Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bit by Bit

Everyday I am learning a little more about my father's family. Today on the way to the cave, we went through a small village named Gopeng. My Uncle told me this was the first town where my grandfather worked when he immigrated from China. He repaired bicycles. After that he moved to Ipoh and started selling things. Eventually he sold ice from a little store front and the whole family lived above it.

He was 12 years old when he immigrated from China to Malaysia. And he did it alone. There was abject poverty in China and in the province he was from, Hock Kean Province. He had to leave to find work and food. My uncle said that the "bamboo curtain" kept him from keeping in touch with his parents in China. This is unfathomable for me. Not knowing if your child made it across an ocean, if they are healthy, working, eating or still alive. I know these were desperate times but it still must have been so gut wrenching to not be able to feed your children.

Another thing I am growing accustomed to is how they refer to their siblings and their children. "this is the second son of fifth sister", "this is the third daughter of second brother". And they all know exactly who they are talking about. They had so many children in their family they just started referring to them in their birth order. I think I am first daughter of sixth son.

It is storming here. Really storming with thunder and lightning. It is 10:30 and I had a beer with dinner. I am about to fall asleep. Lucky for me the neighbor next to How King saw Tim and I wandering the streets with our laptops. He gave us his encryption code and I can go to a certain place in How King's house and get on his internet connection. So I am off to stand on the veranda, just out of the rain, hit send and then hit the sack.

Goodnight all from Malaysia. Tuesday was a good day here, I bet it will be there as well.

Post Script: The neighbor turned off his router last night when I went to the veranda. So I could not post this last night as I was not going to go into the street in the pouring rain.
So I am posting from the corner at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning and your Tuesday is already over.

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