Borneo: Sibu and Kuching

Monday 12 April 2010
The Foochows (also known as Fuzhou) are well known for being loud and astute businesspeople. Oh, did I mention, loud? Growing up in Sibu (my mother's hometown), my maternal grandmother and an aunt would hold conversations with their neighbors from their balcony. This banter may continue for half an hour. Often another neighbor perching on their front door would join in. I recalled a time when I was in an uncle's house 3 doors down from my aunt's and I heard Auntie Doris's conversation on her cellphone word for word.

It was a rare occasion that my mother and her 4 sisters got together in the SAME country at the SAME time. They're dispersed in 3 different countries. I was determined to have them all at a photo shoot knowing that this opportunity would never present itself again. After much coaxing, my oldest aunt finally turned up. Believe it or not, they still look exactly the same after 10 years. Not a single wrinkle in sight.

Lined up according to their age.

Soon after, I set for Kuching to catch up with the rest of my relatives and former classmates. I dragged a couple of friends to explore a Bidayuh (also known as the Land Dayaks) longhouse in Anna Rais about an hour and a half from Kuching.

Longhouse at Anna Rais

Woven straw basket

AnnaRais-old lady
She was 90 years old at the time and still went out to the fields. Unfortunately, I lost her contact details and never managed to post the photos to her.

AnnaRais-old lady2

Lanterns outside a temple in Kuching

And 10 years on..... in Kuching

Kuih or nyonya (chinese-malay) cakes/pastries. I missed these so much!


you tiao
You tiao or oil sticks. And yes, they're oily!

kolo mee1
Kolo mee

Tua Pek Kong temple

Tua Pek Kong temple

Food peddler


shops in kuching
On the way to India St. Bumped into an old classmate I haven't seen in 20 years. She didn't recognize me and thought that I was a Japanese tourist ??!!

Sleeping on the job

med store
Traditional medicine shop

My parents with L. Mom who's turning 60 soon hasn't aged one bit!


  1. I love these photos and yes, I too missed all these comfort food/deserts :) - somehow, I cannot seem to find any temples here in London ?

  2. Thanks, T! That's what I miss about Asia the most. The food!

    I haven't come across any temples in London. Have you checked out most of he touristy spots yet? I must try to go and see Buckingham palace and London Eye one day.

  3. Needless to say ,we 5 sisters really treasure THE photo .....recapture our togetherness hopefully by the same photographer someday !!!! Thanks .

  4. Mi, I hope I have the opportunity to photograph all 5 of you again with nyeh-ma.

  5. My fellow non-American... I am love, love, LOVING your stories of home and your culture. Please get them out of your head and out there for the rest of us to enjoy! Recognised your lovely Mommy dearest in the photos straight away :) *big squishy hug*

  6. Thank you for writing, Penny!!! I've got a few up my sleeves but will write more when I have the time. Keep checking back more often.



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