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A genuine story in my hometown Pusing (布先) in 1960s

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A genuine story in my hometown Pusing (布先) in 1960s

Postby chungyn » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:27 am

A genuine story in my hometown Pusing (布先) in 1960s

At the turn of the 20th century in a small Hakka settlement, not yet a town,
called Pusing (please refer to the map of Kinta District)

There were two young boys always playing around the Hakka settlement. One
was named Cheah Fah (謝華 in Mandarin Chinese) and the other Choong Sam
(鐘森) They grew up together in Pusing and they never been to school. A
few years later they were young boys and they started work together in
a car garage repair shop by pumping up the tyres. Their boss paid them ONE
CENT each pumped up tyre. They were using bicycle pump to pump up motor
car tyre. When they became young men they took up different jobs.

In 1927, the Britishers built a dam in northern Perak State for producing
electricity for Perak State. Cheah Fah formed a small company with Choong
Choong Sam had learned how to do electrical work from the British. They
were doing quite well. Cheah Fah got married and Choong Sam still remained

Then something happened to Choong Sam. A young girl who was a
child bride (童養媳) of a family in Kampong Sayap (child bride means as
a baby girl
she was sold to a family. Her mother-in-law, matched her to a son of her
mother-in-law. The son was a gambler who had no time to be the husband.
One the gambler who lost all his money. He came home and kicked his child
bride out of the house.. She must be about less than 20 years old. She did
not know who were her biological parents. So she wondered to Pusing, then
became a small Hakka town.. Sometimes she spent the night on the five-feet
way of the shop-houses.

Choong Sam felt pity for her. Cheah Fah told Choong Sam to
take her home and keep his old mother company and help her to do house chores.

Choong Sam agreed and his mother was very happy to have a young girl to
help her in family chores plus cooking washing clothes etc etc. The young
girl had finally found a home. A few months later Choong Sam invited all
his friends and a few relatives and officially married her.

Choong Sam and Cheah Fah did a lot of electrical work for the British tin
mining companies in Kinta Valley. Choog Sam had a bit of saving, but Cheah
Fah got a few children to support did not save much money. The partnership
electrical shop was dissolved The new wife of Choong Sam encouraged him
to open a little tin mining company with a few partners. They made some
money, but WAR (December the 8th 1941) came to Malaya. Choong Sam, took
his old mother and his new wife and went to live in the jungle to avoid
the Japanese atrocities. For
three years and eight months they planted their own food. The new wife of
Choong San was healthy and strong and could do any hard work.

After the war the British returned to govern Malaya. Choong Sam still had
his British money. He apply a few acres of land to do his own mining. Within
a short time Choong Sam made a fortune and became a very rich man. He thanked
his new wife and loved her very much and called her his Money Goddess. Choong
Sam had never go for other girls or second wife etc. but loved his Goddess
of Money.

Cheah Fah had been working for Choong Sam, now, a very rich tin miner. For
a long time he was Choong Sam Manager of all his tin mines. In the later
part of
1950s, when there were very few Hill People (Communists) in the jungle,
Cheah Fah started his own tin mine just behind Papan town. I used to go
to his mine because he and my father were good friends since they were kids.
I called Cheah Fah 華叔 (Uncle Fah). His first son, second son, and third
son were helping him to work in the mine. Cheah Fah told Jeffrey, the 4th
son to become a scholar because according to Hakka Chinese Family Tradition
one of the sons must try to study hard and became a family scholar. So Jeffrey'
s job was to study.

Cheah Fah's mine was at the foot of a big hill. His mine did badly because
there were often avalanches from the big hill and he had to spend a lot
of money
to remove the earth. He did not make much money from the mine.

Choong Sam and another tin miner were fighting a court case for mining Papan
town that people believed that it was full of tin ore under the town. Choong
Sam asked Cheah Fah to swap his (Cheah Fah's) mine for a few acres of land
between Papan and Pusing, a railway reserve, behind Zeng You (曾友)'s brick
tile bungalow so that he (Choong Sam) had land for the tailing for his upcoming
mine if he were to mine Papan town. Choong Sam's opponent could not find
land for his tailing. So Choong Sam won the case. Thus Cheah Fah gave his
not making money tin mine kongsi (公司) to Choong Sam in exchange for a
few acres of land behind Charliz's (the grandniece Zeng You, now living
in Canada) granduncle's bungalow.

At the inception of his new mine Cheah Fah asked my father what name he
should give to his new mine. My father told him that his father's (passed
away long time ago) was called Cheah You and his name was Cheah Fah. My
father told him to name his new tin mine You Fah Kongsi tin mining Co.
(有華錫廣公司) = You was his father's name and his name was Fah. In fact
it was a father and son tin mining Co.

One day, in around 1964 (note I was in Australia and my father told me this),

Cheah Fah's eldest son saw a large area in the mine filled with black sand.
He though they were the "Mang - a kind of black useless sand". With a curiosity
mind he went and scooped up a handful of them to see. They were heavy 'Mang".

He quickly took a "dulong - a kind of wooden basin" to wash some of the
"Mang". To his greatest surprise in his life he discovered that they were
not "Mang" but pure tin ore. He directed his kepala [2B] to point the two
monitors to that area. To his happiness the whole area was full of pure
tin-ore which was not necessary to pass through the "Palong [3C]". The workers
just dished them into the buckets and took back to the Kongsi- House[4D]
to dry them to sell to the "Strait Trading Company" in Pusing.

At the same year Jeffrey Cheah finished his Form Five. Cheah Fah sent him
to Melbourne to study matriculation. Eventually Jeffrey obtained his Commerce
degree major in Accounting from a university (Fitzroy University, in Melbourne,

I think). After I had graduated from Perth I went to Melbourne to work
as a trainee..

When I returned to Malaysia I was appointed by the British Accountant-General,

in KL to be the Accountant of Public Works Department in Brewster Road,
Ipoh. There were so many clerks working under me. Cheah Fah very often used
to come to my office to see me work because he wished his son (Jeffrey who
was still studying in Melbourne) could finish his study and came back to
work as a big boss
like me.

In early1967, just a few days before the Chinese New Year and before I was
transferred to Kuala Trengganu, my father was in financial CASH difficulty.
He wanted to borrow 15 thousand dollars from a Chinese money lender living
in Batu Gajah, for a short period for turning turn over. This money lender
did not
trust my father but welling to sign it in front of a lawyer with a guarantor.
The money lender complained that my father's guarantor was not rich enough
to be my father's guarantor. So the money lender refused to lend my father
the money. I took half a day off from my State Engineer Mr Tong, waiting
for my father in the car park. My father came out from the lawyer's office
first followed by the money lender who saw me talking to my father. This
money lender was surprised and called out to me "Ah Ngan! Chung Kon Lin
is your father?" I answered him saying "Yes he is my dear father". The money
lender must have felt a bit uneasy.

Since my Hokkien Nyonya girl friend, who was my steady girl friend in Australia,
who was transferred to Taiping. We knew each other very well when we were
students in Australia. Since my girl was transferred to Taiping I had been
out with the daughter of the money lender, practically every night. She
took the opportunity that my girl friend was in Taiping, she wanted to marry
me. I told her to
wait for a bit longer. She was a teacher in Batu Gajah Convent School.
Sometimes I even had a cup of tea with her in her house with her parents.
Now the money lender knew he had made a mistake by refusing his daughter's
boy friend's father. He knew his daughter was not going to be happy.

My father told me to go and see Cheah Fah who now lived in Ipoh. My father
did not dare to tell Cheah Fah he needed for such a big amount of money.
Instead I told him "Uncle Fah, my father needs some cash to pay off his
workers for Chinese New Year" Then Cheah Fah turned to my father and asked
"Shorty (my father nickname) how much do you want?" My father said 16 thousand
dollars. Cheah told us to follow him to his office. He took out his cheque
book and wrote in Chinese
:"Cash 16 thousand dollars." Cheah Fah told me to go with my father to the
bank to help my father to carry the cash home to pay off the workers, lest
one will work for my father after Chinese New Year.

I walked to Cheah Fah and asked him quietly when my father should pay you
back the money. Cheah Fah told me to forget about it as he and my father
had been good friend since they were baby. When my father was still alive
I secretly asked my father if Cheah Fah had talked about the 16 thousand
dollars. He told me that Cheah Fah never mention about the money. My father
asked for an extract thousand dollars for me to take my Hokkien Nyonya girl
out to have fun. That showed that he did not want the money lender's daughter
to be
his daughter-in-law. I knew my father did not want to be a relative of this
money lender. He told me that he had many problems with this money lender.
In the end I marred my Hokkien Nyonya wife.

Posted to
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)
Posts: 8579
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:06 am

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