like while fasting it is better to do something than to hit the mattress.
From the quotes, we noticed the infiltration of American culture into our society could be very infectious like weaving lanyards and making
moccasins. What are they anyway? As the dictionary says: a lanyard is a cord worn round the neck to carry a knife or whistle.
I remembered he taught us weaving tiny beads to make something that we wore on our wrists. Also, moccasins are hand made soft leather
shoes worn by American Indians! Those days anything American, even the products of them indigenes, enjoyed its heyday.
Most things Asian were scorned at and frowned upon. Anything Asian was regarded as underdeveloped, crude, primitive and worst branded as
communist. Remember the first Chinese rocket was caricatured as a crude bamboo cannon!
Those days nobody in town played congkak, or weaved mengkuang bracelets. If you click-clogged around in town on a pairs of wooden
clogs few people cared though some might sneer! But if you flip-flopped down town on a pair of moccasins you would pull a crowd; and,
create a scene; thence you would be admired at and be most conspicuously seen!! Why? Doing something American, of course!
Names that appeared in his March 1961 diary were: Hassan, Tengku Aziz, Tengku Alamshah, Rahman, Yee Lee, Osman, Ibrahim, Sunny,
Sabaruddin, Bahari, Mohd Noor Ta'ayun, Rahman Aziz.
Munzir, Abu Samah Labak, How Seng, Vanasadchy, Ah Ngau, Hilda Ponnu, Ng Ker Yee, Nor Safian, Mohd Noor Mohammad, Amaran, Othman
bin Haji Mat Nor and Shafie. (Names underscored are mooching around in Bentong and Kuala Lumpur, the rest we don't know)
OUR MENTOR IS NOW 84
As soon as we reached the house, they had already started singing the birthday song for the birthday boy. Following that, there were the taking
of those memorable photos.
Yummy! We all started to tuck in the delicacies. There was quite a spread of food with fried rice vermicelli, chicken curry, a pasta with a strange
name called quiche (pronounced as kesh), etc. There was a huge square cake with an image of the most appropriate Chinese zodiac pet on it
- the Rabbit. The gathering was modest this year probably due to many people who were still off on their Chinese New Year celebrations and
vacation. A sizeable crowd of students, former colleagues and friends came for the celebrations. Of particular notice were former colleagues
from Taylor's College Mr. Chin, Mr. Woon, and Mr. Thong, May Kwan and Alice Tan. Of course, the frequent visitors Choo Oi Mei, Mary and
Garry were there. Earlier Shamsuddin and his spouse called in but they left before the party swing. A four member strong of my family came to
join in the feasting.
The sumptuous meal did not put us into siesta mood. All seemed to be more energetic after food. So our mentor led us on jungle trekking on his
land. We climbed the slope behind his house so that his winged neighbours and creepy crawly leeches living outdoors could have a feast. We
toddled over wild grasses and weeds, and we prodded on uphill aided by walking sticks.
We saw a more open area where the rich and celebrity, a former minister and a airline owner, had bought over the land. We saw slaughtered
rubber trees. Slaughtered because, their sap now was most costly in history at RM7.50 per kilogramme of scrap rubber.
A few of us had the most exciting experience in their lives descending the slopes. They had to hold on to whatever was available like blades of
grass, strands of reeds, stems of shrubs and trunks of trees to make sure they would not tumble and slip all the way down the valley. Some of us
really contributed a good meal for the much starved and thirsty leeches. Indeed, it was a good letting off exercise after a heavy meal. Then and
there we wished we could have seen you.
FROM SIR WITH LOVE
"Malayan time" was one of the first expressions I learned upon arriving in this country. That was sixty years ago, and it was already so ingrained
in the culture that I was told "If the invitation states that the function is to start at 7:00 pm., you should plan to arrive by about 8:00." That was the
way things were done in Malaya. Now that seemed a bit strange to someone who had always been taught to be punctual, but in a case of "if
you can't beat 'em, join 'em," it didn't take me long to fall in line. hat was because I got tired of taking invitations literally and arriving a full
hour before anyone else.
To my surprise, "Malayan time" (which became "Malaysian time" in 1963) was even applied to appointments in government offices and job
interviews. It was a handy excuse for tardiness and didn't offend anyone. (Of course, one did have to use discretion in such cases because
occasionally the government officer or interviewer just happened to be a stickler for punctuality.)
You've probably noticed that no one is ever in much of a hurry in this country. Contrast a Kuala Lumpur street scene with one in New York or
London, for example, where people seem to be in such a mad rush to get to where they're going. In K.L., folks on their way to work or an
appointment look more like they're out for a Sunday stroll in the park.
One morning recently the most exciting news item on the radio was about an overhead bridge in Kuala Lumpur that was in danger of
collapsing. The newsreader said in all seriousness, "the authorities have assured that immediate action will be taken soon." Now there's an
oxymoron for you! "Immediate.......soon." That's the Malaysian way.
- Ted Miles. -
CHINESE NEW YEAR THE 15TH DAY
Lantern Festival is also called. Yuan-Xiao Festival. This is because Chinese eat Yuan-Xiao on this day. This custom originated from the Eastern Jin
Dynasty in the fourth century, then became popular during the Tang and Song Dynasty.
Yuan-Xiao just like Tang-Yuan. They are made of sweet rice flour into sticky glutinous balls. They can be filled in with sesame, red-bean or
peanut butter paste. Usually, they are severed with sugar water. But some people still make salty Tang-Yuan.
The difference between Yuan-Xiao and Tang-Yuan is the way they are made and cooked. This is because that Chinese in different geographic
area prepare the food in different way. Chinese call the one they eat on Winter Solstice Day is Tang-Yuan. The one they eat on the Lantern
festival is called Yuan-Xiao.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN MARCH
||TEH BOON TAN
||LOH KOK KEONG
||JOHAR B. ZABIDIN
||LOH FOOK CHENG
||A. KRISHNAN ARUMUGAM
||HJ. TENGKU PUJI
||LIEW CHOW YIN
||ABU HANIPAH MOHD
||ZULKIFLY M. ESA
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