Great grandma Kong nee Lai aka Ah Tai aka Ah Siew Soh
Widowed at 29 in a harsh new frontier
Ah Tai, was very able and single handedly took care of her four children. Her relatives were flabbergasted how she had overcome her grief. Great-grandfather Kong’s death became a catalyst bringing out her leadership qualities. Ah Tai became a willful woman, and one not to be trifled with. She had to; otherwise she would be bullied by ruthless men. Ah Tai had charisma, and she got people working for her and they listened to her.
In Sibu, there was an unusual practice presenting gifts to prominent members of society to announce the birth of a child. These people always asked a famous woman to do the job. This person was none other than my Ah Tai. A very high ranking police chief from Perak, Tan Sri Koo Chong Kong was one of her many fostered sons. So was the manager of Lido theatre. When the VIPs in Sibu held dinner parties, Ah Tai was sure to be invited. Ah Tai was a socialite, the Kai ma (fostered mum) of Tan Sri Koo Chong Kong