Author: CHUNG Yoon Ngan
Date: 01-04-12 21:19
My Family in the British Colonial Malaya - 1858 to 1960 (5)
086 The English tuition class - 1949
Xin Ma Lai Qing Ge
PAKAI BAJA BAN-DONG曲線像GUITAR
There is a Malay gentleman standing on the roadside.
He is wearing a flowery sarong and a songko on his head.
Stealthily I glance at him. He is ready a gentleman.
I am brave enough to ask for his name.
He replies that he is called Hasan.
I ask where he lives.
He says he lives in Pusing.
馬來情歌 A Malaysian love song
The year was 1949 and it was the second year of the Emergency, the war between
the Malayan Communist Party and the British Colonial Authorities. First
Elder Brother had returned to the Old Mountain of the Anextors to study.
Second and Third Elder Brothers and I were enrolled at one of the two Chinese
primary schools in Pusing which was called Yi Zhi Primary School (布先益
In order to prevent Third Elder Brother and I from running wild after school,
Father sent us to an English tuition class in the only Malay grocery shop
at Batu Gajah Road in Pusing. The town folks called the owner of this Malay
shop Haji who married a Chinese wife. Haji spoke fluent Dongguan Hakka dialect
and he was obsessed in playing Mahjongg (麻雀). He employed a Malay assistant
to run the shop for him while he played Mahjongg. Haji was quite old and
during the high of the Emergency he sold off his shop to a Chinese woman
who opened a hair dressing business. Haji then retired and played Mahjongg
all the time in a Hainanese coffee shop.
The English class was held in the upstairs of the Malay shop. The teacher
was a young and very handsome Malay gentleman whose name was Hansan and
we called him Cikgu. His grandfather migrated to Pusing from Acheh province
in Sumatra, Indonesia. Cikgu Hasan spoke fluent Dongguan Hakka dialect (東
莞客家話) because he grew up with Hakka kids. There were about ten pupils,
all boys except one Chinese girl, by the surname of Fong (房 forgot her
full name), who was about 15 years old. Cikgu Hasan told the us, that we
should not go upstairs by ourselves without him. Cikgu frightened the us
by saying that there was a hantu (ghost) up there but the hantu was afraid
of him. Of course, we believed our Cikgut.
Every day, in the afternoon, before the class began the we waited at downstairs
for Cikgu to call us to go to the class. Cikgu always came earlier than
us. Every time when Cikgu called the us to go upstairs we always saw Cikgu
with the Chinese girl when we arrived at the class. We, the students, were
just kids and we did not suspect anything wrong with them together after
all they were teacher and student. Occasionally Cikgu told the us that Miss
Fong needed extra tuition because she was in a higher class at school than
It had been going on like that for a long time until the Government imposed
long curfew hours on the town, because the Hill People had killed two British
contractors who were putting up barbed wire to fence in the town. When the
town was under curfew, it was impossible for the English tuition class to
Then, there was a big quarrel between the girl's and Cikgu's families. It
was a very serious matter because it involved a Chinese and a Malay family.
It seemed that the quarrel started as a result of Miss Fong telling her
parents that she wanted to marry Cikgu who was willing to marry her if her
parents would give her the permission to get married because she was underage.
Miss Fong was willing to become a Muslim. However, Miss Fong's parents refused
on the ground that she was too young. Her parents begged Cikgu to wait for
a few more years until she grew up and finished her high school.
As the result of this quarrel, we, the boys in the tuition class before
woke up to the fact that our cikgu and Miss Fong were having love affair
at upstairs while we were waiting downstairs. That was why Cikgu warned
us not to go upstairs by ourselves because the hantu would harm us.
Shortly after the quarrel, our cikgu left town and went to live somewhere
else. None of the us knew what had happened to our Cikgu. When Miss Fong
grew up she did not marry our Cikgu but the son of the owner of an ice
factory in Singapore. After having a few children her husband divorced her
because she was got red-handed having an adultery with her Malay chauffeur.
She returned to live in Pusing. Town folks used to tease her by saying "It
is impossible for the leopard to change its skin". Soon after she relocated
herself to Ipoh.
Posted to Overseas Chinese Forum at asiawind.com
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)
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