Monday, October 4, 2010
Hello Uncle Khoo, how are you? Nice to see you again! 许先生，早安好 !
I am very pleased to see him doing his daily routine at the reflexology patch. He was very excited to see me too and gave me a nice pat on my cheeks. How grandfatherly of him to do that! He was clearly very appreciative of my company. We have a nice and lengthy chat, catching up like long lost friends.
Uncle Khoo told me he was born in China some 90 years ago. He got married at 17 years old and had a son. At the age of 30 plus, poverty drove him to Malaya. He came alone on a steamer. It could accommodate between 2000 to 3000 people on the trip. There was no place to sit or lay down. Just enough space to stand, he claimed. He brought biscuits to last him the 2 to 3 weeks on sea before he reached Singapore and later, Klang. From Klang he took a bus to Kuala Lumpur on a 10 cent fare.
In Kuala Lumpur he found a job in a sundry shop, loading and unloading sacks and sacks of rice on his shoulder to be transport to customers. He was paid RM30 a month of which he sent RM15 to his family in China. Years later, circumstances forced him to marry a local woman and from this second marriage, he got another seven children. They loved him very dearly and took good care of him.
After decades of hard work, Uncle Khoo is now enjoying the fruits of his labor. He is always in high spirits and jovial mood. Healthy and happy, he is looking forward to his grandson’s wedding in 2 weeks time. He bid me goodbye as he hurried off to have his hair cut for the occasion.