I am starting a series of writings in response to my daughter's request to fill up her book My Dad, His Stories His words.
I grew up in a capital of the state of Johor, which is situated in the Southern tip of the Western Peninsula. We are just a few minutes away from Singapore. Our house that I was born in was in a village known as Kampung Baru and this a about 1 kilometer away from the General Hospital Johor Baru.
The house was bought by my grandfather Loh Peng Heng @ Loh Piang. It is a huge bungalow with wide space for us to run and play hide and seek. The house itself is probably built by a Malay family and it had a few levels. Mum and dad occupied the huge room upstairs while Grandpa stayed at the basement. Grandma had a room besides the kitchen where our altar stood. I remember Grandma, Aunty and Mum used to pray the Rosary at the altar. This house that we stayed is full of history and I can still recall several events that happened here in my early days.
As Grandpa had 6 sons and 5 daughters, we had a vey large family. When there is any celebrations at least 10 -15 tables are set for the delicious foods which at the times were mostly cooked by Grand Ma, Samku, Lek Ku and Mum. Yes they did cook up several storms and they were mostly Hakka delicacies like Char Yuk, Ham Choi Soup, Yong Tauhu, and Choi Keok.
One embarrassing episode I can still remember is when I came back from St Joseph School, rather hungry and eager to eat, when Mum asked me to address everybody ie like Kung Kung Seet Farn, Por Por Seet Farn and so on. As there were so many relatives, I got angry and more hungry and refuse to call any more and instead started crying. I must be at least 10 years old then.
The house is also surrounded with rambutan trees and even had a small farm where we reared ducks, chicken, pigeons and of course we had dogs. I remember we had Alsatians then later kept at least 2 to 3 dogs at one time, mostly Mongrel.I remember having to dig graves when they die at the valley ie beside the farm. Of course most of the digging was done by my dad and my siblings.