Today, I would like to blog about the history of both my paternal and maternal grandparents. It's not in detail though because I don't know much. Most of it is from what I heard. Currently, only my paternal grandma is around and I dreamt of her yesterday and she told me to visit her. Hmmm...
I wrote about my paternal grandma and briefly mentioned by paternal grandpa too. From what I understand, my paternal grandma was born in China and was brought to Malaysia (then Malaya) by her parents, looking for a better future. Meanwhile, my paternal grandpa was born and bred here in Malaysia.
Those time, matchmaking is quite common and my grandma was matched to grandpa and got married. Then later on, I don't know what happened, my grandpa married my grandma's sister as second wife. All of them live under one roof and my aunties used to tell me that they have to fight for food all the time.
Much later, my grandpa married again and taking a third wife, whom I have no recollection as she died before I was born. Third wife was staying somewhere else and not with first and second wife.
It's a one big family and they lived in Ipoh. I am the granddaughter of the first wife and that is the surviving paternal grandma.
I don't know much about my grandpa's life except that he was working as a contractor, he loves to gamble and when he grew older, he used to drive his car into the drain until his children stopped him from driving and later in his life, he had Alzheimer and could not remember anyone of us.
As for the life of my paternal grandma, already mention in another blog post.
Although I have met my 2nd paternal grandma, I was not so close to her and don't know her life story, except that because the 1st and 2nd grandma were sisters, and they shared the same husband, so there were a lot of bickering in the family.
These are the more interesting set of grandparents, in terms of their life history. Someone actually told me to write a book based on their life because there's so much of drama. But I am not a good writer, so there goes my book.
My maternal grandpa was born in China. In the olden China times, parents would seek an older wife for their sons as they believed that the older wife can look after their son. So my maternal grandpa was married to a much older lady (like 10 years older) and he was married at such a young age (maybe in his teens).
Then one day, there was news that people can find fortune in Malaya. My grandpa decided to try his luck and left his wife and his young son behind.
Life in Malaya was not as easy as it seems. He was working as a coolie. From there he met a young Chinese girl, who was sold to a rich family to be their maid. In those times, when a girl is sold to a family, she belongs to the family and some family are kind enough to treat these girls like their daughters. But some will treat them like slaves. This girl one was of the latter. She was beaten by her owners and abused.
My grandpa saw all of this and decided to help the girl to escape. Finally they succeeded and my grandpa married her as his wife and she was my maternal grandma. No one in the family can tell the history of my maternal grandma, whether she was an orphan or not, where she was from, no one knows, not even my maternal grandma knows.
My grandpa lost all contact with his first wife and son. So, he started his family here in Malaya. He worked, from a coolie to a rubber tapper to an owner of rubber estates. The family was never rich as they have 10 children to feed, but they managed to send 2 elder sons to university. The youngest son was born Down Syndrome. The whole Yeong family lived quietly in Lenggong, a small village north of Perak.
My grandma died when I was 5 so I don't have much recollection of her as well.
After my grandma died and all my grandpa's children were grown up and moved into town and got married and have their own family, he decided to locate his first wife and son.
After many years of hard work, he finally found them and even visited them twice in China. That was in the late 80's when it was hard for Chinese to come to Malaysia due to some strict rules set by China. It was only in the early 90's that those rules were loosen and my grandpa managed to get them visa and air ticket to visit Malaysia and the other family.
One that fateful day, finally my grandpa's China wife and son can come to Malaysia, for the first time in their life. My grandpa was very happy and was looking forward towards this unforgettable day.
Unfortunately, due to his over-excitement, he had a heart attack and died on the day they arrived. They never met.
The China grandma was so devastated that when she arrived in the house, she sang this in tears, "So many years we were apart, unable to be together. Finally now we can come together, but all I see if your coffin."
Dramatic isn't it?
This is a true story, especially the last part about the singing because I was there. I think my China grandmother is still around in China.
I visited my China uncle and grandma in the late 90's after my grandpa passed away and that's a story for another day.
Stories of our grandparents are now slowly disappearing because our grandparents are no longer with us. These stories are part of the history of our lives and also the history of our family and our country. We should preserve each family's history and tradition so that their legacy will lives on and our children will know about their great-grandparents.