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THE MESSAGE NO. 78 - MAY 2008
A CYBER FAN'S SERIES.
THE LOH KOK KEONG 3RD EDITION


GREAT FESTIVAL OF THOSE DEPARTED SOULS

Chan Ching Ming - 4

It was the festival of departed souls - I mean All Souls' Day, or Cheng Beng festival. It was Cheng Ming or Qing Ming according to Hanyu pinyin spelling. During the week starting from the end of March to the first week of April, you had seen the crowds at the Chinese cemeteries. They are cleaning up their ancestors' graves or rather tombs.

It was the great All Souls' Day for the Chinese. Sometimes greater than the Chinese New Year! Why? You might meet the most distanced people in your old hometown. They returned to pay homage to their dear departed ones.



QING MING A FAMILY GATHERING
Chan Ching Ming - 2

Sometimes, it is a sort of family gathering albeit at the cemetery. I have seen some, by chance, made it a sort of family outing. Just next to the tomb I was at, I heard people said, "hey, give your drink to your granny.... blah, blah, blah". Then came the reply, "no deal, I'm more thirsty." And she gulped down the bottle of mineral water she had brought along.

For that, I am sure her deceased granny would forgive her, as she was her favourite granddaughter before. Ha, ha, ha that family was enjoying the outing under two huge umbrellas. What a time they were having! Simply gala!!

Among those in the small crowd gathered around, must be fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, even grandchildren, etc. At other places where living humans are found, I guess seldom do they have time to gather in such a crowd.


WHERE’S YOUR SHARE OF GIFTS?
Chan Ching Ming - 3

I for one had brought along a retinue of loved ones to pay homage to the departed ones! Like previous years, every year now I will be there. Why? Years ago, I dismissed the important belief of the need of going to pay homage to my departed relatives. You know what I got? Believe it or not: A very vivid dream of my deceased mother who asked, "Where's your parcel of gifts?" When I woke up I remembered that I have not been to the elders' graves on that Qing Ming just a few days before that! That's why I must go for Qing Ming nowadays! Or else I will get nightmares!!



HURRAY! I STRUCK GOLD

If you are frantically looking for something, and one day suddenly it comes your way, you will be darn happy. You would say you have struck gold, albeit what you were looking for was not the yellow metal.

Remember, I was talking of Chinese surnames sometime ago. According to man in the street's parlance, there are 100 Chinese surnames. Chinese even refer all the common populace as "folks of the hundred surnames" (lau pai xin).

Then I lamented that 100 surnames or Chinese characters were certainly insufficient to name the few billions of humans of Sino stocks in the world! I asked readers to recommend a book on Chinese surnames. No answers.



A DICTIONARY OF CHINESE SURNAMES
Book Flipping

One day a book of Chinese surnames came to me Godsend! I was doing some jobs in a church. On that day, they emptied their old books from their library. Some were obsolete titles that they set aside to be thrown away. Among the castaway volumes was one about Chinese surnames. "A Dictionary of Surnames" the title of the book proclaims. I picked it up and took it home. Their trash has become my fortune.


488 CHINESE SURNAMES

I perused the book in detail. I counted the surnames Chinese used. There were a total of 488 surnames not one hundred as people claim! Most of the surnames have one Chinese character. There are some with two characters, called double surnames! You might have heard of people whose surnames are Ow-Yang, Zi-Ma, etc. Double surnames they are! Each surname has its history with some imported from neighbouring countries - I mean during times immemorial!

To a Chinese the surname is the first name and it will never to written last. Oft times, when I write to people in the West, they relegated my surname to the back. Thus I will be called Suy Sang Chan which could be another person with the surname Suy. At another time I was called just Suy. They will turn the characters representing my name round, except the real and correct way they are written: Chan Suy Sang.

The first name is my surname and it cannot be put last. The second name is my generation name. Normally, all my family cousins will use the same second name. But, it is abnormal now, for many people of the same generation do not carry the middle name around. Why? Ignorance and family disintegration! Extended family fragmentation! The last character is my real name, only particular to me.

Call me Chan, you are welcome. Call me Sang, you are almost my dear one. Call me Suy, sorry I ain’t such a one. Call me Suy Sang, I am placed in the most friendly and acceptable rung. If you are my good friend and called me my full name, I am distanced! Ha, ha, ha if you call me names, it's you I will distance!!

Oho! I have just received a letter from someone calling me Suy S. Chan. Gosh! When will they learn!!





WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH
50 YEARS AGO?


Quote:
I went to Bentong Trading, got a can of mulligatawny soup, took to Yeng Kee's shop and heated it, and then went back and fed it to him. Now he feels better, I think."
Unquote.

The above is a verbatim quotation from our mentor's diary. "I" means Ted Miles, the then principal of the Methodist Engish School, Bentong. The "him" was Harbans Singh, his former student and then a teacher at his school. Harbans Singh had been admitted to the local hospital with a fractured leg after falling from a coconut tree.
Mulligatawny Soup

What? A principal getting a tin of soup cooked and then fed his former student! So far I have not heard of such things done!! If your former principal were to acknowledge you when you greet him, it would be a Godsend thing, especially in those days, half a century ago!!! That is why Mr. Miles is well respected and thought of by many people nowadays, though his good deeds have past their heydays. Most of us, if not all, still honour and hold him in high esteem.



IGNORANCE KILLED SOMEONE

It was also reported that a student died of malaria because the father insisted to discharge him from the hospital to seek traditional treatment. Well those were days when western medicines were still looked upon with suspicion. Local cures mostly slant on the spiritual were thought and believed to be more efficacious. Results: disastrously serious.

Has the mentality about treatment for the sick among the populace changed nowadays? Months ago during the Lunar New Year festivities, I happened to sit with some elderly. One told me a little story. One night a lady carried her sick baby to see a medium intending to ask for a cure. You know, what said the bomoh? You better hurry and send your baby to the hospital," said the respected medicine woman.


MENTALITY OF THE MEDIUMS HAS CHANGED

Ha, ha, ha, the mentality of the ordinary citizen remains, like 50 years ago! But fortunately, the medium or the traditionalist has changed to believe modern medicine. She had been honest to send a message to the people that she has no magic cure. To cure an illness, you need proper medicines, not the hocus-corpus of spiritual practitioners who profess that they could cure all ailments! However, we must beware of cheats or bogus persons who are hyper conservative and adamant!


SULTAN ABU BAKAR AT THE HOSTEL

Now back to the good old days in 1958 May. Two out of the way events happened during that month's 31 days. First, the Sultan of Pahang the late Sultan Abu Bakar visited and dined in the hostel ran by Ted Miles. It was a great affair for a little meagre hostel to be visited by the ruler of the state. What a royal treat!

Then our mentor had a taste of royal living being a stay-in guest within the ground of the Sultan's palace during His Highness birthday on the 29 of May. But before he got there, he had to cross a ferry to reach the royal town Pekan. What ferry? A ferry to cross the Pahang River carrying passengers, bicycles, cars, buses, trucks and bullock carts! Remember? Why no mention of motorcycles and trailers? Those are yet to be often seen as common road users. They were then rarities, I mean.



TO PEKAN TO ATTEND A ROYAL BIRTHDAY
Rhino

On the way to Pekan, he saw a rhino on the road from the pristine wild! What rhinoceroses still wallowed by the roadside?! I went to find out one day whether what he saw was a water buffalo! "No, it was definitely a rhino", confirmed our mentor stressing it emphatically so that I would not demure. All these were written out in his diary. From there we noticed how special were whites looked upon by the locals, even up to the royalties' level!


YOURS TRULY TEACHES WHILE HARBANS RECUPERATES

And yours truly, struggled through juggling between two schools. In the morning, I taught in MES and in the afternoon I taught in a village Chinese school. With two jobs, I did not seem to benefit a lot. I only managed to buy a second-hand typewriter from MES by instalments! The work was terrible dealing with little kids who always quarrelled and squabbled. Fortunately, the trouble lasted only for May. Hurray!




BEWARE OF FRIED CRISPY FOODS
Goreng Pisang - Fried Banana

Hi, beware of the crispy onion flakes that we use to eat at the hawker stalls. They are all bought ready by the hawkers. The crispy onion flakes stay crispy for months. And beware of all the crispy food that are sold and eaten as snacks everywhere! Why? Read on to find out.

This is a REAL TRUE STORY ...and also someone told me it happened at her place in Kedah - Tunjang, I think.. We saw it too, here in Kangar, the pasar malam area, PERLIS where they are always selling PISANG GORENG in the afternoon. WHAT? ADDING PLASTIC DRINKING STRAWS IN DOING GORENG PISANG!
Plastic Drinking Straw

Mom said, my uncle saw them frying the PISANG GORENG & they added PLASTIC STRAWS (which we use to drink juices) and melted them into HOT OIL before frying anything! That's why the PISANG GORENG, UBI GORENG, CEMPEDAK GORENG, etc are all very crispy for hours.

When he saw them adding the plastic straws into the cauldron of simmering oil, my uncle could not understand why. So he asked them, but they just kept quiet. Later, when my uncle told my mom about it, then we realized this is how to make the food stay crispy for a long while.

Goreng Ubi - Fried Sweet Potatoes

My mom warned us to be careful about Thailand stuffs too eG: Crispy Ikan Bilis, Crispy fried onions which if you leave them in the open air for hours they are still crispy. In Malaysia, food will turn soft after being exposed for a while because the environment is damp due to the high humidity.

Here's another person's story:
I went to Cameron Highlands with my family. It was 3 pm when we were hanging around the market area. We saw many hawker stalls doing their business. Suddenly something attracted me. At one of the stalls, there was a big wok of oil. There was a half 5-litre empty oil plastic bottle in it. It was melting slowly in the hot frying oil. I freaked out. I thought it was an unintentional act by a 7-yr-old girl. But when I looked at it closely, I saw a pair of chopsticks stirring the bottle. It seemed like it was done on purpose. Immediately, I asked my family to come and check it out. At that moment, the parents of the girl who were sitting beside her, looked at us ferociously.

Plastic Containers

Oh my god... They were melting plastic to fry food. The reason is - the titbits will not soften after taken out for sometime due to the melted plastic which had hardened.

Experiments has been done that show:
One without plastic food is kind of soft after a while. Then with plastic added, and fried again. They are crispier than KFC!!

Please stop eating this hawker's fried food. Else you will be consuming plastic from castaway plastic bottles and containers.

Ask your mummy to fry if you want to eat it.
This is their secret recipe!! So disgustingly yucky!!!
Please forward this to all your friends. DO NOT EAT CRISPY FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

Hope this will also catch the eyes of some lawmakers and food law enforcement officers.

If this and other unethical food preparations are rampant, how not the human race is to be cancer threatened and other diseases ridden! Aren't we all fear smitten by what we have eaten? Fried stuffs! I'm frightened.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN MAY

Green B'day Cake


No.
NAME
BIRTHDAY
1
MOHD. ZAINON B. IBRAHIM
MAY 3
2
R.S LINGAM
MAY 10
3
JOHN CHINNIAH
MAY 12
4
MAUD FOENANDER
MAY 13
5
ABDUL KHALIL
MAY 13
6
MOHAMAD ROSELY ZAKARIA
MAY 14
7
FRANKIE HOH OI CHYE
MAY 16
8
FOO YOOK YOON
MAY 18
9
RAYMOND ARASU
MAY 25
10
PLANISAMY PERUMAL
MAY 26
11
LIEW FOOK CHOY
MAY 30



YOUR HAND PHONE NUMBERS PLZ.

Handphone Nokia

Hey, gals and guys, as soon as I received the sad news of Madame Toh Suat Lu's demise, I tried to contact most of you to relay you the bad news. But I was handicapped. Many of you have not given me your mobile phone number yet, You know that little hand held set is so convenient to send an SMS. That way of contact is the most convenient and also the cheapest! By sending an SMS, you read it at your convenience. I send it fast and it only costs a few sens. That really makes sense. Otherwise I would have to call more than two hundred people, just impossible. In this instance, I was really incapable. So this is my appeal:

Please send me your cell/hand phone number.
And your e-mail address too, if you have this with you.





Madame Toh Suat Loo

EXPIRES MADAME TOH SUAT LOO
aka LULU

Our heart-felt sympathies and condolences to our mentor and his family. Madame Toh Suet Lu, Lulu, Mrs. Ted Miles expired on Saturday, March 29th. She lived up to 72 years of age. She was cremated at the Cheras Crematorium on the 3rd of April 2008. Her ashes were scattered in the sea in Penang, her home town.


I attended her funeral service held at the Wesley Methodist Church in Kuala Lumpur. There I met our mentor and his only son, Charles Kim Miles who had flown back from the Land of the Mulberry Tree, to be with the family. It was the most formal of church service that I had ever attended after leaving school for more than 50 years. There was a big congregation of friends and relatives at the service. Mesians present were Peter Cheong, Selvaraj Daniel, John Chinniah, Yeng Kee and me. Rev. Andrew Tan, Rev. Raymond Wong, Ms. Veronica Ting, who conducted the funeral service, all friends and relatives who attended the wake and funeral services; who sent messages of condolences and sympathies by words of mouth, through phone calls and via text messages. Mr. Miles and family wish to say:

THANK Q ALL OF U.




 Book and Quill
Composed and edited by Chan Suy Sang
It's for you I have written

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