My Grandparents’ Story   Leave a comment


1-LIM Famiy 600 o66 021 Starting off the opening chapter is easy enough but when I am going into the deeper and more details, here one encounters the complexity and elaborate network of relationships especially amongst the Straits Chinese (H’wan Peng Lang described as People of the Undeveloped Country – ie Malaya or any countries that the Chinese from China had migrated to) and those relations in China. Please firstly accept my apologies if any person/s is /are slighted or insulted here and other later chapters, as it is an unbiased story with no deletion or addition of any opinion of my own.
From my paternal side, little knowledge is known from my mother’s narration of my Grandfather Lim Chong Poh who passed away in 1930’s. He migrated by the way of Vietnam and stayed with one of his aunties there. He was a sea-man and later owned his own sailing boat making many trips between Vietnam and Penang ferrying imported good for barter. However, it seemed his sailing boat sank with his goods when my second aunty was born. Thus, she was branded as the unlucky charm or in Hokkien as “Pat Kah Teh” as the usual Chinese excuse of blaming disaster. My Grandfather then ventured into opening a Sundry/Provisions Shop in Sungai Petani, Kedah. His close relative, Lim Lam Leng, son of a related uncle, also operated a Chinese Medical shop close-by. However, he became a compulsive gambler – gambling day and night until he saw bits of tobacco as crawling ants. Finally, he passed away a few years after his elder brother Chong Pin was found dead by the bank of Sungai Petani River. The shop folded and the Lim Family moved to Kampung Baru, Jawi, Province Wellesley, Penang. They had to stay my grandmother’s elder brother Chua Guan Hup who was then employed as the Estate Manager of the Lim Cheng Ean Estate located in Jawi or Sungai Bakap. My Grand-uncle was given a Malay-styled bungalow and thus the Lim Family was allocated some accommodation space. My Maternal Great Grand-mother, Khoo Chiew Bee , was a brilliant and skilled seamstress to the famous I.K. Cheah’s family. During the end of the Second World War, the Communists’ Emergency was starting and the Jawi area was considered a “Black Area” with some Communist sympathizers came asking for food and money. The Chua with the Lim Families then moved off to the Telaga Ayer area in Butterworth for security reasons.
They operated a Sundry/Provision Shop here. As humans, conflicts and friction would occur and indeed it erupted over “Bak Chang” or Rice Dumplings. The provisions Shop was then run by my three Uncles – Chua Hong Thean, Chua Hong Thoe and Lim Ban Seng. Three ladies from the Lim Family, namely my Second Aunty, Fourth Aunty and my mother, went over to Penang Island to visit my Sar Khor (Third Aunty) who was then renting a room above a Chinese Druggist Shop along Chulia Street. The ferry ticket for passenger was 10 cents per person then. They decided to make rice dumplings or “Bak Changs” to eat when they are back in Butterwoth or “Ang Moh Che’ah or White Man’s Well” now known Telage Ayer Area. They merrily bought the ingredients and bamboo leaves to make rice dumplings of “Bak chang”. For the glutinous rice, they thought as it was heavy, they can buy 1 gantang from their own shop back in Butterworth. Here, the human conflict started as my uncle Lim Ban Seng was asked to buy 1 gantang of glutinous rice from their own shop, but was refused by the other 2 uncles as they said the rice was reserved for customers. They fought. My uncle was too straight forward and should had bought the rice from another shop. From then, onwards the close relationship among the Chua and Lim Families were affected as the Lim Family has to move on elsewhere as they had overstayed their welcome here.
To be continued … My other Great Grandmother of mine and “adopted mother” of my maternal Grandfather – Madam Yeoh Ai Lee

SP Lim

1-LIM Famiy 600 o66 008

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